Two recent errors in this newspaper have brought in a flurry of clippings from readers. One was a column by real estate expert Bernard C. Meltzer, who was responding to a question from a woman who wanted to know, "What would happen to our house, which is in my husband's name, if he died without leaving a will?"
In his response, Meltzer used the legal term "intestate," which means "without a valid will." Need I tell you that it appeared in print as "interstate"?
The other goof can hardly be blamed on a printing error. In an article by diet experts Dr. Jean Mayer and Dr. Johanna Dwyer, these words appeared: "Just what, then, is a calorie? It is a unit of measurement, the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of one liter of water by one degree centigrade."
If you were the copy editor or proofreader who handled that piece of copy, would you have caught the error? Five District Liners did. When the word is not capitalized, a calorie is the amount of heat required to raise by one degree centigrade the temperature of one gram of water, not one liter.
Oh, well! There's a speck of comfort in knowing that even experts have trouble converting to the metric system.