After Hours

Geek Trivia: In what year is the current Gregorian leap year system expected to 'fail?'

A recurring margin of error is building in the leap year system that suggests it will fail -- as in, the vernal equinox will be more than a day removed from March 21 -- at a particular date in the future.

This week's quibble comes from the Feb. 10, 2012 edition of Geek Trivia, which asked why (and how) did the real-life US government rule that the fictional X-Men aren't human?

Apparently, I'm subconsciously at war with the grammar police, as member byte^me found yet another basic flaw in my sentence construction:

I don't know if this qualifies as a quibble or not, but you have an editing issue. You say "This is pretty strange, and not just because neither Spider-Man nor the Fantastic Four are mutants — they're human beings granted superpowers via cosmic rays and a radioactive spider bite, respectively."

However, you have it reversed. When you use the word "respectively," that implies that the order of the items match between the two parts. They way you have them ordered, your statement says that Spider-Man got his powers from cosmic rays and the Fantastic Four by a radioactive spider bite.

That could make for an interesting "What If?" issue but that's not how things happened in the Marvel universe.

I would probably buy that What If...? issue. It can't be worse than the one where Wolverine becomes king of the vampires. Thanks for the correction, and keep those quibbles coming!

About

Jay Garmon has a vast and terrifying knowledge of all things obscure, obtuse, and irrelevant. One day, he hopes to write science fiction, but for now he'll settle for something stranger — amusing and abusing IT pros. Read his full profile. You can a...

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