ladies and gentlemen, pi now equals 3

Subject: ladies and gentlemen, pi now equals 3
From: Bonni_Graham_at_Enfin-SD -at- PROTEON -dot- COM
Date: Thu, 17 Feb 1994 09:34:00 EST

Saul Carliner says:
> Like many of you, I welcome substantive discussions on technical
> communication. Misdirected personal messages, endless discussions
> of minutia, nitpicking, flaming, and three people providing essentially
> the same information hardly qualify as substantive discussions. They are
> a waste of other subscribers' time and system resources.

Steve Owens responds:
"...there is a better alternative. Encouraging people (by social
means) to learn and use good posting practices will be more effective,
less restrictive to those who already use proper posting practices,
and in the long run, more sensible."

I can see Saul's point, but I kind of have to agree with Steve,
ultimately. (Since Eric has already made the change, and it's his
list, I realize this is probably analogous to requesting a change in
the weather, but see how I am?) We have enough laws and rules as it
is. (I have a way to cut down on crime -- don't have so d*** many
things be illegal. But that's another story.)

This whole situation kind of reminds me of something I read in
"Discover" magazine last night. Currently in CA, the state uses
breathalyzer results to establish drunkenness. The only problem is
that this is an indirect method of measuring blood-alcohol content.
Breathalyzer results correspond only roughly to actual blood-alcohol
content, with a range from 1300 somethings (I don't remember the
measurement, just the numbers) to 3200 somethings equaling .08
blood-alcohol ratio. The state uses the median figure (2100
somethings) as equaling .08 percent alcohol. Well and good, so far as
it goes, but since the range is so large, and people's breath vs.
blood-alcohol ratio really is very individual, the state was losing a
lot of cases it felt it should have won. Defending lawyers were using
the large range as a rationale for saying that the blood-alcohol
reading was incorrect. So our great California lege decided to
establish the 2100 somethings=.08 percent blood-alcohol level _by law_
as a _scientific fact_. --I am NOT making this up.-- I'm expecting
the pi=3 announcement (or the tomato=vegetable one) any day now. It's

SIGH. (BTW, I realize that the analogy is not perfectly accurate --
Eric is _not_ trying to legislate a non-fact into scientific fact, but
he, as Steve pointed out, providing a technical solution to a
non-technical problem. Dunno if that's wrong in general -- it just
worries me in this list.)

AnotherBTW (and I'm guilty of this, too, via this message), do y'all
realize that we've now spent more bandwidth on the list server change
than on any of the individual threads that prompted it? The possible
exception is the passive vs. active voice, which was long. I prefer
the passive-aggressive voice myself -- "Fine, don't press the key,
just walk away from the computer. See if I care. No, don't think
about me for a minute. I'll just stay here, processing your index,
all by myself..." Although since that kind of led to the very
interesting E-Prime thread, I don't know that it ended up being a
waste of time...

Anyway, I'll shut up now.

Bonni Graham |
Technical Writer | Most software is run by
Easel Corporation, ENFIN Technology Lab | confused users acting on
Bonni_Graham_at_Enfin-SD -at- relay -dot- proteon -dot- com | incorrect and incomplete
President, San Diego STC | information, doing things
| the designer never expected.
NOTE: Don't forget the "relay." between |
"@" and "" or I won't get | --Paul Heckel, quotedyou
your message. | by William Horton
(Good 'til 3/4) |

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