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## Mathematicians Use Mossberg 500 Pump-Action Shotgun To Calculate Pi311

KentuckyFC (1144503) writes "Imagine the following scenario. The end of civilization has occurred, zombies have taken over the Earth and all access to modern technology has ended. The few survivors suddenly need to know the value of pi and, being a mathematician, they turn to you. What do you do? According to a couple of Canadian mathematicians, the answer is to repeatedly fire a Mossberg 500 pump action shotgun at a square aluminum target about 20 meters away. Then imagine that the square is inscribed with an arc drawn between opposite corners that maps out a quarter circle. If the sides of the square are equal to 1, then the area of the quarter circle is pi/4. Next, count the number of pellet holes that fall inside the area of the quarter circle as well as the total number of holes. The ratio between these is an estimate of the ratio between the area of the quarter circle and the area of a square, or in other words pi/4. So multiplying this number by 4 will give you an estimate of pi. That's a process known as a Monte Carlo approximation and it is complicated by factors such as the distribution of the pellets not being random. But the mathematicians show how to handle these too. The result? According to this method, pi is 3.13, which is just 0.33 per cent off the true value. Handy if you find yourself in a post-apocalyptic world."
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## Mathematicians Use Mossberg 500 Pump-Action Shotgun To Calculate Pi

• #### Keep the shells (Score:5, Funny)

by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 14, 2014 @08:39AM (#46746579)

In a post apocalypse zombie filled world I'd just say "3" and keep the shotgun shells.

• #### Re:I think I just found a title for my thesis (Score:4, Funny)

on Monday April 14, 2014 @08:43AM (#46746629)

Indeed, if a Ma Deuce doesn't solve the problem either the problem is unsolvable or you just need more ammo.

• #### Re:Only in America... (Score:4, Funny)

on Monday April 14, 2014 @08:44AM (#46746641)

a gun to calculate Pi value...

According to a couple of Canadian mathematicians,

I didn't realize we had annexed Canada recently. I hope we didn't also get Quebec.

• #### Re:Only in America... (Score:5, Funny)

on Monday April 14, 2014 @08:45AM (#46746661)

Don't be silly, the method should work in any country.

• #### Re:Ask an old person? (Score:4, Funny)

on Monday April 14, 2014 @08:50AM (#46746703) Homepage

Euclid's Shotgun? Is that much like Occam's Razor, or Shrodinger's Cat?

• #### I don't understand (Score:4, Funny)

on Monday April 14, 2014 @08:51AM (#46746707) Journal
Do you put the zombies in front of the square alluminum plate?
• #### Re:Keep the shells (Score:4, Funny)

on Monday April 14, 2014 @09:07AM (#46746927) Homepage Journal

How about killing two birds with one stone? Stand the zombies in a circle, and fire the rounds at them. Count the number of dead zombies. Now you've got an approximation for Pi AND a bunch of dead zombies. Win-win.

• #### Re:Um, no? (Score:5, Funny)

on Monday April 14, 2014 @09:14AM (#46747013) Journal
Just keep firing, soldier! Accuracy will improve.

And that is of course the reason these guys used this particular method to estimate pi: not "science", but as an excuse to blast away with a shotgun. As if you need an excuse for that...
• #### Re:fixing the parent posting (Score:5, Funny)

on Monday April 14, 2014 @09:54AM (#46747465) Homepage Journal

They would only need confidence in the random distribution of holes in the target.

Goddamn mathematician wasting precious ammunition to have a statistics wank-fest after MY goddamn zombie apocalypse?

I'd put a random distribution of holes in his worthless head!

• #### Time saving tip for these guys (Score:5, Funny)

on Monday April 14, 2014 @10:18AM (#46747707) Homepage

Come to Tennessee or Indiana and drive out in the country. Pretty much half the stop signs have already been prepped for you - you just have to count holes.

• #### Re:Only in America... (Score:1, Funny)

by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 14, 2014 @10:30AM (#46747829)

Like the Europas and the Africas? Or like the Asias?

- No those are singular

America is a continent,

- No as was already pointed out, North America is a continent, South America is a differnet continent and Central America is a region where
the two connect.

and your country is called United States of America, like Estados Unidos de Mexico and Estados Unidos do Brazil.

And thank you for the best example - those are the country names - and when talked about in genral non-formal terms drop the "United States of"
or the "Estados Unidos de" and you get America, Mexico and Brazil the names of *Coutries* that everyone except dicks in comment threads fully understand.

• #### Re:fixing the parent posting (Score:5, Funny)

on Monday April 14, 2014 @10:32AM (#46747857)
Probably without. First, choking deprives your brain of oxygen, making such intellectual efforts as calculating the value of pi much more difficult. Second, any attempt at choking a shotgun-armed mathematician is not just unlikely to be successful but an outright bad idea in general.

"It takes all sorts of in & out-door schooling to get adapted to my kind of fooling" - R. Frost

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