Discussion:
who cares how big an order
(too old to reply)
Quinn C
2018-02-10 21:12:34 UTC
Permalink
Two questionable wordings in rapid succession on CBC radio.

The first one really disoriented me for two seconds.

SpaceX launched its Falcon Heavy yesterday after five
last-minute delays and more than a two-hour wait.
Jubilant space enthusiasts couldn't care less.

No, it's not about could or couldn't care less.

Did you get right away what they didn't care about?

The second one shouldn't really surprise me, I know. From memory:

Musk cites a cost per launch of $90,000,000. As for the rocket of
similar size that is under development at NASA, it's expected to
cost between half a billion and a billion dollars, per launch. So
that's a huge order of magnitude saving!

People simply don't know what "order of magnitude" means, and in this
case, "a huge, even order of magnitude saving" would have saved it, so
I guess it wasn't as far off as can easily happen.
--
Perhaps it might be well, while the subject is under discussion,
to attempt the creation of an entirely new gender, for the purpose
of facilitating reference to the growing caste of manly women and
womanly men. -- Baltimore Sun (1910)
Madrigal Gurneyhalt
2018-02-10 21:47:57 UTC
Permalink
Post by Quinn C
Two questionable wordings in rapid succession on CBC radio.
The first one really disoriented me for two seconds.
SpaceX launched its Falcon Heavy yesterday after five
last-minute delays and more than a two-hour wait.
Jubilant space enthusiasts couldn't care less.
No, it's not about could or couldn't care less.
Did you get right away what they didn't care about?
Yes. They couldn't care less whether it was launched on time as
long as it was launched. I don't see anything ambiguous at all.
Post by Quinn C
Musk cites a cost per launch of $90,000,000. As for the rocket of
similar size that is under development at NASA, it's expected to
cost between half a billion and a billion dollars, per launch. So
that's a huge order of magnitude saving!
People simply don't know what "order of magnitude" means, and in this
case, "a huge, even order of magnitude saving" would have saved it, so
I guess it wasn't as far off as can easily happen.
I'm sorry but your version makes no sense at all. The original is not
perfect but it's considerably more comprehensible than yours. Perhaps
you'd care to explain what you think 'order of magnitude' means
because it's far from obvious from this!
Peter T. Daniels
2018-02-10 22:49:17 UTC
Permalink
Post by Madrigal Gurneyhalt
Post by Quinn C
Two questionable wordings in rapid succession on CBC radio.
The first one really disoriented me for two seconds.
SpaceX launched its Falcon Heavy yesterday after five
last-minute delays and more than a two-hour wait.
Jubilant space enthusiasts couldn't care less.
No, it's not about could or couldn't care less.
Did you get right away what they didn't care about?
Yes. They couldn't care less whether it was launched on time as
long as it was launched. I don't see anything ambiguous at all.
Post by Quinn C
Musk cites a cost per launch of $90,000,000. As for the rocket of
similar size that is under development at NASA, it's expected to
cost between half a billion and a billion dollars, per launch. So
that's a huge order of magnitude saving!
People simply don't know what "order of magnitude" means, and in this
case, "a huge, even order of magnitude saving" would have saved it, so
I guess it wasn't as far off as can easily happen.
I'm sorry but your version makes no sense at all. The original is not
perfect but it's considerably more comprehensible than yours. Perhaps
you'd care to explain what you think 'order of magnitude' means
because it's far from obvious from this!
+1 2x
b***@aol.com
2018-02-11 03:31:12 UTC
Permalink
Post by Madrigal Gurneyhalt
Post by Quinn C
Two questionable wordings in rapid succession on CBC radio.
The first one really disoriented me for two seconds.
SpaceX launched its Falcon Heavy yesterday after five
last-minute delays and more than a two-hour wait.
Jubilant space enthusiasts couldn't care less.
No, it's not about could or couldn't care less.
Did you get right away what they didn't care about?
Yes. They couldn't care less whether it was launched on time as
long as it was launched. I don't see anything ambiguous at all.
Post by Quinn C
Musk cites a cost per launch of $90,000,000. As for the rocket of
similar size that is under development at NASA, it's expected to
cost between half a billion and a billion dollars, per launch. So
that's a huge order of magnitude saving!
People simply don't know what "order of magnitude" means, and in this
case, "a huge, even order of magnitude saving" would have saved it, so
