June 30, 2021

Riddled with spelling errors

I was excited going into my advisor's office to talk about the confident interval (CI). In 2015 onward, peer-reviewed journals like the one I have a manuscript on reviewed, require authors to include CI with experimental data. It is no longer reliable to present a snapshot of observation, rather the data should include a range of how much the result will replicated. For example if the CI is 95%, 95 out of 100 replications will have the result within the range of value minus plus some standard deviation. Sounds rather simple, right?

He asked me how I calculated the CI, which today I am not sure if I correctly explain, but somehow, he gave me a pass. I used Excel built-in function, I replied. "There are more powerful software such as SPSS to do that, but the Excel speadsheet works fine". For some reason, he never said Excel, rather the speadsheet. Overtime, I developed the similar vocabulary when talking with him. When I was about to leave the room, he said he has a book about SPSS, and he said "in my old days, we used punched cards to program". 

Fast forward about 20 years, my neighbor hanged a wooden board on a fence tree that he was recruiting students for at-home lessons about typewriter. We was giggling looking at the board because, we just do. Well, there were a few reasons, but basically, ridicule others to a mean laugh.

Either in one of our meeting or some Youtube interviews about programming with punched cards, people experienced with typewriter make far fewer typing mistakes. I am now facing my own reality. My post and writing is riddled with spelling errors. You may hurt the phase of "riddled with bullet holes". Think about that for a moment. Instead of a wall, a printout or on the screen, a red zigzap segments showing where words are not recognized by the software.

I learned to type using Mavis Bacon software. I spent a hour a day going through the lesson while my friend spent time in a shop playing AoE or Counter Strike. I developed a habit with 10-figure typing. I can type fast, except that I make a more errors even with my native language.

Adding to another layer is typing in English. First and foremost, thank to Microsoft's Word, I can figure out where the spelling errors are. If I was learned English 20 years earlier without PC and Internet, I would take a longer time figure out if there was a spelling error. It would definitely longer for someone to say "aha" there it is or many are, spelling errors.

Spelling error is innocent and easy to made, but judged hard. When a resume passed to me for review, if more than one spelling errors were found or misalignment of font size, it was already a major point. One reason why making errors on spelling becomes intolerant is it can be fixed easily. Nowadays, most editors come with a built-in dictionary define a list of eligible words. If a word is not in that list, an underline zigzag line would display.

But.

Sure is. I am struggling to make sure my post is less spelling error, not yet error-free post. So if you see spelling error here and there, give me a pass for now. I am committed to fix them as soon as I see one. 

During my PhD defense in 2015, one of my committee member was having a good laugh because he found what he expected. There was slice that I concluded one condition would "favor" the outcome of algae growth, but somehow, I wrote down as "flavor". And he was saying something like "I know he gonna have it". Using the right spelling with a wrong word is more common place and harder to catch. I practiced those slides for at least twice with audience. Have anyone written down "slice" for "slide", "florescent" for "fluorescence"? During this writing, I wrote down slice twice.

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