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“playing with phi”

category clare | arts and media | news report author Tuesday December 09, 2003 21:57author by dunk - FUSPEYauthor email duncancrowley at hotmail dot com Report this post to the editors

land art - Lahinch beach - county Clare

“playing with phi”
on Sunday the 9th of December 2003 a piece of land art was done on the beach of Lahinch in county Clare. It was done by 4 people for a few different reasons.
phi on paper, phi plate
phi on paper, phi plate

what is phi?
Phi is an irrational number (1.6.18….), which is a found in all aspects of nature, and supposedly using it as a proportion leads to the most beautiful shapes, many of the ancient Greek sculptors and builders used to use it. You can see it roughly on the proportions between your knuckles, or the shapes of images of galaxies. some people know the number as "gods favourite number"

Why was it done?
A few reasons- 2 and a half years ago, a few of us had the idea to do it, but in never materialised for different reasons. Thankfully now a few things have come together and it happened.
3 of the 4 of us who did it were at the Shannon peace demonstration the previous day, so “playing with phi” was done as a memory to the innocents who have died in wars. A white plastic flag was put up for this reason.

What did we do?
We worked out the maths of constructing a phiplate, where by successive squares led from a timber board out to the sea, we then drew a spiral, the golden spiral, and filled in the hole left in the sand with seaweed bits.
We took pictures and documented it
We wrote in the sand “sin e anois, mar taimid beo anois” which is roughly the gaeilge or irish for “that’s it now, because we are alive now”
We went into the sea, danced and roared

The board read:
Playing with phi
Phi , sigma , pi
(These are the greek letters for )
F, S, P
These letters also stand for
Which stands for
An arrow with “next stop new york @ 3000 miles”
Phi = 1.618……. (toward infinity)
Gods favourite number

People stopped and and asked us what it was about, we informed them they would soon be able to find out by looking at the indymedia website.

My mother is from Lahinch and I have spent much of my life wandering about the beach and sea at Lahinch. My relations; Mary, Pat and Mark Shannon gave much invaluable help, tea and biscuits to us, thanks

The FUSPEY network uses art to communicate and when felt necessary: art to challenge ( in a non violent way)
FUSPEY is about feeling alive

thanks to all who helped make it happen

Related Link: http://www.geocities.com/fuspey

setting up and making the spiral
setting up and making the spiral

finished spiral, sin e anois, dancing in the sea
finished spiral, sin e anois, dancing in the sea

author by iosaf ipsiphi o as ifpublication date Tue Dec 09, 2003 23:50author address author phone Report this post to the editors

well there are times when we ponder these things more than others, a TAZ is temporary, wheras then supposing a PAZ would be permanent? PAZ as we know is castillian for peace. Isn't that quite dandy? PAZ will come when the autonomous zone is permanant.
I first heard about Les Naus whilst still living in London, one of us loved trapeze and for her birthday we bought her one. & then she and her Irish raised indeed fellah went wandering and somehow ended up starting the trapeze group in Les Naus. Some of her little collective now study circus on scholarship in Spain and the UK.
People can still hang a trapeze from anywhere more than 5 metres.

I came to Barcelona in 2001, and somehow ended up staying in Les Naus for those months the World Bank had been booked to gig. I was very annoying, and still very Italian. We made a movie in that time on 35mm with French and NYC friends and we used Les Naus as one of the sets. I know now that this space is gone, indeed most of the urban backdrop has been demolished, regenerated, re-used.
One of the scenes was in "enterprise", the office, photocopier and computer bits that added the footnotes to history. Many a digital brain was born in that place. & The world now uses yet more interesting free software.
& like they will.
No one has forgotten how to do that.

Theatre happens wherever, I still remember the night the Sala Beckett which stood on the street opposite gave awy their sofas, and we brought them over and they were _plush_. I remember the night the cat shat on my bed. I remember the sticker of RTS London J18 which proclaimed an assembly connection to Brixton, Hackney, and many other places now gone. I remember the wall "you are not an idiot". I remember loads, and I know it won't be forgotten.

Now We Squat Homes.
Ara Okupem Habitatges.

We have sufficiently squatted western civilisation with our culture and the space we have kept open is un-evictable.

