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Thread: Read that again?

  1. #3361
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    A CNN news article says:

    “Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer is asking residents to conserve water because liquid oxygen, used to treat the community's water supply, is needed to treat the surge of Covid-19 patients in the community.”

    . . . but reading through the entire article, there is never an explanation of why local water usage affects hospital liquid oxygen supplies. I would think that’s a rather important detail. I ended up doing a web search to see if I could find an article that actually explained the issue being reported and found this:

    https://www.baynews9.com/fl/tampa/ne...s-in-dire-need

    It turns out that in some places, liquid oxygen is used in water treatment, apparently as a replacement for chlorine. In this exceptional situation, the hospitals are using so much that there isn’t enough locally for both them and water treatment. They say that if people don’t limit water usage sufficiently, they likely will prioritize the hospitals and warn residents to boil drinking water.

    It’s much more useful and informative when issues are explained. I know if I was told to limit water use, but they didn’t clearly explain why, I would be less likely to take it seriously. Also, if I lived there, I would want to know if there was a reasonable cost method to change things so this conflict wouldn’t occur again.

    "The problem with quotes on the Internet is that it is hard to verify their authenticity." — Abraham Lincoln

    I say there is an invisible elf in my backyard. How do you prove that I am wrong?

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  2. #3362
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    Oh, oops, I see now I missed the one bit about “water treatment” in the quote. After reading the article twice. My bad. Still, I would have liked more detail in article.

    "The problem with quotes on the Internet is that it is hard to verify their authenticity." — Abraham Lincoln

    I say there is an invisible elf in my backyard. How do you prove that I am wrong?

    The Leif Ericson Cruiser

  3. #3363
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    "He has been the Angels’ best pitcher and best pitcher while occupying only one roster spot."

    So writes Andres Chavez, columnist for The Cold Wire. Oops!

    Of course he's referring to Shohei Ohtani, who is having unprecedented success at a dual role: He's 8-1, with 127 strikeouts in 105 innings, taking a regular turn in Los Angeles' pitching rotation. He's also the designated hitter on days when he doesn't pitch, and leads the league in home runs and slugging percentage.

    Chavez obviously intended to write "best pitcher and best hitter," or vice-versa. I'll bet he decided to switch the order of that tribute at the last moment and only managed half of that. (I know I've done that sort of thing.)

    It's hardly unprecedented to be the best pitcher and the best pitcher while occupying one roster spot. Rather, it's mandatory that each team have one of those.

  4. #3364
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    I enjoyed Richard K. Morgan's Altered Carbon science fiction novels, but took a pass on his Land Fit For Heroes fantasy series. (As a general rule, I don't buy books with pictures of swords on the cover, unless they're non-fiction works about swords.)
    But I've been peripherally aware of the titles in the latter series: The Steel Remains, The Cold Commands and The Dark Defiles. Today I suddenly realized that I've always mentally parsed these as The [adjective + plural noun]. But on reflection it seems more likely they're The [noun + third-person singular verb].

    Grant Hutchison
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  5. #3365
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    I was stuck in a slow drive-through at a Wendy's. Two signs caught my attention.



    FRESH SINCE DAY ONE

    I always thought that Day One meant a long time ago. Doesn't suggest "fresh" to me.



    REAL FOOD
    REAL PEOPLE

    Made me think Soylent Green!

  6. #3366
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    We passed one of these illuminated message signs along the highway yesterday: ROADWAY PAINGING AHEAD. EXPECT DELAYS.
    My wife turned and said "Did that say 'painging'?" Yes, yes it did. To be fair, the 'g' is just below the 't'.
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  7. #3367
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    A review in the Times today, of Rob Bell's new documentary series about lighthouses, Building The Impossible, claims that workers building the Bell Rock lighthouse in Scotland "risked daily drowning" as the tide came in. Drowning's bad enough, but drowning every day would be very unpleasant.

