Monday, September 18, 2006

Units are Logical

Many young science students don't care about units. They feel them to be un-necessary. This is, however, a crucial mistake. The absence of units, and massive apathy towards their lack of existence, is a huge logical fallacy that people readily ignore when recognizing the authority of something.

That was a crappy and long-winded path to my point. Essentially, a lot of websites and organizations claim that they are #1. However, they ignore the units of this #1 position. For example, Joe's Lyrics Page says it's #1 on the Internet. What are they #1 at? Hits? Number of song lyrics? Number of pop-ups? This is never specified, so the #1 is meaningless.

Because most people ignore the lack of units, they see the #1 and think, "oh! Authority! This page is the best!" Nevertheless, there really is no reason to think Joe's Lyrics page is better than Bob's, who could also just as easily be #1 and have no reason to dispute with Joe's.

This is what makes units so crucially important. Numbers alone are meaningless; numbers with units serve a purpose. Unless you're a mathematician, units are your friend.

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