The Economy is Literally Solid-State H2O

October 30, 2008

Two artists on Wednesday installed a 1,500-pound ice sculpture that spelled the word “Economy” in Manhattan’s financial district.

The “Main Street Meltdown” was to remain in Foley Square until it melted — about 24 hours. By Wednesday evening, the E and the C had already thawed and vanished.

Artists say an ice sculpture is a literal representation of the nation’s financial crisis.

Grammar nazis, however, say that that’s an entirely incorrect usage of the word “literal.”

Maoists Strain Out Gnat, Swallow Camel

September 29, 2008

I couldn’t help but notice the juxtaposition about the following two articles about Nepal’s Maoist government today:

Why Maoists are taking a dim view of Miss Nepal contest – Would-be beauty queens in Nepal express their disappointment over the postponement of the Miss Nepal contest for the sixth time this year.

Maoists appoint ‘living goddess’ – Nepal’s Maoist-led government authorises a six-year-old girl to be a “living goddess” in a town near Kathmandu.

One of the reasons for postponing the beauty contest is that it “demeans women.” On the flip side, I guess, technically, it’s not demeaning to a woman to be appointed a goddess. But it’s not like she was chosen for her “great personality:” the article says one of the requirements is to have “32 beautiful physical attributes.” Including “eyelashes like a cow.” Try that one on the little lady next time, guys.

Who Me? Couldn’t Be!

September 3, 2008

Found in BBC News:

An attempt to kill Pakistan’s PM could be a warning shot.

Actually, according to Wikipedia, a warning shot is “a harmless artillery shot or gunshot intended to call attention and demand some action.” So an attempt to kill someone is, by definition, not a warning shot.

The Road Less Travelled

August 29, 2008

Australian hikers following a trail in Papua New Guinea find the suspected remains of a WWII airman hanging in a tree.

Doesn’t a trail imply that people have walked on it? You know, like some time more recently than WWII?

Noodle on This

August 25, 2008

North Korea has reportedly invented a noodle that delays hunger, amid UN warnings of possible famine.

If this isn’t good PR, I don’t know what is. Delays hunger? I always wished that my food would do that! …instead of…what food usually does…?

Apples and Oranges

August 25, 2008

Australia’s ‘Elvis of cricket’ – If Australians were asked to name a national hero, they may well refer to Sir Donald Bradman…cricket’s first superstar.

Let’s ignore for the moment the fact that this is another BBC non-headline.

The title “Elvis of cricket” seems to be unnecessarily crossing into different realms. I get that Elvis was famous. But are there no stars in other sports they could have used? I know less about sports than almost anyone, but come on…have the British never heard of Michael Jordan? Why not just throw all reason to the wind, and say “Bradman is the Ferrari of cricket”?

Update: I misspelled Michael Jordan at first. Hah! Unintentional genius!


August 20, 2008

I held off on posting this as long as I could, but things have only gotten worse.

The BBC’s news feed is actually kinda funny to read, because all the headlines are almost exactly the same length – about five words. Space limits – I understand that. But now some of them are even shorter. And it’s not that they aren’t complete sentences – it’s that they aren’t thoughts. They’re more like topics – they don’t communicate any information. Here’s a sampling:

“New reality? That seems like something I would have noticed!” Attention, BCC: you are a news outlet, not an encyclopedia.

Chemistry Fail…or Alchemy Win?

August 20, 2008

Oh, The Onion…for so long a bastion of sarcasm. Yet even you are not immune to error!

Granite Countertops May Contain Uranium

Many homeowners are having to remove their new countertops because the granite in them has been found to emit hazardous levels of radon.

Even if you don’t know anything about chemistry, you might ask the question: “Radon? I thought you just said the countertops contain uranium.”

When you do know something about chemistry, it gets even stranger: uranium and radon are both elements. The whole point of an element is that it’s completely different at the most fundamental level from all other elements.

Perhaps, then, they’re using “uranium” colloquially? A term for any radioactive substance — presumably also green and ooze-like?

(Seriously, someone correct my chemistry here. Obviously radioactive decay does change one element into another. It’s still hilarious, though, no?)

You’re two tents

August 18, 2008

I have a feeling I’m about to expose my ignorant Americanism – but that’s OK. I like getting news from the BBC, but they seem to have some trouble getting their verb tenses right.

The couple need? China win? I’m pretty sure those are both collective plurals, so that there’s only one couple, and there’s only one China. It sounds like the BBC writing staff “need” some grammar lessons.

[Anger] Management

July 22, 2008

From an article about an IMAX projector malfunctioning during Dark Knight opening weekend:

“The fix, however, came too late for people like Josh Thompson, who drove with friends from Augusta to see the canceled 3:40 p.m. Saturday show. “I’m beyond bummed. I’m really [angry]!” Thompson said.”

Right, I’m sure that’s what he said. Are brackets the new air quotes?


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