What the First 10,000 Digits of Pi Sound Like Dialed on a Rotary Phone

Please hold. (And hold, and hold, and hold...)

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Aug 12 2014, 3:10pm

Another day, another slice of pi. This time it's the first 10,000 digits of everyone's favorite irrational number, as expressed by the mechanical churn of a rotary phone. 

There is an aching, Sisyphean creep to it. I imagine this is what Archimedes laughing from beyond the grave sounds like—and this despite the fact that it sonifies an infinitesimally small percentage of a number that, for all we know, neither repeats nor ends. It's perhaps the most visceral entry in our unending quest to make sense of, play with, and/or test the boundaries of pi.

So while it might not be nearly as dizzying as that raw string-out of the first billion digits of pi, it's still more maddening by orders of magnitude. The longer you listen, the more unbearable it becomes. I managed to last about 10 minutes, before it got so grating I had to close the tab, and step outside to get some air. It was mocking me, burrowing deeper into my skull. 

If there is a Hell, it just might involve dialing a phone (or, listening to someone dialing a phone) for 4.5 goddamn hours. If only Indiana managed to pass that law declaring "pi = 3", we maybe wouldn't be in this mess. For now, please hold. (And hold, and hold, and hold, and hold.)