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

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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.”

Looking to Downsize? You Can Buy a 5-Room DIY Cabin on Amazon for Less Than $33,000

Five rooms of one's own.
Five rooms of one's own.
Allwood/Amazon

If you’ve already mastered DIY houses for birds and dogs, maybe it’s time you built one for yourself.

As Simplemost reports, there are a number of house kits that you can order on Amazon, and the Allwood Avalon Cabin Kit is one of the quaintest—and, at $32,990, most affordable—options. The 540-square-foot structure has enough space for a kitchen, a bathroom, a bedroom, and a sitting room—and there’s an additional 218-square-foot loft with the potential to be the coziest reading nook of all time.

You can opt for three larger rooms if you're willing to skip the kitchen and bathroom.Allwood/Amazon

The construction process might not be a great idea for someone who’s never picked up a hammer, but you don’t need an architectural degree to tackle it. Step-by-step instructions and all materials are included, so it’s a little like a high-level IKEA project. According to the Amazon listing, it takes two adults about a week to complete. Since the Nordic wood walls are reinforced with steel rods, the house can withstand winds up to 120 mph, and you can pay an extra $1000 to upgrade from double-glass windows and doors to triple-glass for added fortification.

Sadly, the cool ceiling lamp is not included.Allwood/Amazon

Though everything you need for the shell of the house comes in the kit, you will need to purchase whatever goes inside it: toilet, shower, sink, stove, insulation, and all other furnishings. You can also customize the blueprint to fit your own plans for the space; maybe, for example, you’re going to use the house as a small event venue, and you’d rather have two or three large, airy rooms and no kitchen or bedroom.

Intrigued? Find out more here.

[h/t Simplemost]

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Florence’s Plague-Era Wine Windows Are Back in Business

A wine window in Florence's Via Santo Spirito.
A wine window in Florence's Via Santo Spirito.

Many bars and restaurants have started selling takeout cocktails and other alcoholic beverages to stay in business—and keep customers safe—during the coronavirus pandemic. Meanwhile, 17th-century Florentines are surely applauding from their front-row seats in the afterlife.

As Insider reports, a number of buildings in Florence had been constructed with small “wine windows,” or buchette del vino, through which vendors sold wine directly to less affluent customers. When the city suffered an outbreak of plague in the 1630s, business owners recognized the value of these windows as a way to serve people without spreading germs. They even exchanged money on a metal tray that was sanitized with vinegar.

Wine not?sailko, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0

Things eventually went back to normal, and the windows slowly fell out of fashion altogether as commerce laws evolved. This year, however, they’ve made a comeback. According to Food & Wine, there are currently at least four in operation around Florence. Osteria delle Brache in Piazza Peruzzi is using its window to deliver wine and cocktails, for example, and the Vivoli ice cream shop, a go-to dessert spot since 1929, is handing out sweet scoops and coffee through its formerly dormant aperture.

Apart from the recent resurgence of interest, the wine windows often go unnoticed by tourists drawn to the grandeur of attractions like the Uffizi Gallery and the Florence Cathedral. So in 2015, locals Matteo Faglia, Diletta Corsini, and Mary Christine Forrest established the Wine Window Association to generate some buzz. In addition to researching the history of the windows, they also keep a running list of all the ones they know of. Florence has roughly 150, and there are another 100 or so in other parts of Tuscany.

They’re hoping to affix a plaque near each window to promote their stories and discourage people from defacing them. And if you want to support their work, you can even become a member of the organization for €25 (about $29).

[h/t Insider]