I guess it wasn't as far off as can easily happen.
I'm sorry but your version makes no sense at all. The original is not
perfect but it's considerably more comprehensible than yours. Perhaps
you'd care to explain what you think 'order of magnitude' means
because it's far from obvious from this!
It seems "order of magnitude" was taken to mean "x10", which is the
technical sense of the term, whereas, here, it just means something
like "scale", i.e. "large-scale savings".
Quinn C
2018-02-11 06:02:15 UTC
Permalink
Post by b***@aol.com
Post by Madrigal Gurneyhalt
Post by Quinn C
Musk cites a cost per launch of $90,000,000. As for the rocket of
similar size that is under development at NASA, it's expected to
cost between half a billion and a billion dollars, per launch. So
that's a huge order of magnitude saving!
People simply don't know what "order of magnitude" means, and in this
case, "a huge, even order of magnitude saving" would have saved it, so
I guess it wasn't as far off as can easily happen.
I'm sorry but your version makes no sense at all. The original is not
perfect but it's considerably more comprehensible than yours. Perhaps
you'd care to explain what you think 'order of magnitude' means
because it's far from obvious from this!
It seems "order of magnitude" was taken to mean "x10", which is the
technical sense of the term, whereas, here, it just means something
like "scale", i.e. "large-scale savings".
There are so many ways to express that already, including "magnitude"
alone, that using "order of magnitude" in a non-technical sense serves
no other purpose than being the epicenter of confusion.
--
Bug:
An elusive creature living in a program that makes it incorrect.
The activity of "debugging," or removing bugs from a program, ends
when people get tired of doing it, not when the bugs are removed.
Ken Blake
2018-02-11 15:33:17 UTC
Permalink
On Sun, 11 Feb 2018 01:02:15 -0500, Quinn C
Post by Quinn C
Post by b***@aol.com
Post by Madrigal Gurneyhalt
Post by Quinn C
Musk cites a cost per launch of $90,000,000. As for the rocket of
similar size that is under development at NASA, it's expected to
cost between half a billion and a billion dollars, per launch. So
that's a huge order of magnitude saving!
People simply don't know what "order of magnitude" means, and in this
case, "a huge, even order of magnitude saving" would have saved it, so
I guess it wasn't as far off as can easily happen.
I'm sorry but your version makes no sense at all. The original is not
perfect but it's considerably more comprehensible than yours. Perhaps
you'd care to explain what you think 'order of magnitude' means
because it's far from obvious from this!
It seems "order of magnitude" was taken to mean "x10", which is the
technical sense of the term, whereas, here, it just means something
like "scale", i.e. "large-scale savings".
There are so many ways to express that already, including "magnitude"
alone, that using "order of magnitude" in a non-technical sense serves
no other purpose than being the epicenter of confusion.
That reminds of the phrase "a quantum leap," which is almost always
used to mean "a lot." But a quantum is an extremely small number.
Quinn C
2018-02-11 16:01:39 UTC
Permalink
Post by Ken Blake
On Sun, 11 Feb 2018 01:02:15 -0500, Quinn C
Post by Quinn C
Post by b***@aol.com
Post by Madrigal Gurneyhalt
Post by Quinn C
Musk cites a cost per launch of $90,000,000. As for the rocket of
similar size that is under development at NASA, it's expected to
cost between half a billion and a billion dollars, per launch. So
that's a huge order of magnitude saving!
People simply don't know what "order of magnitude" means, and in this
case, "a huge, even order of magnitude saving" would have saved it, so
I guess it wasn't as far off as can easily happen.
I'm sorry but your version makes no sense at all. The original is not
perfect but it's considerably more comprehensible than yours. Perhaps
you'd care to explain what you think 'order of magnitude' means
because it's far from obvious from this!
It seems "order of magnitude" was taken to mean "x10", which is the
technical sense of the term, whereas, here, it just means something
like "scale", i.e. "large-scale savings".
There are so many ways to express that already, including "magnitude"
alone, that using "order of magnitude" in a non-technical sense serves
no other purpose than being the epicenter of confusion.
That reminds of the phrase "a quantum leap," which is almost always
used to mean "a lot." But a quantum is an extremely small number.
I don't think they are so comparable, because using "quantum leap"
outside of quantum physics is a figurative, metaphorical use. There's
nothing figurative about "order of magnitude".

