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by Stephen Case for Justin, with thanks I first heard about the Flattening at one of our weekly faculty lunches, which we had moved from the campus cafeteria to the pub across the street and pushed from lunch to mid-afternoon as soon as the university relaxed its drinking policy. I was nursing a Guinness when the 3 PM crowd wandered in. “Have you heard yet?” It was Temple, the computer scientist. “Pi’s gone crazy.” Calendar from Modern Languages took a seat opposite. “Pies?” “The number. Something’s wrong with it.” Temple ordered a coffee and, when the server left, rubbed his hands together. “It’s still sort of a test in the computing world—calculating pi out to a trillion digits or so. Takes a lot of networking and processing power. Not exactly a piece of cake. Or pie. No pun intended.” He chuckled. You didn’t need to be on your second beer on a Friday afternoon to stand Temple, but it helped. “Anywho, the new record holder is apparently an exotic matter processor in Tehran that

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