How long is 120 days?

The German media reported widely on Obama's stopping the Guantánamo processes for 120 days. But they reported widely varying numbers, and were confused about when it was done. Some reports were that this was what he signed first on that first day. Others had it being what he did on his first full day.

On the way to an appointment I heard the 4 months being reported on the radio. On the way from there to work this had dropped rapidly to 4 days. On the way home it was 3 months. On the evening news it was 120 days.

I have a suggestion: reporters should report on exactly what is being done or written, and not try and do fancy calculations themselves, innumerate lot that they are. And maybe they can start a course on Mathematics for Journalists in the schools of journalism.

Hot topics would be

  • Conversion factors and units of measure
  • The difference between a million and a billion
  • The meaning and magic of decimal points
  • How to lie with statistics

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