Happy Square Root Day!

In case you somehow forgot to mark it on your calendars, today (March 3, 2009) is Square Root Day–a rare occurrence on which the day and the month both represent the square root of the last two digits of the current year. The unofficial holiday is the pet project of California high school teacher Ron Gordon, who began observing Square Root Day on 9/9/81, to the great delight of nerds everywhere. Today represents the third SRD in a decade (following 1/1/01 and 2/2/04), but the next chance to celebrate won’t be coming around again until April 4, 2016. And that’s assuming we all make it past 2012, which may very well involve the Apocalypse or Singularity or some amazing combination thereof (the Apocularity? the Singulacolypse? Either way: fun!).

And who knows? By then, our Esteemed Robot Overlords may have converted our entire conception of time into a binary-based system, or maybe we’ll just be caught in the ever-spiraling decadence of the Fibonacci Carnival (which I plan to kick off right after the post-Pi Day-lull sets in, using a worn copy of Liber Abaci and A LOT of rum). So grab your slide rule and let’s make this year count…

The traditional means of celebrating Square Root Day involves the consumption of radishes, potatoes, and other root vegetables cut up into (yeah, you guessed it) little squares, and possibly washing them down with root beer. Technically, you can drink regular beer, but only if you’re doing so while watching all nine-and-a-half hours of Roots, bracketed by a few episodes of classic Hollywood Squares…otherwise it’s cheating (the rules are very clear). Alternately, you can just check out the Facebook page started by Gordon’s daughter for more information on Square Root Day (there’s even a contest, open until March 18th, for the most people involved in a SRD celebration). Just remember, in the words of the venerable Huey Lewis, it’s hip to be square…at least for today. So get out there and have some good, clean, math-inspired fun!

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