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111 Years Ago, Indiana Almost Legislated Pi

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the squaring-the-circle dept.

Math 379

I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "On February 5, 1897, 111 years ago today, the Indiana legislature very nearly passed a bill 'introducing a new mathematical truth,' that would have erroneously established pi as the ratio 'five-fourths to four' or 3.2. The story explaining the rationale behind the bill and how they were prevented from legislating it when a real mathematician intervened is quite interesting, because the man who discovered the 'new mathematical truth' wanted to charge royalties, which could have made pi the first form of irrational property."

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Whats indiana? (1)

spyder-implee (864295) | more than 6 years ago | (#22318898)

Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom?

whatcouldpossiblygowrong (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22318930)

whatcouldpossiblygowrong, you cockfags?
 

Re:whatcouldpossiblygowrong (1)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22319456)

Hijacked. What's the deal with "3/4 to 4"? ... 3/4/4 = 3/16 = .1875?
3.2 is 16/5.

slow freakin' news day (-1, Offtopic)

zIRtrON (48344) | more than 6 years ago | (#22318910)

Init?

Re:slow freakin' news day (1)

dotancohen (1015143) | more than 6 years ago | (#22318944)

It's not called hump day for nothing, you know.

Re:slow freakin' news day (1)

zIRtrON (48344) | more than 6 years ago | (#22318996)

actually you're right!
I didn't even go to work today ... but I've done some rehashing on my old coding skills.
3.141592652589.....

Re:slow freakin' news day (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22319342)

3.141592653589.....

Blashphemy ! (5, Funny)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 6 years ago | (#22318916)

How _could_ they even think about committing such an act. Everybody knows that pi = 3. It's in the Bible, after all.


Then again, maybe I'll patent 22/7 as a good way to approximate pi. I heard that intellectual property is all the rage nowadays.

Re:Blashphemy ! (5, Interesting)

arotenbe (1203922) | more than 6 years ago | (#22318990)

Then again, maybe I'll patent 22/7 as a good way to approximate pi.
The scary thing is that you could probably actually get the patent with 339/108.

Re:Blashphemy ! (2, Informative)

uberdilligaff (988232) | more than 6 years ago | (#22319284)

339/108 is not near good enough. For a good time, try 355/113... gets you 7 significant figures of pi.

Re:Blashphemy ! (1)

Hippopotamus (1007101) | more than 6 years ago | (#22319348)

Then again, maybe I'll patent 22/7 as a good way to approximate pi.
The scary thing is that you could probably actually get the patent with 339/108.
"355/113 -- Not the famous irrational number pi, but an incredible simulation!" The quote is already published, so probably you cannot get a patent...

Re:Blashphemy ! (5, Interesting)

frup (998325) | more than 6 years ago | (#22319066)

thats because pi to 4 decimals is 666/212 so therefore anything close real pi is of course the devils work. (I can't believe I just stumbled on something more accurate than 22/7 by accident while trying to make a real lame joke)

Re:Blashphemy ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22319130)

you're doing the devils work when you don't factor your numbers

Re:Blashphemy ! (4, Interesting)

Maddog Batty (112434) | more than 6 years ago | (#22319394)

If you want a good approximation to pi then try 355/113. (remember it as 113355)

Re:Blashphemy ! (5, Funny)

notabaggins (1099403) | more than 6 years ago | (#22319068)

Then again, maybe I'll patent 22/7 as a good way to approximate pi. I heard that intellectual property is all the rage nowadays.
Hm... no, you need a process. Those are what all the cool corporations do. Patent the process of "dividing two, common whole numbers for the purpose of usefully approximating the ratio between the diameter and the circumference of a circle". Then make sure the steps described take up at least three pages. Oh and use a lot of impressive sounding words for things. Never say something like "pencil", say "graphite based, portable diagrammatic device rated at two on the graphite integrity scale". Things like that. The USPTO seems really impressed when they haven't the slightest idea what you're talking about.

