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Re: Cakes are round, Pie are square

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Just as a reminder: What is a good joke to you, may offend the beliefs of
another.

Just as a reminder: When I do not laugh with you, it makes me no less of a
social person  than you.

Just as a reminder: Nerds are people, too. 

Just as a reminder: As long as you feel the perogative to "keep the jokes
coming", remember that others have an equal perogative to "complain". This
also does not make them any less of a social person than you.

Just as a reminder: Don't generalize. Generalizations are for ignorants. I
am sure that you would not want to be classified with such people. They
keep the society for progressing.

A young graduate student at a small university,
RRH

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
"A free society is one where 
it is safe to be unpopular."
-- Adlai Stevenson 
<><><><><><><><><><>

At 09:49 PM 7/14/98 -0700, you wrote:
>Kate keep the jokes coming.  Any engineer that cannot appreciate a good
>joke needs to pull their nose out of their books and stop being so
>"engineer nerd like."  Keep the jokes coming and let the others
>complain.
>
>
>Kathleen A. O'Brien wrote:
>> 
>> ==================================================================
>> HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- NASA engineers and mathematicians in this
>> high-tech city are stunned and infuriated after the Alabama state
>> legislature narrowly passed a law yesterday redefining pi, a
>> mathematical constant used in the aerospace industry.  The bill to
>> change the value of pi to exactly three was introduced without
>> fanfare by Leonard Lee Lawson (R, Crossville), and rapidly gained
>> support after a letter-writing campaign by members of the Solomon
>> Society, a traditional values group. Governor Guy Hunt says he will
>> sign it into law on Wednesday.
>> 
>> The law took the state's engineering community by surprise.  "It
>> would have been nice if they had consulted with someone who
>> actually uses pi," said Marshall Bergman, a manager at the
>> Ballistic Missile Defense Organization.  According to Bergman, pi
>> is a Greek letter that signifies the ratio of the circumference of
>> a circle to its diameter. It is often used by engineers to
>> calculate missile trajectories.
>> 
>> Prof. Kim Johanson, a mathematician from University of Alabama,
>> said that pi is a universal constant, and cannot arbitrarily be
>> changed by lawmakers.  Johanson explained that pi is an irrational
>> number, which means that it has an infinite number of digits after
>> the decimal point and can never be known exactly.  Nevertheless,
>> she said, pi is precisely defined by mathematics to be "3.14159,
>> plus as many more digits as you have time to calculate".
>> 
>> "I think that it is the mathematicians that are being irrational,
>> and it is time for them to admit it," said Lawson.  "The Bible very
>> clearly says in I Kings 7:23 that the alter font of Solomon's
>> Temple was ten cubits across and thirty cubits in diameter, and
>> that it was round in compass."
>> 
>> Lawson called into question the usefulness of any number that
>> cannot be calculated exactly, and suggested that never knowing the
>> exact answer could harm students' self-esteem.  "We need to return
>> to some absolutes in our society," he said, "the Bible does not say
>> that the font was thirty-something cubits.  Plain reading says
>> thirty cubits. Period."
>> 
>> Science supports Lawson, explains Russell Humbleys, a propulsion
>> technician at the Marshall Spaceflight Center who testified in
>> support of the bill before the legislature in Mongtomery on
>> Monday. "Pi is merely an artifact of Euclidean geometry."  Humbleys
>> is working on a theory which he says will prove that pi is
>> determined by the geometry of three-dimensional space, which is
>> assumed by physicists to be "isotropic", or the same in all
>> directions.  "There are other geometries, and pi is different in
>> every one of them," says Humbleys.
>> 
>> Scientists have arbitrarily assumed that space is Euclidean, he
>> says.  He points out that a circle drawn on a spherical surface has
>> a different value for the ratio of circumference to diameter.
>> "Anyone with a compass, flexible ruler, and globe can see for
>> themselves," suggests Humbleys, "its not exactly rocket science."
>> 
>> Roger Learned, a Solomon Society member who was in Montgomery to
>> support the bill, agrees.  He said that pi is nothing more than an
>> assumption by the mathematicians and engineers who were there to
>> argue against the bill.  "These nabobs waltzed into the capital
>> with an arrogance that was breathtaking," Learned said.  "Their
>> prefatorial deficit resulted in a polemical stance at absolute
>> contraposition to the legislature's puissance."
>> 
>> Some education experts believe that the legislation will affect the
>> way math is taught to Alabama's children. One member of the state
>> school board, Lily Ponja, is anxious to get the new value of pi
>> into the state's math textbooks, but thinks that the old value
>> should be retained as an alternative.  She said, "As far as I am
>> concerned, the value of pi is only a theory, and we should be open
>> to all interpretations."  She looks forward to students having the
>> freedom to decide for themselves what value pi should have.
>> 
>> Robert S. Dietz, a professor at Arizona State University who has
>> followed the controversy, wrote that this is not the first time a
>> state legislature has attempted to redefine the value of pi.  A
>> legislator in the state of Indiana unsuccessfully attempted to
>> have that state set the value of pi to three.  According to Dietz,
>> the lawmaker was exasperated by the calculations of a mathematician
>> who carried pi to four hundred decimal places and still could not
>> achieve a rational number.  Many experts are warning that this is
>> just the beginning of a national battle over pi between traditional
>> values supporters and the technical elite.  Solomon Society member
>> Lawson agrees. "We just want to return pi to its traditional
>> value," he said, "which, according to the Bible, is three."
>> 
>> ------
>> 
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