Post by Ken Blake
On Sun, 11 Feb 2018 01:02:15 -0500, Quinn C
Post by Quinn C Post by firstname.lastname@example.org Post by Madrigal Gurneyhalt Post by Quinn C
Musk cites a cost per launch of $90,000,000. As for the rocket of
similar size that is under development at NASA, it's expected to
cost between half a billion and a billion dollars, per launch. So
that's a huge order of magnitude saving!
People simply don't know what "order of magnitude" means, and in this
case, "a huge, even order of magnitude saving" would have saved it, so
I guess it wasn't as far off as can easily happen.
I'm sorry but your version makes no sense at all. The original is not
perfect but it's considerably more comprehensible than yours. Perhaps
you'd care to explain what you think 'order of magnitude' means
because it's far from obvious from this!
It seems "order of magnitude" was taken to mean "x10", which is the
technical sense of the term, whereas, here, it just means something
like "scale", i.e. "large-scale savings".
There are so many ways to express that already, including "magnitude"
alone, that using "order of magnitude" in a non-technical sense serves
no other purpose than being the epicenter of confusion.
That reminds of the phrase "a quantum leap," which is almost always
used to mean "a lot." But a quantum is an extremely small number.
More generally it is a formal word for "quantity" in various senses.
It was used in physics in a now outdated sense:
The quantity of electric fluid present in an electrically neutral
1870 Nature 20 Jan. 306/1 On this hypothesis, ‘quantities of
electricity’, positive and negative, are excesses of the quantity
of the hypothetical fluid above or below the ‘quantum’
corresponding to zero of the electric tests.
1902 Ld. Kelvin in London, Edinb., & Dublin Philos. Mag. 6th Ser.
3 259 The neutralizing quantum of electrions [= ‘atoms of
resinous electricity’] for any atom or group of atoms has exactly
the same quantity of electricity of one kind as the atom or group
of atoms has of electricity of the opposite kind. The quantum for
any single atom may be one or two or three or any integral number,
and need not be the same for all atoms.
1904 Ld. Kelvin in London, Edinb., & Dublin Philos. Mag. 6th Ser.
7 221 An atom shot from radium with less than its neutralising
quantum of electrions cannot go far through a solid or a liquid
without acquiring the neutralising quantum.
It is used in Law in "quantum of damages".
General uses meaning "quantity" or "amount":
1852 W. Jerdan Autobiogr. II. xii. 137 Imbued with a moderate
quantum of worldly wisdom.
1887 Encycl. Brit. XXII. 624/1 From 50° upwards the solubility
increases at such a rate that a given quantum of water dissolves
any quantity of sugar if the mixture is constantly kept boiling.
1909 A. A. Brill tr. S. Freud Sel. Papers on Hysteria vi. 136 A
quantum of freely floating anxiety which controls the choice of
ideas by expectation.
1929 Encycl. Brit. XXII. 960/2 Imputed price..is an estimate of
the amount of money for which a given article or a given quantum
of goods could be sold or bought.
Peter Duncanson, UK