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66-6 Trouble

My observation: People toss out numbers and expect to be believed....never questioned. That is, numerical facts are decisive and TRUE.

An example...On a late night talk show, David Letterman was interviewing Regis Philbin The latter was going to host a sports show...but had no prior connection to sports.

Testing Regis' sports knowledge, Dave asked about the distance between home plate and the pitcher's mound.

With confidence, Regis stated it was 66 2/3 inches.

Dave laughed... and openly questioned this answer.

A flustered Regis said oops...it is 66 2/3 yards.

Again Dave laughed...and an even more flustered Regis changed his answer and said it was 66 feet and 6 inches....or whatever!

Now, there is a big difference between the three answers, with the final one being correct. But, the point is that Regis seemed to feel that only the numbers were important...and that no one would pay much attention to the units.

Imagine being a hitter facing a pitcher at either a distance of less than two yards...or a distance 200 feet which is just shy of where the center fielder plays.

Regis may host a sports show...but he should never host a math show. Plus, if Dave Letterman had not questioned his answer of 66 2/3 inches, I doubt few listeners would have caught the error!

Source: Late-Night Show, May, 2013