About

I'm Mike Pope. I live in the Seattle area. I've been a technical writer and editor for over 30 years. I'm interested in software, language, music, movies, books, motorcycles, travel, and ... well, lots of stuff.

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Some people may sit back and say, "I want to solve this problem" and they sit down and say, "How do I solve this problem?" I don't. I just move around in the mathematical waters, thinking about things, being curious, interested, talking to people, stirring up ideas; things emerge and I follow them up. Or I see something which connects up with something else I know about, and I try to put them together and things develop. I have practically never started off with any idea of what I'm going to be doing or where it's going to go. I'm interested in mathematics; I talk, I learn, I discuss and then interesting questions simply emerge. I have never started off with a particular goal, except the goal of understanding mathematics.

Michael Atiyah



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Blog Statistics

Dates
First entry - 6/27/2003
Most recent entry - 9/21/2018

Totals
Posts - 2522
Comments - 2582
Hits - 2,081,216

Averages
Entries/day - 0.45
Comments/entry - 1.02
Hits/day - 374

Updated every 30 minutes. Last: 8:07 PM Pacific


  11:53 AM

I'm on hiatus at the moment (more on that next week), but I did want to break radio silence briefly to note a couple of editorial things that I've run across recently.

The first is a variation on the common confusion between rein and reign. For example, people often write reign in when they mean rein in.[1] However, I've never personally seen that confusion extend to a context where it's this clear that we mean the straps you use on horses. This is from a Netflix capsule summary:


Maybe I just haven't been paying attention.

And a second one is just a somewhat curious use of the expression "+/-". This is familiar to me to suggest numerical tolerances. So I don't quite get the motivation for using it in this sentence from a running website:
Avoid running during the hottest part of the day. Listen to your body and stop exercising, find a shaded, cool area, and rehydrate (+/- seek medical attention) if you experience lightheadedness.
If I were writing this out, I'd write something like "and if necessary ...", but I've never seen +/- used to mean that. Do they mean and/or? If so, is +/- shorthand for that?


[1] Tho I think that this particular confusion is understandable, since to my mind reign in could be something that constitutions do to chief executives.

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