Tuesday, 23 April 2019

A “famous” typo recalled – and Trump beating it

2019 Melbourne rainfall to today. With nothing forecast Melbourne seems very likely to not merely receive less than the city’s existing record low (332.3 millimetres), but receive less than the existing Victorian record low calendar-year total
Victoria’s record low annual rainfall up to 2018 – almost certain to be beaten by a substantial portion of the state in 2019 – from Kyndalyn Park (latitude 34.71° S, longitude 142.93° E)
In recent days with only 43 millimetres of rain in Melbourne for 2019 and a probable record dry year by a factor of four or more – likely Melbourne will beat even Kyndalyn Park’s 1967 state record low rainfall of 75.9 millimetres – I have gleefully recalled a personally famous typo from Perth’s Sunday Times on 27 April, 2008:

What you're paying

Unleaded petrol prices in Brisbane and on the southern Queensland coast today hit $1.46 a litre, according to petrol price monitoring website Motor Mouth.

But unleaded fuel was available at some northern Brisbane outlets for as little as $1.30. Prices on the Gold and Sunshine coasts have also reached $1.46, but some fuel could be found for up to 15 cents a litre less, according to petrol price monitoring website, MotorMouth. Queensland has an eight cents a litre petrol subsidy.

Unleaded prices in Adelaide are nearing $1.55 a litre. Sydney prices range from $1.47 to $1.55 a litre. Melbourne drivers are paying up to $153.90 a litre, while Perth motorists are faring better at $1.40 a litre.”
Seeing this text, nobody would miss the typo. The typist writing for the Sunday Times obviously meant to write
153.90¢ a litre,
which the news.com.au system apparently automatically would change to $1.54 a litre, whilst automatically changing 153.90$ a litre to $153.90 a litre.

Rather than ignoring the typo, I – who has long known Australian petrol as untenably cheap – saw it as one typo I wished were true. Such increased fuel prices would – even with much less fuel sold – give Australia’s governments funding for neglected environmental projects like:
  1. complete closure of coal-fired power stations
  2. a large-scale renewable energy plan and budget to decarbonise the whole continent
  3. a nationwide high-speed rail network to reduce pressure on Tullamarine and Kingsford-Smith Airports
  4. public transport networks in all major cities and their surrounding semi-rural districts surpassing the world’s best extant networks
  5. complete revegetation of southern Australian farmland certain to be aridified by the rapid poleward widening of the subtropical arid belt
When I told Mummy about the Sunday Times typo a day ago, I was told that Donald Trump has made a much worse blunder when discussing a major Sri Lanka attack on Easter Sunday, whereby eight bombs exploded in churches and hotels. I will quote Trump:
Heartfelt condolences from the people of the United States to the people of Sri Lanka on the horrible terrorist attacks on churches and hotels that have killed at least 138 million people and badly injured 600 more. We stand ready to help!
My mother has always been extreemly critical of President Trump, seeing him as a racist, sexist populist appealing to the emotions of white rural Americans who feel left out with modern technological changes. Mummy, who knew the 2008 typo and my admittedly emotional response to it, said that Trump “surpassed” the Perth newspaper’s typo by a thousand if I recall correctly. Actually, Trump’s error surpassed the 2008 typo by ten thousand. Some of his critics believe Trump magnified the death toll intentionally, presumably to make Americans more scared of Muslims.

However, one difference exists that stands far more critical than the magnitude of the errors. There would exist major benefits to Earth’s ecology, frequently discussed on this blog, from less cheap Australian petrol. There would exist no benefits to anybody or anything from terrorists achieving a death toll corresponding to a nuclear mini-holocaust. If it were true that terrorists could murder on the scale President Trump claimed, there would be the danger of terrorism killing entire civilisations.

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