Analysis: Numbers

I read a science story in the New York Times about active volcanoes on Venus.
The first thing I noticed, is that it was difficult to find articles that used numbers in three different ways. There were so many articles I found that explained numerical or quantitative expressions with adjective instead of number values.

I noticed that unless it was absolutely necessary, many articles avoiding numbers all together. This seemed to make the article more vague in general, but more comprehensive to the average reader. When I read about Venus and pressure, temperature, and atmospheric change it became much more difficult for me to picture the qualitative difference in my mind.

Though, it was obvious that the author was trying to make the science of the story more comprehensive, he rounded up temperatures and used imagery to relate ideas that may have other wise been difficult to grasp or imagine.

Since the story was about a new discovery on another planet, I think anyone who is not a physicist would have to think a little bit harder to understand all the points the author makes. The good thing is the author accounts for that a does make the article as accessible as possible. Along with that, the sources for this information are advanced science institutes, so I'm sure 'translating' what they say is a task in and of its self. Words like plate tectonics and continental shifts can not really be described any other way. That aspect alone, plus numbers, temperatures and pressures would make any article difficult to simplify. I think the author does a good job though, for sure.

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This page contains a single entry by chri1885 published on April 11, 2010 11:08 PM.

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