Re:Blashphemy ! (5, Informative)

dkf (304284) | more than 6 years ago | (#22319164)

Everybody knows that pi = 3.
Only when your circles have six sides. (Hint: regular hexagons have a circumference/diameter ratio of exactly 3...)

Re:Blashphemy ! (4, Funny)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 6 years ago | (#22319224)

Only when your circles have six sides. (Hint: regular hexagons have a circumference/diameter ratio of exactly 3...)

For this demonstration of extreme geek knowledge, you win the discussion thread.

All you others can go home...

Re:Blashphemy ! (2, Interesting)

westlake (615356) | more than 6 years ago | (#22319190)

Everybody knows that pi = 3. It's in the Bible, after all.

3 is "close enough" if you are working with primitive hand tools and haven't the need or resources for monumental architecture and engineering.

Re:Blashphemy ! (4, Informative)

mskfisher (22425) | more than 6 years ago | (#22319286)

It was better than close:
http://www.khouse.org/articles/1998/158/ [khouse.org]

The Hebrew alphabet is alphanumeric: each Hebrew letter also has a numerical value and can be used as a number.
There was an embedded code - a word that was written strangely:

The common word for circumference is qav. Here, however, the spelling of the word for circumference, qaveh, adds a heh (h).
...
This indicates an adjustment of the ratio 111/ 106, or 31.41509433962 cubits. Assuming that a cubit was 1.5 ft. this 15-foot-wide bowl would have had a circumference of 47.12388980385 feet.
This Hebrew "code" results in 47.12264150943 feet, or an error of less than 15 thousandths of an inch!
It gives an error of 0.00265%. Quite remarkable.

Is that us finding the right number (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22319496)

Or was the number always there?

I forget exactly but there's a little bit of acheological wanking about how accurate the first measurement of the earth's circumference is because they say something along the lines of "if the unit (stadia?) is taken to be 228.2 yards, then this is accurate to modern measurements to within 1%!!!" when they don't really know what the unit lenght was in modern measurements. So did they guess it so the numbers added up? Or was a stadia really 228.2 yards?

Re:Blashphemy ! (1)

comradeeroid (1048432) | more than 6 years ago | (#22319550)

3 is "close enough" if you are working with primitive hand tools and haven't the need or resources for monumental architecture and engineering.
Now, normally I'd be the first to say that this makes sense but really... when did the bible stop creating the need for monumental architecture?

Re:Blashphemy ! (1)

Digital Vomit (891734) | more than 6 years ago | (#22319204)

Everybody knows that pi = 3. It's in the Bible, after all.

Does any idiotic thing get modded up as long as it blasts Christianity? Nowhere in the Bible does it talk about the principles of Euclidian geometry.

Re:Blashphemy ! (5, Informative)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 6 years ago | (#22319232)

Everybody knows that pi = 3. It's in the Bible, after all.

Does any idiotic thing get modded up as long as it blasts Christianity? Nowhere in the Bible does it talk about the principles of Euclidian geometry.

"And he [Hiram] made a molten sea, ten cubits from the one rim to the other it was round all about, and...a line of thirty cubits did compass it round about....And it was an hand breadth thick...." -- First Kings, chapter 7, verses 23 and 26

Re:Blashphemy ! (5, Insightful)

sed quid in infernos (1167989) | more than 6 years ago | (#22319288)

Which doesn't say that pi = 3 any more than saying "And he [Hiram] made a molten sea, ten cubits from the one rim to the other it was round all about, and...a line of thirty-one and four-tenths cubits did compass it round about....And it was an hand breadth thick...." says that pi = 3.14. Pi is, in fact, equal to neither of those numbers, nor to 3.14159 26535 89793 23846 26433 83279 50288 41971 69399 37510. It is an irrational number for which any representation in digits is an approximation. And 3 is the proper approximation of pi to one significant digit.

Re:Blashphemy ! (1, Insightful)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 6 years ago | (#22319542)

But since they were working with double digits, atleast they should have been able to aproximate to 1 digit more. So, to bring it back to religion, either we've got it wrong, or the bible got it wrong. Or the third option ofcourse; the writers of the bible took some artistic liberties.

