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The Book of General Ignorance - small errors

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Gerrit
129775.  Fri Dec 29, 2006 9:15 am Reply with quote

Hi everyone - it's my first post, so hopefully I've chosen the right section seeing as it's the one mentioned for corrections.

p.76 - The book refers to the Afrikaans word "weit" meaning wide, however the correct spelling is "wyd". A bit pedantic I know, but I feel these things are important to get right, otherwise one might start querying the accuracy of more important facts.

p.37 - The term Swiss Roll only being used in Britain isn't correct. I remember it being in general use in at least Namibia and South Africa, as I do remember telling the old joke, "How do you make a Swiss roll? Push him down a mountain." It might have come from Britain, but is definitely in wide use.

p.87 - As for "old London hands" saying the Piccadilly Circus memorial stood in the middle, looking at http://www.btinternet.com/~wgnb/postcards/piccadilly_circus.jpg with the traffic obviously able to circle it, one can understand where that might've come from. Did they just extend the pavement to encompass the memorial?

Some more pedantism - Calling work three times more dangerous than war just because three times more people died at work rather than at war is also somewhat misleading, as surely it should be a percentage, seeing as so many more people choose to work rather than go to war... and Marie Antoinette not uttering the phrase, "Let them eat cake" - maybe she didn't say it first, but that doesn't mean she didn't say it as well.

Other than that, a highly enjoyable book!

 
phenders
130706.  Tue Jan 02, 2007 1:48 pm Reply with quote

My first post also; can't believe I'm using it to pick fault!

p.242 gives AWOL as an example of an acronym, but describes it as meaning 'Absent Without Leave'; it actually stands for 'Absent Without Official Leave'.post 129775

 
Flash
130774.  Tue Jan 02, 2007 4:02 pm Reply with quote

A link to 129775 just seems to bring you one around in a nightmarish Escher loop to this thread. Can you re-link for us?

Re Marie Antoinette, I think the point is that it's a calumny which is known to have been directed at grand ladies before MA was born, and that there's no evidence that she ever said it; so, what with one thing and another, it makes no sense to ascribe it to her. Of course we can't prove that she never said these words, but we think it's pretty safe to assert that they were unjustly held against her.

 
suze
130776.  Tue Jan 02, 2007 4:08 pm Reply with quote

I suspect phenders may have meant this one from Menocchio.

 
Flash
130777.  Tue Jan 02, 2007 4:15 pm Reply with quote

Looks like it, though that makes the opposite case. I've never heard the "official" version before, to speak for myself.

 
Gaazy
130952.  Wed Jan 03, 2007 3:17 am Reply with quote

All my searching tends to convince me that it's 'absent without leave', though why the early acronymsters would have chosen to divide 'without' into two elements is an open question, especially as it appears that the acronym might not have been pronounced as a word at the time, and therefore wouldn't need to have been made pronounceable (cf. all those military abbreviations beloved of Army memos - ones that look like CM/AoHQ/Prm.4Z).

A clue might be the tendency to abbreviate 'without' in other contexts into 'w/o'.

 
Clive Thorne
132262.  Mon Jan 08, 2007 9:04 am Reply with quote

This is my first time writing to the QI forum so I apologise if this seems a bit lame. However I must admit to not spotting the errors in the book General Ignorance refered to previously but have found what I believe to be another error.

Hoping to avoid being derided for this being a non-error, I will press on. On page 140 and 141 the book lists What Edison invention do English speakers use every day? Yet according to the explaination listed the word Hello was actually invented by the Telphone Operators Convention in Niagara Falls.

I think this is actually a proof reading error rather than an error of facts. However it does seem rather humerous to think that if Edison's first use of the word Hello, to which the listing asscribes the proof of his invention of the word, was in a letter dated 1887 then the 'Hello my name is .....' badges used at the telephone convention which is listed as taking place in 1880 pre date Edison's letter by 7 years! The listing clearly states the badges were Hello with an E, so sorry Edison the convention got there first!

So rewrite history or alternatively get the book's proof reader to issue an apology for not doing a good enough job!

Other than that a great book and proof that I know absolutely nothing! Why did I bother with school when I should have just read this book!

