Welcome to DU! The truly grassroots left-of-center political community where regular people, not algorithms, drive the discussions and set the standards. Join the community: Create a free account Support DU (and get rid of ads!): Become a Star Member All Forums Issue Forums Culture Forums Alliance Forums Region Forums Support Forums Help & Search


Emrys's Journal
Emrys's Journal
February 24, 2023

Nevertheless, today's vote at the United Nations illustrated the limits of Russia's support

The resolution, which was overwhelmingly carried, called for Russian troops to immediately withdraw from Ukraine and for a comprehensive and lasting peace. The results:

For anyone using a text reader, that sums up as:

141 in favour

7 against

32 abstentions.

February 23, 2023

About the "Oxford comma" ...

I'll just dredge this up from my scintillating DU journal (I have a little time on my hands tonight if someone wants to get into an argument about it - no takers when it was originally posted).

I edit books. The Oxford comma is much misunderstood.

Nowadays, rather than having strict house styles, most book publishers are flexible about matters of style, like the Oxford comma, because they want to minimize costs resulting from changing what an author's submitted for publication. Generally, if what an author's done is consistent, or thereabouts, we'll standardize it throughout a chapter or whole book.

The Oxford comma means something different in book publishing than it does in everyday chatter.

It means the comma after the penultimate item in a list is obligatory in all cases.

It's nothing to do with making sense of a sentence by fiddling with the punctuation, that comma's just always there. The Oxford University Press explains why it adopted this practice:

Given that the final comma is sometimes necessary to prevent ambiguity, it is logical to impose it uniformly, so as to obviate the need to pause and gauge each enumeration on the likelihood of its being misunderstood – especially since that likelihood is often more obvious to the reader than the writer.


Translated from the somewhat flowery English: to save time spent by copy-editors deciding in every case whether there should be a comma after the penultimate item in a serial list, it's easier to just always use it, so that's what OUP imposes. And that's what a publisher means when they instruct us to standardize on using the Oxford comma or not.

This cuts out nuance, as in the examples people often give when arguing in the Oxford comma's favour, because that comma is not optional. But it saves time, and time is money.

So there you go: all those arguing for the Oxford comma have been doing it wrong all along. According to the Oxford University Press, anyway.
February 1, 2023

Shoddy super glue repairs to Trident submarine leave officials fuming, say reports

Civilian workers reportedly tried to cut corners by sticking some bolts back on to vital cooling pipes, but the hasty mend was discovered when one fell off
Civilians said to be carrying out work on HMS Vanguard – repairs that started in 2015 – reportedly glued some bolts back, that held insulation in place, on to essential cooling pipes, that had been sheared off through over-tightening.
Alarmed Ben Wallace was reported to be angry at the news, demanding a meeting and “assurances about future work”, while a Navy source was reported to have said: “It’s a disgrace. You can’t cut corners with nuclear."
The bungled repair was reportedly only discovered when one bolt fell off during checks aboard the 16,000-ton ballistic missile-armed vessel, which was first launched in 1992.

HMS Vanguard was undergoing a dry dock refurbishment and refuel at HMNB Devonport, Plymouth, which was £300million over budget.


Profile Information

Gender: Do not display
Current location: Scotland
Member since: Sun Sep 6, 2009, 11:57 PM
Number of posts: 7,154

Journal Entries

Latest Discussions»Emrys's Journal