Re:Blashphemy ! (4, Informative)

Andrew Kismet (955764) | more than 6 years ago | (#22319250)

1 Kings 7:23 "He made the Sea of cast metal, circular in shape, measuring ten cubits from rim to rim and five cubits high. It took a line of thirty cubits to measure around it." or "And he made a molten sea, ten cubits from the one brim to the other: it was round all about, and his height was five cubits: and a line of thirty cubits did compass it round about."

While the Bible doesn't actually state the nature of pi, and a cubit is an extremely rough unit anyway, it's amusing to note that if you properly define cubit as being a fixed length and assert that the word circular refers to a near-perfect circle, the units just don't work out unless you redefine space, and along with it, Pi. Putting the "fun" back in "fundies".

http://everything2.com/index.pl?node=Pi%20in%20the%20Bible [everything2.com]

Re:Blashphemy ! (1)

Gandalf_Greyhame (44144) | more than 6 years ago | (#22319378)

I believe that Bloody Stupid Johnson managed to get pi equal to 3 (Going Postal - Terry Pratchett)

Re:Blashphemy ! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22319462)

1 Kings 7:23 "He made the Sea of cast metal, circular in shape, measuring ten cubits from rim to rim and five cubits high. It took a line of thirty cubits to measure around it." or "And he made a molten sea, ten cubits from the one brim to the other: it was round all about, and his height was five cubits: and a line of thirty cubits did compass it round about."

While the Bible doesn't actually state the nature of pi, and a cubit is an extremely rough unit anyway, it's amusing to note that if you properly define cubit as being a fixed length and assert that the word circular refers to a near-perfect circle, the units just don't work out unless you redefine space, and along with it, Pi. Putting the "fun" back in "fundies".

http://everything2.com/index.pl?node=Pi%20in%20the%20Bible [everything2.com]
I notice all the angry-atheists trim the quote before "And it's rim was like the rim of a cup, like a lilly blossom" (v26), at which point it is pretty obvious that the passage is a not an engineering specification but a descriptive piece, and they might as well be moaning about "the mathematical inaccuracies in the Lonely Planet guide to New York". I do wonder if you are the sort of person who, when the tour guide tells you the Statue of Liberty is 150 feet tall, shrieks "lair! It's 151 feet and one inch tall, and probably an irrational fraction after that, you evil fundamentalist tour guide!" ...

Re:Blashphemy ! (3, Insightful)

iangoldby (552781) | more than 6 years ago | (#22319488)

Except that your explanation assumes:

a) the measurements are not rounded.
This seems quite unlikely for a start. Should the author have written "He made the Sea ... measuring nine point five five cubits from rim to rim..."?

b) the Sea was a plain cylinder.
Another possibility, not ruled out by the text, and certainly well within the realms of probability is that the rim had a lip or a flare to it. So the distance from rim to rim would be greater than the distance across the circumference measured lower down by the line. (Think about the practical difficulty of measuring with a line around the outside of a flared rim.)

In fact it doesn't matter which of the above two explanations is more likely, since no one (apart from those trying to point out inconsistencies in the Bible) is asserting that the story quoted says anything at all about the accurate value for pi.

Re:Blashphemy ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22319490)

This assumes that the bowl was infinitesimally thin. In the real world, "it was an hand breadth thick" (1 Kings 26). Taking this into consideration you get an approximation for pi of 3.14.

I'll see your random link and raise you one. [purplemath.com]

Re:Blashphemy ! (0, Redundant)

gbarta (139877) | more than 6 years ago | (#22319330)

Well, it kinda does. Here is the reference. [biblegateway.com] It says:

He made the Sea of cast metal, circular in shape, measuring ten cubits from rim to rim and five cubits high. It took a line of thirty cubits to measure around it.
Not exactly a lesson in euclidean geometry, but not the word of an infallible being either.

