Misprints and spell checkers

One small but often-observed effect of new technology is an over-reliance on spell-checkers; there’s a category of typographical error which doesn’t get picked up by these.  For instance I recently read, in a book where the editors should have been a bit more careful, that Christopher Columbus sailed across the Atlantic Ocean in 1942.  You’ll be in good company if you make this sort of mistake, however.  I’ve often seen Marshall McLuhan quoted as saying ‘the medium is the massage’.  According to http://www.marshallmcluhan.com/faqs.html that was indeed the title of one of his books, but it started as a typesetter’s error and became a sort of post-modern joke.

And the unfortunate quote about Columbus above would only have got the date of his voyage wrong by 450 years.  Wikianswers at http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Columbus_sailed_the_ocean_blue_in_1492_did_he_sail_in_bce_or_ce dealt with a query from somebody who might have got the date wrong by 2984 years


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