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robjvargas
10-18-2013, 06:26 PM
Oh, CNN, why can't you keep your editors on the ball?

This isn't about the news itself, so I'm putting this in the roundtable.

CNN recently did a short piece (http://www.cnn.com/2013/10/18/tech/asteroid-near-pass/index.html) on an asteroid near-miss (in astronomical terms, anyway).

The editing made me cringe.

First, in the first slide of images for the story is the caption:


A diagram shows the orbit of an asteroid named 2013 TV135 (in blue), which made headlines in September 2013 when it passed closely by Earth. The probability of it striking Earth currently stands at 1 in 63,000, and even those odds are fading fast as scientists find out more about the asteroid. It will most likely swing past our planet again in 2032, according to NASA.
"passed closely by"? Really? :Wha:

But wait! There's more. In the body text:


It made headlines on Thursday, when reports said that there's a chance it could strike our planet in less than 20 years. Such a collision could unleash a force as powerful as a couple of thousand atomic bombs.

A couple of thousand? This is a joke, right? Just trying to generate comments? Perhaps a few of thousand comments?
:Headbang::rant:

Geez, guys, you get paid for this stuff.

slhuang
10-18-2013, 07:02 PM
I agree with you about editing in general, but I'm pretty chill about this one.



"passed closely by"? Really? :Wha:


What's wrong with this? Maybe I'm missing something obvious, but . . . "passed" is a verb, and "closely" is an adverb . . . *confused*



A couple of thousand? This is a joke, right? Just trying to generate comments? Perhaps a few of thousand comments?You made me curious, so I looked it up. According to this impact calculation (http://impact.ese.ic.ac.uk/cgi-bin/crater.cgi?dist=100&diam=400&pdens=3000&pdens_select=0&vel=30&theta=90&tdens=2500&tdens_select=0) (linked from Phil Plait (http://www.slate.com/blogs/bad_astronomy/2013/10/18/asteroid_2013_tv135_bet_on_no_impact_from_this_roc k.html?wpisrc=burger_bar)), the impact energy of the asteroid would be 4.39 x 10^19 Joules. The Trinity test (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trinity_%28nuclear_test%29) released 84 TJ, which is on the order of 10^13 Joules, i.e., the asteroid would have the impact energy of a million nuclear bombs. (Of course, this is back-of-the-envelope, and our current nuclear weapons are almost certainly significantly more powerful (that was just the first number I could find quickly), and I don't know if it's possibly to compare the energy figures I'm looking at in this in this way or if these figures are talking about fundamentally different things, plus the CNN article made the claim about force and not energy, BUT what I'm trying to get across is that I don't think the article was as wildly hyperbolic as you seem to believe!)

Now, whether we should make a big deal about this in the news is another story. My resource for these things is always the aforementioned Phil Plait, who explains (http://www.slate.com/blogs/bad_astronomy/2013/10/18/asteroid_2013_tv135_bet_on_no_impact_from_this_roc k.html?wpisrc=burger_bar) that not only is the risk of this one hitting quite minimal, but is likely going to be ruled out as a possibility as more observations happen (in other words, the news outlets jumped in early and broke the story before astronomers have had enough time to rule out impact). But Plait points out that dangerous objects in space is actually a pretty big problem in general, and that we've only found 1 percent of them (!!!). So I think the real story here, which I wish the media would focus on, is that this rock will almost certainly miss us, but we need more funding to find all the other ones that might not. :D

I wish they'd tell THAT story. (Of course, if this little bit of sensationalism helps get NASA more funding for the general problem of asteroid detection than a calmer one would, I can't be too begrudging towards CNN and the other news outlets. Don't know if it will, though.)

Mr Flibble
10-18-2013, 07:04 PM
A couple of thousand? This is a joke, right?Apart from that seems a little on the low side, I can't see anything wrong with the phrase itself. It's a fairly common phrase even.

'Passed closely by' is a bit awkward, but not enough to make me tear my hair out or anything, especially if it's just one phrase (typo?) in the whole article.

Soo???

I seem to be having a 'not getting it day' today. Maybe that's it.

robjvargas
10-18-2013, 07:40 PM
Of is in the wrong place. The way it's written, the article is describing "thousand atomic bombs" as a singular object.

stormie
10-18-2013, 07:44 PM
I have the ABC News app on my phone and the editing for the articles is non-existent. The spelling alone makes me cringe. I guess they're trying to get the news out there as it happens, but still....

Mr Flibble
10-18-2013, 08:49 PM
Of is in the wrong place. The way it's written, the article is describing "thousand atomic bombs" as a singular object.

Nope -- it's standard British English. A couple of dozen eggs broke, a couple of hundred pigs flew, a couple of thousand bombs blew up , as strong as a couple of million horses (UK and US often treat groups differently in grammar). So it's fine from over here. ETA: Mind you, grammar isn't my strong point, so I could be wrong, but I honestly can't see a thing wrong with the phrase -- I've seen it used that way countless times

Bicyclefish
10-18-2013, 09:06 PM
Nope -- it's standard British English. [...] ETA: Mind you, grammar isn't my strong point, so I could be wrong, but I honestly can't see a thing wrong with the phrase -- I've seen it used that way countless times
I believe you're correct. See point 1 here (http://www.onestopenglish.com/grammar/grammar-reference/american-english-vs-british-english/differences-in-american-and-british-english-grammar-article/152820.article), "verb agreement with collective nouns". A bit of searching brings up other sources that confirm it. In my experience, it's one of the lesser known or noticed differences between British and American English.

Jamesaritchie
10-18-2013, 09:32 PM
Oh, CNN, why can't you keep your editors on the ball?

This isn't about the news itself, so I'm putting this in the roundtable.

CNN recently did a short piece (http://www.cnn.com/2013/10/18/tech/asteroid-near-pass/index.html) on an asteroid near-miss (in astronomical terms, anyway).

The editing made me cringe.

First, in the first slide of images for the story is the caption:


"passed closely by"? Really? :Wha:

But wait! There's more. In the body text:



A couple of thousand? This is a joke, right? Just trying to generate comments? Perhaps a few of thousand comments?
:Headbang::rant:

Geez, guys, you get paid for this stuff.

I don't know about that particular asteroid, but an asteroid releasing more energy that two thousand atomic bombs is not only possible, some of them would release a lot more. I don't think many realize just how much energy there is in a large, primarily iron asteroid traveling at up to fourteen miles per second.

A large asteroid could destroy all surface life on earth. Do you think two thousand atomic bombs could do this?

robjvargas
10-18-2013, 11:11 PM
It looks clumsy to me; that it mixes up the subject versus modifier.

Meh. OK.

aus10phile
10-23-2013, 08:31 PM
Bad grammar in published articles bother me too... but at the same time, the news has to come out so much faster now in the digital world. It's so much harder to be the first one to the story, I would think. I think it would be very hard to be a grammatically perfect journalist today.