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Article 20993 of alt.folklore.urban:
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>From: msb@sq.sq.com (Mark Brader)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.urban
Subject: Re: Krazy Laws
MessageID: <1991Aug7.022409.25157@sq.sq.com>
Date: 7 Aug 91 02:24:09 GMT
References: <2495@diemen.utas.edu.au>
Organization: SoftQuad Inc., Toronto, Canada
Lines: 81
> I read somewhere that a law was passed in Kansas making the official value of
> pi (usually 3.141.....) an even 3.
Sheesh. Doesn't *anyone* read news.announce.newusers any more?
>From the Usenet FAQ list:
 21. Didn't some state once pass a law setting pi equal to 3 ?

 Indiana House Bill #246 was introduced on 18 January 1897, and
 referred to the Committee on Canals "midst general cheerfulness."
 The text states, "the ratio of the diameter and circumference is
 as fivefourths to four", which makes pi 3.2 (not 3), but there
 are internal contradictions in the bill as well as contradictions
 with reality. The author was a mathematical crank. The bill was
 passed by the state House on 5 February, but indefinitely tabled
 by the state Senate, in part thanks to the fortuitous presence
 on other business of a Purdue professor of mathematics.

 For details, including an annotated text of the bill, read the
 article by D. Singmaster in "The Mathematical Intelligencer" v7
 #2, pp 6972.
I have a couple of long articles online giving some of the history of
the bill and an interpretation of what the author appears to have been
thinking; but here is the full text of the bill for what it is worth.
I'll send the articles to anyone who asks for them in email, but I
don't think they'd be of great interest here.
# A bill for an act introducing a new mathematical truth and offered
# as a contribution to education to be used only by the State of
# Indiana free of cost by paying any royalties whatever on the same,
# provided it is accepted and adopted by the official action of the
# legislature of 1897.
#
# SECTION 1. Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of
# Indiana: It has been found that a circular area is to the square
# on a line equal to the quadrant of the circumference, as the area
# of an equilateral rectangle is to the square on one side. The
# diameter employed as the linear unit according to the present rule
# in computing the circle's area is entirely wrong, as it represents
# the circle's area one and onefifth times the area of a square
# whose perimeter is equal to the circumference of the circle. This
# is because onefifth of the diameter fails to be represented four
# times in the circle's circumference. For example: if we multiply
# the perimeter of a square by onefourth of any line onefifth
# greater than one side, we can in like manner make the square's area
# to appear one fifth greater than the fact, as is done by taking
# the diameter for the linear unit instead of the quadrant of the
# circle's circumference.
#
# SECTION 2. It is impossible to compute the area of a circle on
# the diameter as the linear unit without tresspassing upon the area
# outside the circle to the extent of including onefifth 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. By taking the
# quadrant of the circle's circumference for the linear unit, we
# fulfill the requirements of both quadrature and rectification of
# the circle's circumference. Furthermore, it has revealed the ratio
# of the chord and arc of ninety degrees, which is as seven to eight,
# and also the ratio of the diagonal and one side of a square which
# is as ten to seven, disclosing the fourth important fact, that the
# ratio of the diameter and circumference is as fivefourths to four;
# and because of these facts and the futher fact that the rule in
# present use fails to work both ways mathematically, it should be
# discarded as wholly wanting and misleading in its practical
# applications.
#
# SECTION 3. In further proof of the value of the author's proposed
# contribution to education, and offered as a gift to the State of
# Indiana, is the fact of his solutions of the trisection of the
# angle, duplication of the cube and quadrature of the circle having
# been already accepted as contributions to science by the American
# Mathematical Monthly, the leading exponent of mathematical thought
# in this country. And be it remembered that these noted problems
# had been long since given up by scientific bodies as unsolvable
# mysteries and above man's ability to comprehend.

Mark Brader "'Settlor', (i) in relation to a testamentary trust,
Toronto means the individual referred to in paragraph (i)."
utzoo!sq!msb, msb@sq.com  Income Tax Act of Canada, 108(1)(h)
EMail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank
