Saturday, October 22, 2016

Trumped Up Typos

If the plan for your first hundred days in office has typos, then you're gonna have a bad time.

"Redirects dollars to gives parents..."

I mean, this guy is running for president and his plan looks like it was typed up 20 minutes before it was due. Not that I expect this to sway anyone, but you can read the whole thing here.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Seriously. I just can't. If you don't want to hire people who understand common English phrases then that's on you, just don't expect me to stand by and not say anything.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

In Which Irving Police Can't Recognize a Timekeeping Device and Can't Spell

I'm updating this from my phone so please forgive the simplicity of this post.

If you'll join me in reading this article then we can talk about a glorious typo I found.

About a third of the way down you will find the following:

"She doesn't speak English or know her exact age, but her granddaughters translatged her take on her grandson's celebrity"

Now, I may have only gotten a degree in ASL interpreting so that doesn't mean I know anything about spoken language interpreting. For all I know, "translaging" could be a specific technique that spoken language interpreters use, who can really say. It's not like I know any spoken language interpreters, and I'm far too lazy to find one and ask. 

However, I feel like it's far more likely someone at got a little too excited while writing this article and made a typo. I'd like to think that would have hired an editor to check for things like this. I'd also like to think that when publishing articles about topics in the national headline, maybe a good once over is in order.

But that's just me.

In the end, it's unfortunate what happened to Ahmed, I hope that the outpouring of support encourages him to continue to explore his scientific curiosity. I also hope that someone at sees what they published and feels really awful about it.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015 article in which Hillary Clinton is a group of things...

Howdy readers! It's been 10 months since my last update. I think that's a new record. Going to take almost a whole  year for me to break that one. For now though, let's get into some politics!

I was reading this article on when things started to get a little weird. First up: To em dash, or to underscore...

It was as if millions of programmers cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.
Of course when you're breaking up a sentence it's typically common to use an em dash. However, someone seemed to have been a little too busy holding down the shift key to notice what they were doing and wound up writing something that looks more like they were trying to come up with the worst variable name in programming history. I say "someone" because this article was written by three people; Anita Kumar, Marisa Taylor, and Greg Gordon so I have no idea who to blame for the typo.

Really, I think you could make the argument that this really doesn't affect the sentence all that much. The meaning is still there and from what I can tell the grammar is all still intact. But for me not having the em dash present just feels weird. Like, I can tell that they meant to put a break or pause in the sentence, but because there's this random underscore there I just focus on that rather than what is being said.

I mean, isn't that the point of writing well? So that the reader doesn't have to spend needless time trying to figure out what is being said? How many people have paused and wondered to themselves what the hell two underscores are doing in the middle of a sentence disconnected from any word or meaning?

Speaking of meaning, I feel like one of these authors isn't sure what or who "Clinton" is. Let's take a look:

Which Clinton is which?

Typically "which" is used to describe a group of things, such as the Clinton Administration which is made up of many people, or to introduce a nonessential clause (e.g. see my previous use of "which"). With that I hope you can understand my confusion when the authors use "which" to describe Clinton, who is to my knowledge, a singular person.

Again, maybe it's just me, but I feel like these little slights against the Gods of Grammar really just serve to show how little most people care about proper writing and grammar. I mean, it hasn't even been 100 years since Strunk and White wrote a book whose only purpose was to help people write more clearly and yet here we are. Journalists getting paid to write are just putting in whatever words they like in place of ones that actually would help clarify what they're trying to say.

I'd like to end with an example of the narcissism that writers have to contend with on a daily basis.

I, author.

If you'd be so kind as to look back then you will see that none of the three writers of this article were named Charles McCullough III. So it seems a little strange that a sentence would begin almost as if it were a statement of self. Now I will be honest, when I first read this I thought it was the beginning of a numbered list, however as I continued to read I couldn't help but notice the lack of any further numbers in this list. A list cannot consist of one item, that would simply be a numbered item. I came to the conclusion that yet again Anita, Marisa, or Greg had made a typo. To make matters worse, there should be a comma after the "I" not a period. Not only do the authors have no idea how lists work, one of them doesn't even know how to self-reflect in a grammatically correct manner.

I mentioned narcissism and I believe that to be the root cause of this errant "I". The authors couldn't handle writing a 1500+ word article without including some mention of themselves. I mean what is the world coming to where journalists are having to sneak in references to the fact that they have to assume someone else's identity in the middle of an article.

