15 Nov. 2008
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It's Been SO Long...

since I've berated CNN for innumeracy.  I was even nice to them a few days ago, when I quoted a serious article I found on their web site without picking a single nit or making a sarcastic remark.  This can not go on.

The Indian Moon Shot As Analyzed by CNN

Here's the article. 

Here's the quotation:

Space official Shiv Kumar said the 34-kilogram probe hit the moon surface traveling at 1.6 kilometers per second, which is a speed of 5,760 kilometers per hour (3,579 mph).

India announced the speed as 1.6 km/sec.  Converting that to km per hour requires multiplying by 3600 seconds per hour, giving 5760 km/hr.  Converting to mi/hr gives 3579.09807 mi/hr, which CNN rounded to 3579 mi/hr, so we can thank them for adding only two meaningless decimal places rather than the full seven to the probe's speed.

Of course, what space official Kumar meant by 1.6 km/sec is that it was going closer to that speed than to 1.7 or 1.5 km/sec, an entirely reasonable estimation.  In miles per hour, if he had thought to use those units, it would have been 3600 (or maybe 3500 or 3700) but certainly no closer than that.  CNN added those spurious decimal places despite my numerous earlier complaints.  They are clearly backsliding and I must remonstrate with them.  Perhaps if I claim to be a "space official" they'll pay attention.

It Might Be Too Long

Speaking of Long, I have an update to my pastafarian theorem of a couple of months ago.  This was forwarded by Heather, also a recent blog subject:

Panelist Brand Type Time (directions) Time(cold)
Emily Trader Joe's various unknown unknown
Observation - While starting cold didn't seem to make much difference, it is not possible for long pasta such as spaghetti. In order to get the 12" strands into the pot, the water needs to be boiling so the strands will bend. If starting cold, the bottom portion of the pasta will be cooked while the outstanding portion will not. Unless you have a pot that in depth or diameter exceeds the length of the pasta strand. Of course, you could break the pasta before cooking, but this will deprive consumers of the delights inherent in wrapping the pasta around the fork, slurping up the dangly bits, and getting splashed in the face or elsewhere with sauce droplets from the wildly waving pasta extremities.

I do take comfort in the diligence of my thousands of millireaders and in their willingness to extend the bounds of pasta science for this endeavor.

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