"Quantum leap" has been much discussed, and we should all know the
arguments against and in favor. I think it works, but the number of
people refusing to see how it can be valid even when it's pointed out
to them means that it's skunked.
--
Humans write software and while a piece of software might be
bug free humans are not. - Robert Klemme
charles
2018-02-11 15:57:54 UTC
Permalink
Post by Ken Blake
On Sun, 11 Feb 2018 01:02:15 -0500, Quinn C
Post by Quinn C
Post by b***@aol.com
Post by Madrigal Gurneyhalt
Post by Quinn C
Musk cites a cost per launch of $90,000,000. As for the rocket of
similar size that is under development at NASA, it's expected to
cost between half a billion and a billion dollars, per launch. So
that's a huge order of magnitude saving!
People simply don't know what "order of magnitude" means, and in this
case, "a huge, even order of magnitude saving" would have saved it, so
I guess it wasn't as far off as can easily happen.
I'm sorry but your version makes no sense at all. The original is not
perfect but it's considerably more comprehensible than yours. Perhaps
you'd care to explain what you think 'order of magnitude' means
because it's far from obvious from this!
It seems "order of magnitude" was taken to mean "x10", which is the
technical sense of the term, whereas, here, it just means something
like "scale", i.e. "large-scale savings".
There are so many ways to express that already, including "magnitude"
alone, that using "order of magnitude" in a non-technical sense serves
no other purpose than being the epicenter of confusion.
That reminds of the phrase "a quantum leap," which is almost always
used to mean "a lot." But a quantum is an extremely small number.
It was Clive Sinclair who orchestrated the change of meaning.
--
from KT24 in Surrey, England
Richard Tobin
2018-02-11 16:38:39 UTC
Permalink
Post by charles
Post by Ken Blake
That reminds of the phrase "a quantum leap," which is almost always
used to mean "a lot." But a quantum is an extremely small number.
It was Clive Sinclair who orchestrated the change of meaning.
I doubt he had much effect. If the QL was a leap at all, it was not
in a forwards direction. It was a typical piece of Sinclair rubbish.

-- Richard
charles
2018-02-11 16:50:29 UTC
Permalink
Post by Richard Tobin
Post by charles
Post by Ken Blake
That reminds of the phrase "a quantum leap," which is almost always
used to mean "a lot." But a quantum is an extremely small number.
It was Clive Sinclair who orchestrated the change of meaning.
I doubt he had much effect. If the QL was a leap at all, it was not
in a forwards direction. It was a typical piece of Sinclair rubbish.
Somwhere in a box I have still got a Z88 which, apart from eating batteries
and producing a lot of RF interference, was quite a good idea at the time.
--
from KT24 in Surrey, England
Ken Blake
2018-02-11 18:03:31 UTC
Permalink
On Sun, 11 Feb 2018 15:57:54 +0000 (GMT), charles
Post by charles
Post by Ken Blake
On Sun, 11 Feb 2018 01:02:15 -0500, Quinn C
Post by Quinn C
Post by b***@aol.com
Post by Madrigal Gurneyhalt
Post by Quinn C
Musk cites a cost per launch of $90,000,000. As for the rocket of
similar size that is under development at NASA, it's expected to
cost between half a billion and a billion dollars, per launch. So
that's a huge order of magnitude saving!
People simply don't know what "order of magnitude" means, and in this
case, "a huge, even order of magnitude saving" would have saved it, so
I guess it wasn't as far off as can easily happen.
I'm sorry but your version makes no sense at all. The original is not
perfect but it's considerably more comprehensible than yours. Perhaps
you'd care to explain what you think 'order of magnitude' means
because it's far from obvious from this!
It seems "order of magnitude" was taken to mean "x10", which is the
technical sense of the term, whereas, here, it just means something
like "scale", i.e. "large-scale savings".
There are so many ways to express that already, including "magnitude"
alone, that using "order of magnitude" in a non-technical sense serves
no other purpose than being the epicenter of confusion.
That reminds of the phrase "a quantum leap," which is almost always
used to mean "a lot." But a quantum is an extremely small number.
It was Clive Sinclair who orchestrated the change of meaning.
Sorry, I don't know who he is, and I'm too lazy to Google his name.
Quinn C
2018-02-11 21:28:17 UTC
Permalink
Post by charles
Post by Ken Blake
On Sun, 11 Feb 2018 01:02:15 -0500, Quinn C
Post by Quinn C
Post by b***@aol.com
It seems "order of magnitude" was taken to mean "x10", which is the
technical sense of the term, whereas, here, it just means something
like "scale", i.e. "large-scale savings".
There are so many ways to express that already, including "magnitude"
alone, that using "order of magnitude" in a non-technical sense serves
no other purpose than being the epicenter of confusion.
That reminds of the phrase "a quantum leap," which is almost always
used to mean "a lot." But a quantum is an extremely small number.
It was Clive Sinclair who orchestrated the change of meaning.
Certainly not - I was mildly interested in the Sinclair QL back when
it came out, but even so, I had forgotten what the two letters stood
for.
--
The most likely way for the world to be destroyed, most experts
agree, is by accident. That's where we come in; we're computer
professionals. We cause accidents.
Nathaniel Borenstein
Peter Duncanson [BrE]
2018-02-11 17:22:41 UTC
Permalink
Post by Ken Blake
On Sun, 11 Feb 2018 01:02:15 -0500, Quinn C
Post by Quinn C
Post by b***@aol.com
Post by Madrigal Gurneyhalt
Post by Quinn C
Musk cites a cost per launch of $90,000,000. As for the rocket of
similar size that is under development at NASA, it's expected to
cost between half a billion and a billion dollars, per launch. So
that's a huge order of magnitude saving!
People simply don't know what "order of magnitude" means, and in this
case, "a huge, even order of magnitude saving" would have saved it, so
I guess it wasn't as far off as can easily happen.
I'm sorry but your version makes no sense at all. The original is not
perfect but it's considerably more comprehensible than yours. Perhaps
you'd care to explain what you think 'order of magnitude' means
because it's far from obvious from this!
It seems "order of magnitude" was taken to mean "x10", which is the
technical sense of the term, whereas, here, it just means something
like "scale", i.e. "large-scale savings".
There are so many ways to express that already, including "magnitude"
alone, that using "order of magnitude" in a non-technical sense serves
no other purpose than being the epicenter of confusion.
That reminds of the phrase "a quantum leap," which is almost always
used to mean "a lot." But a quantum is an extremely small number.
In physics.

