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Thursday, January 06, 2005

Learned Child Saves Adults

(Stupid reporter skipped school) This is one of those good news-bad news kinds of things. Wonderful news: 10-year-old Tilly Smith was paying attention in class when a teacher who apparently knew his subject matter was going over a geography lesson.
PHUKET, Thailand - Quick-thinking 10-year-old Tilly Smith is being hailed as a hero after saving her parents and dozens of fellow vacationers from the deadly tsunami - thanks to a school geography lesson. Tilly warned the doubting adults at a resort that a massive tidal wave was about to strike - just minutes before the deadly tide rushed in and turned the resort into rubble. Tilly's family, from Surrey, England, was enjoying a day at Maikhao Beach last Sunday when the sea rushed out and began to bubble. The adults were curious, but Tilly froze in horror. "Mummy, we must get off the beach now!" she told her mother. "I think there's going to be a tsunami." The adults didn't understand until Tilly added the magic words: "A tidal wave."
Saved the lives of dozens of people. Good on you, Tilly. Now, two strikes against modern education. 1.) The adults had no idea what she was talking about until she told them in simpler terms. Dummies. 2.) Later in the story, the sub-literate reporter (Duncan Larcombe) slipped this past a sub-literate editor at the New York Post:
"Her warning spread like wildfire. Within seconds, the beach was deserted — and it turned out to be one of the only places along the shores of Phuket where no one was killed or seriously injured."
"...one of the only..."???? [emphasis added] The cretins at the New York Post apparently don't know the meaning of the word "only": without others or anything further; alone; solely; exclusively. If this place were (notice the subjunctive mood) exclusively the place "along the shores of Phuket where no one was killed or seriously injured" it could not have been "one of the... places." Only means the single one. No other. So, a little child who pays attention in class and learns a life-saving lesson—one that saves the lives of many who apprently were too stupid to learn the same lesson when they were snozzing through geography lessons. Maybe they'll pay attention in the future. Nah. They'll rely on having Tilly (and the few like her) to do their thinking for them. Sad, though, that a reporter (and his editors), whose business is wordsmithing, are too stupid or lazy to learn their craft. (Oh, ht to On the Third Hand)