Dear Editors of SpecGram,
I know that when typing, you use two spaces after a period or other end-of-sentence punctuation in your ugly monospaced typewriter font. When typesetting (on a computer, in HTML, whatever), you use only one space because you have a snazzy proportional font. Browsers render your HTML properly for you in case you make a mistake and revert to your old bad habits.
Would you please tell your readers that this is so? Everyone in my department has agreed to stop using two spaces after a period if you say they should. Thanks.
Victor “Vic” Torious
Dept. of Human Linguification
University of the Wælcyrge
Merry Old England
There are several editors at SpecGram who always—and will always—put two spaces after periods. They even do so in HTML documents, even though the extra space doesn’t show up. One of our Consulting Editors explains:
It’s necessary. The first space is to let you know the previous sentence has ended, and the second space is to let you know that it’s not a joke. This is why there are only single spaces between words. When we read (and this is based on Scientific Research Studies), our brain processes spaces in just this way. When we come to the end of a word and see a space, our brain thinks, “Yowza! This is the end of the sentence!” Once we get to the next word, though, our brain relaxes, and thinks, “Oh, thank goodness, it was just a gag!” By putting only a single space after periods, not only is Vic committing a sin of style, but he’s also hopelessly confusing the reader’s brain. Prolonged exposure to such prose can lead to dyslexia, alzheimer’s disease, dementia, cross-eyed-ness, and anal fissures. I hope Vic considers seriously the consequences of his quote-style-unquote.
Another Consulting Editor has suggested using two half spaces after a period as a compromise.
That should settle things for you and your departmental colleagues.
I was shocked to recently learn that Juan Toro, et al., were awarded an Ig Nobel prize in 2007 for their paper, “Effects of Backward Speech and Speaker Variability in Language Discrimination by Rats.” What a disgrace! This is important research. My fears of satanic heavy metal bands unleashing their rat minions on an unsuspecting world have been allayed.
A proper and thoughtful reply to Nikoletta’s message was a bit beyond us, so we asked our good friend, Dr. Öppflurtigas, to consider the problem. His thorough, but not-so-reassuring reply is below. —Eds.
Although Toro et al.’s findings have significantly reduced the perceived likelihood of reverse-message-triggered androphagic behaviors (RMABs) among mammalian species (e.g., the cliché “killer koalas on rampage” scenario), I feel compelled to point out that the study’s results don’t indicate that such events are impossible. In most models, provisions are made for several subtypes of aggressively feral mammals, and one such—the so-called “metachronologically enhanced teratomorphed” (MET) group, differ in respects that are quite significant to the Toro findings. METs are created via a kind of prolonged temporal overlapping; the details are complex (cf. No (1972), Mandark (2003)), but essentially the creatures are introduced into a “Schroedinger’s cat” situation and then subjected to an altered chronological field, placing them in a kind of temporally nondirectional fugue state and “spreading” their probability distributions over a wider space. Experiments using METs were abandoned, since the results are very hard to harvest for study (standard euthanasia techniques only leave a standard MET 45% dead, with a large margin of error), but their behavior indicates that they—or at least parts of what is them at that moment—perceive input out of the chronological order in which we perceive it (which causes another problem with euthanasia, since in some cases METs become violent before you aim the dart rifle at them). A reverse message could, therefore, not be reversed from a MET’s standpoint, and thus the chances of an RMAB remain non-zero.
• No, Julius. 1972. Biological Alternatives to the Laser Cannon: A Taxonomy. Prague: First Horseman Press.
• Mandark, Susan Astronominov. 2003. "Metatemporal conflation: not an optimum shortcut to the Ubersloth." Journal of Redacted Studies, 127(4).37-55.
Dr. Horst Öppflurtigas
VonTarrantank Petting Zoo