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Thread: Bad temp conversion on Yahoo news

  1. #1
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    Bad temp conversion on Yahoo news

    I know this can get old considering how often it happens, but this article about the sun has an interesting conversion from Fahrenheit to Celsius

    by studying the sun's ultraviolet emissions at temperatures around 1.8 million degrees Fahrenheit (999,700 degrees Celsius).
    Of course the correct conversion would be "around 1 million degrees celsius". If we really wanted to get picky about significant digits, it would be "around 1.0 million degrees fahrenheit". However, I'm not sure where the 999,700 comes from. Converting to Celsius gives 999,982. Converting to Kelvin gets much closer at 999,709.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by jfribrg View Post
    Of course the correct conversion would be "around 1 million degrees celsius". If we really wanted to get picky about significant digits, it would be "around 1.0 million degrees fahrenheit".
    Wouldn't it be 1.8 million degrees Fahrenheit, or 2 million degrees Fahrenheit?
    However, I'm not sure where the 999,700 comes from. Converting to Celsius gives 999,982. Converting to Kelvin gets much closer at 999,709.
    Nice

  3. #3
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    I've seen worse. An article (in Astronomy, I think) mentioned something like "a temperature difference of 10 degrees F (-12 degrees C)..." What went wrong here is left as an exercise for the student.

    Fred
    "For shame, gentlemen, pack your evidence a little better against another time."
    -- John Dryden, "The Vindication of The Duke of Guise" 1684

  4. #4
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    Is that really a minus sign? That is really strange.
    Solfe

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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Solfe View Post
    Is that really a minus sign? That is really strange.
    Ten degrees F is about -12 degrees C. Presumably someone didn't think it through and just did a temperature conversion. If you leave out "difference" the sentence could make sense - "a temperature of 10 degrees F (-12 degrees C)."

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  6. #6
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    Right, that's the key -- a difference in temp. In that case, F to C is just divide by 1.8. A change of 10 degrees F is a change of about 5.6 degrees C.

    Fred
    "For shame, gentlemen, pack your evidence a little better against another time."
    -- John Dryden, "The Vindication of The Duke of Guise" 1684

  7. #7
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    I've seen this in books too. I suspect they have software that goes through text and inserts the conversions, and the software doesn't know what the surrounding text is saying.

  8. #8
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    This is an interesting article regardless of the overlooked error. Thank you for posting it

  9. #9
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    iirc, the US National Institutes of Standards and Technology (nist.gov) has a set of recommended practices for conversions. Maybe yahoo's programmers should look them up.
    Information about American English usage here and here. Floating point issues? Please read this before posting.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by doug4knfpu View Post
    This is an interesting article regardless of the overlooked error. Thank you for posting it
    Welcome to CodmoQuest, doug4knfpu, and thanks for looking this thread over and commenting. It gave me an opportunity to read my old post and realize that I should apologize to the OP, jfribrg. I realize now that "fahrenheit" in my quoted text should have been celcius, a simple typo. Then everything makes sense! :)

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