More generally it is a formal word for "quantity" in various senses.

It was used in physics in a now outdated sense:

The quantity of electric fluid present in an electrically neutral
body. disused.
1870 Nature 20 Jan. 306/1 On this hypothesis, ‘quantities of
electricity’, positive and negative, are excesses of the quantity
of the hypothetical fluid above or below the ‘quantum’
corresponding to zero of the electric tests.
1902 Ld. Kelvin in London, Edinb., & Dublin Philos. Mag. 6th Ser.
3 259 The neutralizing quantum of electrions [= ‘atoms of
resinous electricity’] for any atom or group of atoms has exactly
the same quantity of electricity of one kind as the atom or group
of atoms has of electricity of the opposite kind. The quantum for
any single atom may be one or two or three or any integral number,
and need not be the same for all atoms.
1904 Ld. Kelvin in London, Edinb., & Dublin Philos. Mag. 6th Ser.
7 221 An atom shot from radium with less than its neutralising
quantum of electrions cannot go far through a solid or a liquid
without acquiring the neutralising quantum.

It is used in Law in "quantum of damages".

General uses meaning "quantity" or "amount":

1852 W. Jerdan Autobiogr. II. xii. 137 Imbued with a moderate
quantum of worldly wisdom.
1887 Encycl. Brit. XXII. 624/1 From 50° upwards the solubility
increases at such a rate that a given quantum of water dissolves
any quantity of sugar if the mixture is constantly kept boiling.
1909 A. A. Brill tr. S. Freud Sel. Papers on Hysteria vi. 136 A
quantum of freely floating anxiety which controls the choice of
ideas by expectation.
1929 Encycl. Brit. XXII. 960/2 Imputed price..is an estimate of
the amount of money for which a given article or a given quantum
of goods could be sold or bought.
--
Peter Duncanson, UK
(in alt.usage.english)
Jerry Friedman
2018-02-11 17:29:08 UTC
Permalink
Post by Peter Duncanson [BrE]
Post by Ken Blake
On Sun, 11 Feb 2018 01:02:15 -0500, Quinn C
Post by Quinn C
Post by b***@aol.com
Post by Madrigal Gurneyhalt
Post by Quinn C
Musk cites a cost per launch of $90,000,000. As for the rocket of
similar size that is under development at NASA, it's expected to
cost between half a billion and a billion dollars, per launch. So
that's a huge order of magnitude saving!
People simply don't know what "order of magnitude" means, and in this
case, "a huge, even order of magnitude saving" would have saved it, so
I guess it wasn't as far off as can easily happen.
I'm sorry but your version makes no sense at all. The original is not
perfect but it's considerably more comprehensible than yours. Perhaps
you'd care to explain what you think 'order of magnitude' means
because it's far from obvious from this!
It seems "order of magnitude" was taken to mean "x10", which is the
technical sense of the term, whereas, here, it just means something
like "scale", i.e. "large-scale savings".
There are so many ways to express that already, including "magnitude"
alone, that using "order of magnitude" in a non-technical sense serves
no other purpose than being the epicenter of confusion.
That reminds of the phrase "a quantum leap," which is almost always
used to mean "a lot." But a quantum is an extremely small number.
In physics.
More generally it is a formal word for "quantity" in various senses.
The quantity of electric fluid present in an electrically neutral
body. disused.
...
Post by Peter Duncanson [BrE]
It is used in Law in "quantum of damages".
...

