Biocurious is a weblog about biology, quantified.

Units are important

by PhilipJ on 10 December 2006

Vindication for every physics TA or professor who has given a student a hard time about units during a calculation. An American travelling in Canada was quoted a rate of 0.002 cents/kilobyte from Verizon. He ended up getting charged 0.002 dollars/kilobyte, or 100 times the original rate. Hilarity ensues on a telephone call with a couple of Verizon managers who can’t seem to appreciate a difference between 0.002 cents and 0.002 dollars.

My favourite part: at the 21 minute mark, the representative claims, “I’m not a mathematician!”



  1. J.p    3777 days ago    #

    Some things just make you feel smarter…

    I really have to applaud his patience though. I don’t think I’d be able to keep it together for more than 10 minutes if I were in this situation. But, since I’m not, I can laugh his misfortune!


  2. amy    3775 days ago    #

    painful and sad, and obviously I’m a masochist because I’m still listening at the 10-minute mark.

    and I agree, this guy is preternaturally patient. I’m starting to tear my hair out, though, while he waits for these guys to figure out the right answer themselves. Please, please, just give them the answer, and let them fix the bill.


  3. Chris    3771 days ago    #

    I’m going to get my class to listen to this….

    But the caller does claim that:
    1$ is 100 times DIFFERENT than $100.

    What is that?


  4. amy    3771 days ago    #

    Yeah, I think he was trying to make it comprehensible to the wage slaves on the phone, & drive home the fact that dollars and cents are not. the. same. things.


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