In this article, I would like tell you about my personal opinion regarding why the world is so messed up. I do not intend to offend, insult, or attack any person or group of people in particular, and everything I mention or say here is just for the sake of making a point. Of course, since this is a blog about computer science and mathematics, I will be using an example from elementary mathematics to explain why the world is so messed up. Let’s start with watching this video very carefully:

Have you ever wondered why there are 360 degrees in a circle?

It’s pretty amazing isn’t it? Most people just accept the fact that a circle has 360 degrees and move on. There is nothing wrong with wondering that. The whole video looks legit and very cool.

Although the video is amazing, it conveys the wrong answer. However, it serves as an excellent example to explain why the world is so messed up! Now I will explain why the video conveys the wrong answer.

First, if you search the Web using your favorite search engine regarding why the circle has 360 degrees, you will find totally different answers! You will find answers such as “Because the Babylonians used a base-60 number system” or “Because ancient astronomers noticed that the sun is moving one degree each day and that the year has approximately 360 days.” However, it is very hard to find someone who is providing the same or similar answer to the one from the video. In fact, all of these answers are based on both historical facts and speculations and therefore no one seems to know for sure why the circle has 360 degrees.

Second, the video shows that the number 360 has amazing mathematical properties. Even if these properties are correct, how does this explain why the circle has 360 degrees? Yeah, it’s cool that we will always get 9 when dividing 360 by 2, but this provides no answer to the actual question.

Third, actually we will not always get 9 when dividing 360 by 2. This holds only up to the fifth division. When dividing 360 by 2^{6}, we get 5.625. Adding up these digits we get 18, not 9. The correct property here is that the digits of the result of the division will always add up to a number that is multiple of 9, but not necessarily 9. The video fails to convey this property accurately.

Fourth, there are many other numbers that have the same properties as 360 such as 180 and 720. The video fails to explain why the circle has 360 degrees rather than 180 or 720 which enjoy similar mathematical properties.

Fifth, all numbers are special! Each and every number has at least one mathematical property that does not apply to any other number. For example, 20 is the only number that is divisible by 20, 10, 5, 4, and 2 only. Showing that 360 is special does not mean that the circle has to have 360 degrees.

Sixth, the video provides no references that support the conveyed answer. And in fact, it does not seem that we have any historical and conclusive references regarding this question. Also the mathematical properties shown in the video have not been backed up by any proof.

And last but not least, the description of the video mentions the following:

“If you only knew the magnificence of the 3, 6 and 9, then you would have a key to the universe.” – N.Tesla.

What is the purpose of mentioning Tesla’s saying? Are we using the saying to support the answer from the video or the other way around? So if someone else claimed that different numbers are the key to the universe then what do we do in this case? Should we change the number of degrees that the circle has? ignore the saying? or maybe modify it?

This video has been shared in Facebook over 25,000 times! Most probably millions of people have already watched the video. All of these people think that they understand why the circle has 360 degrees, but they actually don’t and they are now more confused than ever. The graphical demonstrations shown in the video together with the amazing background music and the seemingly amazing mathematical tricks have blocked them from questioning the answer provided by the video. It’s in our very human nature to be constrained within first-impressions. The challenge is to go beyond that. You have to dig deep and get your hands dirty.

And that’s why, ladies and gentlemen, the world is so messed up. It is easy find information on the Web, but it has become very hard to find the correct information. If you think that you know the answers, you better think again. Be careful, It’s a jungle out there (I found the original song here).

at first i thought how stupid this article is until i reached the end …..

i guess you fooled me 😉

By the way good choice of music

Thanks dude.

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For what it’s worth, here’s a link to a couple of early references that appear authoritative.

http://mathforum.org/library/drmath/view/59075.html

Thanks, Chris. These answers are certainly much better since they are based on historical evidences and they make sense. At the same time, they are not conclusive as I can see from Friedman’s answer. There could be more to it that we don’t know. Perhaps, they are somewhere close to the truth.