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Spinach and wolves
June 25, 2014 10:13 AM   Subscribe

In 'The Half-Life of Facts' there's this neat anecdote on the importance of checking data: a guy puts a decimal point in the wrong place and everyone thinks the wrong thing about spinach for decades. But this academic paper makes me wonder - has anyone ever checked the origin of that data?

Is Erich Von Wolf a real person? Does anyone know where the story about his original mistake in 1870 comes from? And is that reliable?
posted by robself to Science & Nature (1 answer total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
 
It looks like the data did not from come Wolf after all. Lots more here on the decimal point story origins, esp. on pages 2 and 3 (and it goes on but I stopped reading).
posted by exogenous at 10:53 AM on June 25


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