Also "blood quantum", the amount of an American's Native ancestry as a
criterion for enrollment in a tribe.
--
Jerry Friedman
Mark Brader
2018-02-11 22:47:15 UTC
Permalink
Post by Ken Blake
That reminds of the phrase "a quantum leap," which is almost always
used to mean "a lot." But a quantum is an extremely small number.
You are missing the point.
--
Mark Brader, Toronto | ... "reasonable system" is of course defined as
***@vex.net | "any one *I've* ever used..." -- Steve Summit
b***@aol.com
2018-02-11 23:32:41 UTC
Permalink
Post by Quinn C
Post by b***@aol.com
Post by Madrigal Gurneyhalt
Post by Quinn C
Musk cites a cost per launch of $90,000,000. As for the rocket of
similar size that is under development at NASA, it's expected to
cost between half a billion and a billion dollars, per launch. So
that's a huge order of magnitude saving!
People simply don't know what "order of magnitude" means, and in this
case, "a huge, even order of magnitude saving" would have saved it, so
I guess it wasn't as far off as can easily happen.
I'm sorry but your version makes no sense at all. The original is not
perfect but it's considerably more comprehensible than yours. Perhaps
you'd care to explain what you think 'order of magnitude' means
because it's far from obvious from this!
It seems "order of magnitude" was taken to mean "x10", which is the
technical sense of the term, whereas, here, it just means something
like "scale", i.e. "large-scale savings".
There are so many ways to express that already, including "magnitude"
alone, that using "order of magnitude" in a non-technical sense serves
no other purpose than being the epicenter of confusion.
In the sentence discussed, though, no confusion is possible if you don't
presuppose the writer is in error and just stick to the actual wording,
which /de facto/ rules out the "x10" option.
Post by Quinn C
--
An elusive creature living in a program that makes it incorrect.
The activity of "debugging," or removing bugs from a program, ends
when people get tired of doing it, not when the bugs are removed.
Quinn C
2018-02-11 16:27:00 UTC
Permalink
Post by Madrigal Gurneyhalt
Post by Quinn C
Two questionable wordings in rapid succession on CBC radio.
The first one really disoriented me for two seconds.
SpaceX launched its Falcon Heavy yesterday after five
last-minute delays and more than a two-hour wait.
Jubilant space enthusiasts couldn't care less.
No, it's not about could or couldn't care less.
Did you get right away what they didn't care about?
Yes. They couldn't care less whether it was launched on time as
long as it was launched. I don't see anything ambiguous at all.
If most people agree, this could be a real difference in discourse
structure between German and English. To really know that, one would
have to make a controlled experiment with a number of native speakers
of either language, but I am a prolific reader and have done fairly
well for decades with my way of interpreting how words refer to each
other in texts, and I would never write like this.

The "couldn't care less" was a separate sentence. Therefore, I take it
to refer to the whole sentence before, or to that sentence's central
statement, which was that the rocket was launched, not that it had
been delayed, which was in a subordinate phrase.

