April 25, 2008

Ugly Bag Of Mostly News

I didn't do much websurfing this week, so no link dump shotgun post. Instead, this random stuff.

  • Barry! Here's an item on the subject of "compose vs. comprise." I was called to edit some text from a proposal and found the "comprised of" usage popping up, giving me the opportunity to point out that a writer should stick to "the whole comprises the parts" lest he run afoul of offending the shrinking 35% of those survey respondents who object to that usage. I think my edit was well-received. So, score one for the traditional usage, and for showing off grammar knowledge. Hat tip to Barry.
  • Girl Receives Death Threat through Hearing-Assistance Service
    • Here's a bizarre story. Someone used a web service to send a death threat to a 13-year-old Dracut, MA girl. The service allows a user to type a message, and an operator must read the message to a recipient. Some operator was instructed to read this message to Miss Butler: "I'm watching you, I see your every move. Angela, I am going to kill you when you least expect it, I am going to kill you."
    • It's probably some loser crank calling her, but because the service protects anonymity, the authorities are not able to determine whether this is a serious threat. Advocates say this is a useful service, but since the current laws require the operators to recite the message verbatim, I'm thinking that we'll hear more abuse of this system as time goes on.
  • LOCAL-ISH and GLOBAL-ISH: Thomas Friedman "pied" at Brown University.
    • Video here.
    • Even if you disagree with Friedman's opinions, he always struck me as someone interested in more dialogue. I think you pie people who don't want to face the real world, not the ones who do.
  • LOCAL: Somerset decides to smarten up by having more dim bulbs
    • My town is replacing 70-watt bulbs with 50-watt bulbs in an effort to save cash. But you have to love that headline on Mr. Emery's story; someone trying to say something about our town government? I'm guessing that we'll lost the light near our house in a related effort to turn off "less-necessary" lights on certain straightaways in town. While I applaud the energy savings, we look forward to the increase in the crime rate!
  • LOCAL: Swansea resident suggests regional high school with Somerset
    • I'm guessing that on Thanksgiving Day, a new regional high school would play its traditional Thanksgiving Day game against itself instead of Somerset vs. Case? FAIL.
    • Somerset residents like the autonomy of having our own school system. You asked: "Has any Somerset Official considered the possibility of asking neighboring towns if they might be interested in joining them in this endeavor?" Perhaps if they are looking to get into a new line of work, this would be a good way to subtly serve their notice.

Have a good afternoon.

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Posted by James at April 25, 2008 1:57 PM
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What struck me as odd about the Dracut story when I heard about it yesterday is the operator's role. Yes, I realize that the operator is required by law to recite the entire message as it's written. However, why shouldn't the operator also be required to notify the authorities before (or after, or at least at some point) relaying a death threat to someone? I thought death threats were illegal.

Posted by: Julie at April 25, 2008 2:27 PM

Exactly, Julie! It's similar to doctor/patient confidentiality. It is supposed to be waived when someone's life is endangered by it. Sounds like the operator had a major lapse in judgment.

Posted by: briwei at April 25, 2008 4:28 PM

I'm gonna' chime in on Brown University's little pie-thrower.


Little also said she and her co-pie thrower wanted to open up a dialogue about what it really means to have free speech on an elite college campus like Brown.
Read: "I want to be an embarrassment and an ass and get away with it." She's obviously spent the last 3.5 years occupying a place for someone who really deserves an education at an "elite college campus".
She said they considered passing out fliers or preparing questions to ask Friedman during a question and answer session, but ultimately decided to take a more significant step.
Read: "Fliers and prepared questions would detract from what is really important here...everyone watching me making a scene."

She should pay every penny of tuition she's wasted back to mommy and daddy.

Posted by: Bull at April 25, 2008 11:27 PM

Comprise/compose: Yay! OK, so it's not a dead issue yet. Yet. I'll keep holding out.

Posted by: Barry Leiba at April 26, 2008 5:15 AM

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