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We Should Have Known: Megaseconds Are Much Longer Than Milliseconds

Typos and mistakes are part of the news business — as anyone who regularly reads this blogger surely knows. We don't want them to happen, but they do.

Sometimes they're kind of quirky and educational.

Check out this correction from The New York Times:

"A critic's notebook article on Monday about the prevalence of standing ovations at Broadway shows described incorrectly the quickness with which audience members appeared to be on their feet at a performance of the current revival of Death of a Salesman. Their ovation seemed to occur within a millisecond — one-thousandth of a second — not a megasecond, which is one million seconds."

Now, this blogger can imagine himself making that same mistake. Sure, "milli" certainly isn't the same as "mega." But you get mixed up sometimes. So there willl be no fun poked at the Times here. As they say, "there but for the grace of God go I."

And, after all, that mistake prompted a bit of research that actually taught us something: a megasecond lasts 11.57 days.

Which would be quite slow for a standing ovation.

By the way, NPR's corrections are posted here.

(H/T to brother Jim.)

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.