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Distractions and amusements, with a sandwich and coffee.

Trance opera—Spente le Stelle
• be dramatic
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On March 14th celebrate `\pi` Day. Hug `\pi`—find a way to do it.

For those who favour `\tau=2\pi` will have to postpone celebrations until July 26th. That's what you get for thinking that `\pi` is wrong. I sympathize with this position and have `\tau` day art too!

If you're not into details, you may opt to party on July 22nd, which is `\pi` approximation day (`\pi` ≈ 22/7). It's 20% more accurate that the official `\pi` day!

Finally, if you believe that `\pi = 3`, you should read why `\pi` is not equal to 3.

2013 was the first year in which I made `\pi` day art. It was a year of dots and love.

René Hansen has created an interactive version of this year's posters! Why not go to the Feynman point directly!

The posters explore the relationship between adjacent digits in `\pi`, which are encoded by color using the scheme shown above. The design appears to shimmer due to the luminance effect. In some versions of the poster, adjacent identical (or similar) digits are connected by lines.

The recipe for each poster is included in its figure legend. It gives the color of the `i`th outer and inner circles. `\pi_i` is used to represent the `i`th digit of `\pi`. For example, the recipe

`\pi_i` / `\pi_{i+1}`

corresponds to the case where outer circle color encodes the `i`th digit and the inner circle color encodes the next digit `i+1`th. In this scheme, inner and outer circles of adjacent positions have the same color.

The posters were generated automatically with a Perl script that generated SVG files. Post processing and layout was done in Illustrator. If you are interested in depicting your favourite number this way, let me know.

The design was inspired by the beautiful AIDS posters by Elena Miska.

I calculated `pi` to 13,099,586 digits and then I found love.

It's fun to look for digits or look for words in `\pi`.

Just don't get carried away. Because `\pi` is likely normal in base 10, all words and all patterns appear in it, somewhere.

I wanted to know the first time that "*love*" appears in `\pi`. When encoded using the scheme a=0, b=1, ..., z=25, "*love*" is the digit sequence 1114214.

This sequence appears first at position 13,099,586 (...8921991631**1114214**8187311392...). And, of course, infinitely many times after that.

Curiously, "hate" (0700194) appears well before love, at digit 514,717. In the first 200,000,000 digit "hate" appears 23 times, 6 times more than "love".

If you use the scheme a=1, b=2, ..., z=26, then "*love*" becomes 1215225. This is first seen at 6,317,696 (...6103119129**1215225**6606850141...).

The Sanctuary Project is a Lunar vault of science and art. It includes two fully sequenced human genomes, sequenced and assembled by us at Canada's Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre.

The first disc includes a song composed by Flunk for the (eventual) trip to the Moon.

But how do you send sound to space? I describe the inspiration, process and art behind the work.

A forest of digits

Celebrate `\pi` Day (March 14th) and finally see the digits through the forest.

This year is full of botanical whimsy. A Lindenmayer system forest – deterministic but always changing. Feel free to stop and pick the flowers from the ground.

And things can get crazy in the forest.

Check out art from previous years: 2013 `\pi` Day and 2014 `\pi` Day, 2015 `\pi` Day, 2016 `\pi` Day, 2017 `\pi` Day, 2018 `\pi` Day and 2019 `\pi` Day.

*All that glitters is not gold. —W. Shakespeare*

The sensitivity and specificity of a test do not necessarily correspond to its error rate. This becomes critically important when testing for a rare condition — a test with 99% sensitivity and specificity has an even chance of being wrong when the condition prevalence is 1%.

We discuss the positive predictive value (PPV) and how practices such as screen can increase it.

Altman, N. & Krzywinski, M. (2021) Points of significance: Testing for rare conditions. *Nature Methods* **18**:224–225.

*We demand rigidly defined areas of doubt and uncertainty! —D. Adams*

A popular notion about experiments is that it's good to keep variability in subjects low to limit the influence of confounding factors. This is called standardization.

Unfortunately, although standardization increases power, it can induce unrealistically low variability and lead to results that do not generalize to the population of interest. And, in fact, may be irreproducible.

Not paying attention to these details and thinking (or hoping) that standardization is always good is the "standardization fallacy". In this column, we look at how standardization can be balanced with heterogenization to avoid this thorny issue.

Voelkl, B., Würbel, H., Krzywinski, M. & Altman, N. (2021) Points of significance: Standardization fallacy. *Nature Methods* **18**:5–6.

*Clear, concise, legible and compelling.*

Making a scientific graphical abstract? Refer to my practical design guidelines and redesign examples to improve organization, design and clarity of your graphical abstracts.

An in-depth look at my process of reacting to a bad figure — how I design a poster and tell data stories.