Inanimate carbon rod
Depictions of the famous “inanimate carbon rod” (ΡΊ), first seen 1990 “Opening Sequence” episode of the Simpsons, which is a “Worker of the Week Award” like trophy given to every employee at the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant, except Homer Simpson, who is thereby confirmed as less valuable to the plant then an “inanimate” object, equating to the logic: “human person (animate) ≤ carbon rod (inanimate)” in perceived company value.
In science, inanimate, as contrasted with animate,
refers to matter or molecular structure that is considered not to be "alive", in defunct colloquial speak, or a body that does not move, or bend. [1]

In the 1925 book The Animate and the Inanimate, American mathematician William Sidis makes an attempt to differentiate between the two according to what he calls “reversals of the second law”. [3]

In 1954, English thermodynamicist Alfred Ubbelohde gave the example of a body of steam as an example of inanimate matter when he says the laws of thermodynamics are founded on innumerable measurements of inanimate matter. Moreover, in his view: [2]

“The science of thermodynamics may have something useful about what differentiates living organisms from inanimate matter.”

In 1970, American chemist Linus Pauling asked:

“What is it that distinguishes a living organism, such as a man or some other animal or a plant, from an inanimate object, such as a piece of granite?”

To which he answers, in a somewhat ambivalent manner, that it must have internal metabolic reactions and the capacity for reproduction. [4] The following quote by American novelist John Updike gives an intuitive view on the relationship between what is inanimate and heat: [5]

“The cold has philosophical value of reminding men that the universe does not love us. Cold as absolute as black tomb rules space; sunshine is a local condition, and the moon hangs in the sky to illustrate that matter is usually inanimate.”

In 1990, the Simpsons aired an episode, shown adjacent, wherein Homer is compared to an "inanimate" rod of carbon, thereby situating the view that he is less valuable to his company, as a worker, then the inanimate rod; which is a seeming play on the classic "rock vs. human" comparison.

1. Inanimate -
2. Ubbelohde, Alfred René. (1947). Time and Thermodynamics, (ch. IX: “Thermodynamics and Life”, pgs. 92-105). Oxford University Press.
3. Sidis, William J. (1920). The Animate and the Inanimate, [PDF], (published in 1925, R.G. Badger).
4. Pauling, Linus. (1970). General Chemistry (pg. 767). Dover.
5. Blumberg, Mark S. (2002). Body Heat: Temperature and Life on Earth (pg. ix). Harvard University Press.

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