Karl Gallagher (selenite) wrote,
Karl Gallagher

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Terrifying Ignorance

The WSJ has an article today on the dispute over whether hurricanes are being worsened by global warming. But I won't get into that issue here. What scared me in the article was the description of the methods. One of the scientists involved is calculating hurricane power (P) as a function of the wind speed (WS) and duration (T), like this:

P = WS^3 * T

The reporter expressed it as: "To calculate the total power generated over a storm's lifetime, Dr. Emanuel multiplied each hurricane's maximum sustained wind speed by itself and then multiplied that result by the wind speed again, a calculation known as cubing. Then he factored in how many hours the storm lasted."

"A calculation known as cubing" !?!? Is the reporter so ignorant he doesn't know what the cube of a number is? Or is he trying to write for an audience who doesn't? Either way, how much can I trust technical information that's getting dumbed down like that?
Tags: culture, engineering
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