Pi-hundred million people live in U.S.
August 14th, 2012
05:24 PM ET

Pi-hundred million people live in U.S.

If you are a fan of the number pi, you'll love this: The U.S. Census Bureau announced that the American population reached 314,159,265 Tuesday.

That's exciting for math geeks because pi is 3.14159265... But it doesn't stop there. The digits continue in an apparently random fashion infinitely.

In a perfect circle, pi is the ratio of circumference (the distance around) to diameter (the distance across). Fans celebrate pi on March 14, Pi Day, by eating pies, reciting digits and engaging in other pi-related activities.

Pi has many uses - for instance, in constructing a building or analyzing the geometry of DNA.

The digits of pi have proved fascinating enough for some people to memorize thousands of them. Musical nerds have even written pi songs, one of which led to a copyright dispute that was settled this year on Pi Day.

Now the U.S. population can be added to the list of pi-related oddities - at least briefly. The government's current population counter was already well past pi-hundred million as of this writing.

"This is a once in many generations event...so go out and celebrate this American pi," Census Bureau Chief Demographer Howard Hogan said in a statement.

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Filed under: Math • On Earth
August 14th, 2012
09:40 AM ET

Scientists examine record python found in Florida in effort to stop snakes' spread

Miami (CNN) - University of Florida researchers examining the carcass of a large, pregnant Burmese python said Monday they found a record 87 eggs inside, giving them important clues about the reproductive capability of the dangerous, invasive species.

Scientists at the Florida Museum of Natural History on the university's campus examined the 164.5-pound, 17.5-foot snake Friday after it was brought there from the Everglades National Park. It is the largest one ever found at the park.

"This thing is monstrous - it's about a foot wide," said Kenneth Krysko, the manager of the museum's herpetology collection. "It means there's nothing stopping them and the native wildlife are in trouble."


Filed under: News
Aliens in the oceans - searching for life on the moons of Jupiter
Jupiter's moon Europa has a crust made up of blocks, evidence that Europa may have once had a subsurface ocean.
August 14th, 2012
09:37 AM ET

Aliens in the oceans - searching for life on the moons of Jupiter

Editor's note: Kevin Peter Hand is a planetary scientist/astrobiologist in Pasadena, California. He was a 2011 National Geographic Emerging Explorer and was part of the Deepsea Challenge Expedition that explored the deepest depths of Earth's ocean in the Mariana Trench.

(CNN) - As the Curiosity rover begins its exciting trek across the surface of Mars and up the dramatic peak of Mt. Sharp it is important to realize that the plans for this great success were incubated and acted upon more than 10 years ago. Exploration like this is not for the faint of heart - it takes time and persistence.

So what's next? What is in the funded pipeline now that will be revolutionizing our understanding of life in the solar system 10 or even 20 years from now? The short answer is - nothing. Curiosity is it. After Curiosity there is, at present, no other mission in production that will explore potentially habitable worlds beyond Earth.



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