A Conversation for Radioactivity
Barton Started conversation Dec 31, 2001
Hell has done a fine job of summarizing the known causes and effects of radioactivity. There is only one minor point to quibble with. When he states, "There are four forms of radiation:" before enumerating them, the statement should have specified 'nuclear radiation' to separate this discussion from other forms of photon emission generally created by electron transitions and various forms of mechanical energy radiation such as sound. This may be a bit picky on my part since the article clearly is discussing nuclear radiation, but the point is a real one. Still, it's a very nice article.
There are, however, several grammatical errors in the article. These are understandable given that Hell is not a native English speaker. They should have been caught in the editing process and should be corrected before this article fades into the background.
"...whereas this strange x-Ray-like . . . "
"...simply called 'Radio-active'."
"Exposition to gamma radiation . . . "
These are three examples that I noted without trying to be overly picky. The last noted seems the most egregious. There are other less significant punctuation errors, but even these would seem to be an important part of the editing process.
Dr Hell Posted Jan 4, 2002
Whoa... Hello Barton. Your input would have been valuable in PR, I am afraid -I- can't do the changes now, sorry.
Anyways I would like to know what exactly is wrong in the examples you mentioned. Especially 'radio-active' which I intentionally hyphenized to stress the origin of the word. Or was it the capital letters?
Barton Posted Jan 5, 2002
It was capitalization in the first two cases, and the word should have been 'exposure' in the third.
Editing problems that have nothing to do with your content, Hell.
The point about other forms of radiation is minor in the context of the article. Too bad no one caught it though.
Dr Hell Posted Jan 7, 2002
Thanks Barton. Capital letters keep creeping into my texts, I've been writing too much in German lately. (BTW it's not that I would do it correctly in German - here only the nouns are capitalized, but I tend to capitalize the Important words, which sometimes can be adjectives or verbs...)
Another question Barton: Are you still not going to PR?
Bye, thanks a lot again,
Barton Posted Jan 7, 2002
As I suggested in my first posting here, it is my opinion that the sub-editors and editors are responsible for catching such mistakes. Of course, the author should do what shi can to make things right, but ultimately, the editors are responsible for the final presentation of the article. Allowing such things through and into the edided guide only further degrades the quality of the guide.
You did a fine job of simplifying a complex subject. It's a shame that the editing process couldn't have helped to support your effort by cleaning up such obvious problems in simple grammar and and word choice.
This is inattention is just a symptom of the problems I see with the edited guide. For things such as this, in addition to admitedly subjective issues of acceptable levels of quality of content as well as lack of legal respect for the authors themselves, I still do not intend to contribute to PR either as an author or as a peer.
The last would not be the case, since I do feel that I can't expect quality to improve if I'm not willing to push for it, were it not that I have seen people attacked for having knowledge and knowlegable opinions but not having made their own articles available for cricism. So, in the future, I may return to Peer Review.
I really do have a lot of hope for the significance of the h2g2 experiment. I think it could be something quite useful to the whole world and not merely a fun way to encourage participation in the BBC's online sandbox.
Dr Hell Posted Jan 8, 2002
Pheew... Quite bitter, Barton.
I have just caught the BIG discussion with the corner of my eye and in some conversations with other people... It makes me sad to see someone I like feeling so disappointed.
About the mistakes, well, the editor is also just human, maybe he/she thought the capitalised words were scientific proper nouns? So in the end it's my fault, sorry for that.
Anyways - I am looking forward to see you in PR again, Barton.
I'm not really here Posted Jan 9, 2002
Being a native English speaker, maybe I should be expected to know all the ins and out of English grammar. However, I don't. I don't even remember being taught grammar at school.
I have bought a book that I am hoping to learn a great deal from, but any advice in the meantime is more than welcome Barton.
Barton Posted Jan 9, 2002
That kind of attitude can only lead to improvement in any of us.
Most of us were taught grammar without knowing we were being taught. That portion of it that relates to speaking, we learn largely through hearing. The portion that relates to writing, we are taught in school and through reading.
The unfortunate thing about written grammar is that portions of it are related to style. Style, in this sense, has to do with the standards of those who are publishing the material. Thus, you will see different usages in different sources. When I went to the university there were books called 'style sheets' that laid down accepted practice that might vary between departments I was writing for in any given semester.
However, the grammar I was taught in the middle and high school years was the basis for all of it and the rest was haggling over details.
The first two examples I listed above should not have any capitalized letters inside the sentence. This is pretty much a rule of English unless the word is a proper name or a trade name.
One of those issues of style say or do not say that, when a hyphenated word starts a sentence, both halves should be capitalized. Being an unusual situation, that rule is pretty obscure. It is possible to capitalize for effect or emphasis in certain styles but in the case of a hyphenated word, both halves should be treated the same -- other things being equal.
The two examples I cited should have been lower case.
"Exposition" is simply not the correct word. It means 'the presentation of some form of discussion, argument, or facts.' From the context, the correct word would appear to be 'exposure.'
I am not trying to teach you how to suck eggs. Of course, you could have missed these things. Evidently, so did whichever editor reviewed your work.
There may be other editorial problems in the article; I haven't really done more than note those that glared at me as I read through it. As I said originally, these are minor things but they are the touches that an editor is expected to apply along with those changes required by the publication's stylistic and qualitative concerns, all, hopefully, in concert with the author of the piece.
I'm not really here Posted Jan 9, 2002
Thank you Barton.
The two capitalisation errors I think are simply me missing them I think, unless I thought Radio-active in that context was a name. the x-ray one is definitely an oversite as all the others are fine.
That word being wrong is my lack of knowledge on this subject (or simply of this particular word). Assuming the author must know their stuff and all that.
I don't mind having errors pointed out to me, I have only been a sub ed for a couple of months, so I'm still learning. And as I said, my new book should help.
Dr Hell Posted Jan 10, 2002
Just for the record: I know my stuff. I just don't know English.
Barton Posted Jan 10, 2002
Just for the record, I don't speak any other language than English above the level of a five-year old child. (That's right, I'm a citizen of the United States of America.)
You do very well in English, and even native speakers have problems. (Most have poorer vocabularies than you do.) That's one of the things that an editor is supposed to cope with.
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