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Old 2008-09-30, 18:56   #1
ixfd64
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Default Media pet peeves

Don't you just hate it when reporters don't do any research before writing news articles?

Um, no. The number of prime numbers is infinite. There is a major difference between "largest prime number" and "largest known prime number."

It's a common misunderstanding, but the prize is not limited to Mersenne primes.

Quote:
Mersenne primes — named for their discoverer, 17th century French mathematician Marin Mersenne — are expressed as 2P-1, or two to the power of "P" minus one.
Doesn't anyone ever proofread articles?

There are 46 known Mersenne primes. We don't know the actual number of Mersenne primes that are out there.

$120,600? WTF?

Fail.

Actually, UCLA will only get half of the prize money.

Close, but not quite. $50,000 will go to the winner, $25,000 will go to charity, $20,000 will go to previous discoverers of Mersenne primes and $5,000 will go to GIMPS.

Quote:
GIMPS founder George Woltman said in a press release that the organization next will offer up a $150,000 award for the first person or group to find the first 100-million-digit prime number.
The prize is offered by the EFF, not GIMPS.

Last fiddled with by ixfd64 on 2008-09-30 at 19:03
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Old 2008-09-30, 19:04   #2
ewmayer
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My pet media peeve is when people in the media use "media" as a singular noun.

However, on my personal scale of pet peevishness, the annoyance factor for this one - mostly because it is so common, much like misuse of "data" as singular - rates, well, "medium". :)
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Old 2008-09-30, 19:26   #3
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"Is" is a verb, except when it is a noun.
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Old 2008-09-30, 20:02   #4
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But "the media" are certainly not uncountable, even in the looser "for all intents and purposes" sense.

Sorry, it's just poor grammar - there is nothing inconvenient nor awkward about saying these Latinate nouns properly - "the media are...", "the data indicate that...", "this particular news medium is extremely annoying", "this datum would appear to be an outlier", etc. The rules for these are much simpler than other grammatical rules most folks have difficulty with, e.g. who v whom, metaphor v simile, he v him, and so forth. Difficulty is not an excuse here.
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Old 2008-09-30, 20:25   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ixfd64 View Post
Don't you just hate it when reporters don't do any research before writing news articles?
Yeah.

And aren't you especially peeved when they confuse Australian dollars with United States dollars?

;-)

Quote:
$120,600? WTF?
Put another WTF on the barbie, mate! That's close enow on the exchange rate after takin' ou' the bank commission -- Fair dinkum!

Wrestle me another croc on yer way out, will ya?

Last fiddled with by cheesehead on 2008-09-30 at 20:49
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Old 2008-10-02, 05:54   #6
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http://raisakbar.wordpress.com/2008/...-prime-number/

Actually a blog and not a news article; but it claims that 43112609 is the new prime.

EDIT: Whoops. Looks like I was too quick to point blame at the blog.

Last fiddled with by jinydu on 2008-10-02 at 06:45
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Old 2008-10-02, 06:18   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jinydu View Post
http://raisakbar.wordpress.com/2008/...-prime-number/

Actually a blog and not a news article; but it claims that 43112609 is the new prime.
Apparently it's already been edited. The headline simply states "43,112,609 is a prime number", which is true. There's now no claim in the rest of the blog entry that 43112609 is even related to the recent UCLA discovery.

Last fiddled with by cheesehead on 2008-10-02 at 06:19
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Old 2008-10-02, 11:30   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ewmayer View Post
But "the media" are certainly not uncountable, even in the looser "for all intents and purposes" sense.

Sorry, it's just poor grammar - there is nothing inconvenient nor awkward about saying these Latinate nouns properly - "the media are...", "the data indicate that...", "this particular news medium is extremely annoying", "this datum would appear to be an outlier", etc. The rules for these are much simpler than other grammatical rules most folks have difficulty with, e.g. who v whom, metaphor v simile, he v him, and so forth. Difficulty is not an excuse here.
I have just bought a copy of the new Fowler's.

It agrees with you over 'media' :
[the word 'media'] "is increasingly used as a singular mass noun ... but this should be avoided" (my emphasis)

But considers 'data' a lost cause:
[in computing] " 'data' is treated as singular and use with 'their' 'these' and 'many' now sound pedantic or even precious in this connection. This tendency has had a major influence on more general use."

This is British English usage of course.


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Old 2008-10-11, 04:14   #9
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Don't you just hate it when reporters don't do any research before writing news articles?
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Old 2008-10-11, 04:57   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ixfd64 View Post
Don't you just hate it when reporters don't do any research before writing news articles?
A reporter, for a well known and respected national radio show, recently did a story on something to do with my work. They had sound bites etc. Nice to hear the good publicity. However, when it came time to mention the name of the division of the organization, they muffed it. I was the one that came up with the name. I was decidedly not chuffed.
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Old 2008-10-11, 06:07   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xyzzy View Post
http://mersenneforum.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=2791&d=1223698425
Coincidentally (not ironically, as all-too-many newsfolks would mis-characterize this), the very next PBS "Nova" episode will be about the Columbia tragedy:

Quote:
Space Shuttle Disaster

Tuesday, October 14 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on PBS

Check your local listings as dates and times may vary.)

At the end of a nearly flawless 15-day mission in early 2003, the space shuttle Columbia disintegrated during reentry into Earth's atmosphere, killing the crew of seven. In this documentary, NOVA probes the accident and the decisions stretching back four decades that made the tragedy almost inevitable.

"Space Shuttle Disaster" is a penetrating look at the history of the shuttle program and the political pressures that made the shuttle a highly complex engineering compromise, which fell short of its ambitious goal to make space travel routine, cheap, and safe. The film brings to the forefront the uncertain future of human spaceflight after the 2010 scheduled shuttle retirement. Many questions remain, including what are the consequences if the U.S. is out of orbit for five years?

Here's what you'll find on the companion Web site:

Rescue Scenarios
Follow, day by day, how a high-risk effort to save Columbia's crew in space might have unfolded.

The Investigator
Scott Hubbard, a veteran leader of space missions, fought denial with hard evidence to convince NASA of the accident's cause.

The Case to Save the Shuttle Program
Allen Richardson, 30 years in Boeing's space operations, offers arguments for continuing shuttle missions beyond 2010.

Force of Impact
How could a lightweight piece of debris cause catastrophic damage? Find out in this simulation of the shuttle's launch.

The Insider Who Knew
NASA engineer Rodney Rocha, whose warnings and calls for action went unheeded, speaks out about the disaster.

Also, Links & Books, the Teacher's Guide, the program transcript, and more:

http://www.pbs.org/nova/columbia

Remember, most NOVA episodes stream on our website the day after the premiere, so if you missed Space Shuttle Disaster you can catch it at:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/programs
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