Definition:Speed of Light/Mistake

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Source Work

1986: David Wells: Curious and Interesting Numbers:

The Dictionary
$2^{86243} - 1$


... for example, the speed of light, $299796$ kilometres per second, is written as $10^8 \times 2.99796$ kilometres per second.


The correct number is $299 \, 792 \, 458 \text { m s}^{-1}$, which, approximated to the nearest whole number of kilometres per second, works out as $299 \, 792$.

The paragraph on $2^{86243}$ has been edited down in Curious and Interesting Numbers, 2nd ed. of $1997$, and the commentary on how numbers are stored in computers, including this attempt at explaining the nature of scientific notation, has been removed.