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Posts Tagged ‘mistakes

“There Are Two Typos Of People In This World: Those Who Can Edit And Those Who Can’t”*…

 

Typos can be embarrassing. They can also be costly. And not just for those individuals whose jobs depend on knowing the difference between “it’s” and “its” or where a comma is most appropriate. In 2013, bauble-loving Texans got the deal of a lifetime when a misprint in a Macy’s mailer advertised a $1500 necklace for just $47. (It should have read $497.) It didn’t take long for the entire inventory to be zapped, at a loss of $450 a pop to the retail giant. (Not to mention plenty of faces as red as the star in the company’s logo.)

Google, on the other hand, loves a good typing transposition: Harvard University researchers claim that the company earns about $497 million each year from people mistyping the names of popular websites and landing on “typosquatter” sites … which just happen to be littered with Google ads…

From a NSFW travel agency ad to “the most expensive hyphen in history”– “10 very costly typos.”

* Jarod Kintz

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As we check our work, we might send carefully-edited birthday greetings to Samuel Langhorne Clemens, AKA Mark Twain; he was born on this date in 1835 in Florida, Missouri.  One of the best-known writers and aphorists of his time and ours, his The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is consistently cited as a (if not indeed the) Great American Novel, at the same time that it is equally consistently the target of censors who would ban it from school and public libraries… but not for sloppy editing or typos: Clemens began his career as a newspaper man– first as a typesetter, then as a reporter, where he honed his copy editing skills.  And he carried those skills with him into the use of new technologies:  he was the first author to submit a typewritten manuscript to his publisher.

Matthew Brady’s photo of Mark Twain

Written by LW

November 30, 2015 at 1:01 am

“The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction”*…

 

From the annals of the $20 billion phenomenon that is Electronic Dance Music (EDM)

The latest craze, known as miss-mixing, is proving very popular amongst digital DJs as a way of highlighting that they are actually manually mixing tracks rather than using the sync button.

Michael Briscoe, also know as DJ Whopper, spoke about miss-mixing with Wunderground, “Flawless mixing is now a thing of the past, especially for any up and coming digital DJs. You just can’t afford to mix without mistakes these days or you’ll be labelled as a ‘sync button DJ.’”

“I learned how to mix on vinyl years ago so naturally I’m pretty tight when it comes to matching beats,” continued the resident DJ. “I swapped to digital format a couple of years ago because it’s convenient, now I spend more time practicing making mistakes than I do practicing actual mixing.”

“I like to drop in on the second or third beat, leave it play for a couple of bars and then quickly correct myself,” explained Mr. Briscoe. “It’s subtle yet affective, I call it The Perplexer. People who don’t know what they’re listening to won’t even notice it while other DJs will be thinking ‘that’s a great mistake, who is this DJ Whopper lad anyway?’ d’ya know what I mean?”…

Ponder the price of authenticity at “DJs Now Deliberately Making Mistakes To Prove They Are Real DJs.”

* The title of a seminal work by recent (R)D “honoree” Walter Benjamin

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As ask ourselves if it’s real or if it’s Memorex, we might recall that it was on this date in 1985 that the first Farm Aid concert was held, in Champaign, Illinois.

It started with an offhand remark made by Bob Dylan during his performance at Live Aid, the massive fundraising concert held at Wembley Stadium, London, and JFK Stadium, Philadelphia, in the early summer of 1985. As television viewers around the world phoned in donations in support of African famine relief, Dylan said from the stage, “I hope that some of the money…maybe they can just take a little bit of it, maybe…one or two million, maybe…and use it, say, to pay the mortgages on some of the farms and, the farmers here, owe to the banks.” Dylan would come under harsh criticism from Live Aid organizer Bob Geldof for his remarks (“It was a crass, stupid and nationalistic thing to say,” Geldof would later write), but he planted a seed with several fellow musicians who shared his concern over the state of the American family farm. Less than one month later, Willie Nelson, Neil Young and John Mellencamp announced plans for “Farm Aid,” a benefit concert for America’s farmers.

As one might have expected of a concert staged to “raise awareness about the loss of family farms and to raise funds to keep farm families on their land,” Farm Aid featured a number of performers from the worlds of country, folk and rootsy rock music. There were the three main organizers and the instigator Bob Dylan, for instance, along with Hoyt Axton, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Emmylou Harris, Waylon Jennings, Loretta Lynn, Joni Mitchell and Charley Pride. But the first Farm Aid, more than any of the annual Farm Aid concerts since, was a bit of a stylistic free-for-all, featuring artists united only by their interest in supporting a good cause.

