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A heretical parenthetical thought

November 14, 2010 Filed under Blog, Featured, Writing 

George Bryan sent me this article from the 9 November 2010 issue of Eos.

Robock, A., 2010: Parentheses are (are not) for references and clarification (saving space). Eos, 91 (45), p. 419.

Prof. Robock makes a strong case that sentences like the following are not clear, and that the added space in writing the sentence out completely is a small price to pay for greater clarity.

The horizontal pseudo energy flux of the scattered (reflected) wave is the flux that moves upward (downward) through the level of p = 30 mbar (p = 28.9 mbar) shown by the blue (upper yellow) solid (dashed) curve in Figure 3, which is used to compute the scattering (reflection) coefficient in the next paragraph.

I agree 100%, Prof. Robock.

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