Clarity isn’t a maker of hair dye

Devin Balkcom taught a robot to fold paper. Better than just folding paper, the robot can do origami. This amazing feat will carry Devin Balkcom from Mister to Doctor upon his graduation from Carnegie Mellon University in August. It’s a great accomplishment for him. Blah, blah, blah.

I’d like to focus on the brilliant writing in the news story. Apparently, the robot is smarter than anyone could’ve hoped. Read and comprehend:

Matthew Mason, a professor of computer science and robotics, thought building such a robot would be so daunting that he didn’t encourage Devin Balkcom’s plans to do so in January 2003. But today, Balkcom has a robot that can make paper airplanes and hats and is scheduled to earn his doctorate with the project in August.

Perhaps it’s not a good idea to explain the achievements of a Really Smart Guy&#153 with an unclear sentence. Without deciphering to derive the intended meaning, the structure of the second sentence implies that the robot can do origami and, as a side note, will be earning a doctorate because of it. Pretty language and complex sentences are ideal for a novelist, but an Associated Press writer should not try to be a novelist before clarifying the facts. I would never discourage interesting writing, but it’s journalism, so closer to Ernest Hemingway than Stephen King should be the goal. I’m just saying…

4 thoughts on “Clarity isn’t a maker of hair dye”

Comments are closed.