Any time now, Skepticator will hit 50,000 articles

 See that magic number? 49,958 articles.

I registered the name on 14 February 2010, and the site launched a while after that*. Since then, the Extracticator robot has crawled far more articles than I expected, and I've found far more skeptical content than I ever knew about - even with my stated policy of going slow on the specifically atheist content.

Now, to be a skeptic about this - it's actually 50,000 unique URLs rather than articles - I know of a few duplicate articles, but the engine has no sensible way of knowing that an identically worded article exists in two different URLs with ever-so slightly different text. I'm hoping I can come up with a solution for that eventually, but I certainly don't think it detracts from the milestone.

Adding to this success, Skepticator is sponsoring the Skeptics Open Mic Night at the TAM Australia Fringe this November. I'm looking forward to this hugely - not just because the night itself will be flat-out cool, but because it'll be a weekend of meeting awesome people on home turf, and not only that - I'm speaking at TAMOZ. I'm on the activism panel on Friday along with a whole bunch of interesting people. This is great, and I just hope I can be insightful and/or entertaining the day after the Open Mic Night.

Anyway, I just raised a beer to the Skepticator. JOIN ME.

Oh, and Happy Birthday to Dave The Happy Singer!!


*I didn't note the date I launched. Wish I had. I'm sure I could track it down, given time.

The nature of error, in being unexpected

Cast your eyes over the following screenshot

Unexpected, eh?

This raises the question

"When exactly is an error expected?"

Surely if you expect an error, it's not actually an error? It's merely the outcome you thought would take place.

Yes, OK, it fits the dictionary definition "a deviation from accuracy or correctness; a mistake, as in action or speech", but that's not the point.

The point is that "error", in its form as a synonym for "mistake" probably isn't the ideal word to apply to the outcome of a computer program when coupled with "unexpected". If you expect it, it's not an error. If it is an error, it's something unexpected.

Redundant tautology is redundant.

But I'm still stymied by the fact that I can't describe the condition in a better way. Unexpected outcome? Doesn't seem right to me. Unknown error? Abnormal exit?

So, my dear blog readers, can you help redefine this most annoying Microsftism?

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