The April 1998 issue of the
New Mexicans for Science and Reason newsletter contained an article claiming that the Alabama state legislature had voted to change the value of the mathematical constant pi from 3.14159 to the 'Biblical value' of 3.0. Before long the article had made its way onto the internet, and then it rapidly made its way around the world, forwarded by people in their email. It only became apparent how far the article had spread when the Alabama legislature began receiving hundreds of calls from people protesting the legislation. The original article, which was intended as a parody of legislative attempts to circumscribe the teaching of evolution, was written by physicist Mark Boslough.
Alabama Changes the Value of Pi Haiku (Submitted by Hoax Museum visitors)
Alabama’s act
Leaves engineers confounded
And circles quite lost
(by Paul)


Comments
Inglehart says this as an anecdotal comment, but he doesn't back it up, he doesn't offer sources. Reading this article, I just remembered I read this a couple of years ago and searched the book.
I can't find anything about this supposed law on the web. Anyone knows something about this?
You can read the actual text of the bill and the gibberish it was based on in Petr Beckmann's "History of Pi."
When I was teaching ESL to students in Japan,
one irate young man told me that his school
was indeed going to teach, for purposes
of simplicity, that pi = 3. Then, presumably,
once students got the hang of it, they could
confuse the hell out of them and tell them
it was really 3.1415926...
My student was angry about it, and I can't
blame him. This approach is the distant cousin
to the philosophy that "2+2=5" if the student's
confidence will be shattered by the truth.
That conversation happened in 2001.
In response to the whole argument over Pi and 30 cubits and such and such, I fail to see the point, and I'll tell you why.
Numbers are a theoretical something that we have assigned to everyday tangible reality. If we create a setinstone system for designating the value of "units", then I fail to see how Pi, which is a whole name representing a specific number that goes in between 3 and 4, and therefore our designated units, differs from 30 Cubits (which, by the way, no one is totally certain of in terms of a modern equivalent), which is a whole name for something that was observed by ancient Christians which could very well be the exact same thing as Pi, only maybe they built their numerical system around Pi and not Pi around their numerical system which was already in place, which is what we have done. How do you know that they didn't consider perfect (or near perfect) circles to be divine because of their properites as a rather unique shape and decided to base their system of numbers on it? and thus 30 Cubits was the measure of Pi. I'm only guessing of course, I could be totally off, but that's my two cents. So please people...stop whining about how everyone but you is backwards, because that's never really helped our evolution in any sense of the word.
In fact, this argument is good for all purposes when it comes to these "scientific view" versus "religious view" debates.
Sciencedriven people tend to have that annoying habit of building their beliefs from the observable universe.
Religiondriven ones build their universe around their beliefs and not their beliefs around the observable universe which is already in place, which is what we have done.
hopefully.
until then, continue your useless bantering. and yes  debating IS useful, it helps us grow, and learn interpersonal skills, how to manipulate language to express what is closest to our truth to others, and how to accept others. but there IS a fine line between a debate and an argument. and when you cross the 'personal' line  which we have  then it's just attack and defence, which leaves people feeling angry and less inclined to listen.
At that point they are going to be building isn't going to be drastically effected by a bit over 1/10th of a integer difference.
Once they get into 6th or 7th grade, then you can explain pi more fully. You aren't damaging them by this process and can teach caculating circumfrances and areas earlier without having to delve into complicated fractions. Just remember to stress that the answers are approximate, not exact.
Afterall, if you are cooking for instance and want to caculate how much baking dough the pot can hold those extra decimals aren't going to make any more difference than the fact that some of your dough is inevitably going to stick to the surface of whatever you are pouring it from and thus you won't be exact anyway.
I don't have a problem believing an ancient document's description of a ceremonial bowl. What I marvel at is the very existence of pi. It is absolute and eternal. It never changes and seemingly continues forever. I know it's hard for you postmodernists to grasp that there are actually abolutes. But try to look past the number of "pi" and consider the God that put such order in the universe. In some ways it is a stamp of His image (absolute and eternal).
(Note  I'm not saying this is an argument that the bible is rubbish or anything of that nature, measuring objects, especially curved objects, would not have been as easy thousands of years ago as it is now.)
Considering the fact that this silly little pretend God is going to strike me dead, sooner or later, anyway, I fail to perceive the threat. If anyone is able to explain to me what I am, obviously, failing to grasp, I would like to hear from them, as I have been told that my understanding all of this foolishness is essential to the preservation of my nonexistent, but everlasting, soul
The Bible does not say pi = 3 ! TRANSLATIONS of the Torah say pi = 3 ;
I am sure that 99 % of the people reading about pi = 3 have never in their life ever seen
an authentic Torah Scroll.
This url will take you to a line in Genesis VII.17
http://bible.ort.org/books/torahd5.asp?action=displaypage&book=1&chapter=8&verse=17&portion=2
The blue lines give the vocalization " Kree " and the black lines gives the text " Ksiv"
If you look carefully at the third line from the end of the blue, second to last word from the end of the line you will see a little circle.
Now go to the same word in the black and there is no circle
This is called a kree( apparent) /ksiv ( true)which means that the word is not read ( kree) the way it is written (ksiv)
When you go to I Kings VII.23 there is a different kree/ ksiv
In the Hebrew language letters have numerical
equivaents and it comes out that the I Kings VII.23 gives the value of pi as 3 times 111/106.
Thus the Torah agrees with modern science to four decimal places.
Not because I'm ignorant of math, but more because I have my doubts about the intelligence of Alabama legislators (and I didn't read about it on April Fools day).
most people know the first 3 numbers of pi (3.14) but how far can you go??
respond
30C / pi + 2H = 10C (c = cubits, H = handbreadths)
You can substitute your measurements for cubits and handbreadths and even solve for pi to see for yourself. Pi doesn't come out to be 3.0 as so many idiotic Bible scoffers have so erroneously repeated over and over. It goes to show you, people will believe anything as long as it isn't in the Bible.
Mickie Rooney: Pi R Squared
Gracie Allen: Pi R Squared? Hmmph...shows how little you know. Pie are round
So PI may equal three somewhere, but beware of the consequences...
However, you can't do it on a flat (or "Euclidean") surface.
If, on the other hand, you grab a sphere, and draw a circle at at a constant 60 degrees of latitude you will find that the ratio of the circumference to the diameter (the diameter being the path you take to get from one side of the circle to the other in the shortest distance  i.e. by walking through the "North Pole") is exactly three.
As for the comments above about "How long is the decimal expansion of Pi"  there are lots of numbers you can't write out exactly as a decimal number. 1/3 for example (0.333...). But at least it can be written as a fraction (such numbers are called "Rational numbers".
But there is no fraction either that equals Pi. This makes is an "Irrational" number. (In fact, it's worse than that  it's called "Transcendental"  but that's a whole another story)