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From!ucbvax!!!!!utgpu!utzoo!sq!msb Wed Aug 7 09:26:16 PDT 1991 Article 20993 of alt.folklore.urban: Path:!ucbvax!!!!!utgpu!utzoo!sq!msb >From: (Mark Brader) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.urban Subject: Re: Krazy Laws Message-ID: <> Date: 7 Aug 91 02:24:09 GMT References: <> 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 five-fourths 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 69-72. 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 one-fifth times the area of a square # whose perimeter is equal to the circumference of the circle. This # is because one-fifth 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 one-fourth of any line one-fifth # 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 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. 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 five-fourths 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, -- Income Tax Act of Canada, 108(1)(h)


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