Thursday, April 30, 2009

Pew Editor Fired: “Search and Replace” Gone Terribly Wrong

WASHINGTON, April 30 (Geuters) — People experienced in the use of the “search and replace” function in word processing software understand that, even though it’s a valuable tool, it’s also a potential minefield.

Editors in particular understand this. Copy Editor Ruud Ozkapici at Pew Research, however, evidently had a mental lapse in running a search and replace and has been fired for the results.

The following is part of the result of Ozkapici’s search and replace, in which he inadvertently searched for “religion/religious” and replaced it with “underwear” rather than “religious affiliation.”

Underwear Changes in the U.S. in Flux

April 27, 2009, Executive Summary

Americans change their underwear early and often. In total, about half of American adults have changed underwear at least once during their lives. Most people who change their underwear leave their childhood underwear before age 24, and many of those who change underwear do so more than once. These are among the key findings of a new survey conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life. The survey documents the fluidity of underwear in the U.S. and describes in detail the patterns and reasons for change.

The reasons people give for changing their underwear—or leaving underwear altogether—differ widely depending on the origin and destination of the convert. The group that has grown the most in recent years due to underwear change is the unaffiliated population. Two-thirds of former Catholics who have become unaffiliated and half of former Protestants who have become unaffiliated say they left their childhood underwear because they stopped believing in its teachings, and roughly four-in-ten say they became unaffiliated because they do not believe in God or the teachings of most underwear. Additionally, many people who left underwear to become unaffiliated say they did so in part because they think of underwear people as hypocritical or judgmental, because underwear organizations focus too much on rules or because underwear leaders are too focused on power and money. Far fewer say they became unaffiliated because they believe that modern science proves that underwear is just superstition.

In his unsuccessful defense (following discovery of his error just prior to publication), Ozkapici said he was preoccupied with “underwear” when he was editing the report. “I had ruined many of my wife’s panties when I did the laundry,” he said, “and I promised to pick up new ones for her that day.”