Sad, but true: Here’s How TurboTax Just Tricked You Into Paying to File Your Taxes. Justin Elliott and Lucas Waldron report for ProPublica.
Probably not. Use some common sense, people. As Jacob Fenston explains, reduce and reuse is often the best choice.
Nikhil Sonnad, Everything bad about Facebook is bad for the same reason:
[Facebook] has its own grand project—to turn the human world into one big information system. This is, it goes without saying, nowhere near as terrible as the project of the thousand-year Reich. But the fundamental problem is the same: an inability to look at things from the other fellow’s point of view, a disconnect between the human reality and the grand project.
Elizabeth G. Knight, writing in the Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club, 11:11/12 (November-December 1884), p. 134:
Salisburia adiantifolia Smith. [a synonym for Ginkgo biloba] — Although it has been known for several years that the ginkgo fruits abundantly each year in Central Park, yet, as a recent copy of Henderson’s “Handbook of Plants” states, that “there has been no fruit borne in this country,” and as Josiah Hoopes in “The Book of Evergreens” does not note the fruiting of any of the trees he knows, I venture to say to all who are interested in seeing the fruit and desire to obtain specimens that they will be supplied upon application to me at the Normal College, N. Y. City.
Paula Poundstone nails it.
Netting bats on the ashes of a Staten Island landfill, from Laura Bliss.
A lot of New Yorkers still think of Freshkills as a dump, [Danielle Fibikar] says, even though it’s coming back to life. The place is misunderstood, sort of like the bats.
“There’s a lot of stuff people don’t pay attention to in this city,” she says. “I think they’re scared of what they don’t know.”
Alas, the story is marred by a copy editing blunder:
In New York City, where nine species of bats are known to migrate during the summer, a single little brown bat is capable of devouring up to 100 percent of its body weight in insects, a diet that includes mosquitoes.
Devouring up to 100 per cent of its body weight… per day? per minute? per fortnight?
Another TED Talk’s too-good-to-be-true research comes into question. What a surprise.
Geoffrey Pullum receives a solicitation of editing services.
The laugh point came when I reached this astonishingly unidiomatic statement:
On the receipt of a manuscript, we will make do to immediately send to you, the Manuscript Identification Number and the Manuscript Processing Fee, taking cognizance of the pages of the received manuscript, within one hour.
This showed up on VH-1 this morning. It’s easily the dullest, lamest video that the 80s has to offer.
Peter and Tuska are part of a colony on the planet Oasis. Far from being alien or exotic, living conditions on USIC’s base are designed to be stiflingly mundane, right down to the piped-in music:
They were sitting at a table in the USIC mess hall. Tuska was tucking into spaghetti Bolognese (whiteflower spaghetti, whiteflower “mince,” imported tomato sauce, imported herbs) and Peter was eating a pancake (100 percent local). The air was full of noises: the sound of rain pelting rhythmically against the windows, the mingled conversations of other employees, the clattering of metal trays, the scraping of chairs, the opening and shutting of doors, and Frank Sinatra crooning “My Funny Valentine.” It all seemed a grossly excessive amount of bustle and chatter to Peter, but he knew the problem was his perception, and he must try to get in the swing of it. The metaphorical swing, that is: no amount of effort could reconcile him to Frank Sinatra.—Michel Faber, The Book of Strange New Things, chap. 17
Geoffrey K. Pullum copy-edits a phishing attempt.
It’s a good week for the clueless ones.
Here’s a snippet of an e-mail solicitation I received. At least I think I’m being solicited: it’s a little hard to tell.
Subject: Natural One Way Link Building Proposal
Hope you are doing well.
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But we are come back to you with some special offer of this November regarding link building campaign, now purchase our link packages then you will get
If you want to purchase our Platinum Package online then please visit: [REDACTED] If you will see 200 links online then don’t worry about it we will provide you 10% extra links.
If you interested in our service then send me site details and we will start work for your project from next working day and you will get report accordingly.
We will provide weekly update of the off page links. So that, you can check the progress of your project of weekly basis.
We wish you the best of luck for your business and looking forward to a long and healthy business relationship with you and your company.
Work with us and you would see the difference.
Head of Technical Department
Allan Savory gives a rubbish science TED talk and gets 2M page views. George Manbiot looks at the peer-reviewed literature and finds no evidence to back up Savory’s claims.
When faced with the claims of a Savory, Leta and I like to quote Brick Pollitt, in the last line of the play as Williams originally wrote it: “Wouldn’t it be funny if that was true?”
Leta responds to misdirected customer complaints and requests for service.
Dear Ms. Hall,
Is the meat in tsc’s tsatziki steak flatbread conventionally raised or organic?