Talk:List of longest rivers
It is impossible to conclusively determine the order of the longest rivers, mainly for two reasons. The first is because rivers have a fractal property, which means that the more precise the measurement, the longer the river will appear. That means that if you have two maps, one undetailed map of a distant river and another precise and finely detailed map of a river you know very well, probably the latter will seem bigger on your measures. See here for more details.
- I moved this paragraph to discussion because I don't think it's quite true -- river length is not really fractal, since rivers have a width greater than 0. The coast of Britain has no width, and so it is indeed fractal. If one has a map that is precise enough, one can actually determine the length of a river. --Chl 01:16, 4 Oct 2004 (UTC)