(I will post on CCC 2012 next week. I am still recovering from Jet Lag and going
through 472 emails that piled up on 2.5 weeks, of which 22 were relevent.)
You may have heard the story about the state of Indiana Pi bill:
In 1897 the state of Indiana wanted to legislate a value of pi. Before reading the true story
I had heard the following:
- They wanted to legislate pi=3 since the bible says that pi=3. (The Bible does have a passage that seems to say pi=3, though that may not be the right interpretation.
See here.)This version of the story puts them in a bad light.
- They wanted to legislate pi=3 since this makes calculations easier. They didn't really say pi=3, just that when measuring wheat in silos (or some such) everyone uses pi=3 to make everyones calcuations uniform and easy. (This was in the 1880's- they didn't have Wolframs Alpha). This version of the story puts them in a good light.
Neither version is true. Look up the link to see what really happened. Could this happen in America today?
On two issues it certainly could: Evolution and on Climate Change.
The North Carolina House has passed a law saying HOW to predict sea level rise rates.
The method they require predict less sea level rise then... anyone else. And only the
Division of Coastal management is allowed to put out such numbers. So Independent scientists are not allowed to use... the scientific method. (Not sure how they will enforce that.) See here for details.
Who wins, who loses?
- Colbert gets a nice bit about it (which is how I learned about it): here
- I get a blog out of it.
- Scientists have to publish less, thus less trees get cut down, so the environment wins.
- North Carolina looks more ridiculous than Indiana did back in 1897. But there are two differences-
(1) North Carolina understood what the bill was saying and still passed it, Indiana did not.
(2) North Carolina's bill has actual policy consequences, Indiana's pi-bill wouldn't have.