Admittedly, I'm not a huge fan of brain teasers. Mostly because I end up kicking myself once the answer is revealed and I see how obvious it was. But I happened across this one while wasting precious time on the Internet, and I thought is was actually pretty good. See if you agree.
 
 
U of M Seal
I tend to live in a fantasy world where college football is looked upon as an amusing little side endeavor for the athletically gifted, while the real money and the packed stadiums are all about witnessing impressive academic feats. Imagine an English major on the field in front of thousands of screaming fans, cheering her on as she scrambles to finish a poem before the end of the fourth quarter. Or a young physicist being showered in Gatorade and hoisted up on celebratory shoulders for finally proving string theory. I love my fantasy world.

But in this world, the money that flows into colleges and universities is, of course, showered on football players and football recruits. Take the University of Michigan, for example. Apparently, some of their booster money is used to print up notes to recruits that mimic the cover of ESPN magazine. But here's where the money isn't being spent: proofreading. Check out this note that Michigan football recruit Mike Weber received.

Yup, he's an All-Amercian all right. And this is from a university. All I can say is it's a good thing football players can't read.

By Steve Boudreault


 
 
Pope Francis
In what can only be held up as the epitome of a slow news day, it seems the Twitterverse is all abuzz about Pope Francis' supposedly x-rated typo in a tweet he sent out yesterday. First of all, like the Pope really has nothing better to do than tweet, especially knowing what kinds of people are on Twitter. Second, like the Pope has ever used a computer or iPhone in his life. And third, the Pope is infallible, in case everyone has forgotten, so if there's one man on the planet who's not going to end up with a typo, it's him.

Anyway, the image is below, but if you're having trouble seeing the x-ratedness of a simple added letter, you're not alone.

I didn't even bother with the Urban Dictionary -- because let's face it, every word in the English language has a sick definition there -- but I did run "spray" through the old Merriam-Webster, and the crudest definition they've got involves cats and urine. Maybe the pontiff was speaking to the kitties of the world? But how could their spraying help dead miners and shipwreck victims?

Meh. File this one under "a whole lotta nothin'."

By Steve Boudreault




 
 
Solidus Obi-Wan
In Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, Obi-Wan Kenobi famously asked, "Who's the more foolish -- the fool, or the fool who follows him?" Today we ask a variation of that question: Who's the more foolish -- those who create the typo, or those who fail to notice it for months on end?

Here's the story, courtesy of Yahoo! News: "Six months ago, Gorman McCracken Volkswagen-Mazda bought some property in Longview, Texas that was previously owned a movie theater. The land that the car dealership took over included a rather large billboard, so they decided to put up an advertisement about their warranties. As KLTV 7 News reports, that sign was up for months before the business realized it had a typo.

The sign was supposed to read, 'Peace of Mind Warranty on ALL MAKES.' The sign, instead, reads, 'Piece of Mind Warranty on ALL MAKES.' How did it go unnoticed by the people working at Gorman McCracken? The best answer given is that it’s because the sign faces away from their building. General Manager Travis Potter says that he’s heard from several people about it now. He told KLTV, 'We’ve had several people complain on it and we realize our mistake. And, instead of fixing the sign we’re just going to donate what we would spend to fix the sign to the East Texas Literacy Council.'

KLTV reports that it would cost approximately $250 to fix the sign, so that’s the amount that will be donated."

More fascinating than any of this, though, is that there's an East Texas Literacy Council.




 
 
Solidus Black and White
We don't often use colloquial abbreviations here at Solidus, but here's one for the WTF? pile. It's simply beyond human comprehension to think that race could have anything to do with proofreading. There are no doubt some closed-minded folks out there who like to think that copy riddled with errors must have been written by what they perceive to be an inferior race -- and to those people we say, your bus is leaving, get under it -- but the idea that anyone could see fewer errors based on race is simply baffling.

But here it is, courtesy of bustle.com: "A new study by Nextions discovered that proofreading is not the objective task we may have thought it was. When partners in a law firm were given a research memo to evaluate, the lawyers who thought the memo was written by a Caucasian male found fewer mistakes and gave the memo higher ratings than the lawyers who thought the exact same memo was written by an African-American male. 

'Tomas Meyer,' the imaginary, race-shifting author of the memo, made a total of 22 errors: 7 concerning spelling or grammar, 6 that were “substantive writing” errors, 5 factual errors, and 4 analytic errors. What’s extra creepy about the study is that even the obvious, objective errors like spelling mistakes fell victim to the racial bias of the readers. When Tomas Meyer was Caucasian, readers found an average of 2.9 spelling/grammar errors (OUT OF 7!) in his work. When Tomas Meyer was African American, they found an average of 5.8 spelling/grammar errors. So not only does this show us that lawyers can’t proofread, it means that when we believe an author is white, we may actually fail to see the objective mistakes that they’ve made.

Tomas Meyer also received much crueler comments on his work when he was African American. While Caucasian Tomas Meyer 'has potential,' lawyers 'can’t believe' that African American Tomas Meyer 'went to NYU.'

Perhaps surprisingly, the readers’ race didn’t appear to affect the outcome of their proofreading bias. According to Nextions, 'There was no significant correlation between a partner’s race/ethnicity and the differentiated patterns of errors found between the two memos.' They did find, however, that female partners spotted more of the errors than the men did. Looks like the unbiased, objective art of proofreading could use some editing itself."