The Corner

Pi in The Sky

I assume everyone’s getting ready for pi day (i.e. 3/14). Don’t forget to fish out (or order, if you don’t have it) that wonderful CD of Ned Raggett reading the blessed number.

This year’s pi day is slightly special as it is also–on the US East coast, anyway–the date of a total penumbral lunar eclipse. So while listening to Ned read out the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, you can watch the Moon’s circle being overcome by the Earth’s circular shadow. A sort of pi in the sky experience.

And if that doesn’t awaken your sense of wonder, try this. It’s a long (about 50 minutes) radio program about the Anthropic Principle. Or “principles,” I should say, since at least four come up: the weak, strong, participatory, and final anthropic principles. On a busy morning, I thought I’d listen to the first 5 minutes to see if it was any good, ended up losing the full 50 minutes out of my schedule. Very well done. All angles covered: physics, cosmology, theology–there’s even a Chesterton quote (one I hadn’t heard before) & some readings from Douglas Adams. Is there an Ultimate Observer? Did **we** make the Big Bang happen, by observing its consequences? Are we living in an inside-out black hole? What can we say about the End of Time? Fascinating.

[Many thanks to various readers for these links.]

John Derbyshire — Mr. Derbyshire is a former contributing editor of National Review.

Most Popular

Elections

The Debate Dumpster Fire

On the menu today: You know what we’re talking about today -- that Godforsaken festival of incoherent crosstalk that was allegedly a presidential debate. It Figures That a Dumpster Fire of a Year Like This Would Bring Us a ‘Debate’ Like This Last night, I thought the first presidential debate of the ... Read More
Elections

The Debate Dumpster Fire

On the menu today: You know what we’re talking about today -- that Godforsaken festival of incoherent crosstalk that was allegedly a presidential debate. It Figures That a Dumpster Fire of a Year Like This Would Bring Us a ‘Debate’ Like This Last night, I thought the first presidential debate of the ... Read More
Elections

Everybody Loses, Which Helps Biden

Reactions to tonight's debate will likely be deeply polarized, as everything else is. There are a few things that are clear. One, this was probably the worst presidential debate in American history. There was a ton of cross-talk and shouting down, there were many bald-faced lies and obvious evasions, a former ... Read More
Elections

Everybody Loses, Which Helps Biden

Reactions to tonight's debate will likely be deeply polarized, as everything else is. There are a few things that are clear. One, this was probably the worst presidential debate in American history. There was a ton of cross-talk and shouting down, there were many bald-faced lies and obvious evasions, a former ... Read More

Ben Sasse: Everybody Loves Amy

After Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement in 2018, Ben Sasse had three words on his mind: Amy Coney Barrett. They’d been on his mind for a while. The Nebraska senator had first started hearing about Barrett from faculty at Notre Dame Law School, where Barrett was a professor, shortly after Trump ... Read More

Ben Sasse: Everybody Loves Amy

After Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement in 2018, Ben Sasse had three words on his mind: Amy Coney Barrett. They’d been on his mind for a while. The Nebraska senator had first started hearing about Barrett from faculty at Notre Dame Law School, where Barrett was a professor, shortly after Trump ... Read More
Elections

Trump Did Himself No Favors

The debate was a remarkable example of the fact that Donald Trump, the most self-serving man in America, doesn’t know how to do himself any favors. For the first ten or twelve minutes of the debate, he was walking away with it — Trumpy, sure, but in control and surprisingly reasonable-sounding. If he had ... Read More
Elections

Trump Did Himself No Favors

The debate was a remarkable example of the fact that Donald Trump, the most self-serving man in America, doesn’t know how to do himself any favors. For the first ten or twelve minutes of the debate, he was walking away with it — Trumpy, sure, but in control and surprisingly reasonable-sounding. If he had ... Read More

Chaos in Cleveland

The 90 minutes of “debate” between President Donald Trump and former vice president Joe Biden cannot be told as a cohesive story, or reduced to a few bottom lines. It was too fast and too disorganized. Almost anyone watching would have just picked up impressions along the way. I’ve grouped mine into piles ... Read More

Chaos in Cleveland

The 90 minutes of “debate” between President Donald Trump and former vice president Joe Biden cannot be told as a cohesive story, or reduced to a few bottom lines. It was too fast and too disorganized. Almost anyone watching would have just picked up impressions along the way. I’ve grouped mine into piles ... Read More