Duck!

My love affair with the Financial Times continues unabated, and this time I find that their scientific reporting is as spot-on as their analysis of business and capitalism. In today’s on-line edition, Clive Cookson’s report on the huge new European telescopes launched yesterday from Guyana (‘Huge telescopes aim to solve mysteries’) tells us that the telescopes ‘will operate in close proximity at a point in space called L2, 1.5km from earth’.

I hope they chose their orbit carefully. 1.5 km means that they will miss Ben Nevis pretty comfortably, but as Everest is rather over 5 times that height, it might be a bit of a white-knuckle ride elsewhere. The authoritative SatNews.com suggests that 1.5 million kilometres may be nearer the mark.

Of course, the FT is not a science paper, but you’d hope journalists and editors could manage to spot such a blindingly wrong number. It also raises the question of whether the current economy downturn is in fact a very reasonable reaction to the FT misreporting economic data by six orders of magnitude?

More of RJ Robinson at http://richardjrobinson.blogspot.com/

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