“As soon as I read in the paper that there was gonna be such a thing,” Sammy Hagar told MTV’s cameras on the day of the show, “I called my manager and said, ‘I wanna do it.’ And he said, ‘It’s all country.’ I said, ‘I don’t care. It’s America. I wanna do it.’ If there was anything more surprising than hearing Hagar perform his hard-rock anthem “I Can’t Drive 55” on the same stage that had earlier featured the quiet folk of Arlo Guthrie, it was hearing Lou Reed perform “Walk On The Wild Side” on a stage that had featured John Denver.

Over the years since its first charity concert on this day in 1985, the Farm Aid organization has raised upwards of $33 million to support small farmers, promote sustainable farming practices and encourage consumption of “good food from family farms.”

[source]

Coincidentally, it was on this date in 1962 that Dylan played his first gig at Carnegie Hall…

 source

 

 

Written by LW

September 22, 2014 at 1:01 am

“There are two typos of people in this world: those who can edit and those who can’t”*…

 

We all make mistakas…

The Wicked Bible (as it’s come to be known), published in 1631 by Robert Barker and Martin Lucas in London, offers an unusually permissive version of the Seventh Commandment

And some are funnier than others…

Webster’s chemistry editor, Austin M. Patterson, sent in a slip reading “D or d, cont./density” in 1931; but it was misinterpreted as a single word– and published in the second edition of the New International Dictionary in 1934. It was not removed until 1947.

The preface of The Vocabulary of East Anglia, by Robert Forby, 1830

Further funny faux pas at “The Most Disastrous Typos In Western History.”

* Jarod Kintz

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As we relax into Labor Day, we might pause to contemplate the commemorative and celebratory occasions sprinkled through the first month of Fall…

SEPTEMBER is . . .

National Bed Check Month, Read-A-New-Book Month, Mom & Apple Pie Month (Massachusetts), Cable TV Month, Latino Heritage Month, Be Kind to Writers & Editors Month, National Mind Mapping Month, Pleasure Your Mate Month, Board & Care Recognition Month, International Gay Square Dance Month

1st Week

2nd Week

3rd Week

Last Week

Self-University Week

Independence Week (Brazil)

National Religious Reference Books Week

Aarmus Festival Week (begins 1st Sat; Denmark)

La Merienda Week

National Mind Mapping For Project Management Week

Fall Hat Week

National Housekeepers Week

Battle of Britain Week (Week w/15th)

Tolkein Week

National Singles Week

Vitupertion Week (18th-24th)

National Laundry Workers Week

National Adult Day Care Center Week

Banned Books Week

National Food Service Workers Week

National Dog Week

National Roller Skating Week

National Mind Mapping For Problem Solving Week

National Pickled Pepper Week (begins Last Thurs)

September Movable Daily Holidays

Day

Holiday

1st Sunday

Working Mother’s Day

Pffiferdaj (Day of the Flutes; France)

Giostra del Saracino (Joust of the Saracen; Italy)

Saturday before Labor Day

Capital Day

1st Monday

Labor Day

Settler’s Day (South Africa)

Buhl Day (Sharon, Pennsylvania)

Great Bathtub Race (Nome, Alaska)

Box Car Day (Tracy, Minnesota)

1st Saturday

Indian Day

Braemar Highland Gathering (Scotland)

1st Sunday after Labor Day

Grandparent’s Day

1st Saturday after Labor Day

Federal Lands Cleanup Day

Yellow Daisy Festival (Stone Mountain Park, Georgia)

1st Saturday after Full Moon in September

Indian Day (Oklahoma)

2nd Sunday

National Pet Memorial Day

2nd Sunday (every other year)

Bruegel Feesten (Belgium)

2nd Friday after Labor Day

The Big E begins (New England’s Great State Fair; Maine)

3rd Sunday

World Peace Day

Pig Face Sunday (Avening, UK)

3rd Tuesday

International Day of Peace (UN)

Prinsjesdag (Netherlands)

4th Sunday

Good Neighbor Day

4th Friday

Native American Day

4th Saturday

National Hunting & Fishing Day

Kid’s Day (Kiwanis Club)

Last Sunday

Gold Star Mother’s Day

Sunday before Michaelmas (29th)

Carrot Sunday (Scotland)

16 days from late September ending on 1st Sunday in October

Oktoberfest begins (Germany)

Sunday before October 2nd

Tap-Up Sunday

And all of this is not to mention such red-letter days as Eat an Extra Desert Day (September 4), Talk Like a Pirate Day (September 19), or Hug a Vegetarian Day (September 26)…

Party on!

