The New York Times Ran This Typo Every Day for 102 Years

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iStock

by Reader's Digest Editors

Late one Sunday night in 1898, an employee of The New York Times was setting the type for the next morning’s front page, unaware he was about to print a blunder that would take 102 years to rectify.

You can still see the legacy of the poor anonymous man’s screw-up today. If you have a copy of The Times nearby, take a look at the top left corner of the front page; you will see an issue number. Numbering well into the 50,000s today, this publisher’s tally has appeared in the exact same spot every day since the very first issue of The Times hit newsstands on September 18, 1851, stepping up by one every day the paper went on sale. That is, until February 7, 1898, when it stepped up by, well, quite a bit more than one.

That’s the night some unknown editor made a simple mathematical error. The February 6 paper, he saw, was issue number 14,499. Using only the simple mental arithmetic required of him, the employee added one—and got 15,000. The paper went to print, jumping 500 issues into the future overnight. And nobody noticed.
 
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The New York Times continued running its issue numbers like this, 500 editions ahead of reality, every day for more than 100 years. It wasn’t until the end of 1999 when an intrepid news assistant—a 24-year-old man responsible for, among other things, updating each edition’s issue number—began to question the system’s potential for error. After poring over thousands of archival issues, he found the hidden fluke from a century past. And so, on the January 1, 2000 issue of The New York Times, editors printed this correction:

“Because the 500-issue error persisted until yesterday (No. 51,753)… today The Times turns back the clock to correct the sequence: this issue is No. 51,254. ”

Typos have been responsible for some of the most expensive mistakes in history, but the price of this one, fortunately, was only a little embarrassment. “An article on March 14, 1995, celebrating the arrival of No. 50,000 was 500 days premature,” the correction added. “It should have appeared on July 26, 1996.”

Kodak’s New Cameras Don't Just Take Photos—They Also Print Them

Your Instagram account wishes it had this clout.
Your Instagram account wishes it had this clout.
Kodak

Snapping a photo and immediately sharing it on social media is definitely convenient, but there’s still something so satisfying about having the printed photo—like you’re actually holding the memory in your hands. Kodak’s new STEP cameras now offer the best of both worlds.

As its name implies, the Kodak STEP Instant Print Digital Camera, available for $70 on Amazon, lets you take a picture and print it out on that very same device. Not only do you get to skip the irksome process of uploading photos to your computer and printing them on your bulky, non-portable printer (or worse yet, having to wait for your local pharmacy to print them for you), but you never need to bother with ink cartridges or toner, either. The Kodak STEP comes with special 2-inch-by-3-inch printing paper inlaid with color crystals that bring your image to life. There’s also an adhesive layer on the back, so you can easily stick your photos to laptop covers, scrapbooks, or whatever else could use a little adornment.

There's a 10-second self-timer, so you don't have to ask strangers to take your group photos.Kodak

For those of you who want to give your photos some added flair, you might like the Kodak STEP Touch, available for $130 from Amazon. It’s similar to the regular Kodak STEP, but the LCD touch screen allows you to edit your photos before you print them; you can also shoot short videos and even share your content straight to social media.

If you want to print photos from your smartphone gallery, there's the Kodak STEP Instant Mobile Photo Printer. This portable $80 printer connects to any iOS or Android device with Bluetooth capabilities and can print whatever photos you send to it.

The Kodak STEP Instant Mobile Photo Printer connects to an app that allows you to add filters and other effects to your photos. Kodak

All three Kodak STEP devices come with some of that magical printer paper, but you can order additional refills, too—a 20-sheet set costs $8 on Amazon.

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13 Inventors Killed By Their Own Inventions

Would you fly in this?
Would you fly in this?

As it turns out, being destroyed by the very thing you create is not only applicable to the sentient machines and laboratory monsters of science fiction.

In this episode of The List Show, Mental Floss editor-in-chief Erin McCarthy takes us on a sometimes tragic, always fascinating journey through the history of invention, highlighting 13 unfortunate innovators whose brilliant schemes brought about their own demise. Along the way, you’ll meet Henry Winstanley, who constructed a lighthouse in the English Channel that was swept out to sea during a storm … with its maker inside. You’ll also hear about stuntman Karel Soucek, who was pushed from the roof of the Houston Astrodome in a custom-designed barrel that landed off-target, fatally injuring its occupant.

And by the end of the episode, you just might be second-guessing your secret plan to quit your day job and become the world’s most daredevilish inventor.

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