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Mathematical illiterate journalists
#1
Why does every second news story or lightweight documentary have references to areas, weights and distances of random items instead of actual measurements?

This vessel is capable of transporting the equivalent of 11 African elephants, the fire covers an area of 2500 rugby fields, the flow is equivalent to 200 Olympic sized swimming pools, or that distance is the equivalent to that between London and Timbuktu. What is wrong with these fuckwits that they can't use standard units of metres, tonnes, kilometres or hectares? Is it because they have previously demonstrated that they don't know the difference between a millimetre or centremetre, kilometres or mile, or metre or foot. The product of an education system where there are no wrong answers if your intention was well meaning? Idiocracy in the making!
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#2
long ago they used to give the actual measure, litres, square KM etc and the use an example as you have stated to illustrate the size.

I guess now they have just skipped the original value in favour of the reference value... I don't think it suggests illiteracy though as they need to know the actual value to come up with a correct value for elephants or swimming pools.

But makes me wonder if they had a conversion calculator app programed for them, cubic meters to olympic swimming pools etc
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#3
They can't spell either.
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#4
I'm mathematically illiterate (dyscalculia) but metric weights and measures make sense to me - 100, 200 etc. Don't ask me to do any figuring with such simple numbers, but I get the relationship.
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#5
The Olympic-sized swimming pool comparison has always bugged me.

We don't typically encounter Olympic-sized swimming pools in NZ (there's only a handful of them in the country) so using it as a unit of measurement is bordering on meaningless. I know that the pool is 50m long. How wide? No idea. How deep? Wouldn't have a clue.

At least with rugby fields we've seen enough of them to get an idea, but a rough cliched comparison is no excuse to not giving the true measurement.
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#6
Now if we had just stuck to the simple feet and inches like the Americans did, instead of this metric arrangement there wouldn't be a problem. Tongue
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#7
It is a bit harder for those of us raised imperial but switched to metric some way through...
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#8
(05-01-2022, 07:04 AM)Oh_hunnihunni Wrote: It is a bit harder for those of us raised imperial but switched to metric some way through...
If you did science at school, you used metric units. My kids don't know what inches or pounds are...
I do have other cameras!
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#9
One year of biology in third form...

Not enough, but having had several years of Latin helps!
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#10
(05-01-2022, 07:20 AM)Praktica Wrote:
(05-01-2022, 07:04 AM)Oh_hunnihunni Wrote: It is a bit harder for those of us raised imperial but switched to metric some way through...
If you did science at school, you used metric units. My kids don't know what inches or pounds are...
 That proves it.
Mathematically Illiterate! Smile
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#11
(05-01-2022, 06:46 AM)Rumpelteazer Wrote: Now if we had just stuck to the simple feet and inches like the Americans did, instead of this metric arrangement there wouldn't be a problem. Tongue
The Americans aren't a great example of simplicity. Their gallons are smaller than those used by the remaining imperial based countries. They quote payloads in thousands of pounds, rather than tons or tonnes, and they stubbornly resist using Celsius for their temperatures. All in all their weights and measures system is archaic and utterly confusing. Try 1/8 inch per foot as a gradient for a example.

What system could be simpler than one which is based on water?
1 litre of water is 1,000 cubic centimetres . It freezes at 0 and boils at 100 degrees C, it weights 1 kilogram and has a specific gravity of 1.000. 1,000 litres make a cubic metre and weigh a tonne.
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#12
Returning to the original remark about peculiar size analogies, I think it happens partly because writers are trying to be "dynamic" and 'colourful", and partly because of the scientific illiteracy that allows them to use such inappropriate metaphors. Also, most of them have no sense of tone. Using an elephant comparison in a piece about their habitat would be fine, otherwise it's just a distraction.
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#13
(05-01-2022, 08:04 AM)Rumpelteazer Wrote:
(05-01-2022, 07:20 AM)Praktica Wrote: If you did science at school, you used metric units. My kids don't know what inches or pounds are...
 That proves it.
Mathematically Illiterate! Smile
At least you added the 'ly' thus proving your own language expertise!

Big Grin
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#14
(04-01-2022, 10:07 PM)Zurdo Wrote: I'm mathematically illiterate (dyscalculia) but metric weights and measures make sense to me - 100, 200 etc. Don't ask me to do any figuring with such simple numbers, but I get the relationship.
Me too - never been tested but lots of numbers - as in spread sheets or similar - tend to do weird shit to my brain. Not wonderful with large numbers but really good at budgeting etc - what they call 'social arithmetic' now.
Don't have a problem with measures exactly but the Americans tend to say 22 hundred instead of 2 thousand 2 hundred is irritating. Confused

(05-01-2022, 07:04 AM)Oh_hunnihunni Wrote: It is a bit harder for those of us raised imperial but switched to metric some way through...
AND nobody asked us if we wanted to change either did they. Bastards!



There was a time not so long ago when the cost of everything wasn't invariably mentioned when there was an accident or incident of some kind. It was just said that so many people had died or been injured, with no reference to any cost.
Mercenary bastards! Dodgy
in order to be old & wise, you must first be young & stupid. (I'm still working on that.)
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