April 24, 2007

In which we learn that copy editors should also have a rudimentary knowledge of math

Do you think the people who wrote this ad meant to say that the minimum sentence for illegal possession of a gun is 1.73 years? Because I don't think they did.


My guess is that this particular mistake (thinking for some reason that a fraction should be superscripted) is related to the weird feature in Microsoft Word that wants to automatically superscript the endings of ordinal numbers -- the "st" in "1st", the "nd" in "2nd", etc. -- a formatting choice that I'm pretty sure Microsoft concocted out of thin air. Either that or no one could figure out how to insert a proper fraction character.

Posted by Francis at 12:45 AM

My bet is on "no one could figure out how to insert a proper fraction character."

My other bet is on "What makes you think they have copy editors?"

Posted by: India at April 24, 2007 08:56 AM

From an AP article in the Chicago Tribune:

"Ebert had surgery June 16th to remove a cancerous growth on his salivary gland. He also had emergency surgery July First after a blood vessel burst near the site of the operation."

Somebody somewhere is trying to show Microsoft who's boss.

Posted by: Orange at April 24, 2007 09:29 AM

Isn't "July First" a militant Australian organization that wants to shift New Year's Day six months later?

Posted by: Francis at April 24, 2007 10:25 AM

Maybe the number of years is the square root of 3, about a year and 8 months.

Posted by: Byron at April 24, 2007 03:29 PM

...or 1.73 years, which is indeed about 1 year and 267 days. 268 in a leap year.

Posted by: Francis at April 24, 2007 06:19 PM


I think there's a word missing in that ad, right after "minimum." Something like "penalty" or "sentence."

Also, if you are carrying a loaded gun illegally and think you are about to get caught, is there an incentive to empty the thing at random? And should there be one?

Posted by: RichM at April 25, 2007 05:32 PM
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