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Lore City: San Francisco's rich historical legacy - from the Gold Rush to the dot com and beyond - makes the City a constant subject of lore, exaggeration, and just plain misinformation. The San Francisco Chronicle is committed to accurate reporting, but everyone makes mistakes. On the day the Golden Gate Ferry made its final run, the paper reported that the vessel had made "432,108 round trips and steamed nearly 1.3 million nautical miles - about five times around the world." Here's how this preposterous lore breaks down: 432,108 round trips in 34 years is an average of 35 round trips per day. If a round trip takes an hour, this would require 35 hours per day. If 1.3 million miles were to equal five times around the world, the world would have to be 260,000 nautical miles around. That's even bigger than Jupiter! Sadly, these numbers are very likely to be repeated by other sources, putting the real story another nautical mile in the past and the real San Francisco even further from a reader's grasp.


Copyright 2004 Hank Donat
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