Saturday, May 21, 2011
Monday, May 16, 2011
Monday, May 2, 2011
First, the style is needlessly sensationalistic and breathless. Did Tabor and his editors somehow think that a caving book would not sell if they didn't pump up an already complex and fascinating sport to the point of self-parody? It's a real bummer.
Second, the book contains numerous significant errors. For example:
- The book misuses the word sump. The correct definition is: a submerged passage. Tabor seems to use it to indicate any cave lake.
- All the photos in the color plates are listed as "copyright 2010". That is not how copyright works – a photo is copyrighted as of the date it was taken.
- The whole premise of the book is the search for the deepest cave that could possibly be. First off, that's a ridiculous premise; establishing a cave as the deepest possible rather than simply the deepest known would be extremely difficult and would certainly take years for the community to accept the claim. Second, the book itself claims both that this ultimate (i.e., unbreakable) record was reached ("they had made the last great terrestrial discovery", page 246; "October 18, 2004: Bottom of the world, 6,825 feet deep" on the last color plate) and also that it was broken ("In August 2006, ... pushed its ultimate depth to 7,188 feet"). How anyone can make such a blatant, fundamental error and call themselves a journalist is beyond me.
Sunday, May 1, 2011
Hopefully the quantity of flower photos is not causing you too much distress. I certainly enjoy them a great deal. As usual, these are all from my commute – the walk between home and Porter Square Station.
For example, one of the statistics breathlessly cited in the introduction was that of purchased items, only 1% are still in use six months after the purchase. The conclusion drawn is that 99% of items are thrown away. But, what about things that by definition are consumable, such as food? This sort of uncritical analysis is pervasive in the book.
Sloppy arguments like this are unnecessary for making our case (which I agree with!) and make us look bad.
I'm not going to finish the book, so it won't show up with an "NR" rating, but I wanted to take this opportunity to complain about it.