Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Disasters – In Writing, That Is…

In the wee dark hours of the morning, a moving railroad tanker car sprang a leak and began to unintentionally offload the hydrochloric acid it carried. The train was brought to a halt near a residential subdivision in the small town of Monument, Colorado, and emergency officials began to evacuate some 250 homes in the area.

Information is typically sketchy during the incipient stages of any emergency incident as hazmat crews and other emergency responders try to determine what’s leaking, how much is leaking, and what they’re going to do about it. But the error I spotted had nothing to do with this kind of information. It involved one evacuee’s account of her personal ordeal that appeared in an online story by a local newspaper:  

“…Linda does not have a LAN line, but got a knock at the door…”

I’m guessing this reporter meant “landline,” referring to a telephone that is hard-wired into a building (as opposed to the ubiquitous cell phones many people now have). In the not-so-old days, signals were transmitted via lines strung across the countryside, or across the land – thus they were called “landlines.”

The term “LAN” refers to a “local area network” of computers, not phones (at least as far as I know). If you know anything different, let me know and I’ll correct myself.

For now, the acid spill has been contained. The writing errors have not.

No comments:

Post a Comment