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Apostrophe Atrophy

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I'm a sucker for any hyper-specific blog about typography, grammar, even handwriting. Anything to do with words or word-nerd stuff, really. Witness: my recent post on The Lowercase L, my longtime devotion to "misused" quotation marks, and some awesomely smart signs. Today allow me expand your nerdy typographic horizons with Apostrophe Atrophy, a blog about the misuse of "dumb apostrophes" and "dumb quotes."

What's dumb about an apostrophe or a quote? Well, Apostrophe Atrophy is referring to those "straight quotes" that don't show the direction of the apostrophe or quote in question. In many word processing and design applications you have to turn on "smart quotes," and it looks like many people just don't go there. Apostrophe Atrophy collects examples of poorly-used dumb apostrophes in the wild, but also finds some amazing mixtures of the smart and dumb, for example:

Update: by popular request, let me explain what's wrong with the image above. Note how the quotes around "Wire" and "Evacuate" are curved (aka, smart), but the one within "Simon's" is straight (dumb). See, I said it was hyper-specific.

I think I enjoy this type of blogging so much because there are many layers to each image: 1) A design/typographical mistake; 2) Technological issues (in this case, computers versus quotes); and 3) The actual content of the image in question, which is often pretty interesting: in the case above, the actual article is great stuff, despite the mix of smart and dumb quotes in its headline. This type of multi-faceted thinking definitely activates the Nerd Center in my brain. How about you?

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Opening Ceremony
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These $425 Jeans Can Turn Into Jorts
May 19, 2017
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Opening Ceremony

Modular clothing used to consist of something simple, like a reversible jacket. Today, it’s a $425 pair of detachable jeans.

Apparel retailer Opening Ceremony recently debuted a pair of “2 in 1 Y/Project” trousers that look fairly peculiar. The legs are held to the crotch by a pair of loops, creating a disjointed C-3PO effect. Undo the loops and you can now remove the legs entirely, leaving a pair of jean shorts in their wake. The result goes from this:

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Opening Ceremony

To this:

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Opening Ceremony

The company also offers a slightly different cut with button tabs in black for $460. If these aren’t audacious enough for you, the Y/Project line includes jumpsuits with removable legs and garter-equipped jeans.

[h/t Mashable]

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This First-Grade Math Problem Is Stumping the Internet
May 17, 2017
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iStock

If you’ve ever fantasized about how much easier life would be if you could go back to elementary school, this math problem may give you second thoughts. The question first appeared on a web forum, Mashable reports, and after recently resurfacing, it’s been perplexing adults across social media.

According to the original poster AlmondShell, the bonus question was given to primary one, or first grade students, in Singapore. It instructs readers to “study the number pattern” and “fill in the missing numbers.” The puzzle, which comprises five numbers and four empty circles waiting to be filled in, comes with no further explanation.

Some forum members commented with their best guesses, while others expressed disbelief that this was a question on a kid’s exam. Commenter karrotguy illustrates one possible answer: Instead of looking for complex math equations, they saw that the figure in the middle circle (three) equals the amount of double-digit numbers in the surrounding quadrants (18, 10, 12). They filled out the puzzle accordingly.

A similar problem can be found on the blog of math enthusiast G.R. Burgin. His solution, which uses simple algebra, gets a little more complicated.

The math tests given to 6- and 7-year-olds in other parts of the world aren’t much easier. If your brain isn’t too worn out after the last one, check out this maddening problem involving trains assigned to students in the UK.

[h/t Mashable]

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