Is it true no one takes care of us but ourselves? (1, Troll)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 6 years ago | (#22319506)

"... not the word of an infallible being either."

You are going down a slippery slope. Next you will be saying the U.S. president wasn't right when he said "When Saudis attack, invade Iraq", and "The answer to violence is more violence", and "We'll show them! They killed 3,000 Americans, we'll kill more [icasualties.org] ", and "The way to make Muslims more gentle is to attack [thinkprogress.org] and kill [iraqbodycount.org] them".

QOTD (1)

GodLessOne (245117) | more than 6 years ago | (#22319246)

The quote I'm getting at the bottom of the page seems particularly appropriate!

There's no sense in being precise when you don't even know what you're talking about. -- John von Neumann

Re:Blashphemy ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22319276)

"pi = 3. It's in the Bible, after all."

No it is not.

When the Bible says that a pool was 10 cubits across and 30 around (or whatever the measurements were), it's an approximation, like ALL other measurements. For that pool, like any other physical structure built in the shape of a circle, the ratio of its circumference to its diameter is approximately pi. It's not exactly 3 or exactly pi or any other number that you can represent exactly. To claim that this means that the Bible says pi=3 is fallacious.

Re:Blashphemy ! (1)

Loadmaster (720754) | more than 6 years ago | (#22319318)

Patent Pi? That reminds me of a Young Albert Einstein having just arrived in Australia after boating over from his native Tasmania. He had just found the secret to putting bubbles in beer and wanted to patent the formula: E=mc^2. Oh, Mr. Einstein, what do you want to do? Patent your head?

Re:Blashphemy ! (1)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 6 years ago | (#22319398)

D'oh. Everyone knows pi seconds is one nanocentury.

Re:Blashphemy ! (5, Funny)

Gandalf_Greyhame (44144) | more than 6 years ago | (#22319406)

Mathematician: Pi is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter.
Engineer: Pi is about 22/7.
Physicist: Pi is 3.14159 plus or minus 0.000005
Computer Programmer: Pi is 3.141592653589 in double precision.

Re:Blashphemy ! (5, Funny)

Skater (41976) | more than 6 years ago | (#22319440)

Frink: Pi is exactly 3! ... Sorry it had to come to that.

Re:Blashphemy ! (3, Funny)

andrewbaldwin (442273) | more than 6 years ago | (#22319520)

Salesman: The nerds will tell you it's 3.14159... but, today only, I'll let you have it for only 3.1 :-)

and the obligatory Simpsons quote (from the episode where Marge is arrested for shoplifting from the Kwik-E-Mart) "MMmmm Pie!"

pi == ip ? (2, Interesting)

Evil Pete (73279) | more than 6 years ago | (#22319438)

You just know it doesn't make sense.

Speaking of irrationality (3, Funny)

ultranova (717540) | more than 6 years ago | (#22319466)

In Soviet Russia, transcendental irrationality legislates you !

Hah. (1)

xzaph (1157805) | more than 6 years ago | (#22318922)

I found it more amusing that the text of the bill mentioned previous submissions for trisection of the angle and whatnot as having been accepted by a publication. That "American Mathematics Monthly" or whatnot is who really has egg on its face.

Re:Hah. (4, Funny)

mathnerd314 (1212880) | more than 6 years ago | (#22318980)

"the American Mathematical Monthly, the leading exponent of mathematical thought in this country."

Nice word choice

Matematical proof (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22318928)


A mathematical proof that politicians are almost always full of crap second and themselves first

Tabled in the Senate (4, Funny)

Ignis Flatus (689403) | more than 6 years ago | (#22318946)

Introduced by Record
IN THE SENATE
Read first time and referred to
committee on Temperance, February 11th, 1897
Reported favorable February 12th, 1897
Read second time and indefinitely postponed February 12, 1897


sounds to me like they just never got a Round Tuit

round tuit (2, Funny)

roesti (531884) | more than 6 years ago | (#22319218)

Here you go. [passco.com]

old news (4, Funny)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 6 years ago | (#22319260)

1897, c'mon slashdot this really is old news!

