## Mathematicians Use Mossberg 500 Pump-Action Shotgun To Calculate Pi 311

Posted
by
samzenpus

from the less-common-core-math dept.

from the less-common-core-math dept.

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."*
## So wait, shotguns are more accurate than the bible (Score:5, Interesting)

30/10 = 3

Bible Pi = 95.493% accurate

Shotgun Pi = 99.67% accurate

## Re:Um, no? (Score:5, Interesting)

I responded with something along the lines of, "I'm sure they figured out that mowing in circles is theoretically more efficient, except that most lawn mowers have a finite turn radius that makes it impractical and push mowers can't cut while turning since they have to be lifted."

"Also, people tend to get dizzy going in circles for more than a few seconds, so unless they employ a ballerina to do their lawn mowing, all they showed it why you don't ask a mathematician to solve an engineering problem."

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

I'm wondering if they got results without a choke, or at full choke. This might be statistically significant.

## Re:So wait, shotguns are more accurate than the bi (Score:4, Interesting)

Research back in the 1930s discovered that there's more to that verse than appears. In Hebrew, the letters are also numbers, and the number values of letters and words are often very significant to the reading. There is a 'jot' ('jot' and 'tittle' are like diacritic marks) in the original, which here means, "look deeper". So with a bit of deeper analysis, one finds that the letters there turn out to make up a fraction. I forget what the fraction is, but it's something like 31/222 or some such, and with the fraction the value is within 1% or less of pi. This is discussed in one of Chuck Missler's research texts, about that book in the Bible.

## Re:Only in America... (Score:3, Interesting)

I hate to break it to you, but the ancient term "America" refers to the whole continent, Canada included.

Nope - that would be "North America."

Hey, if you're going to be a pedant...

Ok, since we're being pedantic: technically, "America" refers to the entire landmass (made up of the continents of North and South America and associated islands). Still includes Canada, though.