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The story was about how the aliens had miscalculated the angles of the triangle and on a larger scale, their ships could not take the miscalculation (which became huge and ended up cracking their ship, which then crashed).

The aliens all had triangular faces and every thing was triangular.

The main idea was that pi is unresolved, which means that it could have significant impact on any spaceships that we might build in the future.

[From comment] I read it in the last two years. It's a contemporary story that I read on an online magazine (I am not sure of the name). It might have been the winner of some competition as well.

[Edit] Found it! https://clarkesworldmagazine.com/liu_09_16/

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  • Why did you read it ?
    – Möoz
    Apr 30, 2018 at 5:13
  • 4
    @Mooz Don't you mean "WHEN did you read it"? In this forum asking why someone reads SF or fantasy is a pointless question. Apr 30, 2018 at 18:46
  • QOmer Wahaj But you should add details including the classic "who what when where why and how" to make answering easier. Like the title of the magazine or the anthology where you read the story, for example. Apr 30, 2018 at 18:48
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    @M.A.Golding Of course, autocorrect can be an ass sometimes.
    – Möoz
    Apr 30, 2018 at 20:11
  • I read it in the last two years. It's a contemporary story that I read on an online magazine (I am not sure of the name). It might have been the winner of some competition as well. Sorry, I do not remember any more details.
    – Omer Wahaj
    May 1, 2018 at 12:31

1 Answer 1

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Found it! Finally! After so many years. "The Opposite and the Adjacent" by Liu Yang (ISFDB).

“I’m curious . . . How in the world did they come up with such a strange version of the Pythagorean theorem?” I asked, sighing as I set down the the printout of the translated journal.

“Indeed. I suspect it was on account of wormhole K09,” Gu He replied, searching the database. “It just so happens that a medium-sized wormhole is located just outside their star system. Within the radius of its influence, space and time are slightly distorted.”

“But are we really supposed to believe that they never suspected all of those so-called ‘natural constants’? Imagine, raising something to a bizarre number like the power of 2.013! It looks so funny!”

“As a wise man once said, ‘Living as I do on Lushan mountain, truly, I know nothing of its appearance from afar!’” Gu He said, sighing. “We really shouldn’t try to judge their intelligence from our own perspective—who knows, human civilization on Earth probably developed under the influence of an even greater distortion in time and space! Doesn’t pi being 3.1416 strike you as equally odd?”

Suddenly speechless, I had nothing to say.

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    Congratulations on finding your story! However, the "answer" you posted does not mention the title or author of the story, so it doesn't answer the question. (A link is not enough.)
    – user14111
    Mar 24, 2023 at 4:49
  • I added some links, and a quote of the punchline. An interesting story.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Mar 24, 2023 at 11:55

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