Monday, February 22, 2016

a mystery solved

And it was solved over 5 years ago, but nobody I came across had noticed it.

Supporters of the Oxford comma have long held up a glorious example of the nonsense you get without one: "This book is dedicated to my parents, Ayn Rand and God."

The mystery is, did anybody ever really dedicate a book to this risibly unlikely set of beings? With or without a comma?

And the answer is YES, they did. Only with a comma.

And with line spacing and a couple extra words (it's "the glory of GOD"), so there's no ambiguity. Just the risibility.

Nor is the book a political tract. It's an early treatise on microwave technology: Electromagnetic Slow Wave Systems by R.M. Bevensee (Wiley, 1964).

The citation was reported in the third comment in this post.

And you can see a snippet at a time from the actual dedication on Google Books. Enter different words to see different parts.

Robert M. Bevensee was an Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering at U.C. Berkeley at the time, and was still publishing as late as 2002, if it's not another person by the same name, at which time his affiliation was with something called Boma Enterprises in nearby Alamo, and that's all that a quick search gets me.

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