# Wrong units conversion in press

1. Apr 3, 2009

### Redbelly98

Staff Emeritus
It really annoys me when professionals mess up unit conversions.

From http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20090403/sc_afp/usclimatewarming_20090403144320 [Broken]

(1 million km^2 is actually 390,000 square miles.)

Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
2. Apr 3, 2009

### mgb_phys

My personal one is the unnecessary number of decimal places (especially here in metric land)
I just bought a barbecue that warns me to keep it 182.8cm (6ft?) away from flammable materials.

3. Apr 3, 2009

### Redbelly98

Staff Emeritus
EDIT: responding to deleted post.

The conversion is not between km and miles, rather it is between square km and square miles.

1 million km^2 = (1000 km) x (1000 km)
= (621 miles) x (621 miles)
= 621 x 621 miles^2
= 385,000 sq. miles

It's a common enough error for science students, not to square the length conversion factor in order to get to get area. Just a little irksome when professionals do this.

Last edited: Apr 3, 2009
4. Apr 3, 2009

### Ivan Seeking

Staff Emeritus
LOL, that's funny!

I swear I would fall over if a local news agency ever grasped the difference between kWs, and kW-Hrs. Any time I see a story about the price of electricity, they always cite the price in cents per kW.

5. Apr 3, 2009

### Ben Niehoff

I'd buy a kW for \$100 if I could keep it for the rest of my life.

6. Apr 3, 2009

7. Apr 3, 2009

8. Apr 3, 2009

### Redbelly98

Staff Emeritus
BTW, the way I read the article from post #1, it is the scientists and not the reporter who made the error.

The same mistake is given on NOAA's website
http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2009/20090402_seaice.html

I reported the mistake to them; we'll see if there's a correction or do they just write me off as some anally retentive geek from the fringes of society. Well, at least they did acknowledge receiving my email.

That's exactly what I did. Had to be sure, after all.

9. Apr 3, 2009

### Ivan Seeking

Staff Emeritus
http://articles.latimes.com/1999/oct/01/news/mn-17288

10. Apr 3, 2009

### Proton Soup

noaa article seems to be fixed already

11. Apr 3, 2009

### Pengwuino

I'll sell you a kW but only for 5 seconds.

12. Apr 3, 2009

### Redbelly98

Staff Emeritus
You're right. It was mistaken earlier (within 1/2 hour of 1st post in this thread). When I went back later and saw the same date there, 2 Apr 2009, I just assumed it had not been corrected yet.

Thanks for pointing that out.

13. Apr 3, 2009

Staff Emeritus
There was a piece on Antarctic warming where they said that the temperature had been increasing 32.2 F per year for the last decade.

I'm pretty sure they meant "increasing 0.1 C per year"