7/7/08

A peeve.

On the subject of a volcano recently discovered on the planet Mercury, the New York Times recites the following:
"This is equivalent to a huge hole in the ground extending from the Washington Monument out to well past the Beltway," Dr. Head said. "Imagine lavas coming out of this vent and covering the surrounding suburbs out to about Baltimore and the West Virginia border. The greater Washington, D.C., region would be covered with lavas to depths that would bury the Washington Monument."
From the Monument to the Beltway? From Baltimore to West Virginia?

I'm sorry, but I have absolutely no idea what any of that means. Is this tiny little portion of the east coast supposed to be the center of my universe? Is it the geographical reference point that provides context to everything else in my life? I didn't know.

9 comments:

Frances, said...

Ditto, even though I have been to those areas, using them to demonstrate the size of the lava is....what shall we call it? Egocentric?

lisa said...

Well if it isn't out east, does it matter? ;-)

Rufino said...

In less abstract terms, the article is describing lava more than a tenth of a mile deep (the height of the Washington monument) covering an area of 2,500 square miles (the area of the greater D.C. metropolitan region). If 2,500 square miles is meaningless, imagine the city of Los Angeles (just the city, not the suburbs) five times larger. Or else imagine the city of San Francisco 53 times larger.

Another way of putting it is to imagine one-third of the total area that is made up of the nine counties in the San Francisco Bay region covered with a layer of lava one-tenth of a mile deep.

chuck b. said...

Excellent! You are a gold star commenter!

That seriously made my day.

Les, Zone 8a said...

Perhaps the author thought that we could relate because we are familiar with the normal effluvia that spews forth from Washington, affecting all our lives.

lisa said...

LOL les! That stuff is indeed DEEP and all-encompassing. :)

Heather's Garden said...

I do understand your frustrataion, but the paper is the NEW YORK Times and most people in that geographic center have been to Washington DC. I don't read the LA papers expecting to get much of what they reference at all.

chuck b. said...

Bullshit. The New York Times is a national paper, and that's a national story about another planet.

My peeve is reasonable and justified.

susan harris said...

I see what you mean.