Subs! Subs!

Tsk, at The Guardian:

The magnitude nine quake (one of the five most powerful ever recorded) and the 30m to 40m tsunami (the highest ever seen in Japan)

I don\’t think so. A 10 metre tsunami, a 30 to 40 foot tsunami…..but not a 30 to 40 metre tsunami. No, we\’ve really not been talking about a 100 foot wall of water sweeping in.

Could just be a typo, sure, but again it\’s evidence that all too many of the Arts graduates that produce our newspapers just don\’t have an instinctive understanding of numbers.

6 comments on “Subs! Subs!

  1. “just don’t have an instinctive understanding of numbers.” …. no, its that they don’t not that they can’t. It’s all part of a culture of general disdain for the practical that is common in the West and perhaps especially so in the UK. It is a posh cousin of everybody’s reluctance to be a toilet cleaner. It says nothing about whether the writer is capable of numeracy, but much about the writer’s sense of importance in the grand scheme of things.

  2. Francis, that’s a quibble.

    The real issue surely is that they don’t know how long a foot is.

  3. There is a form of tsunami, however, called a megatsunami or inamani, which does produce a wave in a much greater height range, though I misremember what that might attain. The difference is that the ordinary tsunami is most uisually due to quake activity rearranging the sea floor, while the mega variety is due to a sudden addition to the sea of a vast volume of matter, as might be due to a landslide or other collapse of rock, etc. into the water.

    The existence/possibility of a wave of such great height was discovered in 1953 in an Alaskan bay, where, exploring for oil, geologists found evidence (at great height) of non-native rock that seemed to have arrived from somewhere in the islands of the South Pacific. They didn’t stumble on the evidence by simple accident but were looking for it because of an observation of previous damage that had caused damage to the forested hillside.

    Five years later, a megatsunami originated in the very same bay from a collapse of the mountainside into the water. During the time it was confined to the bay, the wave height reached over 1700 feet. Presumably, it carried pieces of Alaska as “trade goods” back to where the previous one had originated in the S. Pacific.

    Two people–a father and son “out fishing”–successfully rode out the wave. They are probably the only living people ever to see such a wave.

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