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Office Rat-A-Tat: when typos get in the way

I thought we'd take a break from the most dangerous and worst-paying type job posts and delve into something that has followed me around my office career like the boogieman on an unlit street in the dark of winter (okay, a little poetic hyperbole folks, but still"¦): the dreaded typo.
I can't tell you how many times I've proofed and re-proofed memos, letters and emails to my higher-ups trying to smoke out a there for a their, or a your for a you're, a where for a wear, a four for, um, a for.

Interestingly, have you ever noticed how communiqués from superiors, on the other hand, especially presidents and senior vice-presidents, show no sign of proofing? Like typos don't matter when the memo is being sent down from above? What's with that? Why the double-standards? They expect you to be on your typing game, but they're free to type with their feet if they want.

Anyone want to comment about that funny (not) fact?

In other typo news, did anyone catch the humorous NASA misprint a couple months ago when the shuttle Endeavour (named after HM Bark Endeavour, the ship commanded by 18th century explorer James Cook, if you're wondering why the British spelling) was rolled out with a banner that read "Go Endeavor!"? Okay, an easy typo because it's not the way we are used to spelling the word. NASA's sign-dept. quickly ran out with a reprinted version, as you see in the photos.

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Lastly: ethnic restaurants are an excellent place to unearth hilarious typos of all shapes and sizes. When I was in Greece almost every menu feature grilled lamp (the old inverted b/p typo common in Russian, too. I think it has to do with the Cyrillic alphapet"¦).

Here's a photo I took with my cell phone today at this yummy Indian joint up on Melrose. Looks like someone needs to buy a vowel, twice! What's the funniest typo you've ever scene?[BTW: how many typos can you find in this post? There are several, if you was paying attention.]

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Animals
Why Tiny 'Hedgehog Highways' Are Popping Up Around London
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Hedgehogs as pets have gained popularity in recent years, but in many parts of the world, they're still wild animals. That includes London, where close to a million of the creatures roam streets, parks, and gardens, seeking out wood and vegetation to take refuge in. Now, Atlas Obscura reports that animal activists are transforming the city into a more hospitable environment for hedgehogs.

Barnes Hedgehogs, a group founded by Michel Birkenwald in the London neighborhood of Barnes four years ago, is responsible for drilling tiny "hedgehog highways" through walls around London. The passages are just wide enough for the animals to climb through, making it easier for them to travel from one green space to the next.

London's wild hedgehog population has seen a sharp decline in recent decades. Though it's hard to pin down accurate numbers for the elusive animals, surveys have shown that the British population has dwindled by tens of millions since the 1950s. This is due to factors like human development and habitat destruction by farmers who aren't fond of the unattractive shrubs, hedges, and dead wood that hedgehogs use as their homes.

When such environments are left to grow, they can still be hard for hedgehogs to access. Carving hedgehog highways through the stone partitions and wooden fences bordering parks and gardens is one way Barnes Hedgehogs is making life in the big city a little easier for its most prickly residents.

[h/t Atlas Obscura]

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Big Questions
Where Should You Place the Apostrophe in President's Day?
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Happy Presidents’ Day! Or is it President’s Day? Or Presidents Day? What you call the national holiday depends on where you are, who you’re honoring, and how you think we’re celebrating.

Saying "President’s Day" infers that the day belongs to a singular president, such as George Washington or Abraham Lincoln, whose birthdays are the basis for the holiday. On the other hand, referring to it as "Presidents’ Day" means that the day belongs to all of the presidents—that it’s their day collectively. Finally, calling the day "Presidents Day"—plural with no apostrophe—would indicate that we’re honoring all POTUSes past and present (yes, even Andrew Johnson), but that no one president actually owns the day.

You would think that in the nearly 140 years since "Washington’s Birthday" was declared a holiday in 1879, someone would have officially declared a way to spell the day. But in fact, even the White House itself hasn’t chosen a single variation for its style guide. They spelled it “President’s Day” here and “Presidents’ Day” here.


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Maybe that indecision comes from the fact that Presidents Day isn’t even a federal holiday. The federal holiday is technically still called “Washington’s Birthday,” and states can choose to call it whatever they want. Some states, like Iowa, don’t officially acknowledge the day at all. And the location of the punctuation mark is a moot point when individual states choose to call it something else entirely, like “George Washington’s Birthday and Daisy Gatson Bates Day” in Arkansas, or “Birthdays of George Washington/Thomas Jefferson” in Alabama. (Alabama loves to split birthday celebrations, by the way; the third Monday in January celebrates both Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert E. Lee.)

You can look to official grammar sources to declare the right way, but even they don’t agree. The AP Stylebook prefers “Presidents Day,” while Chicago Style uses “Presidents’ Day.”

The bottom line: There’s no rhyme or reason to any of it. Go with what feels right. And even then, if you’re in one of those states that has chosen to spell it “President’s Day”—Washington, for example—and you use one of the grammar book stylings instead, you’re still technically wrong.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

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