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<   No. 1962   2008-06-10   >

Comic #1962

1 Ponsonby: Well, there's a lot of leeway in this pirate curse. It might actually be merely sixteen, seventeen, possibly even 25 times worse than Death.
2 Mate: Or, belike, 172 times worse.
3 Ponsonby: Yes! We're talking three whole orders of magnitude here.
4 Ponsonby: Fear, violence, superstition, all these things an officer of the Royal Navy takes in stride. But imprecision?

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An order of magnitude is a multiplicative ratio of 10. So for example:

It pays to be very precise when dealing with such matters.
2019-05-18 Rerun commentary: It occurs to me that a more readily useful way to measure the intensity of fates worse than death is logarithmically. Most of our other senses scale logarithmically after all, similarly in the face of sensory inputs spanning multiple orders of magnitude. Hearing and vision in particular. And probably that pain scale of 1-10 that doctors ask you about, when we all know that stepping on a LEGO brick in bare feet is at least a thousand times more painful than bumping your elbow.

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