Friday, April 25, 2014

Letters to the Editor

Today, I'm going to respond to some questions and comments related (and in some cases, completely unrelated) to this blog.  Here they are:
In your last post, you described a Scrabble game in which the human participant used the words "cylinder" and "zeitgeist" to win.  This is totally unrealistic, because everyone knows that players are limited to 7 letters in Scrabble.  I am outraged that you could have written something so inaccurate.
I share your rage.  I too am absolutely obsessed with finding the smallest inaccurate details on the most insignificant topics and then ranting about them like a crazy person in the most embarrassing way possible.  To this end, the only thing your note lacked was misspelled words in ALL-CAPS, and a metaphorical reference comparing the person you are criticizing to an evil criminal such as Adolf Hitler.  Oh, and you missed several other inaccuracies in my post, such as a robot being aware of the concept of a singularity without it actually having occurred, a computer program that continues to function in any way after an unhandled exception, and the statement that TV and movies don't lie, among other things.  While I applaud your passion for detail, I wonder if you may have mistaken this blog for one that is actually devoted to accuracy, like becauseaccurate.blogspot.com, or becausefactual.blogspot.com, or maybe becauseidonthaveanythingbettertodo.blogspot.com.  In any case, thanks for writing.

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I just received an advertisement that had asterisks, crosses, and several other symbols after nearly every word.  The advertisement was followed by three solid pages of text that attempted to explain all the symbols.  What does all this mean?
Special symbols following words in any document are pretty easy to understand: they simply serve to negate whatever word or phrase they are attached to without making the writer look like they are blatantly lying.  For example:

FREE OF CHARGE*
    *No, it's not really free at all, except in the most narrow interpretation.  For instance, you can read this advertisement, including the fine print, free of charge.  Any other action on your part that we have any way of knowing about will likely result in you receiving a bill.
   
NO PURCHASE REQUIRED TO WIN*
    *However, the "prize" for non-purchasers is the opportunity to have our sales associates drone on and on about the benefits of making a purchase.  If you threaten to sue us, we'll give you the broken lamp we found at the dump while we were collecting the real prizes.
   
You get the idea.

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This comment came from Twitter:
u r dum #lookatme  #pleasepayattentiontome #iwantpeopletohinkimcoolfortypingwordsonawebpage #ihavenothingbettertodowithmylife #ihaveaninferioritycomplexwhichmakesmeinsultothersontheinternet
First, I'd like to congratulate you on your command of the English language.  Secondly, I'd like to commend you on your courage in standing up for your deeply held and clearly very well thought out beliefs.  Yours is an example that everyone should follow.  #sarcasm

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I can't believe that people would actually submit questions like this.  Did you make these questions up?
No**.  No I did not.

**Yes.  Yes I did.