Three Little Things

I ran across a phrase that gave me pause:
“ascertain the uncertainty”
This phrase was used in a sensitivity study that was conducted to find out what parameters have the most effect on the outcome of a
simulation model.

To ascertain means to make certain, or to find out or learn with certainty. Therefore, if you ascertain something, the uncertainty is
now gone because now it’s certain. It’s like matter and anti-matter: one obliterates the other.

So what should the author have written instead?
Well, simulation models, by their nature, cannot ever be ascertained. But they can be used to elucidate or understand the ranges and types of uncertainty inherent in the model. So I changed the word “ascertain” to “understand,” simply because elucidate was too hoity-toity a word for the situation.

Second thing I saw was a typo that got away from Spell Checker:
bellow instead of below
To bellow is a verb that means to yell loudly and deeply, like a cow mooing to wake the farmer who slept way past milking time. My husband bellows from time to time, usually at the two boys or the dog.
“Below” is a preposition that means beneath or under, the opposite of above.

Third, I saw the word “plane” instead of “plan.”
Bad Example:
There is a plane to recomplete the well with a different form of artificial lift.
The plane, the plane, boss! Reminds me of Tattoo in the old Fantasy Island TV show.
Careful editing will catch these sorts of typos.


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