April 6, 2016

In all the world, the saddest words that were ever spoke are “This, too, might have been.” The Might-Have-Been Hero: Marcus Paige, North Carolina Tarheel, hit a three-point shot with under five seconds to play in the NCAA Final, tying the Peoplearesayinggame at 74-74, (apparently) forcing an overtime to determine the winner against Villanova. It was one of the greatest clutch shots in NCAA history.   Perhaps, if the world were fair, everyone would be singing his praises. But no one will remember him tomorrow because Kris Jenkins responded with his own three-pointer at the buzzer giving Villanova the title, 77-74.

Zombie candidate? Some people are saying Trump is one of the living dead: incapable of winning the nomination, but seemingly impossible to stop.  After last week, it seems unlikely that he will become the Republican nominee. His statement (since retracted) that women should be punished for having an illegal abortion; his campaign manager’s arrest for manhandling a female reporter; and his quixotic views on foreign policy (let’s give Japan and South Korea nuclear weapons), may have finally popped the Trump bubble. Ted Cruz’s primary victory in Wisconsin might be the first in a succession of defeats that will deny Trump’s getting the 1237 delegates necessary to win the nomination.

Would a Trump nomination doom the Republican Party? It could mean that “down ballot” races for the Senate and the House of Representatives would be more favorable to the Democrats, and the Dems’ dream of taking over both houses of Congress could become a reality. If that were to happen, they would only have themselves to blame. Numerous Republican-controlled state legislatures have passed legislation limiting LGBT rights, limiting access to voting, and limiting women’s access to abortions. Republican party support for these measures and its obstinate obstruction to moderate progressive change helped create their Frankenstein monster, Donald Trump.

Does Hillary accept money from the fossil fuel industry? Bernie Sanders and the environmentalist organization, Greenpeace, say she does. And, that she has refused to sign a pledge not to. Hillary accuses the Sanders’ campaign of lying about the issue. The fact is the super PAC, Priorities USA Action, which supports Clinton, has received more than 3 million dollars from individuals connected with oil and coal industries. But she and all candidates are forbidden by law from coordinating with a super PAC. She has, however, received about $300,000 directly from individuals working for fossil fuel companies. And, Bernie has accepted more than $50,000 from individuals working for fossil fuel companies.

The Democratic race is not over. Sanders with his win in Wisconsin has now won seven of the last eight state contests against Clinton, and, although still behind in the delegate count, hopes that a victory in New York on April 19 will turn the tide in his favor. Recent polls, however, show Hillary with more than a ten point lead in NY.

Does Pi have too many digits? NASA thinks so. So far, computers have calculated pi, the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter, to 13 trillion digits. According to the National Air and Space Administration, that’s too many. NASA often needs to (among other things) calculate the orbits of planets and spacecraft, and they say they can get by with only 15 digits after the decimal point for Pi. This allows them to calculate the position of Voyager One, which exited our solar system three years ago and is now over 15 light hours away, to within one and a half inch accuracy. That’s close enough for government work.

BTW: Pi to the 15th decimal is 3.14159265358979.   If you already knew that, you should probably get out more.

PS: If you are one of the first five SU students to tell me what the next digit is, I will give you a $5 gift certificate to the SU bookstore. (respond to aboulton@stevenson.edu)

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