The best thing I’ve read on the internet today, from Metafilter user FishBike. Below is the G-rated version, the original has an instance of more intense profanity.
This is probably as good a time as any to publish the FishBike scale of Big Mistakes. Basically, you rate the size of a mistake by which field of study is affected by it.
Category 1: Journalism. Your mistake is big enough to be reported in the news somewhere.
Category 2: History. School children decades from now will be reading about your mistake in their textbooks.
Category 3: Geography. Your mistake is bad enough that maps are different afterwards. Entire towns or cities may have disappeared, or people change place names so they can forget about your mistake.
Category 4: Geology. Millenia from now, scientists will be wondering what made that giant hole in the ground or why that mountain isn’t there any more.
Category 5: Astronomy. Scientists on other planets, peering at our solar system through their telescopes, will see a bright flash and ask themselves “What the heck was that?”
I am happy to report that I have made no big mistakes this week, and I bet you haven’t either. Be gracious and don’t sweat the small stuff.