Gentle Bamboo Solutions

Sometimes, honesty is NOT the best policy

Hi,

When the height of Mount Everest was measured for the first time, the surveyors faced a strange problem. The exact height was 29000 feet. When they declared this is to a closed group of professionals, everyone assumed they just rounded up the number. It took a lot of "I swears" for even the professionals to be convinced, so the team decided that the public at large will definitely feel the same.

In a very shameful betrayal of scientific honesty, the height of the summit was published 29002 feet.

The human mind is hard-wired to think in round numbers. Whether we talk about time, distance, weight or any measurable quantity, we invariably approximate it to the nearest round number.

So, when faced with actual numbers which are exact round numbers, somehow our brain rationalizes it and we think it has to be rounded up or down.

The scientific community had to add an extra two feet to an exact measurement and made it look inexact so that people think that the inexact number was the exact measurement.

Humans are crazy. We say honesty is the best policy, but sometimes when we are presented with actual honesty we discard it, and find solace in deceit.

Liar liar,

Abhilash

PS: Thanks to the tectonic shifts in the earth, mountains keep increasing in height. In a few decades, the Everest actually became exactly 29002 feet. So the scientists weren’t wrong, just ahead of time.