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December 16, 2002

BETTER LATE THAN NEVER, I GUESS: From the corrections page in today's New York Times:

An article on Nov. 28, 1994, about the science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke and his home in Sri Lanka misstated the surname of a University of Tennessee law professor who nominated the writer that year for the Nobel Peace Prize, for his humanist approach to technology. The professor is Glenn Harlan Reynolds, not Roberts. A reader recently brought the error to The Times's attention.

Is this a record?

Thanks to reader Tucker Goodrich for noticing.

UPDATE: Reader Andy Freeman says this isn't even close to a record:

In 1919, Goddard wrote a scientific article, "A Method of Reaching Extreme Altitudes," describing a high-altitude rocket; this ground-breaking article was published in a Smithsonian report. Misunderstanding the article completely, the New York Times newspaper ridiculed Goddard in a Jan. 13, 1920, editorial, stating that space travel was impossible, and that Goddard "seems to lack the knowledge ladled out daily in high schools." They stated that rocket thrust would not work in a vacuum, apparently believing that Newton's Third Law (that every force has an equal and opposite reaction) was not valid in space. The NY Times did not print a retraction until 3 days before men landed on the moon (p. 43, July 17, 1969).

Oh, yeah. I had forgotten that one, even though it's mentioned in one of my books. Well, as I said, better late than never.