Confessions of a writer: Pet peeves in reading technical documentation (RFPs)

I recently learned something that set off my language alarm bells (and set off my pet-peeve-o-meter).

It is standard practice when scoring submissions from a company to base the score solely on technical criteria with no consideration for how the submitted document was written. I am told that the use of proper spelling and grammar are too subjective to score and that if we did score them, we’d be left with no bidders.

So, one is not allowed to adjust one’s score based on any known measure of readability or structure. If the proponen’t’s writiung is chuck fowl of jargon, spellung; punctuation grammatical errors and you must consider the technical aspic of the dulcimer only.

Yes, that includes when the document is ridiculously hard to read because of PPE (Piss Poor Editing). I am not concerned with one-off mistakes, like the writer who spelled through, as ‘thru.’ No, I’m talking writing so bad it’s laughable.

For example, the author of one document claims that their company has, “rigoroush quality Assurant’s measures in place to insure our product meats the Agencies needs.” Because I know what that means, and QA is one of our technical requirements, the proponent is to get full marks.

At what point did this become acceptable? At what point did we decide that copy editing was no longer a valid skill in business? When was it decided that effective written communication was not an evaluation criterion for a company applying to win a seven figure contract?

More importantly, why are individuals held to higher standards than corporations? If a person submits a resume written with the language errors present above, that resume is on the reject pile–no hesitation.

What makes corporations special?

The Butterfly Effect


Why there are no Parallel Universes

The Multiverse has become a hotly discussed theory in physics in recent decades. I won’t get into the details of that, in part because I am not qualified to do so, but it all has to do with the mathematics of the Big Bang and the Initial Singularity. In a nutshell The Multiverse is a consequence of an infinite number of ongoing Big Bang events.

The Smoking Gun for “The Butterfly Effect”

Physicists have speculated that if there are an infinite number of universes, all governed by the same physical and mathematical laws, there must also be an infinite number of parallel universes. In these parallel unverses alternate versions of ourselves live identical, and nearly identical lives. This humble, mostly ignorant, layman, begs to differ. It all has to do with the picture of the cosmic microwave background radiation, CMBR, from the Big Bang taken by the Planck satellite in 2013.

CMBR, the ultimate manifestation of 'The Butterfly Effect'

When that cosmic microwave background radiation was first viewed it looked uniform and featureless. But with the highly sensitive instruments of the Planck Satellite the image was enhanced and it turned out that there were subtle temperature variations.

According to our current understanding of physics we have Einstein’s world of universal physics and the quantum world of subatomic physics. Universal physics, the physics that allows us to understand the movement of very big bodies, such as planets, stars and galaxies, are understood and calculated using Einstein’s laws of relativity. The mathematics of quantum mechanics is how we understand and interact with the mechanics of the extremely small, subatomic particles. At this time physicists have been unable to reconcile those two sets of equations.

However, there was a time when this was not the case. When you look at that famous picture of the CMBR the subtle differences in temperature are a product of the randomness of quantum mechanics, and they are what lead to the structure we see in our universe, and this proves that the “butterfly effect” is real. The “butterfly effect” is the idea that seemingly insignificant actions, such as random quantum fluctuations, can have enormous consequences. This was most famously expressed in the short story “A Sound of Thunder” by Ray Bradbury, first published in 1952.

The Infinitely Random Nature of Quantum Mechanics

The thing is that the motions of subatomic particles, as expressed in the theories of quantum mechanics, are all random. And they aren’t just random, they are infinitely random. Their movements are expressed as probabilities, but there is no subatomic grid for them to snap to, like pixels on a monitor. So while the motions of subatomic particles can be reliably predicted to fall within a certain range a certain percentage of the time, their actual positions in spacetime are infinitely random, and the more precise your measuring tools are, the more this becomes apparent.

The only conclusion you can draw from this is that parallel universes are simply not a mathematical possibility. You have an almost impossible to quantify number of subatomic particles, each with an infinite number of potential positions, even if the multiverse is infinite, and even if those random quantum fluctuations only determine the structure of the given universe, there will be no parallel universes, it simply isn’t mathematically possible. Every universe is distinct, and unique.

Certainly there will be an infinite number of universes with similar characteristics, and similar structures, but none of them will be identical, or even close to being identical. The other interesting logical conclusions that can be drawn from are, that no matter how much you know, there is always more to learn, and no matter what happens, the multiverse will never reach the end of probabilities or possibilities.

There will always be surprises in an infinite multiverse.