One of the occupational hazards of being a journalist is that when a howler appears in the paper, all your friends know exactly who to call. Especially when they’re highly qualified science and maths graduates, and especially when the howler in question is a pretty glaring failure to check the sums.
So when this the first paragraph appeared in an article from the US office:
Followed by this information in the third paragraph:
Followed by this handy graphic as an explainer:
It wasn’t long before this appeared on my Facebook page:
Fortunately, because they’re all highly qualified science and maths types, when the bumbling former English student has questions, they have the explanations ready to hand:
So, for future reference: any percentage increase from 0% to any higher percentage is an infinite increase; but any percentage-point increase from 0% to a higher percentage is as simple a sum as can be: <higher percentage> – 0.
Meanwhile, the web news production editor has just sent this chastening email round to all subs:
HiA common error has popped up again so I just wanted to remind everyone that converting differences in temperatures is different to converting actual temperatures.For example:
A temperature of 2C is 35.6Fbut …a difference in temperature of 2C is 3.6F.