Thursday, May 29, 2008

Databse*, etc. (for Database)

Wot's dat, another typo? The Ohio Library and Information Network's database is our source for determining the probability of typos: we then encode that data in the A-E sections of the Ballard list. The word database itself is found variously misspelled in OhioLINK, with 12 cases of Databse*, three of Datbase*, two of Datebase*, and one of Databaes*. Morse code, often vocalized with the sounds "dit" and "dah," was invented in the early 1840s by Samuel Morse and Alfred Vail—a somewhat hapless but ingenious fellow who some hail as its true creator. Vail also felt slighted by another association with Morse, from which he wistfully disengaged, sounding a bit like a bridegroom who had set the date but then backed away: "I have made up my mind to leave the Telegraph to take care of itself, since it cannot take care of me. I shall, in a few months, leave Washington for New Jersey ... and bid adieu to the subject of the Telegraph...." Alfred's Ohio cousin Theodore Newton Vail, on the other hand, became the first president of AT&T, where he proved to be so monopoly-minded and business-oriented that his philosophy was known as "Vailism." (Picture of Alfred Vail from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

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