2022-01-20 – Something like 50 years ago, the United States was debating whether to convert our system of weights and measures to the metric system. The effort failed because the media thought it was hysterical to show the wacky numbers that supposedly would result from the conversion.
If you’ve ever purchased a liter of Coke, you know that this scare tactic was fake news. We buy a liter of Coke, not .946353 liters. We would have adapted quite easily, but the media rake in big bucks by scaring you.
This is obvious from one end of the media spectrum to the other. But let’s consider one story that has taken hold: wind-chill factor (or, in warm weather, the temperature-humidity index).
What are these? Instead of telling us the actual temperature, they tell us a different number to make us miserable. For this morning, they were forecasting a wind-chill factor of -20 degrees. This is more than 30 degrees below the actual temperature, which was 11 degrees (according to the time and temperature sign on the school across the street when I took my dog for a walk this morning).
This is equal to 261 degrees Kelvin, which is the same as -12 degrees Celsius (give or take a few decimal digits).
So the media was happy to shout MATH! to scare us about the metric system. But they are just as happy to use math, if they can, to scare us about the weather.
Whatever bleeds leads.
These days, the media is no longer satisfied with just faux temperature readings. They have taken to reporting weather in terms of the millions of people inconvenienced. “150 Million in Path of Polar Vortex.”
They didn’t care about the metric system. They don’t care about the weather. They care only about ad revenue. What’s next? The 27 O’Clock News?
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