RE: Any more dullards out there ...

Subject: RE: Any more dullards out there ...
From: Fox Cole <foxcole -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Wed, 17 Jun 2009 06:21:33 -0500

On Wed, Jun 17, 2009 at 1:00 AM, Kathy Bowman wrote:

> And if the warnings had said the fires were 'large', the lawyers would
> have argued that the warnings were unhelpful and that they should have
> said the fires were umpteen hectares...
> Lets face it, 'large' is relative and provides much less information
> than 638 hectares.

True, "large" is relative and vague, but hectares are too specific. 638 of
them? Very specific. Someone, or something, threw that in directly from a
monitoring report.

This is a case where the measurement should have been restated in equivalent
terms, expressed in multiple ways so everyone in the affected area would
have a shot at grasping the significance of the information. Where I live,
in the upper Midwest US, city blocks or football fields might be used.
However, city blocks vary in size depending on region. A Midwest city block
is larger than an Eastern city block, so whatever expression is selected
must be well understood locally. Perhaps a famous landmark or structure
could be effective ("roughly the size of six Malls of America" for example).

In the particular incident in question, considering the size of the burn,
simply converting the measurement to 6.38 square kilometers (a standard and
more universally understood unit) might suffice.


If the world were a logical place, men would ride sidesaddle. -- Rita Mae

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