Toad in the Hole

June 28, 2006

False Grit

(Who else is old enough to remember Grit, the alleged newspaper?)

Editors' and, OK, Writers' Hall of Shame: AP article in the Chron this morning about stone ruins discovered in the Amazon forest, which are being called an ancient "Stonehenge" observatory, contains the phrase, "although the blocks have not yet been submitted to carbon dating." Minor finger-wag at Stan Lehman, who wrote the piece, but a bigger one at whichever editor along the flume didn't twitch reflexively at the conjunction of stone blocks and carbon dating. You can't carbon-date stone. There are ways of dating stone, but carbon-dating pretty much works only for the formerly living.

At the end of the piece, as the Chron ran it, is a clue about how Mr. Lehman jumped to his conclusion: An archeology department head is paraphrased as saying that "carbon dating and further excavation must be carried out." Carbon-dating the stuff around the stones, the plants and carbon-ish soil bits, would make sense in establishing approximate ages. But I'd think that the idea of carbon-dating stones would strike the ear as incongruous.

Are there any science-for-journalists courses in colleges and J-schools? I wonder what should be in them, basics that the students should have had in highschool, or things that show up most often in the news and that people commonly trip over.

Another amusing incongruity in the same section, in a full-page Macy's ad, is a teeny-weeny bikini in camouflage cloth. I suppose that's making a statement, but it's hard to say what.

The fun part was another science bit, a newly discovered snake that can change colors like a chameleon. They've given it the unimaginative English name "Kapuas mud snake."

Posted at June 28, 2006 04:49 PM


Oi! Resurfacing briefly due to rumours that you and Joe were spotted (like toads) somewhere on the planet by this guy I know - I'd say "this guy I live with," but I hardly see the man anymore, thanks to the New Improved Work Ethic now With Fireability and Exhaustion. Bugger. I don't know what I'm saying but Tom said I need to email you. Now I just have to find your eaddie. Three or four email accounts later, I have not one clue. mroo.

Posted by: mroo at June 28, 2006 08:55 PM

I get emailed any response here; I replied via that yahoo address. So let's go out and play already.

Posted by: Ron at June 28, 2006 10:43 PM

Hi Ron. May I call you Ron? Mar, the internets luddite, here. Hope this works to get my address to you. Sorry it took so long to get my address to you but too me awhile to figure out how. Plus, been a tad distracted by a couple little things, such as my car puked its engine and the sewer at my property up in Middletown caused me to have to deal with Enron ethic (fuck grannie in the ass) plumbers.

Posted by: Mar at June 30, 2006 02:40 PM

Heh, we should all be wearing nametags here. Mar, meet Mroo. Mroo, this is Mar. Over there in the corner with a copy of Mad, that's Jym, the tall bald guy with his clips on; that lady with the bag of soap and the Southern accent is Rurality; Sara and B. Dagger are the two folding in the fold-in. Be nice, you two, kicking in the shins is no fair either way.

Now where are the cocktails? Someone send one over to Maggie before she gets out the door again; I owe her one.

Ahhh Friday!

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