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The Sciences

Fake Style

Cosmic VarianceBy Sean CarrollNovember 4, 2009 1:35 AM

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The latest Twitter phenomenon is FakeAPStylebook, an amusing take on guidelines to proper journalistic writing. Some tips include:

  • STAR WARS Episodes IV-VI are to be referred to as "The Original Trilogy." Episodes I-III are not to be referred to at all.

  • Always capitalize Satan. You don't want to get dead goats from those people.

  • The correct spelling is “Rocktober,” not “Roctober,” which is the month of giant birds.

  • Replace "situation deteriorated/worsened" with "shit [just] got real." Ex: On day three of the hostage crisis, shit got real.

Amusing enough, but I have to admit that I originally read "Fake AP Stylebook" as "Fake APS Stylebook," as if it were the (fake) American Physical Society rather than the (fake) Associated Press that was handing out advice. After all, the real APS is quite a bit quirkier than the AP; they insist that no article title begin with "The," and for a while there they were insisting that "Lagrangian" be spelled "Lagrangean." (Everyone has their quirks; Nature has banned the words "paradigm" and "scenario" from its pages entirely.) So I'm sure we can do better. Any good suggestions for improved physics style? I promise to tweet anything sufficiently amusing.

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