In Kansas... (5, Funny)

Cracked Pottery (947450) | more than 6 years ago | (#22318952)

There was an attempt to outlaw i and it's use in mathematical equations. Lawmakers who objected to its use complained that it wasn't real and their constituents required too much imagination to accept it.

Re:In Kansas... (2, Funny)

SlashWombat (1227578) | more than 6 years ago | (#22319006)

This must be why engineers use "j" instead of "i" in their "figuring".

Re:In Kansas... (5, Funny)

mathnerd314 (1212880) | more than 6 years ago | (#22319042)

You must mean "fjgurjng"

Re:In Kansas... (4, Insightful)

KefabiMe (730997) | more than 6 years ago | (#22319088)

There was an attempt to outlaw i and it's use in mathematical equations. Lawmakers who objected to its use complained that it wasn't real and their constituents required too much imagination to accept it.

What's really sad is I don't know if that's a joke or if it's informative.

I mean, and I'm 100% serious here... It could go either way. I have no clue!

Re:In Kansas... (5, Funny)

clickety6 (141178) | more than 6 years ago | (#22319362)

if we're making bad puns, don't forget the story of Polly Nomial and Curly Pi

Once upon a time pretty little Polly Nomial was strolling across a field of vectors when she came to the edge of a singularly large matrix.

Now Polly was convergent and her mother had made it an absolute condition that she must never enter such an array without her brackets on. Poll however, who had changed her variables that morning and was feeling particularly badly behaved, ignored these conditions on the ground that they were unnecessary, and made her way amongst the complex elements.

Rows and columns enveloped her on both sides. Tangents approached her surface; she became tensor and tensor. Quite suddenly two branches of a hyperbola touched her at a single point. She oscillated violently, lost all sense of directrix and went completely divergent. As she reached a turning point she tripped over a square root which was protruding from the erf and plunged headlong down a steep gradient. When she was differentiated once more she found herself alone, apparently in a non-Euclidian space.

She was being watched however. That smooth operator, Curly Pi, was lurking inner product. As his eyes devoured her curvilinear co-ordinates, a singular expression crossed his face. Was she still convergent, he wondered. He decided to integrate at once.

Hearing a vulgar fraction behind her, Polly turned round and saw Curly Pi approaching with his power series extrapolated. She could see at once by his degenerate conic and his dissipative terms that he was bent on no good.

"Eureka" she gasped.

"Ho Ho" he said, "what a symmetric little polynomial you are. I can see you're absolutely bubbling over with secs."

"Oh Sir", she protested, "keep away from me, I haven't got my brackets on."

"Calm yourself, my dear," said our suave operator, "your fears are purely imaginary."

"i,i," she thought. "Perhaps he's homogeneous then."

"What order are you," the brute demanded.

"Seventeen", replied Polly.

Curly leered. "I suppose you've never been operated on yet", he said.

"Of course no," Polly exclaimed indignantly. "I'm absolutely convergent".

"Come, come," said Curly, "lets off to a decimal place I know and I'll take you to the limit".

"Never" gasped Polly.

"EXCHLF" he swore, using the vilest oath he knew. His patience was gone. Coshing her over the coefficient with a log until she was powerless, Curly removed her discontinuities. He started at her significant places and began smoothing her points of inflection. Poor Polly, all was up. She felt his digit tending to her asymptotic limit. Her convergence was gone for ever.

There was no mercy, for Curly was a Heavyside operator. He integrated by partial fractions. The complex beast even went all the way round and did a contour integration. What an indignity. To be multiply connected at her first integration. Curly went on operating until he was absolutely and completely orthogonal.

When Polly got home that evening her mother noticed that she was truncated in several places. But it was too late to differentiate now. As the months went by, Polly increased monotonically. Finally, she generated a small but pathological function which left surds all over the place until she was driven to distraction.

