Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

‘The FishBike Scale of Big Mistakes’

with 2 comments

Everything surrounding this comment is pointless and should be ignored, but this one comment has changed forever the way I think about Mistakes.

Basically, you rate the size of a mistake by which field of study is affected by it.

Category 1: Journalism. Your mistake is big enough to be reported in the news somewhere.

Category 2: History. School children decades from now will be reading about your mistake in their textbooks.

Category 3: Geography. Your mistake is bad enough that maps are different afterwards. Entire towns or cities may have disappeared, or people change place names so they can forget about your mistake.

Category 4: Geology. Millenia from now, scientists will be wondering what made that giant hole in the ground or why that mountain isn’t there any more.

Category 5: Astronomy. Scientists on other planets, peering at our solar system through their telescopes, will see a bright flash and ask themselves “What the fuck was that?”

Written by gerrycanavan

December 15, 2011 at 11:10 am

2 Responses

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  1. Lots of room for expansion at the bottom end:

    Category 0: Facebook Your friends mention it in their status updates, but it doesn’t actually make the news.

    Category -1: Eyebrows People notice and you see it in their faces, but no one actually comments on it publicly.

    Category -2: Psychology You notice and feel it, but no one else does.

    Category -3: Vanishing You don’t even notice.

    …and arguably at the other end too:

    Category 6: Astronomy2 Scientists in other galaxies wonder what happened to yours

    Category 7: Metaphysics People in other universes wonder why there’s one less parallel universe than there ought to be

    Category 8: Vanishing No one, in any universe, ever notices anything anymore ever

    Stephen Frug

    December 15, 2011 at 11:32 am

    • Yeah, I had the same thought, though I didn’t peg the Facebook thing (that’s funny): mine was just 0 (human relations: friends, family, coworkers) and -1 (psychology) and 6 (theoretical physics).

      gerrycanavan

      December 15, 2011 at 11:34 am


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