Measured Against Reality

Monday, November 05, 2007

Is -7 < -8?

From Britain comes this delightful story, about a lottery card that required the player to find a lower temperature than the one indicated. The problem was that many of the numbers were negative, and people just don't understand negative numbers.

I love this part the best:

The 23-year-old, who said she had left school without a maths GCSE, said: "On one of my cards it said I had to find temperatures lower than -8. The numbers I uncovered were -6 and -7 so I thought I had won, and so did the woman in the shop. But when she scanned the card the machine said I hadn't.

"I phoned Camelot [the manufacturer] and they fobbed me off with some story that -6 is higher - not lower - than -8 but I'm not having it.

"I think Camelot are giving people the wrong impression - the card doesn't say to look for a colder or warmer temperature, it says to look for a higher or lower number. Six is a lower number than 8. Imagine how many people have been misled."

Sometimes I really do love Schadenfreude.


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