POSTSCRIPT - 1AM Friday
late last night, trying to hold a telephone in one hand and simultaneously condense and check prose against equations with the other, I ended up watching a much-rewritten, but un-fact checked, or science-editor vetted book review slide out of human hands , and into the maw of a great national daily.
Reentering mass media globalized since their last appearance, writers used to the self-correcting nature of peer-reviewed science journals should take nothing for granted . Unlike the fish they used to wrap, papers can decay from back page to front, as well as from the head down. Despite Google, fact checking is retreating uptown as fast as Wall Streeet journalists are morphing down market into Murdoch Mode.
Despite a predawn final sending of corrections, I awoke to a predictable result. The gap between the two cultures yawned and swallowed the distinction between voltage and current, distance and velocity , as the midnight oil burned. What emerged was eminently readable, but technically inchaote- but I had another essay in press last night. Unbidden as I slept , the editorial staff at the eight page tabloid weekly of a geophysical society blithely detected and corrected my mis-attribution of a 19th century geology quote they'd never before read.
[thursday]It is 1AM EDT, and I just sent a final correction in to my editor at the WSJ, probably too late to keep an error out of print .I spent yesterday finishing a book review. -" The ten Most Beautiful Experiments" , by George Johnson.
Alas, in the rushed editorial conversation condensing my draft, voltage and current , magnetic force and electrical power, got mixed up, the responsibility is mine and you can see the result in the print edition- i have yet to, but the the electronic edition will be corrected as below before dawn rises over the Hoover Dam: Apologies to EE's who have already drafted angry Letters to the Editor on Al Gore's behalf :
Dear Editor ;
What i was trying to translate into prose and write down with one hand when interrupted
was F = (I2/2) dL/dx , or in other words , [[RED BOLD ]] :
...Joule found 838 pounds falling one foot could raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree—as could dropping one pound of water 838 feet: Niagara Falls is warmer at the bottom than at the top.[[He was also shocked to find that the power of electromagnets increased as the current squared, much as a falling object's energy increased with the square of time.]] Yet the batteries he sweated to charge did not grow colder as his motors ran.