Thursday, March 15, 2007

3.14etc

Yesterday was Pi day and it was also my birthday but I’ve arrived at an age where numbers and birthdays don’t mix well. I’m on my own with the kids this week, so it was a subdued affair. Had P. been here, he would have whisked me off in a limousine to a secret destination overlooking the sea for cocktails and a romantic dinner. Oooops, do I sense a recent scenario from Desperate Housewives insinuating itself into my psyche as a future false memory?

But I’m not nearly as old as the subjects of 49 Up — the documentary series that has been following a mixed group of people every seven years since they were seven years-old. I’ve been watching the latest instalment and I have to say that the participants all seem a little jaded now. And old.

Perhaps having their lives dissected by millions of TV viewers was an interesting experience when they were young, but now being subjected to that level of scrutiny seems to be an intrusive annoyance for most of them. So what’s the attraction for the viewer? As the 49-year old John says towards the end of the most recent programme, it’s probably akin to the appeal of any reality show only with the added bonus of seeing people put on weight and go grey and bald.

A metamorphosis taking place on one side of the tv screen only, clearly.

11 comments:

Ms Mac said...

Does that mean you share your birthday with Pi day every year?

Happy belated Pi/Birthday to you, young lady!

deborah said...

The Bailey-Borwein-Plouffe formula (BBP formula) permits the computation of the nth binary digit of π. It is a π summation formula discovered in 1995 by Simon Plouffe. The formula is named after David H. Bailey, Peter Borwein, and Simon Plouffe.
The discovery of this formula came as a surprise. For centuries it had been assumed that there was no way to compute the nth digit of π without calculating all of the preceding n-1 digits.

Here is another contribution for all you mathematicians out there ... couldn't resist Mr Plouffe.

Wendz said...

I'll just pretend I didn't see Deborahs startling comment....and say Happy Birthday...I agree...there comes a time when it isn't worth making a huge fuss of.

I cannot imagine having cameras shadow me for 42 years...oh the nightmare...when I look/feel hideous I simply hide from the world.

Lesley said...

Ms Mac: Yes every year. But of course, if you write dates the British way Pi day wouldn't be until the 31st of April.

Deborah: Mmmm. I wonder why one would ever want to calcultae just the nth digit.

Wendz: I don't think it's what they look like so much as what they haven't become or achieved that makes the participants ucomfortable. Its fascinating tv though.

Anonymous said...

I'll look into the answer to that immediately, Lesley, my nephew is to hand.

deborah said...

He's just given me the answer but I got so bogged down ...
more soon

Jonathan said...

Is that person still in the series who was a dreamer when he was young and eventually became a sort of vagrant character living in a shabby caravan on the West coast of Scotland? He was fascinating, though one feared somewhat for his future. What became of him?

It was notable on earlier series that it was the toffs who cried off from further TV intrusions first. You got the feeling that they had more to hide than the rest...

Lesley said...

Jonathan: Yes, Neil left the Shetlands, lived with the schoolmaster participant for a while, and became a Lib-Dem councillor in somewhere like Hackney. Now he is living somewhere in Cumbria but still a Lib-Dem councillor. I think most people remember his because there is such a contrast between the chirpy child he was and the adult he became.

Appy Linguist said...

Happy Very Belated!

Lesley said...

AL:Much you thank very

Sarolta said...

A bit late but most sincerely - happy birthday, Lesley!