Sunday, August 10, 2008

A Lack of Math and Science Knowledge

I was reading this article, originally from AFP, about new research into why some sea turtles dive so deep into the ocean. And then I read the following, and my heart sank to those same depths:

The mystery deepens. Not only are the turtles equipped with myoglobin-rich blood ideal for stocking oxygen, they sometimes plunge more than a kilometer (three-quarters of a mile) below the surface.

A kilometer is about .62 miles, or 5/8 of a mile. They overstated the distance by about 21%.


Anonymous said...

I think I might cut the author a *bit* of slack. I would have preferred 5/8 myself, but since the claim is *more* than one Km, I can live with 3/4.


-Mark Roulo

Darren said...

I considered that interpretation when I first read it but dismissed it. The parenthetical clearly modifies only "kilometer", otherwise it would be unnecessary. It could have been written, "...they sometimes plunge more than three-quarters of a mile below the surface..." if that were what was meant.

Donalbain said...

It would depend on who the story was written for. If it was meant for people who generally use the metric system, then I can pretty much see what happened..

The original press release said 3/4 of a mile.. but that means very little to most people, so they stuck in "more than a kilometer" for the metric folk, and then also had the (3/4 of a mile) for the few who use the Imperial system.

Anonymous said...

I would be more concerned with the fact that their biology is wrong... myoglobin is an oxygen binding pigment found in the muscle tissue... hemoglobin is found in the blood. They don't know what they are talking about.