Parenthetical Ess

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

This piece was written and posted to the web for you live via satellite, from a jumbo jet winging its way across the Atlantic Ocean.

Path of the plane
Airplane Not to Scale

The Internet was accessible thanks to Lufthansa’s FlyNet, which provides pretty incredible coverage.

Coverage Map
FlyNet’s Coverage Map

You may notice that China is not covered. This is solely a political decision to manually deactivate the service while in Chinese airspace, pending the Chinese government’s decision on approving of the service. I’m sure that decision is coming any decade now.

The website for FlyNet is rather amusing, offering a half dozen stories of how the service might be used, because apparently people need to be convinced that having access to the Internet is a good thing. Perhaps you’ll use Flynet to watch a downloaded video message by staring at the back of your iPhone and pointing its screen away from you, like Sandra L.:

Picture of a woman watching video by staring at the back of her iPhone
Later, we see the beginnings of some rather hideous and duckfaced sexting.

Maybe you’ll find yourself in Josephine A.’s shoes, with FlyNet showing you that your daughter just eloped:

Picture received on phone of the newly married couple
Sorry you had to find out this way, but at least there’s a barf bag close at hand.

Or like the eminently relatable Michael O., you might use your FlyNet connection to pick out the magazine cover shot for your upcoming puff piece in New Manager magazine:

Picture of a fake publication called New Manager Magazine
Subscriptions are limited to three months, after which you’ll receive Manager magazine for the next 57 months. At that time, your subscription will again be transitioned automatically, this time to Veteran Manager magazine.

Anyhow, through the wonders of modern technology, I was able to trade seven thousand otherwise useless airline miles for the ability to hop online. I could browse the web, check email, chat with colleagues, and even keep up with the Red Sox home opener via the mobile version of their site. Perhaps unsurprisingly, a pitcher’s duel is actually not a lot of fun to watch via a text feed. As such, I had a bit of time to think, and I realized something.

We can fly a plane halfway around the world.

We can launch a series of satellites to orbit the planet.

We can use those satellites to access the Internet as that plane flies hundreds of miles per hour.

No parenthesis is needed

And yet MLB.com’s pitch-by-pitch still isn’t smart enough to know it doesn’t need a parenthetical “(s)” at the end of the word “out” when there are no runners on base!


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