The moral of the story is this: If you want to keep your expressions convergent, never allow them a single degree of freedom.

Re:In Kansas... (1)

edwardpickman (965122) | more than 6 years ago | (#22319380)

Kind of like the attempt in Kansas to declare the use of the "term one million years BC" as a religious hate crime since it shows religious intolerance. Like the "N" word the "M" word was very hurtful to the faithful given there was no one million years BC and there can't be a one million years AD since the Rapture is around the corner. When asked about one billion years the response was "now you're just being silly."

Physician's Syndrome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22318960)

Physicians; it doesn't matter what profession or how many thousands of years of experience have gone into it, they know better than you. It comes from playing god on a regular basis.

What's wrong with that? (4, Funny)

QuickFox (311231) | more than 6 years ago | (#22318964)

would have erroneously established pi as the ratio 'five-fourths to four' or 3.2.
What's wrong with that? It's fairly close to the truth, much closer than many of the current federal administration's views on reality. And far less disastrous.

Re:What's wrong with that? (5, Insightful)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 6 years ago | (#22318974)

And far less disastrous.

Apparently, you haven't imagined yet what many engineering projects would be like if they assumed that pi = 3.2.

Re:What's wrong with that? (4, Funny)

QuickFox (311231) | more than 6 years ago | (#22319000)

I'm sure every sane engineer would look at that 3.2 and decide that, for reasons related to what's practical and works well, the exact 3.20000000 can't be used with full precision, instead a rough approximation is needed, say 3.14159265 or thereabouts.

Just adding fuel to the fire ... (4, Funny)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 6 years ago | (#22319102)

I'm sure every sane engineer would look at that 3.2 and decide that, for reasons related to what's practical and works well, the exact 3.20000000 can't be used with full precision, instead a rough approximation is needed, say 3.14159265 or thereabouts.

... and not too long ago, there was an article about engineers supposedly having a terrorist mindset. I think we could add "Criminally adulterating the legislated value of pi" to the list of possible terrorist acts.

Scary Thoughts (1)

Wilson_6500 (896824) | more than 6 years ago | (#22319494)

It's a little scary. These days, I don't have much trouble imagining a scenario like that happening: some government or regulatory body dictates that the value of Pi is 3 for some inane or petty reason; an engineer is brought up on charges of mass terrorism for attempting to design a water tower using the accepted value of Pi, rather than the approved value; said engineer is convicted and jailed as a terrorist for trying to keep people safe. It sounds like a story you'd hear out of the old Soviet Union.

Re:Scary Thoughts (1)

Wilson_6500 (896824) | more than 6 years ago | (#22319502)

It sounds like a story you'd hear out of the old Soviet Union.

Ah crap. Of course it's only after I hit submit that I realize, to my horror, that I'm setting myself up to be brought up on charges of Internet terrorism for "Inciting a Soviet Russia Joke."

Re:What's wrong with that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22319098)

Floating Point is overrated. Sadly todays CPUs waste transistors and optimization in that crap and programs use for anything. It has its uses but for most applications, and that includes building or displaying things that, in the end, won't be so perfect after all. Fixed Point and approximations are equally suited for most applications, and, in fact, most aplications waste flops using 3.14 and rounding the results. The only requirement is that errors compensate for each other.
I don't want to ride a plane that was engineered assuming pi=3.14, but made-in-China toys' heads don't need even as much.

Re:What's wrong with that? (1)

ajs318 (655362) | more than 6 years ago | (#22319518)

There is more than a grain of truth in this. Some early computers (of the drum-memory era) used a 6-bit exponent (i.e., a 64-bit virtual word) for floating-point operations. And 64-bit processors are commonplace nowadays .....

Re:What's wrong with that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22319104)

Talk about re-inventing the wheel.

No, seriously, what would wheels look like if this legislation passed?

