or, stuff that I dragged out of my head

Location: Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada

Monday, December 17, 2007

Number Cruncher

You know how I'm always jawing on about the importance of the copy-editing process? Here's a piece from the Sunday, December 16th, edition of News of the Weird (updated every Sunday and worth reading on a regular basis, for laughs if nothing else) which will suggest why:

The Texas Board of Education announced in November that it had made its selections of approved math textbooks for the next school year, even though the group of chosen books contained a total of 109,263 errors. Books of the industry giant Houghton Mifflin accounted for about 86,000. All publishers have guaranteed to correct the errors by the time the books are shipped.

Here's an article about the situation, which avers that one of the mistakes, in a second-grade textbook, is the equation "4+7=10".

I ask you.

The textbook people claim that the mistakes happened during the translation from English into Spanish, because as everyone knows, the numerals are completely different. Obvious, really.

Here's a little graph I made up to illustrate the whole mess. It applies to most unedited writing.

(You can make your own graphs here. Fun!)


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