But really what I think this is all about, and what I mean to say is what it all boils down to is this: I, Will Bolt, had no idea who I. Charles McCullough III was and because I just spent a good half-hour ripping this article apart I had no problems believing that someone was dumb enough to slip in a random pronoun where one did not belong. As it turns out, I'm an idiot, and Mr. McCullough's first name begins with an "I" (spoiler alert: It's Irvin) which really isn't all that uncommon.

Of course we could talk about the kind of hubris it takes to reduce your first name to a pronoun so every time you introduce yourself it sounds like you're making a declaration. But I believe that's a topic for another time.

Thanks for reading!


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Hiatus and Why Can't The Independent Get Snoop's Name Right?

Hello! How are my loyal readers doing? It's been a damn long time since I last posted and it seems that the internet is set to collapse under the weight of all these goddamn typos.

Okay that's probably not accurate or realistic, but sometimes I wish there were greater consequences for not proofreading something other than an angry white guy (i.e. me) and a blog with 157 page views (i.e. this blog).

I won't bore you with my tales of near-unemployment. That could be another blog altogether. No, Dear Reader (e.g. Kim Jong Un), I know why you came. You want proof you're not the only person who can't seem to write a coherent sentence.

Up first! This article by Oscar Williams Grut.

Sometimes I feel like the minor typos are the worst because they made by people who understand English but who are too lazy to use it properly.

There's two things wrong with this paragraph. For now, I'm going to talk about only one of them. Normally the typos I feature in this blog don't really destroy the meaning of what is being said. They're merely annoyances that probably only bother me. However, occasionally there's gems like this.

"It's not often but you find Snoop Dogg rubbing shoulders with Silicon Valley's elite but..."

Do you see the problem? You can't use but twice in a sentence to talk about the same thing. You may be asking why that is, well it's because "but" is often used to negate or modify whatever was said before it.

What the above sentence is actually saying is more along the lines of:

"While you don't often find Snoop Dogg rubbing shoulders with Silicon Valley's elite it does happen from time to time, however the rapper joined some of the technology scene's best-known venture capitalists in funding viral news site Reddit."

So is the author saying that these venture capitalists aren't some of Silicon Valley's elite? If so why mention that first part? The whole thing is just confusing.

If only The Independent bothered to hire a copy editor then maybe they could have caught that little error and replaced the first "but" with a "that" or even rewrite the first part altogether. Perhaps it would be something more like:

"You might not expect to see Snoop Dogg rubbing shoulders with Silicon Valley's elite but the rapper..."

Boom. Simple as sliced ham.

I said there were two problems with the above and there are. Let's take a look at another snippet from the article.

No the author didn't misspell Calvin Cordozar Broadus Jr's name. Instead, what Oscar failed to do was to recognize the fact that Calvin no longer goes by "Snoop Dogg" but has taken on the name "Snoop Lion".

How long did journalists have to write out, "The artist formerly known as Prince"? But they did it. They wrote a phrase in place of a name because that's what he went by. We may be most familiar with calling Calvin "Snoop Dogg" but that's not his name anymore. Get with the times, Oscar.

Anyways, that's all for today, Dear Reader. Hope you enjoyed.


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.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Repetitions Repeat Themselves

Here's the original article over at CNN. Now you may read that article and think, "There's no typos there. What's the issue?"

Well here's the issue: CNN reporter Jill Martin got just a little cosy with a particular phrase.

"A person familiar with Sterling's legal strategy." Well that seems like a perfectly sensible person to information from and cite as a source. Sounds like crack journalism so far, what's the problem?

Okay, they cited the same thing again only now it's a source instead of a person. Again, so what?

What? Now they're back to being a person again? C'mon, Jill, make up your mind! Or is the person/source page of your thesaurus stuck to the front of your monitor and you can't think to type anything else?

Hokay, I get it. So basically you have once source and you just alternate between calling them a "source" or a "person" every other paragraph so it doesn't sound too repetitive. I get it. I really do. But maybe next time you can talk to someone who will actually give you their name. I mean honestly, who the fuck needs protection from Donald Sterling so bad they have to hide their identity? You'd think they were giving sworn testimony against Tommy DeVito or something.

Look, Jill wrote an excellent article, and honestly I have zero business critiquing a writer for, I honestly just haven't seen any glaring typos online in the past few days and needed something to gripe about. Jesus, I can't even stick to insulting people anonymously via a blog that hardly anyone reads. What's wrong with me?

I'm gonna go read some more.