Having just won a hard fought E-bay auction for an obsolete technology, (a MIVO mailstation 100--the only thing my 90 year old grandmother will use for E-mail) I can now turn my late night concentration to feeling bad about the Slate correction.
Just hours after my little piece on fingerprints (http://slate.msn.com/id/2101379/) was posted, I got one of those little queries from the corrections page at Slate... Not surprisingly it came from someone with an .edu suffix. The very nice man pointed out that I had used the term 'modular transfer function' for 'modulation transfer function'. When the correction came in, I didn't initially understand it--I thought it was about a sourcing issue. And it was only after having sent appendix F of the IAIFIS manual off to my editor with a smug note did I realize that the guy was actually talking about a typo which I hadn't noticed before.
He was utterly right of course, and horrified, I quicky ate appropriate crow with my editor. Since it really was a typo, there was some question as to whether a correction was really necessary. Obviously, they decided that a correction had to issue (you can see it at the bottom of the piece) which, of course totally heightened my level of mortification. I also sent the corrector an apologetic note
Not that this is such a big deal, of course, but I was a bit embarrassed at having missed it. It's just not the kind of thing that looks good when you are a fairly new writer. And then just hours after the correction is posted, I get this very nice note from the corrector:
Thank you for your note. I appreciate you writing, though it was quite
unnecessary, as I certainly have been known to miss a thing or two in
my read-overs. I most assuredly did enjoy the piece, and thank you
again for taking the time to write.
P.S. A quick google search for "modular transfer function" found 291
hits which makes me wonder if they might both be acceptable,
though "modulation transfer function" had several thousand hits.
Hmmm. I just wish he'd googled first and written to the corrections page later...