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Writer offers visuals for ‘parts per million’

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Posted: Saturday, February 23, 2013 12:00 am

Advances in analytical equipment technology and in measurement techniques allow us to detect and trace elements in "parts per million," "parts per billion" and even "parts per trillion." The following comparisons help put these numbers in better perspective.

We can think of "one part per million" as one inch in 16 miles, one minute in two years, one penny in $10,000, one ounce of salt in 31 tons of potato chips, one baby in 57 million abortions and one bad apple in 2,000 barrels.

We can imagine "one part per billion" as one inch in 16,000 miles, one second in 32 years, one penny in $500 million of Planned Parenthood public funding, one pinch of salt in 100 tons of potato chips, one baby in 100 million abortions and one bad apple in 2 million barrels.

We can see "one part per trillion' as one postage stamp in an area the size of Dallas, one inch in 16 million miles, $1 in a $16 trillion deficit, one second in 320 centuries, one gnat on 360 million camels, one baby in one billion abortions or one bad apple in two billion barrels.

These comparisons bring to mind some things my dear old dad used to say: "Give them an inch and they'll take a mile; if they'll privatize our gain, they'll socialize their loss; life is precious and time is of the essence; a hundred pennies saved is a dollar earned; knowledge is salt to our words; we'll swallow a camel and gag on a gnat; one bad president is the proverbial 'bad apple.'"

William Van Amber Fields


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  • Ed Walters posted at 11:47 am on Thu, Feb 28, 2013.

    the old dog Posts: 638

    It would seem that Mr. Bill got blasted in the LNS, so at first if you don`t succeed try another newspaper, The Record. Same article, Billy give your self and your dear ol` dad a rest.

  • Joanne Bobin posted at 12:42 pm on Mon, Feb 25, 2013.

    Joanne Bobin Posts: 4488

    It's difficult to comment on something that has nothing to do with anything.

    Poor WVAF's calculator must have been smoking after all those calculations that add up to nothing.

    And if "dear old dad" really said all the things he is credited with saying, it is sure that this "apple" didn't fall far from the tree.

  • Ed Walters posted at 11:35 am on Mon, Feb 25, 2013.

    the old dog Posts: 638

    Mr. Bill: how about giving your thoughts a break, not sure your dear ol` dad would approve. Joanne must be out of town, otherwise she would have ripped Mr. Bill a new one. Jerry Osgood rings in once a week or two with something that at least has everyone sending a reply. Only three in three days, Yawnnnnn

  • Steve Schmidt posted at 5:51 am on Mon, Feb 25, 2013.

    Steve Schmidt Posts: 2677

    If someone is making a list of mentally unstable people for the purpose of firearm background checks, I urge them to reference this letter.

  • Eric Barrow posted at 6:54 pm on Sun, Feb 24, 2013.

    Eric Barrow Posts: 1604

    I think Willie Fields has finally lost it. Is there some sort of reference here or is the entire letter there for sole purpose of uttering the last 8 words.


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