Pejoratives, a river of blood, art on the moon, and the legeslation of π

Today's post looks at the Indiana Pi Bill, moon art, Bubbly Creek, and pejoratives.

There are two well-known examples of lunar art. The Fallen Astronaut is a small sculpture and plaque that memorializes fallen astro- and cosmonauts. The three-inch aluminum spacesuit figure was left at Mons Hadley by the crew of Apollo 15 in August 1971. The plaque lists 14 spacefarers killed in the line of duty: Theodore FreemanCharles BassettElliott SeeGus GrissomRoger ChaffeeEdward WhiteVladimir KomarovEdward GivensClifton WilliamsYuri GagarinPavel BelyayevGeorgi Dobrovolski, Viktor Patsayev, and Vladislav Volkov (notably absent are Valentin Bondarenko and Grigori Nelyubov, whose deaths were kept secret by the Soviets, and Michael James Adams and Robert Henry Lawrence, Jr., though they were placed on the Space Mirror Memorial). The other is the Moon Museum, a 3/4" ceramic tile smuggled into the leg of Apollo 12's lunar module. Imagined by Forrest Myers, he and five other artists contributed drawings that were etched on: (from the upper right going clockwise) David Novros drew a black square with interconnecting lines (resembling circuitry), John Chamberlain drew a template pattern, Claes Oldenburg drew a geometric mouse resembling Micky, Myers drew a "linked symbol", Andy Warhol contributed what he claimed was his stylized initials (but is clearly a penis), and Robert Rauschenberg drew a straight line.

The Indiana Pi Bill (bill #246 of 1897, titled "A Bill for an act introducing a new mathematical truth and offered as a contribution to education to be used only by the State of Indiana free of cost by paying any royalties whatever on the same, provided it is accepted and adopted by the official action of the Legislature of 1897") is one of the most famous attempts to legislate scientific fact. Were it not for the timely intervention of a mathematics professor, the bill would have passed and dictated how to square the circle. Amateur mathematician Edwin J. Goodwin  (a well-known crank who also claimed to have trisected the angle and doubled the cube) proposed the solution fifteen years after the Lindemann–Weierstrass theorem proved it impossible, and the bill introduced by Representative Taylor I. Record went to the Committee on Swamp Lands , endorsed by the Committee on Education, and passed in the House. It was up for debate in the Indiana Senate when Professor Clarence Abiathar Waldo denounced it.
This model circle illustrates Goodwin's claim that π = 4/1.25 = 3.2, and that 2 = 107 ≈ 1.429.

When I was in the 8th grade, we read portions of Upton Sinclair's The Jungle in social studies, and I was leery of beef for a short while. I don't recall this passage, referring to Bubbly Creek:
"Bubbly Creek" is an arm of the Chicago River, and forms the southern boundary of the Union Stock Yards; all the drainage of the square mile of packing-houses empties into it, so that it is really a great open sewer a hundred or two feet wide. One long arm of it is blind, and the filth stays there forever and a day. The grease and chemicals that are poured into it undergo all sorts of strange transformations, which are the cause of its name; it is constantly in motion, as if huge fish were feeding in it, or great leviathans disporting themselves in its depths. Bubbles of carbonic gas will rise to the surface and burst, and make rings two or three feet wide. Here and there the grease and filth have caked solid, and the creek looks like a bed of lava; chickens walk about on it, feeding, and many times an unwary stranger has started to stroll across, and vanished temporarily. The packers used to leave the creek that way, till every now and then the surface would catch on fire and burn furiously, and the fire department would have to come and put it out. Once, however, an ingenious stranger came and started to gather this filth in scows, to make lard out of; then the packers took the cue, and got out an injunction to stop him, and afterwards gathered it themselves. The banks of "Bubbly Creek" are plastered thick with hairs, and this also the packers gather and clean.
The contamination of blood and entrails remains today, and wildlife is limited there. The creek also remains stagnant and low in oxygenation, and generally is used only a dumping ground for excess wastewater during heavy rains.

The reason I find category:pejorative terms for people interesting is not as much its content as its comprehensiveness. There are 241 entries, but subtracting a couple of lists and a handful of redirects still nets you a lot of rude names.
  • Lesbian until graduation disparages students who experiment with homo- and bisexuality without any real intents to practice it (though that seems to be a gender double standard, I ask you who would condemn equally a man who accused a woman of being a "cock tease" and a woman who accused a woman of being a "clit tease").
  • U word is a soft redirect to the Wiktionary entry on "uppity", but I never knew it was such a scandalous word that it needed a PC code.
  • Ars is a Hebrew word denoting lower-class, but in Arabic, it has a variety of meanings, including a pimp, cuckold, bastard child, bad guy, or valorous man.
  • Girlie men is not an emasculation, but a joke by Arnold Schwarzenegger to his political opponents, referencing a Saturday Night Live skit that parodies him.
  • Hoosier is a demonym and term of endearment for people from Indiana (the "Hoosier State"), but an insult synonymous with "white trash" in Missouri.
That's all for today. Happy reading!

EDIT: OK, I promise that I didn't see today's xkcd panel until after I posted today. Quite an amazing coincidence.

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