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    Re: Unwarranted levels of precision
    From: Gary LaPook
    Date: 2017 Dec 19, 22:15 -0800

    I once read a newspaper report that the aircraft was flying at 304.8m.

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    Sounds like he got  a report that the plane was flying a 1,000 feet, fed that information into his computer, and it spit out 308.4 meters. Since the 1,000 foot report  has only one significant figure, meaning that the actual altiude was somewhere between 950 and 1050 feet (closer to 1,000 than 900 or 1100) then it is silly to report it to the nearest meter and absolutely insane  to give it to the nearest tenth of a meter, 4 inches (oops, 3.93700787402 inches)  If he had said 300 meters that would have been appropriate. You run into this stuff all the time. You run into this stuff in military manuals. Some clerk is given the job of converting some measurement in feet and inches or, vice versa, in meters, and he mindlessly punch that number into their computer and dutifully copy down what the computer spits out. Absolutely no understanding as the what is really going on.

       
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