Category Archives: Light-Year

How Far Is Too Far?

Yet again, we visit sloppiness in the use of our language.  On the news yesterday (15 March 2011), I heard the term light-year used incorrectly.  You, my good readers, likely have heard the same sort of thing.  Someone will claim that widget X is light-years ahead of widget Y in development or style or whatever other desirable quality is being discussed.

This, of course, is wrong.  A light-year is always and only the distance that light travels in a vacuum in one year.  That’s about six trillion miles.  Light-year is not a unit of measuring time, nor does it indicate a level of advancement.  If you cannot measure the characteristic in question with inches, you cannot use light-years to measure it.

It’s language, Jim, but not as we know it. . . .