To me, it's a bit similar to the joke I made the other day
interpreting "aged care assessor". The structure of the two sentences
about the rocket launch is wrong to me in a similar way as saying "the
care assessor was an aged one" would be. Not as blatantly wrong, but
bad for essentially the same reason.
--
Bug:
An elusive creature living in a program that makes it incorrect.
The activity of "debugging," or removing bugs from a program, ends
when people get tired of doing it, not when the bugs are removed.
Peter T. Daniels
2018-02-11 17:53:51 UTC
Permalink
Post by Quinn C
Post by Madrigal Gurneyhalt
Post by Quinn C
Two questionable wordings in rapid succession on CBC radio.
The first one really disoriented me for two seconds.
SpaceX launched its Falcon Heavy yesterday after five
last-minute delays and more than a two-hour wait.
Jubilant space enthusiasts couldn't care less.
No, it's not about could or couldn't care less.
Did you get right away what they didn't care about?
Yes. They couldn't care less whether it was launched on time as
long as it was launched. I don't see anything ambiguous at all.
If most people agree, this could be a real difference in discourse
structure between German and English. To really know that, one would
have to make a controlled experiment with a number of native speakers
of either language, but I am a prolific reader and have done fairly
well for decades with my way of interpreting how words refer to each
other in texts, and I would never write like this.
The "couldn't care less" was a separate sentence. Therefore, I take it
to refer to the whole sentence before, or to that sentence's central
statement, which was that the rocket was launched, not that it had
been delayed, which was in a subordinate phrase.
To me, it's a bit similar to the joke I made the other day
interpreting "aged care assessor". The structure of the two sentences
about the rocket launch is wrong to me in a similar way as saying "the
care assessor was an aged one" would be. Not as blatantly wrong, but
bad for essentially the same reason.
The intended meaning is perfectly clear. They were happy to hang around and
party no matter how long the launch was delayed. ("Jubilant," "enthusiasts.")

If it had been about the recent solar eclipse, it would have been bizarre.
Richard Yates
2018-02-11 23:46:47 UTC
Permalink
On Sun, 11 Feb 2018 11:27:00 -0500, Quinn C
Post by Quinn C
Post by Madrigal Gurneyhalt
Post by Quinn C
Two questionable wordings in rapid succession on CBC radio.
The first one really disoriented me for two seconds.
SpaceX launched its Falcon Heavy yesterday after five
last-minute delays and more than a two-hour wait.
Jubilant space enthusiasts couldn't care less.
No, it's not about could or couldn't care less.
Did you get right away what they didn't care about?
Yes. They couldn't care less whether it was launched on time as
long as it was launched. I don't see anything ambiguous at all.
If most people agree, this could be a real difference in discourse
structure between German and English. To really know that, one would
have to make a controlled experiment with a number of native speakers
of either language, but I am a prolific reader and have done fairly
well for decades with my way of interpreting how words refer to each
other in texts, and I would never write like this.
I speak no German but I don't think it has to do with structure at
all.

There may be ambiguity but "Jubilant space enthusiasts" makes it
completely clear what they did not care about. Compare it to:

"SpaceX launched its Falcon Heavy yesterday after five last-minute
delays and more than a two-hour wait. Bored and uninterested local
residents couldn't care less."
Quinn C
2018-02-12 04:25:19 UTC
Permalink
Post by Richard Yates
On Sun, 11 Feb 2018 11:27:00 -0500, Quinn C
Post by Quinn C
Post by Madrigal Gurneyhalt
Post by Quinn C
Two questionable wordings in rapid succession on CBC radio.
The first one really disoriented me for two seconds.
SpaceX launched its Falcon Heavy yesterday after five
last-minute delays and more than a two-hour wait.
Jubilant space enthusiasts couldn't care less.
No, it's not about could or couldn't care less.
Did you get right away what they didn't care about?
Yes. They couldn't care less whether it was launched on time as
long as it was launched. I don't see anything ambiguous at all.
If most people agree, this could be a real difference in discourse
structure between German and English. To really know that, one would
have to make a controlled experiment with a number of native speakers
of either language, but I am a prolific reader and have done fairly
well for decades with my way of interpreting how words refer to each
other in texts, and I would never write like this.
I speak no German but I don't think it has to do with structure at
all.
There may be ambiguity but "Jubilant space enthusiasts" makes it
"SpaceX launched its Falcon Heavy yesterday after five last-minute
delays and more than a two-hour wait. Bored and uninterested local
residents couldn't care less."
For anyone whose opinion is that there is no good and bad writing,
just understandable writing and completely opaque one, discussing this
issue with you is pointless to me.