No olvidem Les Naus.

author by T.M.H. - U.O.E.publication date Wed Dec 10, 2003 17:45author address author phone Report this post to the editors

You weird new age maths types are really weird. This is an informed opinion I have interacted with a few of them in my time and they are really weird. This bizzare stunt highlights my point. But if you enjoy it knock yourselves out. Good work.

author by Acidpublication date Wed Dec 10, 2003 19:31author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Your the ones writting on all my stickers around Pearse!....Good work :)

author by Acid Heddpublication date Wed Dec 10, 2003 19:33author address author phone Report this post to the editors

of phi?

author by Jbpublication date Wed Dec 10, 2003 20:24author address author phone Report this post to the editors

There is no definite mathematical value for phi because phi doesn't represent anything in particular. It represents the internal angle of friction of a soil (which itself is variable) in soil mechanics and I've no doubt it represents a host of other variables in other disciplines.
Pi, however does represent a definite value, being 3.142 (rounded off to 3 decimal places, otherwise goes on to infinity - some daft nuts are known for being able to recite pages of the numbers following the decimal point of pi).

author by Jbpublication date Wed Dec 10, 2003 20:29author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Pi represents the value which is obtained when you divide the length of the circumference of a circle by the length of its radius and is often approximated by 22/7 although this is far from exact.

Pi cannot be eaten.

author by the supreme ultimate pedantpublication date Wed Dec 10, 2003 21:42author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I do believe that the chappies are referring to a numerical value known as the "golden mean" or "golden section".... which is sometimes denoted by the symbol PHI ....
Its value is 1.6180339887499... . etc.

However, as another poster has pointed out the symbol PHI is also used in a wide range of scientific and engineering fields to denote various quantities ..... hence the potential for confusion ....

PI of course is something completely different and represents the ratio between the diameter and circumference of a circle .....

i.e. circumference = PI * diameter

PI = circumference/diameter

But of course you all knew that - apart from the dork who wrote that PI represents the ratio between the RADIUS and circumference of a circle .......

I hope that that has clarified matters for all and sundry ......

Related Link: http://www.vashti.net/mceinc/golden.htm
author by Jb dorkpublication date Thu Dec 11, 2003 12:14author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Did I say radius? Shame on me!

author by the supreme ultimate pedantpublication date Thu Dec 11, 2003 20:37author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Let's not be too hard on you ....

After all you did qualify your submission with the disclaimer "this is far from exact" .... and you were only out by a factor of two .....

And while I am at it let me say how glad I am to see that you have contradicted your final remark about the inedibility of PI by eating it in its humble form ......

author by %-)publication date Thu Dec 11, 2003 23:05author address author phone Report this post to the editors


author by Jbpublication date Fri Dec 12, 2003 14:37author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The phrase "this is far from exact" referred to the 22/7 approximation and makes no excuse for being out by a factor of two on the circumference/diameter formula.
Regarding the edibility of Pi, one could eat IN Pi if one happened along Washington St in Cork opposite the courthouse but I doubt that there would be any Pi on the menu. The humble I was humbly eating was probably pie.
Pedanticism allows not for poetic licence, although it may apreciate it all the same!

PS More humble pie eating: apologies to anyone offended by my original tag, no offence intended, in fact the potential insult didn't register with innocent me.

author by %-) - ipse factopublication date Fri Dec 12, 2003 15:19author address author phone Report this post to the editors

In 1897 the Indiana House of Representatives unanimously passed a measure redefining the area of a circle and the value of pi. (House Bill no. 246, introduced by Rep. Taylor I. Record.) The bill died in the state Senate.

This then re-emerged through the Master Writer Mark Boslough, who in 1998 started a internet deep penetration psychic thingy.
And within a short period, his April Fool's day joke (that Alabama State had altered for creationist reasons the value of Pi)

This is very copyleft material, but Mark Boslough is the origin:
I'll qoute the bug:

[{(- HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — NASA engineers and mathematicians in this high-tech city are stunned and infuriated after the Alabama state legistature narrowly passed a law yesterday redefining pi, a mathematical constant used in the aerospace industry. The bill to change the value of pi to exactly three was introduced without fanfare by Leonard Lee Lawson (R, Crossville), and rapidly gained support after a letter-writing campaign by members of the Solomon Society, a traditional values group. Governor Guy Hunt says he will sign it into law on Wednesday.
The law took the state's engineering community by surprise. "It would have been nice if they had consulted with someone who actually uses pi," said Marshall Bergman, a manager at the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization. According to Bergman, pi is a Greek letter that signifies the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. It is often used by engineers to calculate missile trajectories.

Prof. Kim Johanson, a mathematician from University of Alabama, said that pi is a universal constant, and cannot arbitrarily be changed by lawmakers. Johanson explained that pi is an irrational number, which means that it has an infinite number of digits after the decimal point and can never be known exactly. Nevertheless, she said, pi is precisly defined by mathematics to be "3.14159, plus as many more digits as you have time to calculate".

"I think that it is the mathematicians that are being irrational, and it is time for them to admit it," said Lawson. "The Bible very clearly says in I Kings 7:23 that the alter font of Solomon's Temple was ten cubits across and thirty cubits in diameter, and that it was round in compass."

