Lenovo "wants to position its ThinkPad range as an Apple-level premium brand"
That's funny; it already is.
179 posts • joined 7 Jan 2008
laptop + docking station > desktop
My home setup: four 1920x1200 LCDs (2x2) and an external keyboard, all driven by a ThinkPad W500. Hell, I don't even use a dock anymore; three of the monitors are driven through DVI-to-USB adapters connected to USB 3.0 Expresscard.
Recently I had to call my credit union to have my password reset. I was asked the most basic of questions, then told, "OK, it's reset." I replied, "Are you kidding me? I don't WANT it to be that easy!" Every site should include challenge questions whose answers not every your twin would know. Paul
In his will, the late Star Trek creator stipulated that anyone who challenged their inheritance was to receive nothing. Roddenberry's daughter was awarded "only" $10 million and no residuals. She felt she deserved more. Acting on what must be the worst legal advice in history, she challenged the will. The judge wasted no time in awarding her nothing.
As a science writer, I strive to write this lucidly and humanly. Unfortunately, I work for the U.S. government, whose public affairs folks delight in turning science stories like yours and mine into dull press releases. In any case, about once a month I forward a science article to my colleagues as an example of the best science writing. Tag, you're it.
The box that changed the world: fifty years of container shipping - an illustrated history, by Arthur Donovan, Joseph Bonney (2006)
Also, a Scientific American podcast (2007), in audio and transcript: How Cargo Containers Shrank the World and Transformed Trade.
If either of these was your source, give credit where it's due.
Very clear? I think not.
Under your definition, if I write 'reduced it by a factor of two-thirds,' readers will think I mean 'multiplied it by 3/2, making it 50 percent larger.' Do you seriously believe anyone will think that? Is that your intent?
Under your definition--but not under mine--to 'reduced unemployment by a factor of zero' would be impossible, since you can't divide by zero.
Under your definition, if you leave a value unchanged, you're reducing it by a factor of 1 (100 percent divided by 1). by your definition, reducing by a factor of 1 = increasing by a factor of 1 (100 percent x 1). That's jarringly counterintuitive.
Under your definition, if you reduce unemployment by 1 percent, you're
reducing it by a factor of 1.01 (since 1 divided by 1.01 = 0.99). Not at all obvious.
I completely agree with you that journalists who write 'increased by 1%' when they mean 'increased by 1 percentage point' are guilty of ambiguity and worse: stupidity or contempt for accuracy. Ditto for journalists who write '3 times greater' when they mean '2 times greater' or '3 times as great.'
The innumeracy is going from bad to worse.
To quote from 'factor change' at zonelandeducation.com:
'If a speed changed from 40 m/s to 20 m/s, we would say that the speed changed by a factor of 1/2.'
Need further evidence? From Common Errors in English Usage by Paul Brians:
'Mathematically literate folks object to expressions like “my paycheck is three times smaller than it used to be” because when used with whole numbers “times” indicates multiplication and should logically apply only to increases in size. Say "one third as large” instead.'
If Brians is not sufficiently authoritative, there's always the New York Times Style and Usage ('times less, times more'):
'"And do not write "times less" or "times smaller" (or things like "times as thin" or "times as short"). A quantity can decrease only one time before disappearing, and then there is nothing less to decrease further. Make it "one-third as much" (or as tall, or as fast).'
When something is increased by a factor of 20, it's larger by 20 times, or 2000 percent.
If something could be reduced by a factor of 20, it would be smaller by 20 times, or 2000 percent.
Yet once something is reduced by 100 percent, it no longer exists.
He meant to say that the new subsystem would draw 1/20th the power. In other words, its energy demand would be reduced by 95 percent.
I reply, "Do you mean I'll have to ask the press officer because you don't know, or because you refuse to tell me?"
The drone then carefully repeats, with surprise and irritation, "You'll have to ask the press officer." To which I reply, "That won't be necessary; you've just answered my question."
Me: Will Verizon be getting the iPhone next month, as reported in the Wall Street Journal?
sales guy: I've read the same reports. Stories like that are nothing new.
Me: But according to the Journal, Apple has placed an order for millions of CDMA chips. That clearly points to Verizon, wouldn't you say?
sales guy: People have been asking us that for years. Verizon will never get the iPhone.
me: Then if the story turns out to be true, will you personally buy me an iPhone and a two-year plan?
"unless it can prove a negative?" Nice bit of sophistry there, El Reg. The impossibility of "proving a negative" refers to the challenge of proving that something didn't happen, doesn't exist, or never will exist, despite one's limited ability to know. It doesn't refer to proving, analytically and experimentally, that a phenomenon like interference is impossible.
The paragraph that begins, "One generally talks about radio transmissions being square" ranks among the most brilliantly clarifying technical explanations I've ever read. Few readers can appreciate how much effort, skill, and broad intelligence are required to craft sentences like these.
When I took a master's level class in Technical Journalism, our professor began by teaching the five Ws (Who, When, Where, What, Why). Your first sentence, he added, must summarize what your story is about.
I asked, "If you were to survey Pulitzer Prize-winning science articles, how many would obey these rules?" Our prof smiled broadly. "You're right, Maryland, USA. These guidelines will help you create serviceable writing. They're not what you'd folllow to pen great writing."
A few years ago, in Virginia (USA), the Washington Post revealed that a boys' baseball league refused to let parents read the game's rules. The league's director claimed, "If we let them see how we make our rulings, they'll quibble with our calls."
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