RE: Article in Financial Times; Feb 7, 2001

From: Marco Cimarosti (
Date: Thu Feb 08 2001 - 10:29:17 EST

Mike Sykes wrote:
> It shows a degree of ignorance that I would hardly have believed
> possible in a reputable newspaper.

"Technical" and "scientific" articles on most "reputable" newspapers are
often of that quality.

What worries me more is that I only notice when they occasionally talk about
things I know. I wonder what the hell they are telling me in fields that I
know nothing about.

The following are my favorite selections:

[Unicode] would be an inefficient means of representing English and European
languages that use the Roman alphabet because e-mails and text files would
be twice as big in terms of data. [...]

He clearly knows nothing about UTF-8. But don't tell him! Or he could also
find out about UTF-32, and tell the F.T. readers that because of Unicode
e-mails will soon be full of 4 letter words!

Since each word has a unique code, there is also less of the ambiguity that
is inherent in, for example, English, where a word such as 'wind' can be a
noun meaning 'movement of air' or a verb meaning to 'crank a handle'.
Unicode's unambiguous meanings improve the accuracy of automated translation
systems, especially when attempting translations from these languages. [...]

This goes in "The Benefits of Unicode": it improves the accuracy of
automated translation systems!

Since homophones exist, there may be more than one character for a
pronunciation - much like "colonel", the military rank, and "kernel", the
nut in a fruit, in English. [...]

But, hey!, then it also goes in "The Benefits of ASCII(tm)": it too improves
the accuracy of automated translation systems by encoding "colonel" and
"kernel" with unambiguous sequences!

_ Marco

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