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Thursday, March 10 12:00 AM ET

Irrational Building Number Causes Tragedy at Google

By Brian Briggs and Don Mowbray


Mountain View , CA – What once seemed a harmless, whimsical choice in building numbers, turned a simple call for help into a tragedy. Google numbered its building 0, 1, e and pi to satisfy the intellectual superiority that many Google employees feel. Unfortunately, the county’s 911 system was unable to deal with the irrational numbers and tragedy befell the search engine company.

What follows is the transcript of the call between Google employee Harmon Findowski and a Mountain View emergency operator:

Operator: "Emergency 911. How may I help you?"

Google: "Yes, there's a fire at the Google Development Labs on 1501 Salado Drive. Some intern tried to overclock our server farm and..."

Operator: "Okay, we'll dispatch a fire truck there immediately. Which building are you in?."

Google: "Building 'pi'."

Operator: "Excuse me?"

Google: "Pi, the Greek letter signifying a circle's circumference divided by its diameter."

Operator: "Oh, right...I remember that from geometry."

Google: "Please hurry! --- the smoke is getting thicker."

Operator: "I'm sorry, but our dispatching software doesn't support Greek letters. Can you give me the number in decimal?"

Google: "3.14."

Operator: "3.14 -- are you sure that is the correct building number? I show that as the Cafeteria. You said the fire was in the Development Labs, correct?"

Google: "Try 3.14159. Hurry!"

Operator: "No, Building 3.14159 is a Maintenance Shed."

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Google: " (Coughing) 22/7?"

Operator: "I'm sorry, the dispatching software doesn't recognize fractions..."

At this point the caller coughed repeatedly and the line went dead.

Emergency vehicles were sent to the scene, but circled the campus repeatedly unable to find the building in time.

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