How specificity nudges people

What Is With This Incredibly Specific Second Avenue Subway Sign?

Recently, I was walking with a friend, when we passed a sign for the long-delayed Second Avenue subway. On it, big white letters declared the project to be “82.3% COMPLETE.” The hyperspecificity of this figure cracked us up. Why not round up or down? And what could possibly account for that missing 0.7 percent? The actual, MTA-approved answer is, sadly, not that interesting. The completion percentage is calculated by subtracting the amount paid out for equipment and labor from the total budget, the same way it goes for virtually every construction or engineering project. It’s that precise simply because it’s possible to be that precise. ….[READ]

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