Friday, May 16, 2014

You're doing it wrong

We’re basically searching for these girls in an area that’s roughly the size of West Virginia,” Marie Harf, a State Department spokeswoman, said Thursday. “So it’s a tough challenge, to be sure.”
No, no, no. That's not right. West Virginia is not an official unit of measurement for land area! When Americans talk about how big some foreign place is they express it either in terms of the size of New Jersey or Texas. For example, the Netherlands is "twice the size of New Jersey" and that garbage patch in the Pacific Ocean is "about the size of Texas."

We have 50 states. it is too confusing if people start comparing places in the world to any state they want. How are we supposed to develop a sense of size for all 50 of them? If we're going to do that, we might as well try to develop a sense of size for foreign places too, and then there would be no point in making these comparisons.