Lawson called into question the usefulness of any number that cannot be calculated exactly, and suggested that never knowing the exact answer could harm students' self-esteem. "We need to return to some absolutes in our society," he said, "the Bible does not say that the font was thirty-something cubits. Plain reading says thirty cubits. Period."

Science supports Lawson, explains Russell Humbleys, a propulsion technician at the Marshall Spaceflight Center who testified in support of the bill before the legislature in Mongtomery on Monday. "Pi is merely an artifact of Euclidean geometry." Humbleys is working on a theory which he says will prove that pi is determined by the geometry of three-dimensional space, which is assumed by physicists to be "isotropic", or the same in all directions. "There are other geometries, and pi is different in every one of them," says Humbleys. Scientists have arbitrarily assumed that space is Euclidean, he says. He points out that a circle drawn on a spherical surface has a different value for the ratio of circumfence to diameter. "Anyone with a compass, flexible ruler, and globe can see for themselves," suggests Humbleys, "its not exactly rocket science."

Roger Learned, a Solomon Society member who was in Montgomery to support the bill, agrees. He said that pi is nothing more than an assumption by the mathematicians and engineers who were there to argue against the bill. "These nabobs waltzed into the capital with an arrogance that was breathtaking," Learned said. "Their prefatorial deficit resulted in a polemical stance at absolute contraposition to the legislature's puissance."

Some education experts believe that the legislation will affect the way math is taught to Alabama's children. One member of the state school board, Lily Ponja, is anxious to get the new value of pi into the state's math textbooks, but thinks that the old value should be retained as an alternative. She said, "As far as I am concerned, the value of pi is only a theory, and we should be open to all interpretations." She looks forward to students having the freedom to decide for themselves what value pi should have.

Robert S. Dietz, a professor at Arizona State University who has followed the controversy, wrote that this is not the first time a state legislature has attempted to redifine the value of pi. A legislator in the state of Indiana unsuccessfully attempted to have that state set the value of pi to three. According to Dietz, the lawmaker was exasperated by the calculations of a mathematician who carried pi to four hundred decimal places and still could not achieve a rational number. Many experts are warning that this is just the beginning of a national battle over pi between traditional values supporters and the technical elite. Solomon Society member Lawson agrees. "We just want to return pi to its traditional value," he said, "which, according to the Bible, is three." -]})

And Mr Boslough by careful manipulation of a newsgroup, though he admitted it was a counter-Anti-Evolucionist joke, the internet is little understood by most mortals and this little jewel soon became "Media fact" and "Media discussion" :
Bussmann, Tom. "Foreword: Zeitgeist."
The [London] Guardian. 16 May 1998 (p. 8).

Devlin, Keith. "Off Line: Mythical Mathematics."
The [London] Guardian. 3 July 1997 (p. 8).

Habinger, Bernie. "Rest Easy! Pi Is Not Changing!"
Associated Press. 7 May 1998.

Heinlein, Robert. Stranger in a Strange Land.
New York: G.P. Putnam, 1961. ISBN 399-10772-X (p. 360).

Jaggi, Narendra. "A Centenary Celebration of Clear Political Arrogance."
The [Bloomington] Pantagraph. 13 July 1997 (p. A12).

Truly, Pat. "In Indiana, Pi R a Matter of Debate."
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram. 3 March 1997 (p. 9).

USA Today. "Across the USA."
8 May 1998 (p. A10). onto the "global recognition urban myth list".

Well done!
Fair Play to Him.

and that's not your cup of tea look at young Mr
Ian Lee, who is this years President of Delta Sigma Pi which was founded at New York University in 1907.


author by dunkpublication date Fri Dec 12, 2003 21:20author address author phone Report this post to the editors

most of us are familiar with PI (3.14.........)
but few of us are familiar with PHI Φ(1.618...........)
thanks to above poster for shedding light on it.
phi is an irrational numer, it can never be truly worked out, we can just get closer to it.

it does matter as it is a number that is found in many many, if not all, growth systems

it also forms the "golden rectangle" which is supposedly the most perfect shape, it has been proven to be the most pleasing. loads of building use it, artists used to position the horizon line on it. its everywhere

i suppose the gist of doing it was to remind people that nature is beautiful and amazing when you look into it.
you live- you die
its good to laugh, create and have a little fun


author by :-)publication date Thu Dec 30, 2004 19:53author address author phone Report this post to the editors

here's Phi to 1000 decimal places

author by Colleenpublication date Thu Jul 21, 2005 18:29author email business at artistsoul dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

I love you!

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