Eclectic

Language, computing, and other topics

Archive for 2021

Why All Capitals?

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A news report in all upper case on the platen of a Model 15 Teletype

A Teletype Model 15 teleprinter
Attribution: John Nagle at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Q: Why do some users complete forms all in capital letters?

This is because early teleprinters and computer systems had no provision for lower case. Mixed case teleprinters came on the market in the 1930’s, but the standard US military teleprinter of World War II was the Teletype Model 15 (produced from 1928 to 1963) which only printed in upper case. This exposed an entire generation to official communications and reports typed in all upper case. This ‘official’ style was then duplicated by users of typewriters by engaging the Caps Lock toggle key.

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Written by David Chappell

October 17th, 2021 at 8:37 am

Posted in computing

Walking on Hypothetical Legs

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On September 1st a number of news outlets published stories about the discovery of the skeleton of a whale with four legs. If true, this would lend support to the popular theory that whales evolved from a four-footed land animal which gradually adopted an aquatic way of life.

In most cases the story was illustrated by an artist’s conception provided by one of the discoverers of the skeleton:

Creature with crocodile like snout, body of a skinny elephant, and long tail dives to attack snark lurking on bottom

All of the news stories I read leave the reader with the distinct impression that the skeleton as found actually has four legs.

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Written by David Chappell

September 17th, 2021 at 7:39 am

Posted in evolution,science