P.S. Don't bother to point out any errors in spelling, grammer or typing in my posting. I know I can't spell or type with more than 2 fingers and only got a C in English. But then I do not have a job as a proof reader so it doesn't matter!

 
Carobsa
132395.  Mon Jan 08, 2007 2:54 pm Reply with quote

This is also my first post so i apologise for immediatly picking faults, but this one really bugs me everywhere I see it.

At one point in the book, Orkney, or the Orkney Islands is refered to as "the Orkneys", which as any Orcadian will tell you is wrong. There is only one Orkney, unless you include the one in Antarctica, and I would be very impressed if Polar Bears managed to cross the ice all the way there from the Artic.

It is also wrong to call Shetland, "the Shetlands".

I suppose this can be seen as pointless but it just bugs us, everytime.

 
mr-cammy
132401.  Mon Jan 08, 2007 3:03 pm Reply with quote

Are you from up there?

'Cause that, my friend, is cool.

I can't understand the accent very well though I do try =|
Hmm.
Yup.

 
pleasantlydifferent
132517.  Mon Jan 08, 2007 8:11 pm Reply with quote

hmm
in light of this discussion, i think ill wait for a revised edition to come out before i buy my copy
lotsa love
pleasantlydifferent

 
Carobsa
132696.  Tue Jan 09, 2007 11:28 am Reply with quote

Yes I am, and thank you. I have lived there all my life and we have lots of idiosyncrsies like that.

I am afraid i don't have much of an accent but once you tune your ear to it it is quite easy to understand as long as know know the basic common words like peedie i.e. small.

 
DJones
133150.  Wed Jan 10, 2007 1:03 pm Reply with quote

Clive Thorne wrote:
Hoping to avoid being derided for this being a non-error, I will press on. On page 140 and 141 the book lists What Edison invention do English speakers use every day? Yet according to the explaination listed the word Hello was actually invented by the Telphone Operators Convention in Niagara Falls.

I think this is actually a proof reading error rather than an error of facts. However it does seem rather humerous to think that if Edison's first use of the word Hello, to which the listing asscribes the proof of his invention of the word, was in a letter dated 1887 then the 'Hello my name is .....' badges used at the telephone convention which is listed as taking place in 1880 pre date Edison's letter by 7 years!


In fairness, it says that Edison's 1887 letter is the first *written* use of the word, 'hello'. Bell's patent for the telephone was in 1876 (page 26) and Edison found that "[hello] could be heard ten or twenty feet away" while testing Bell's prototype, presumably in the same year. That said, a little more detail in the explanation would have been nice.

I'm more concerned with (page 220) "Once atomic clocks had recorded these discrepancies, the decision was made to redefine the second, hitherto a set fraction of the 'solar' day - i.e. one-million-six-hundred-and-forty-thousandth of a day." A second is a mere eighty-six-thousand-and-four-hundredth of a day. One million, six-hundred-and-forty thousand seconds is quite close to 19 days, so I'm not sure where their calculation went wrong.

Also, on page 183 we learn that Aristarchus first put forward the theory that the Earth goes around the Sun and then, on the following page, "[Galileo] is most famous for his support of the 'Copernican' (or Aristarchan) theory, that the Sun went round the Earth." A simple typo, but a shame to see it in an otherwise high-quality book.

Dave

 
dr.bob
133376.  Thu Jan 11, 2007 5:35 am Reply with quote

DJones wrote:
Also, on page 183 we learn that Aristarchus first put forward the theory that the Earth goes around the Sun and then, on the following page, "[Galileo] is most famous for his support of the 'Copernican' (or Aristarchan) theory, that the Sun went round the Earth."


That one's already been pointed out on the Errata thread in post 128536.

Any chance one of the moderators can combine these two threads in some way?

 
DJones
133481.  Thu Jan 11, 2007 8:33 am Reply with quote

dr.bob wrote:
That one's already been pointed out on the Errata thread in post 128536.

Darnit. I searched for "errata" and got nothing.

 
dr.bob
133499.  Thu Jan 11, 2007 9:07 am Reply with quote

Curse that case sensitivity!

 

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