 

Written by LW

September 1, 2014 at 1:01 am

“A doctor can bury his mistakes, but an architect can only advise his clients to plant vines…”*

 

From  the New School of Architecture and Design, “Failure by Design”– an infographic that charts major architectural blunders through the ages…   Visit the Lighthouse of Alexandria, the Tower of Pisa, the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, and other famously ill-conceived constructions for explications of the miscalculations at work and the lessons they teach.

Click here (and again) for an enlarged version of the full graphic; read about the project here and here.

* Frank Lloyd Wright

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As we take up our t-squares, we might send exquisitely-wrought birthday greetings to the architect of “The Library of Babel,” Jorge Luis Borges; he was born on this date in 1899.  An accomplished poet, essayist, and translator, Borges is of course best remembered for his short stories.  In reaction to 19th century Realism and Naturalism, Borges blended philosophy and fantasy to create an altogether new kind of literary voice.  Indeed, critic Angel Flores credits Borges with founding the movement that Flores was the first to call “Magic Realism.”

There’s no need to build a labyrinth when the entire universe is one.

 source

Written by LW

August 24, 2013 at 1:01 am

Oops…

 

In 1870, a German chemist made a single, simple error in transcribing his data on how much iron was in spinach… and provided an object lesson in the spread and persistence of erroneous information in society:

One of the strangest examples of the spread of error is related to Popeye the Sailor. Popeye, with his odd accent and improbable forearms, used spinach to great effect, a sort of anti-Kryptonite. It gave him his strength, and perhaps his distinctive speaking style. But why did Popeye eat so much spinach? What was the reason for his obsession with such a strange food?

The truth begins more than fifty years earlier. Back in 1870, Erich von Wolf, a German chemist, examined the amount of iron within spinach, among many other green vegetables. In recording his findings, von Wolf accidentally misplaced a decimal point when transcribing data from his notebook, changing the iron content in spinach by an order of magnitude. While there are actually only 3.5 milligrams of iron in a 100-gram serving of spinach, the accepted fact became 35 milligrams. To put this in perspective, if the calcu­lation were correct each 100-gram serving would be like eating a small piece of a paper clip.

Once this incorrect number was printed, spinach’s nutritional value became legendary. So when Popeye was created, studio ex­ecutives recommended he eat spinach for his strength, due to its vaunted health properties. Apparently Popeye helped increase American consumption of spinach by a third!

This error was eventually corrected in 1937, when someone rechecked the numbers. But the damage had been done. It spread and spread, and only recently has gone by the wayside, no doubt helped by Popeye’s relative obscurity today. But the error was so widespread that the British Medical Journal published an article discussing this spinach incident in 1981, trying its best to finally debunk the issue.

Ultimately, the reason these [types of] errors spread is because it’s a lot easier to spread the first thing you find, or the fact that sounds cor­rect, than to delve deeply into the literature in search of the correct fact.

From Samuel Arbesman’s The Half-Life of Facts: Why Everything We Know Has an Expiration Date.

[TotH to the wonderful Delancey Place— from which, the image above]

And lest we think that this kind of mistake has faded into the past, it turns out that the academic research that underpins Paul Ryan’s budget (and the agressive austerity approach that it embodies) contains a simple arithmetic error (not to mention a serious structural flaw)… one that, when corrected, suggests that deficits are not, after all, necessarily an impediment to economic growth and health.

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As we eat our spinach anyway, we might spare a thought for Gerardus Johannes Mulder; he died on this date in 1880.  An accomplished organic and analytic chemist, Mulder was the first to use use the word “protein” (drawing on work by Berzelius), the first to propose that animals acquired protein by ingestion (of plants, Mulder suggested), and the first to identify “fibrin,” the clotting protein in blood.  (Mulder had an impact in the Plant Kingdom as well:  he was first to analyze phytol correctly during research on chlorophyll, and confirmed that theine and caffein were the same compound.)

 source

 

Written by LW

April 18, 2013 at 1:01 am

News that isn’t…

From corrections…

… to photos…

…to typos…

… readers will find the backstories to these gaffes and myriad others at Poynter’s “The best (and worst) media errors and corrections of 2012.”

Special Bonus:  Jim Romenesko’s Headline of the Year: “Maneater: Hall Bitten by Oates.”

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As we fixate on fact-checking, we might recall that this is the birthday of quantum physics: it was on this date in 1900 that Max Planck published his study of the effect of radiation on a “blackbody” substance, demonstrating that in certain situations energy exhibits the characteristics of physical matter– something unthinkable at the time– and suggesting that energy exists in discrete packets, which he called “quanta”… thus laying the foundation on which he, Einstein, Bohr, Schrodinger, Dirac, and others built our modern understanding of physics.

 source

Written by LW

December 14, 2012 at 1:01 am

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