    Grant Hutchison
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  8. #3368
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    We passed one of these illuminated message signs along the highway yesterday: ROADWAY PAINGING AHEAD. EXPECT DELAYS.
    My wife turned and said "Did that say 'painging'?" Yes, yes it did. To be fair, the 'g' is just below the 't'.
    There used to be a hand-painted sign at the side of the road on the way north along Loch Lomond that advertised "HAND WEAVNIG". It was there for years. Drove me mad.

    Grant Hutchison
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  9. #3369
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    From this article, titled "Thousands more people than usual are dying ... but it’s not from Covid":

    Although excess deaths are expected during the winter months, when cold weather and seasonal infections combine to place pressure on the NHS, summer generally sees a lull.
    I must be confused about what "excess deaths" means, because I would've thought it meant "beyond what's expected". "Expected excess deaths" seems like an oxymoron here.
    Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn

  10. #3370
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeanF View Post
    From this article, titled "Thousands more people than usual are dying ... but it’s not from Covid":



    I must be confused about what "excess deaths" means, because I would've thought it meant "beyond what's expected". "Expected excess deaths" seems like an oxymoron here.
    More people die in the winter than the summer in the UK. The winter bulge above the average rate is called "excess winter mortality". And it's expected to occur. That's just what it's called, unfortunately. It's like the expected excess food consumption on Christmas Day.

    Grant Hutchison
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  11. #3371
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeanF View Post
    From this article, titled "Thousands more people than usual are dying ... but it’s not from Covid":



    I must be confused about what "excess deaths" means, because I would've thought it meant "beyond what's expected". "Expected excess deaths" seems like an oxymoron here.
    I kind of feel the same, but I think it means “excess compared to what you would expect on an average over the entire year.” In which case it makes sense.


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  12. #3372
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    It's confusing within the context of the article, even if it might make sense as a stand-alone sentence.

    The whole point of the article is that summer deaths this year are higher than previous years, not that they're higher than other seasons. To switch that context, but still use the same terminology ("excess deaths"), is needlessly confusing.

    EDIT: If this year's winter deaths are higher than previous years, how are they going to express that as a problem, when they've already told us that excess deaths are normal in winter?
    Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn

  13. #3373
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeanF View Post
    EDIT: If this year's winter deaths are higher than previous years, how are they going to express that as a problem, when they've already told us that excess deaths are normal in winter?
    "Winter excess mortality is higher than normal this year." It requires the reader to be familiar with the standard meaning of "winter excess mortality", or for the writer to explain that meaning, according to the anticipated audience, but that's not a problem unique to this phrase.

    Grant Hutchison
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  14. #3374
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    I don't think I'm making myself clear. Let me riff of something Jens said:

    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    I kind of feel the same, but I think it means “excess compared to what you would expect on an average over the entire year.” In which case it makes sense.
    Right. But in the previous paragraph, the article says:
    Since the beginning of July, there have been thousands of excess deaths that were not caused by coronavirus.
    Here they clearly mean compared to previous years. Which is why it's so annoying that they then use the exact same words to refer to something that explicitly happens every year.

    More importantly, when you want people to understand that "excess deaths" means "more deaths than we should expect to be seeing" - because you think they should be concerned about it - then don't turn around in the next paragraph and use "excess deaths" to mean "a number of deaths we always see, every year".

    There are explanations for it, and I understand what the author was trying to convey. But it seems needlessly (and counter-productively) confusing. Even for the reader who figures it out, every subsequent article that they read which uses the words "excess deaths", they're going to be wondering if the author is referring to something normal or not.
    Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn

  15. #3375
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeanF View Post
    I don't think I'm making myself clear.
    I think you're making yourself clear enough. I was simply pointing out that "expected excess deaths" is not actually an oxymoron, and that it's easy enough to deal linguistically with occasions on which the winter death rate exceeds the expected excess.
    The journalist you linked to unfortunately used two standard meanings of "excess mortality" without clearly distinguishing between them, but that wasn't what I was commenting on.

    Grant Hutchison
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  16. #3376
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    The headline below made no sense to me until the third reading, when I realized that the “k” is lower case.

    White House plan aims to help key West Coast ports stay open 24-7 to ease supply chain bottlenecks
    I may have many faults, but being wrong ain't one of them. - Jimmy Hoffa

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