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Hi, Eamonn. Thanks for the addition to Oliver Cromwell. I was looking for a way of adding a similar note myself but wasn't quite sure of the tone to take. You have done it admirably. sjc

I think it's a good idea and I hate to be the one to nit-pick, but wouldn't your area comparison pages be better as <whatever>km^2; this is more accurate. Also, while you're in a conversiony mood, do you know the conversion for hectares -> km^2? -- Dweir

Is the "^" meaning exponentiation understood outside computer programming? There are 100 hectares in a square km. --Eob

I have a "^" button on my calculator, and I've seen it used elsewhere. I'll go and add redirects to your existing pages for <whatever>km^2 if you like -- Dweir

Actually it turns out that "^" is not a valid character in page titles on this Wiki.

One change I am thinking of is to use scientific notation for the larger sizes (This allows greater range more conveniently, especially useful as I was thinking of extending this idea to other measures such as lengths. For lengths we might want to have sizes all the way from the microscopic to the cosmic scales.) So for example for areas instead of the current:

pages we could have

Or perhaps we should use words rather than numbers:

(Actually, the more I look at the last format the more I like it. The titles are more verbose, but they give a better indication of what the page is, and the format is more in keeping with Wikipedia conventions.)


Point taken (oh well). I like the second way as well. -Dweir

I think many people would find scientific notation a bit cryptic. I don't really like the idea of spelling out the words either, especially as this eventually leads to the question of what "billion", "trillion", etc., mean. My suggestion would be to do it like this:

--Zundark, 2001 Nov 19

The commas complicate matters. Also, There aren't many areas larger than 100 million square kilometres, are there? --Dweir
The commas were intended to make it clearer, as it's difficult to count large numbers of zeros without them. The surface area of the Sun is about 6,000,000,000,000 km2. --Zundark, 2001 Nov 19

All though the word version is verbose, in actual links it would be hidden behind a particular area:


Was this your idea, Eob? If so, yay, you! I like it a lot (much better than 'Approximately the size of Alabama,' and I actually know how long it takes to drive from Arab to Gulf Shores. --MichaelTinkler

Yes, I think this is a good idea, too. --LMS

Thanks guys. Yes it was my idea <modest blush>. It seemed that with hyperlinking we could do a lot better than the usual 'Approximately the size of Alabama' style so prevalent in geographical descriptions. It should help people get a much better idea of how big places are by showing comparisons with places they know. By the way I am thinking that we could also extend this to other measures, such as length. We could have similar "order of magnitude" comparison pages for different length scales ranging from the sub-microscopic to the cosmic. Most people when reading articles with such numbers tend to skip past the numbers without really absorbing them -- hopefully these comparison pages will help give them a better intuitive sense of the numbers. --Eob

I think the km2 pages is a great idea, and discovered there are already pages for distances, which, however, use a different notation:

 1e3 metres for 1 km - 10 km
 1e4 metres for 10 km - 100 km
 1e5 metres
 1e6 metres
 1e7 metres
 1e8 metres
 1e9 metres
 1e10 metres
 1e11 metres
 1e12 metres
 1e13 metres
 1e14 metres
 1e15 metres
 1e16 metres
 1e17 metres
 1e18 metres
 1e19 metres
 1e20 metres

In one way, these (metres and km2 pages) are a perfect analogy to the pages for years (1876) and dates (November 20). But they are also quite different. It is almost impossible to find a case where it is natural to link directly to 1e4 metres or 1000km2. It will probably always be [ [ 1e4 metres | 37 km ] ]. With that kind of links, it is not necessary to use "page names" that flow naturally in written prose language (as "November 20" does), and I would seriously suggest a more engineering/scientific like notation with exponentials (1e3, etc.) and unit abbreviations (m rather than metres). We could also use negative exponents to describe the sizes of atoms, etc. The system I proprose is:

(Moved the table that was here to orders of magnitude --Eob)

I also tried to link distances to areas and volumes, as can be seen in 1e6 metres. I'm not sure I've found a notation that feels natural yet. Please comment on this. --LA2, November 20, 2001

I like the idea of linking pages of the different units. I just reformatted 1e6 metres into a what I think is a cleaner format. What do you think? --Eob, November 20, 2001
Yes, the new format looks nice. I'll use that for new pages from now. Don't now if I have the energy to go back and edit the old ones though.--LA2

Regarding the Western Isles page: it should not be a redirect for the Hebrides for the simple reason that the council known as the "Western Isles" council does not have jurisdiction over the entire Outer Hebrides, let alone the Hebrides itself --Dweir

Sorry, I believed what had been written in the page. I have just undone the redirect. I will leave it to you to write up this distinction. --Eob