When data quality matters

« what’s the link between Popeye and data quality ? »

Popeye 2020/06/16 | Data Culture

This is one of the funniest storie we are glad to share with you about one of the most famous cartoon character, created by Elzie Crisler Segar en 1929.

By 1932, he was getting “strength” from eating spinach. Do you know the TRUE story under this statement. It’s all about data quality !!!

« Popeye the sailor man didn’t really beacame strong because of spinach, but rather much because of data quality mistake »

It’s a pretty much known story among data experts all around the world. « How does it come that we pretended to grow tall and strong when eating spinaches like popeye ? » It comes from a simple data quality mistake – the recording of a number with the decimal point in the wrong place.

Back in 1870, Erich von Wolf, a German chemist, examined the amount of iron within spinach, among many other green vegetables. Then, Wolf accidentally misplaced a decimal point when transcribing data. While there are actually only 3.5 milligrams of iron in a 100-gram serving of spinach, the accepted fact became 35 milligrams . This was the beginning of the legendary spinach’s nutritional value.

spinach 2020/06/16 | Data Culture || Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash

So when Popeye was created a few years after, he had to eat spinaches to become strong and muscular as we all know. It also apparently helped increase American consumption of spinach by a third.

This error was eventually corrected in 1937, but it was really much too late (or late enough,!). Damage had been done!

happy_child 2020/06/16 | Data Culture || Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Please read more about that kind of facts in the book from Samuel Adelsmanit Half lIfe facts everything know expiration