Re:What's wrong with that? (1)

Dannkape (1195229) | more than 6 years ago | (#22319328)

The quote at the bottom of the page as I'm reading this...:

There's no sense in being precise when you don't even know what you're talking about. -- John von Neumann

Re:What's wrong with that? (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 6 years ago | (#22319528)

It's one of many incorrect definitions of pi incidental to the legislature's main purpose, which is to enshrine a crank's incorrect way of squaring the circle in legislature. Certainly a novel way of getting your ideas out there, although it's more commonplace lately (intelligent design, for example).

no wonder you need so many lawyers (5, Funny)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 6 years ago | (#22318986)

... if your laws contain text like this:

"It is impossible to compute the area of a circle on the diameter as the linear unit without trespassing upon the area outside of the circle to the extent of including one-fifth more area than is contained within the circle's circumference, because the square on the diameter produces the side of a square which equals nine when the arc of ninety degrees equals eight."

Not that other countrys' are any better, I suppose

You Americans ... (0, Troll)

ThirdPrize (938147) | more than 6 years ago | (#22319022)

you crack me up, you do.

Re:You Americans ... (1)

IceCreamGuy (904648) | more than 6 years ago | (#22319144)

Well, we do try. I'm working on legislating e^(i*pi)+1 to equal not zero, but a kajillion billion. You see, by taking the quadrangent of pi (valued at exactly 3) and the linear arc of the glayben, we obviously get a far superior answer than the old, wanting, junky answer that Euler crapped out most likely on ye olde toilet. And, best of all, you too can use the Toilet-Free Euler Identity (T-FI) for the low price of 9.95 US dollars... in your own home! Deals like this don't last forever, folks, but if you hit me up within the next twenty minutes, the identity comes with pi=3... ABSOLUTELY FREE!

Re:You Americans ... (1, Funny)

radja (58949) | more than 6 years ago | (#22319186)

it's been known for thousands of years that pi equals three. it says so in the bible, so it must be true.

Lies! (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22319040)

Anyone with education knows that Pi, the other irrational numbers, and most of Mathematics were invented either by Pagans, Muslim integrists or Communists. The bible speaks of 2 animals of each kind and division of children by two. No square roots, no integration.
Is there any mention to that 3.1415926... thing in it? Yes. It's called Satan, and the scientists use it to justify silly THEORIES such as evolution, TOE and heliocentrism.
If you want to be a good Christian, you must reject those diabolic numbers. You can keep using computers, as they abide by God's rules, but better make sure that you limit your programming to Integer BASIC and Assembly(avoiding the FP instructions).

Re:Lies! (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 6 years ago | (#22319074)

It's true. pi even contains the number 666 after the 2440th digit! (And for you purists, is just after the 1205th) [wikipedia.org]

WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22319052)

Five fourths to four. WTF is that?

Fractions are big whack at the best of times (other than the obvious 1/4 1/2 3/4 etc) but 5/4?

Decimal and metric... it's the way to go... makes much more sense!

Re:WTF? (2, Insightful)

Aranykai (1053846) | more than 6 years ago | (#22319122)

Ok, please let me know how to accurately express one divided into three equally. I have been stuck using 1/3 far too long.

Re:WTF? (1)

Ashtead (654610) | more than 6 years ago | (#22319268)

How about 0.1 base 3 ? Nice and concise with no interminable string of decimals, and no division required.

Still remains to see if it is actually useful, of course....

Re:WTF? 1/3, exactly... (1)

Mendenhall (32321) | more than 6 years ago | (#22319404)

0.1, base 3?

Re:WTF? Having problems with story problems? (1)

Technician (215283) | more than 6 years ago | (#22319374)

Five fourths to four. WTF is that?

It is exactly 5/4:4 Read it again.

Re:WTF? Having problems with story problems? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22319500)

Way to fail. Four fifths to four would be like saying 'a number four fifths of the way to for', or more simply (4/5)*4.

And this is why (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22319094)

"After the debate, a Representative offered to introduce him to Dr. Goodwin. Professor Waldo replied that he was already acquainted with as many crazy people as he cared to know. "

And this is why scientists and intelligent people in general often have little success in politics.

