Friday, January 06, 2006

More on lack of respect for (and knowledge of) New Jersey, re: the New York Times

The New York Times published an article by Barnaby J. Feder on January 4, 2006 entitled "Two Win Prestigious Engineering Award" about an award to two former researchers from Bell Labs (which is in New Jersey, the state that has no credibility) for inventing CCDs, which is the key chip which enables digital cameras and video cameras. The article starts out fine:

Two former Bell Laboratories researchers who invented a microchip that became the building block for devices ranging from digital cameras to powerful telescopes were named winners yesterday of the 2006 Charles Stark Draper Prize, the engineering equivalent of a Nobel award.

Willard S. Boyle, 81, and George E. Smith, 75, invented the imaging microchip, known as a charge-coupled device, in 1969. The chip converts light particles, or photons, into packets of electrical charges that are nearly instantaneously shifted in rows to the edge of the chip for scanning.

So far, so good. Later in the article they make the following whopper of a claim:

Mr. Smith, who lives in Barnegat Bay, N.J., ...


As anybody who lives in New Jersey knows, Barnegat Bay is a body of water, not a place that a human being would live. Yes, you can live in the Township of Barnegat (formerly Union Township), which is immediately south of my home town of Waretown, or you could live in the Borough of Barnegat Light which is directly across Barnegat Bay (the body of water) from Waretown and Barnegat, but nobody actually lives in Barnegat Bay.

Of course, I should choose my words carefuly. Maybe some "associates" of the Sopranos have helped a few people take up residence at the bottom of Barnegat Bay, but you'd have to argue the semantics of "living".

Oddly (and incorrectly), the maps from Yahoo and MapQuest do recognize "Barnegat Bay, NJ" and give you a point on land in Barnegat, NJ that that they label as "Barnegat Bay", but that is pure fiction to suggest that there is a place on land called "Barnegat Bay", maybe somebody's idea of a joke or a dumb mistake, or whatever, but there is no politial unit that one could reside in called "Barnegat Bay, N.J." The maps are actually misleading, and maybe that's part of where the NY Times reporter went astray. The MapQuest map and the Yahoo map even label the bay off of Barnegat as "Manahawkin Bay" even though that would make no sense at all. Manahawkin in a couple miles further south.

Moral of the story: Never trust a New Yorker for information about "New Jersey". Sigh.

-- Jack Krupansky


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