## The 1897 Indiana state legislature tried to pass a bill to simplify the value of pi to 3.2.

Sounds totally irrational, I know. After all, any one who has attended high school will tell you that you don't need the value of pi to the infinite decimal place; 3.14 works just fine.

However, the people of 1897 weren't in on this little trick. The state legislator tried to pass a bill that would have legally redefined the value of pi as 3.2.This story starts with Edward J. Goodwin, an Indianian physician who spend his free time dabbling in math. His obsession was an old problem known as squaring the circle.

Since ancient times, mathematicians theorized that there must be some way to calculate the area of a circle using only a compass and a straightedge. They thought that with these tools, they would construct a square that had the exact some area as the circle.

The only problem with this method is that it's impossible.But Goodwin wouldn't stand for it! In 1894, he convinced the journal American Mathematical Monthly to print the proof in which he "solved" the square-the-circle problem.

The poof only worked because Goodwin substituted the approximate value of pi with 3.2 (which is around 0.06 off; quite large from a calculation perspective). Goodwin insisted that this law be taught in classrooms and Indiana wanted to teach this proof.

But, the only way the state could avoid paying royalties would be if and only if the legislature would accept this "new mathematical truth" as state law. Thus, the Indiana Pi Bill was born.The Senate reviewed the bill and came to the crazy conclusion that correct mathematics should be taught in math class. Just goes to show you Goodwan, that you can't have your pi and eat it too.

## Stephen Hawking once threw a party for time-travelers that he didn't announce until the day after the party

Stephen Hawking is a famous theoretical physicist and cosmologist. Known for his considerable intelligence, Hawking has contributed many scientific works and among other awards, received the Presidential Medal of Freedom (the highest civilian honor available in the United States).

So it was no joke when Hawking threw a party for time travelers. He held the party on June 28, 2009, but no one showed up. Was he just not popular enough? Nope.

Hawking didn't actually send out invitations or notify people about the party until the day after it took place. This was all part of an experiment about time travel.

Hawking does not believe it is possible, and says that his failed party proves this. No one retrospectively showed up despite his party announcements. In other words, no one traveled back in time to his party after they got the invitation.

## During WWII, the Chinese used one of the most ingenious explosive tricks ever! Learn what it was

HMX is a powerful explosive that is often used as a detonator for nuclear weapons or rocket propellant. During WWII the Chinese guerillas were fighting the Japanese occupants and needed a way to smuggle and detonate explosives without the Japanese noticing. Ingeniously, they took HMX and mixed it with pancake mix, so it just looked like flour.

HMX could actually be cooked into pancakes without exploding and even eaten without causing bodily harm! Strangely, even after being cooked, the mix remained a dangerous explosive. The Chinese called it “Aunt Jemima Mix” and would take uneaten pancakes or unused dough and attack the Japanese. An estimated 15 tons of the mix was used without the Japanese ever discovering the source!

## Musket balls used to be made by dropping molten lead from high up so they would make a sphere!

It used to be really time consuming to make musket balls. You had to melt a lump of lead, pour it into a mold, wait for it to solidify, break the mold and check if it was spherical. Wash and repeat about thousands of times, depending on the size of your army.

William Watts, however, was inspired one day by seeing that raindrops became spherical as they fell from the sky. He wondered if lead would do the same thing, so he experimented and that's how he came up with the idea of a Shot Tower.

Shot Towers were tall hollow structures with a melting chamber on top. Lead was molten on top, then poured through a sieve. The lead droplets would fall about 260 meters onto a water-filled basin. This would solidify the lead and then they'd be tested for roundness.

Watts made a fortune from patenting and building these Shot Towers and were built around the world, making bullet-crafting a lot easier.

## Before The Hobbit could be published in Germany, Tolkien was asked if he was Aryan. He gave two very different answers!

Before the German publishing house Rutten & Loeing Verlag released The Hobbit in Nazi Germany, they asked Tolkien if he was of Aryan origin. In a letter to his British publisher, Stanley Unwin, he asserted that Nazism was “wholly pernicious and unscientific.”

He also said that he had many Jewish friends and was considering “letting a German translation go hang.” He provided two letters for Rutten & Loeing Verlag, and told his publisher to send whichever one he preferred.

The first was a more “tactful” letter, and simply stated that he was. In the other more honest letter however, Tolkien writes; “If I am to understand that you are enquiring whether I am of Jewish origin, I can only reply that I regret that I appear to have no ancestors of that gifted people.” Naturally and unfortunately, the first one was sent.

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