Calculating prime reciprocals - a gloriously pointless exercise

Retro

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In the late 1800s, William Shanks painstakingly calculated the reciprocal of primes, by hand, for fun. The idea was to find out after how many digits the decimal expansion went on for before it repeated and this whole exercise took him years. Now, this is a true nerd! And the best part of all, is that it's a totally pointless exercise, as the result is simply not mathematically significant. I take my hat off to our William for this glorious waste of time. :cool: The presenter, mathematician Matt Parker, is pretty impressed by this, too.

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Geffers

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Fascinating, when I was a kid I used to play with figures, often used to work out how many miles to stars or galaxies that were quoted in light years away. Another pointless exercise.

Figures and patterns can be interesting, so many mathematicians seem obsessed with them.

Geffers
 

Retro

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often used to work out how many miles to stars or galaxies that were quoted in light years away.
I did that a couple of times too, via Google, and it came to trillions of miles. I did this so that I could relate those distances to the normal distances that we're used to as one needs a common measure for this. These are distances so incredibly far away, that I can't really comprehend them and I doubt many people truly can, if any.

Another gloriously pointless way to think of these distances are as an altitude in feet, like they do with aircraft flying height. It's technically correct, too. Gotta love that.
 

Geffers

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I often quote some figures when people relate to Government debt, of late they talk of manageable debt in trillions instead of billions.

There are 86,400 seconds in a day yet a trillion seconds is 30 THOUSAND years.

US owed $33 trillion - that is nearly a million years in seconds.

Geffers
 
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