Monday, June 16, 2014

Quantum Typos - Priority: LOW

Saw a "must read" article making its way around Facebook. It was written with the hope of correcting the misuse of ten scientific terms that apparently scientists are sick of us laypeople using incorrectly. I wonder how those same scientists would feel about Annalee Newitz's apparent inability to proofread her articles?

First I want to address the fact that this is not actually Newitz speaking here. This is a quote from David Goldberg. Without knowing how Newitz conducted the interview I'm not sure if I should blame her for transcribing their conversation incorrectly or if I should blame her for not checking Goldberg's email for typos before including it in her article. Either way, I blame Newitz. Gotta be clear on that.

Now from my perspective there's two things that Newitz could do to fix the offending excerpt:

    1. Add "much" before "smart".

I'm no scientist so I have no idea if "smart" is something that can be quantified and is needed in order to collapse wave functions. If that's the case then the corrected sentence should read, "How much smart do you need to collapse a wave function?" 

I don't know, I'm guessing about 6 cups of smart.

    2. Add the verb "be" after "to".

This seems, to me, to be the obvious choice to fix this sentence. "How smart do you need to be to collapse a wave function?" Clearly one needs to be smart to collapse a wave form, but how smart? Indeed it is something we have all wondered.

Lastly, "wave form" is two words. Not one. You'd think someone writing for a website like io9 would get that right.

In all honesty, I'm sure no one noticed this minor typo. I mean, this article is intended for people who apparently don't understand things like quantum uncertainty or even what "organic" really means. I doubt any of their readers are scouring the internet looking for tiny insignificant typos to write about on their blogs. Nope, just me.

Anyways, this typo is low priority. If it's never fixed Newitz's article won't suffer (much). She'll most likely keep her sweet job writing for a website that people actually visit, even if she is just regurgitating things that made their way around the internet MONTHS AGO.

Cat desk.