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.

Problems with the grammar

August 18, 2008

Found on a download page:

Problems with the download please use this direct link or try another mirror.

At first glance, these words do suggest some kind of understandable concept. But it seems to be communicated by less of a sentence structure and more of a stream of consciousness technique. It’s really quite literary.

The GPS Made Me Do It

August 14, 2008

GPS devices have to be careful about how they phrase things, so they won’t get sued. People will do anything a GPS tells them – did you see that episode of The Office?

So, for example, if you need to do a U-turn, it will say “make a legal U-turn.” Problem is, that sounds a lot like “make illegal U-turn.” How specific do I have to be at following these directions anyway?

BBC: “What is this…’search engine’?”

August 14, 2008

The BBC clearly has no idea what a search engine is. Check out this excerpt from the article “Mozilla plans Luganda web search“:

Internet search engine Mozilla Firefox has launched a project in Uganda to translate its searches into the local Luganda language.

Firefox isn’t a search engine – it’s a web browser. So, then, what can this even mean? Are they creating a search engine? Are they adding features to translate search terms before sending them to another search engine?

Updated: the article has been updated to remove all references to search engines, presumably after receiving e-mails from everybody who read the article.

The Secret to Losing

August 13, 2008

Here’s some great spam I just received:

Here’s a great e-book..”The secrets to winning every single time in everything you do” By jim Edwards

…except capitalization.

Abolish the Run-On

August 13, 2008

From the Ron Paul Campaign for Liberty blog:

Yesterday Ron Paul endorsed Republican George Lilly, running in Colorado’s the 1st Congressional District, defeated Charles Crain for the right to take on six-term incumbent Denver Democrat Rep. Diana DeGette in the November general election.

If only Ron Paul’s minimalist views of government carried over into minimalist views of sentence structure. Amongst the violations: I’ve never seen a “the” used after a possessive before. It’s almost impossible to read the first clause without reading it as the main clause: “Ron Paul endorsed George Lilly.” That’s what happened, right? This probably could have been a whole paragraph. This is “the internets,” guys – we’re not killing trees here.

Branding or Typo? Part 1

August 13, 2008

This is the first in what’s likely to be a recurring category for Unintentional Genius – Branding or Typo? Creative names are a must for companies and products today, especially if you want to get a simple domain name. Changing the spelling of words is one way to do it. But some names make you wonder just how intentional the spelling change is…

Today’s winners:

  • Perficient – “experts in delivering business-driven technology solutions.” Not in spelling, though, apparently. I worked for them for a while, and now the word “proficient” actually sounds wrong to me. Dumbification complete.
  • Davisor Publishor – software to convert Word documents into PDFs. Maybe they should have checked with an “editer” before they picked this name. I’m not entirely sure that it’s not really a 1980′s robot.


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