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One km = 600m miles, says CNN

Stretching it a bit

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We're obliged to the various readers who have since yesterday alerted us to a CNN piece on the possible demotion of Pluto to the status of minor planet.

The article in question notes that the recent discovery of Xena - hailed by some as the tenth planet - actually calls into question Pluto's status as a proper, grown-up body in our solar system.

All pretty straightforward, you might think. What is alarming, though, is that CNN has decided, without consulting either governments or international standards bodies, to extend the kilometre to a breathtaking 600,000,000 miles:

The Hubble Space Telescope measured the bright, rocky object officially known as 2003 UB313 [Xena], at about 1,490 miles (2,300 kilometers) in diameter, roughly 70 miles (112 kilometers) longer than Pluto. At 9 billion miles (15 kilometers) from the sun, it is the farthest known object in the solar system.

This, by our reckoning, makes the distance between Vulture Central and the nearest pub a thirst-inducing 2,400,000,000 miles, exceeding the previous desperate Reg hack beer dash (Australian Outback, 2001, three hours in the 4x4 just to get his hands on a cold tinnie) by a whopping 2,399,999,760 miles*. Strewth. ®

Bootnote

*This calculation is based on the pre-CNN standard, when one kilometre was 0.6214 miles.

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