Sub-editors on The Times are often reminded to engage their brains when converting from imperial to metric after a 30kg bat (as in flying mouse) appeared on the news pages a few years ago. Readers quite rightly were amused or afraid at the thought of a flying creature built like an overweight labrador.
It can go the other way, too, as two years ago someone converted a 33cm-tall koala into one measuring 85 inches. The briefest pause for thought should have made the sub realise that they were describing a marsupial measuring more than seven feet from pointy toe to bushy ear.
If the bear really was that big, the Australian rugby selectors would have shaved him and placed him in the second row.
Anyway, I write not to pick up the delightful traces of human error in my own paper but to raise a cock-up elsewhere. The Guardian's Corrections and Clarifications column is often worth a read and one note in this week's paper made me smile:
"Regarding a phrase in our obituary of Dick Francis (15 February, page 36), a reader writes: 'The concept of an 'unauthorised autobiography' is an interesting one!'"Maybe he wrote it in his sleep?