The Asian countries convened to try and see if their new computer, the Singapore 9000, with 2 bits of RAM, (in their defense, it was a secondhand computer) could calculate pi.

China punched the request in.

Then, the United Arab Emirates punched it in, saying it wasn’t specific enough.

Then, Indonesia punched it in… and it overestimated.

They all complained at Indonesia, so he went to the reasonable adult, the U.N., and he said:

“Oh, that’s cute! You’re trying to calculate… and that dial is set wrong, which is why it didn’t work!”

In a rare lapse of character, Indonesia fell asleep during the lecture. Being their resident handyman, when it failed again, he didn’t know what to do. But… he could know HOW it was breaking…

HOW is the Singapore 9000 breaking when Indonesia punches in his request?

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ It's quite possible that I'm missing the point, but shouldn't that be two bytes of RAM, not two bits? $\endgroup$ Jan 19, 2023 at 2:10
  • $\begingroup$ @KenShirriff I think the point of 2 bits is not that it's data, rather that it's 2 pieces of information $\endgroup$ Jan 19, 2023 at 9:15
  • $\begingroup$ if instead of United Arab Emirates the British Indian Ocean Territory could mount backward you might could get some development aid from Belgian to get further $\endgroup$ Jan 19, 2023 at 12:48
  • $\begingroup$ Eh, the whole point was only Asian countries. I wonder how close you could get with other continents…. $\endgroup$
    – user79541
    Jan 19, 2023 at 13:21

1 Answer 1


First of all

Let us look at the two letter ISO 3166 country codes for the countries involved.

China is CN.
UAE is AE.
Indonesia is ID.

Converting these into numbers using an alphanumeric cipher (A=1, B=2, C=3,...) we have
CN = 3,14
AE = 1,5
ID = 9,4

So presumably

Using this method, after China punches the request in, the estimate is 3.14.
UAE says that isn't specific enough and adds its 1,5 to give 3.1415 - a better estimate.
When Indonesia punches in, it adds 9,4 which yields 3.141594 - a slight overestimate of $\pi$.

The problem is

Any other country which tries to add to this will give a worse estimate of $\pi$ than is already present.

The UN is probably explaining that

IZ would have resulted in a much better estimate. Maybe the additional Z sent Indonesia to sleep.

I'm unsure if

There is more to it than this - Indonesia's code gives the best estimate as there isn't a country with ISO code IB or IC


Yes! This is correct. the U.N. explained that using their internet domains (they’re the same as the ISO codes for the most part) wouldn’t work. Maybe next time they should try phone codes… evil cackling I’m sorry for not cluing in the A1Z26, however.


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