Cidu Bill on Oct 8th 2013


Filed in Bill Bickel, CIDU, Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, Zach Weiner, comic strips, comics, humor | 36 responses so far

36 Responses to “2”

  1. Winter Wallaby Oct 8th 2013 at 12:14 am 1

    Tau = 2 * pi, by definition ( http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-13906169 ). So the Tau/pi conversion constant is two. It’s like saying that your child understands the doctrine of the trinity because they say “three.”

  2. Ron Oct 8th 2013 at 12:19 am 2

    Explanation of the equation:
    e to the ln(x) is x.
    the square root of x squared is x
    Thus, the equation simplifies to tau over pi
    (which is 2 as explained by Winter Wallaby)

  3. mitch4 Oct 8th 2013 at 12:45 am 3

    I didn’t know what tau was, and was interested enough to go check it out on the SMBC Forum. Which seemed more civilised than previous times I’ve dropped in there. But maybe because I read as far as the one answer then skedaddled.

  4. The Bad Seed Oct 8th 2013 at 12:59 am 4

    “I am not math enough to understand.” Despite the odd grammar of that statement, I think that pretty well sums up how I feel, too. http://4x.reddit.com/r/math/comments/1nqe7r/the_pitau_conversion_constant_smbccomic/

  5. The Bad Seed Oct 8th 2013 at 01:03 am 5

    p.s. Further googling turned up The Tau Manifesto: http://tauday.com/

  6. Stan Oct 8th 2013 at 02:17 am 6

    I can’t believe I’ m going to write this…but…can’t…help…myself…
    ‘The Tau of Two.’

  7. Kamino Neko Oct 8th 2013 at 02:45 am 7

    As I am compelled to say whenever the whole Tau vs Pi thing comes up…

    Pi must be eliminated for the Greater Good.

  8. Proginoskes Oct 8th 2013 at 03:06 am 8

    @ Kamino: Not until someone comes up with a good tau joke.


    “What is the area of a circle?”

    “Pi r squared.”

    “No, pi r round; cake r square.”

  9. Kamino Neko Oct 8th 2013 at 04:42 am 9

    *snif* I thought that WAS a good Tau joke. >_>

  10. Stan Oct 8th 2013 at 07:37 am 10

  11. billybob Oct 8th 2013 at 08:24 am 11

    “the square root of x squared is x”

    Is that what mathematicians call a tau-tology?

  12. Elyrest Oct 8th 2013 at 09:18 am 12

    I’m with The Bad Seed. “I am not math enough to understand.”

  13. Morris Keesan Oct 8th 2013 at 10:39 am 13

    I like Vi Hart’s approach to the pi/tau issue. But I like almost everything Vi Hart posts.

  14. HJ Oct 8th 2013 at 11:46 am 14

    More completely, the square root of x squared is plus-or-minus x (though we commonly consider only the positive value). He should have included “absolute value” signs.

  15. K. Oct 8th 2013 at 12:02 pm 15

    This is funny because they are all drinking from a barrel of industrial waste. I guess I’m the only one who noticed that.

  16. Mona Oct 8th 2013 at 12:04 pm 16

    Stan #10- that’s a good one!

    To quote Jake Harper: “We’ve got pi?”

  17. Boise Ed Oct 8th 2013 at 12:13 pm 17

    Is there going to be a sequel movie, The Life of Tau? Or did Ang Lee just throw in the tau?

  18. Ian Osmond Oct 8th 2013 at 12:14 pm 18

    To explain a little further:

    Pi is the circumference of a circle divided by the diameter of the circle. Somebody noticed that there were a lot of formulas out there that use “2pi”. Indeed, the guy realized that he used 2pi more than he used pi just by itself. So he figured that 2pi was actually a more useful number than pi. So he called 2pi “tau”, and defined it as “the circumference of a circle divided by its radius”. Any time that you would previously have used 2pi, you just use tau. Anytime that you’d need pi, you use tau/2.

    So, yeah. “The pi/tau conversion constant” is “2″. The toddler can count to 2, which means that he can “calculate the pi/tau conversion constant.”

    Because it sounds more impressive to say “my toddler can calculate the pi/tau conversion constant” than “my toddler knows the number 2.”

    It’s like, I have a friend who, when she was a baby, her father would just talk to her so that she would know he was there, and just soothe her because her parents’ voices were comforting. He didn’t have anything particular to say, so he’d do things like list irregular plurals and stuff. Just, y’know, so his daughter would know he was there.

    Anyway, he had just finished giving her a bath, and they were watching the water swirl down the drain, and she said, “Vortex vortices.”

    So, y’know, she could deal with the declensions of irregular Latinate plurals at two. (Or maybe she could repeat stuff that her father had said previous times she’d had baths. One or the other. But guess which one her father claims?)

  19. Irene Oct 8th 2013 at 01:47 pm 19

    a little late on this comment, but the square root of x squared is + or- x. even if x is a negative number…

  20. Dave Van Domelen Oct 8th 2013 at 03:37 pm 20

    Kamino Neko: It was a good Tau joke. The sense of humor around here is just too Kroot for your sophisticated joke.