Re:And this is why (4, Insightful)

ettlz (639203) | more than 6 years ago | (#22319290)

And this is why scientists and intelligent people in general often have little success in politics.
It's called dignity.

Re:And this is why (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 6 years ago | (#22319458)

It's called dignity.

Don't you rather mean integrity?

The slashdot quote of the day is perfect... (3, Insightful)

sapphire wyvern (1153271) | more than 6 years ago | (#22319124)

There's no sense in being precise when you don't even know what you're talking about. -- John von Neumann
How could anything be more perfectly apt for this article?

Dont menthion it now (1)

cybergen007 (1062390) | more than 6 years ago | (#22319128)

I dont see why you would want to inform us now. Instead inform me when it happened 314 years ago.

That's just not rational (1)

martinmarv (920771) | more than 6 years ago | (#22319140)

The proposer is using a circular argument

'Ell, I'll tell ya... (1)

sporkme (983186) | more than 6 years ago | (#22319146)

As a Hoosier (DEF: born and currently a resident of Indiana), I confidently assure you that they would gleefully pass the bill today. Anyone objecting would be branded a pi-denier. [insert boring local politics]

No politician wants to be the one refusing to give our poor and homeless their much needed pi.

Strictly speaking... (4, Funny)

PinkyDead (862370) | more than 6 years ago | (#22319156)

This happened 111.19 years ago, you must remember to include the leap years.

Re:Strictly speaking... (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 6 years ago | (#22319324)

This happened 111.19 years ago, you must remember to include the leap years.
You forget Indiana's days are a bit longer. About (3.2-Pi)/Pi longer.

They would have been behind their time... (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 6 years ago | (#22319158)

They would have been behind their time literally, at least when they tried to make a pendulum clock! using T=2 *Pi * Sqrt(l/g) they would have produced a pendulum which was too long and therefore slow.

It wasn't all that long ago that.... (1, Interesting)

OneSmartFellow (716217) | more than 6 years ago | (#22319176)

... a bill was introduced in Missouri (I think) which would have set the *official* value of pi to 3. It seems somebody decided it would be easier for children to learn how to use it. Well, that's Missouri for you !

FaG0rz (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22319200)

Bunc4 0f retarded have left in

The new Pi (2, Funny)

Grech (106925) | more than 6 years ago | (#22319208)

One can only assume the proposal was made by Bloody Stupid Johnson.

Even better! (2, Interesting)

Sykil (770490) | more than 6 years ago | (#22319278)

Apparently, the bill's main purpose wasn't to establish a value of Pi, but to provide a method to square the circle [wikipedia.org] . Doubly retarded! Also, why do we need LEGISLATION of squaring the circle? What political significance does this hold, other than the fact that politicians can't math?

The fortune today is spot on. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22319316)

There's no sense in being precise when you don't even know what you're talking about. -- John von Neumann

We all know that a flat earth is irrational making (1)

Babu 'God' Hoover (1213422) | more than 6 years ago | (#22319354)

Pi irrational for a flat earth.

For a spherical earth...

Excluding the extremes, point and plane, are all circumference/diameter(on the surface) ratios rational? If not, how many are not?

The Slashdot headline in 2105 (5, Insightful)

williegeorgie (710224) | more than 6 years ago | (#22319388)

I hope we read this in about 100 years.... About 100 years ago, the Dover Pennsylvania school board very nearly succeeded in enforcing 'introducing a new scientific truth,' that would have erroneously established intelligent design as a rational alternative to evolution. The story explaining the rationale behind the idiocy is best described by the federal judge who prevented the school board from ....

Do you think that Indians really care? (1)

sw155kn1f3 (600118) | more than 6 years ago | (#22319412)

Oh wait ;)

Truth or lie? There is... (1)

emole (824064) | more than 6 years ago | (#22319450)

... no pie.

Interestingly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22319460)

The fraction 355/113 approximates Pi to seven decimal places

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pi [wikipedia.org]
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