Of course I could figure out what was meant. If you write "It's so
expensive, I can't not buy it", I can usually figure out that you
accidentally inserted a second "not". That doesn't make your sentence
correct, or good.

I'm asking whether the sentence actually said what it meant, or it had
a corrigible error, or maybe in this case a corrigible unelegance. My
point was that it was written in a way that I had to consciously
override the first interpretation that the words brought to mind,
because it made no sense.

Look at this alternative:

There were five last-minute delays and more than a two-hour wait
before SpaceX finally launched its Falcon Heavy yesterday.
Jubilant space enthusiasts couldn't care less.

In this case, the good interpretation pops into my mind first.
--
Ice hockey is a form of disorderly conduct
in which the score is kept.
-- Doug Larson
Richard Yates
2018-02-12 14:07:47 UTC
Permalink
On Sun, 11 Feb 2018 23:25:19 -0500, Quinn C
Post by Quinn C
Post by Richard Yates
On Sun, 11 Feb 2018 11:27:00 -0500, Quinn C
Post by Quinn C
Post by Madrigal Gurneyhalt
Post by Quinn C
Two questionable wordings in rapid succession on CBC radio.
The first one really disoriented me for two seconds.
SpaceX launched its Falcon Heavy yesterday after five
last-minute delays and more than a two-hour wait.
Jubilant space enthusiasts couldn't care less.
No, it's not about could or couldn't care less.
Did you get right away what they didn't care about?
Yes. They couldn't care less whether it was launched on time as
long as it was launched. I don't see anything ambiguous at all.
If most people agree, this could be a real difference in discourse
structure between German and English. To really know that, one would
have to make a controlled experiment with a number of native speakers
of either language, but I am a prolific reader and have done fairly
well for decades with my way of interpreting how words refer to each
other in texts, and I would never write like this.
I speak no German but I don't think it has to do with structure at
all.
There may be ambiguity but "Jubilant space enthusiasts" makes it
"SpaceX launched its Falcon Heavy yesterday after five last-minute
delays and more than a two-hour wait. Bored and uninterested local
residents couldn't care less."
For anyone whose opinion is that there is no good and bad writing,
just understandable writing and completely opaque one, discussing this
issue with you is pointless to me.
Of course I could figure out what was meant. If you write "It's so
expensive, I can't not buy it", I can usually figure out that you
accidentally inserted a second "not". That doesn't make your sentence
correct, or good.
The original question was "Did you get right away what they didn't
care about?" I answered that question and explained why. My immediate
understanding of it was not swayed by the structure, but by the
adjectives.
Post by Quinn C
I'm asking whether the sentence actually said what it meant, or it had
a corrigible error, or maybe in this case a corrigible unelegance. My
point was that it was written in a way that I had to consciously
override the first interpretation that the words brought to mind,
because it made no sense.
You "had to override the first interpretation". I did not. That's why
such questions here are interesting.
Post by Quinn C
There were five last-minute delays and more than a two-hour wait
before SpaceX finally launched its Falcon Heavy yesterday.
Jubilant space enthusiasts couldn't care less.
In this case, the good interpretation pops into my mind first.
Sure. That works better but, again, the original question was "Did you
get right away what they didn't care about?"

In: "SpaceX launched its Falcon Heavy yesterday after five last-minute
delays and more than a two-hour wait. Bored and uninterested local
residents couldn't care less", for me, I have to "override" the
intervening business about the delay and briefly wonder why it is in
there if it is the launch they did not care about."
Peter Moylan
2018-02-22 12:07:20 UTC
Permalink
Post by Quinn C
Two questionable wordings in rapid succession on CBC radio.
The first one really disoriented me for two seconds.
SpaceX launched its Falcon Heavy yesterday after five
last-minute delays and more than a two-hour wait.
Jubilant space enthusiasts couldn't care less.
No, it's not about could or couldn't care less.
Did you get right away what they didn't care about?
Musk cites a cost per launch of $90,000,000. As for the rocket of
similar size that is under development at NASA, it's expected to
cost between half a billion and a billion dollars, per launch. So
that's a huge order of magnitude saving!
People simply don't know what "order of magnitude" means, and in this
case, "a huge, even order of magnitude saving" would have saved it, so
I guess it wasn't as far off as can easily happen.
Don't you mean an odd order of magnitude?
--
Peter Moylan http://www.pmoylan.org
Newcastle, NSW, Australia
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