  21. minorannoyance Oct 8th 2013 at 03:39 pm 21

    Recollected scene:

    A father walks into Crown Books (this was a while ago) carry his toddler daughter. She announces, loudly, “LOTS OF BOOKS.” The father is very excited about this. “That’s right. Lots of books. Do you like books? . . .”

    The mother walks in about now. The father tells her the toddler talked and tries to persuade the prodigy to say it again (”What do you see? Do you see books? Are there lots of books? . . . Books? . . .”), but she’s fumbling with a board book now and isn’t interested. I actually lingered at a nearby shelf for a minute, but it seemed clear the kid wasn’t going to offer an encore.

    Mom seemed to take his word for it, but I could tell Dad really, really wanted to offer proof. For all I know he was still prompting her after I left the store.

  22. Mary in Ohio Oct 8th 2013 at 04:29 pm 22

    I thought it was Pie are round, cornbread are square.

  23. Jeff S. Oct 8th 2013 at 05:44 pm 23

    MiO, down ’round these parts, that there’s true… cornbread r square.

    I got my BS in Mathematics, and I can count on NO fingers how often I used tau. Everything I used was relationship to pi.

  24. fj Oct 8th 2013 at 09:04 pm 24

    @Jeff S.

    The whole tau thing is a recent debate. It stems from a paper written in 2001 by Bob Palais (”Pi Is Wrong”, http://www.math.utah.edu/~palais/pi.html ) which proposed the concept of making a new primary circle constant equivalent to pi * 2 (he made up a new symbol, kind of a three-legged pi, and called it “new pi”). In 2010, Mike Hartl proposed that usage of tau for this constant (which, strangely (at least to me) looks like a one-legged pi symbol) in what he called the “Tau Manifesto.” (see http://tauday.com/ ).

    My own opinion is that this is much ado about nothing. There is some beauty in tau. I can even sort of buy the arguments that tau may be more beautiful than p. But let’s face it: if you can’t deal with 2*pi radians, you probably aren’t going to be able deal with tau radians, either.

  25. Chakolate Oct 8th 2013 at 09:13 pm 25

    If you all aren’t acquainted with Vi Hart’s videos, her vid on tau is a great way to introduce yourself:


    You could also search for ‘infinity elephants’. That’s a good one, too.

  26. Mark in Boston Oct 8th 2013 at 10:32 pm 26

    Never mind tau and pi; I don’t get why we use e. All the logarithm formulae work just fine whatever base you use, whether it’s 2 or 10 or e or any other base. As a software engineer I like base 2 (the logarithm is approximately the number of binary digits in the number) and 10 is fine also. but why use an irrational number?

  27. jp Oct 8th 2013 at 10:35 pm 27

    @Mary in Ohio — Yes, that’s how I learned it, growing up in Ohio.

    Ohio is a great place to be from…

    -jp (originally from Ohio)

  28. Winter Wallaby Oct 8th 2013 at 11:32 pm 28

    Mark in Boston #26: The base e form is simpler for taking derivatives and integrals.

  29. Ian Osmond Oct 9th 2013 at 08:36 am 29

    Mark in Boston @26 — I don’t do a whole lot of math-ing, but what I understand is that , in natural logs, the “e” cancels itself out in a lot of cases, leading to cleaner formulas.

  30. lynn42 Oct 9th 2013 at 09:09 am 30

    When my daughter was 3, she heard us quizzing her older brother in math, and she wanted to be quizzed too. But whatever we asked her, she’d answer “sixteen!” It became a thing, so once when we were visiting her grandfather we said, “Watch this! N, what’s 8 + 8?” She’d say “Sixteen!” He was surprised. We said “What’s 4 times 4?” “Sixteen!” Now he was really impressed. By the time we said “What’s the square root of 256″ he’d figured it out.

  31. fj Oct 9th 2013 at 10:19 am 31

    Why use e?

    Because the derivative of e^x is e^x.

  32. Morris Keesan Oct 9th 2013 at 10:37 am 32

    Too late to be synchronicity, but relevant and amusing: http://xkcd.com/1275/

  33. Mark in Boston Oct 10th 2013 at 10:47 pm 33

    My favorite Vi Hart video: http://youtu.be/4mdEsouIXGM

  34. Christine Oct 15th 2013 at 07:30 pm 34

    I got my degree in engineering, and I never understood my classmates who were pro-tau. I need pi more than I would need tau. I thought that tau was a mathie thing, but Jeff S. is saying otherwise, so I’m confused.

  35. Jeff S. Oct 15th 2013 at 08:54 pm 35

    Well, to be honest, I got my degree almost 20 yrs ago I gather from the responses, the use and popularity of tau is more recent than that. Additionally, I got work as a computer programmer right out of college, so I rarely did any work with ‘proper math’… and especially now that I’m not working as a programmer any longer.

  36. Dave in Boston Oct 16th 2013 at 05:22 pm 36

    One definite reason to prefer pi: you can’t cancel tau^2 with 10 :-)

Comments RSS

Leave a Reply