For reasons unknown, the Corvallis Gazette Times wrote an article about my class. Maybe the teacher was actually teaching us something and that was news, or maybe the reporter was bored; I have no idea. As part of the project we were working on, I had written a “report” on frogs. Sadly, the report itself is lost to history. Lost, that is, aside from one sentence. Almost.
The paper quoted several of the student’s projects, including mine. They chose what was probably the most insightful part of my report: “Baby frogs are called tadpoles.” (And, since that part clocked in at over 20% of the report, I think they may have been skirting “fair use” pretty close.) I was pretty damn excited about that.
The next morning, however, I was heartbroken to find that this had been rendered as: “Baby frogs are cold tadpoles.”
I have memories of various adults saying in surprised and delighted tones, “I had no idea they were cold!” I also distinctly remember — so I’m probably making this part up — asking if the paper would print a retraction.
As disturbing as it was at the time, this was good practice for the time, years later, when Slashdot announced that my collaborators and I had developed a test of string theory.
(An unrelated, but fun and geeky, note: when I found Blake’s story I was visiting my mother, and rooted through the attic for a while to see if we still had the clipping. I did find that, but I did find my Rubick’s Magic Rings!
This is eight tiles tied together with nylon string, tied so that you can only flip the tiles in certain ways. The goal is to re-arrange the tiles to form 3 rings. The best part though, is that part of solving it is figuring out if, when you untangled the strings, you untangled them into the correct places.)