I don't usually link to things I saw referenced on blogdex, since it seems kind of pointless, but this time I thought I'd make an exception. It concerns a Register article about a mother who asked about flight simulator software for her son and got visited by the police. It wasn't the events that were so disturbing, but the bizarre writing in the article itself.

I'll ignore the reference to the US being "the safest and most prosperous country in the world" because that's just asking for some political debating, which I don't want to get into. I did, however, burst out laughing when I read this line:

Julie Olearcek, a USAF Reserve pilot made the enquiry at a Staples store in Massachusetts, home to an earlier bout of hysteria, during the Salem witch trials.

I hadn't realized that the witch trials had occurred in a Staples store. I wonder what kind of office supplies they used? OK, that's probably not what was meant. I found a much better article (which will disappear soon), which suggests the event took place in a town called Colrain, Massachusetts, which is 100-120 miles from Salem. The two events seem to be completely unrelated. Why mention an event that occurred more than 300 years ago in a different location?

The better article (from the local news site recorder.com) is more detailed and makes the Staples people look less embarassing. Actually, the woman and son -- who already own flight simulator software -- had gone into the store, looked around, and then asked the clerk for software about how to fly airplanes. The Register article says that the woman had asked about Microsoft Flight Simulator. This is quite a difference. I'd imagine the local news site was more accurate than the Register article, which was 'by Andrew Orlowski in Las Vegas'. And I'd imagine that a woman asking about how to fly aircraft would be more suspicious to Staples employees than someone asking about MS Flight Simulator, the latter of which isn't referenced at all in the recorder.com article.

Perhaps the Register is under some kind of witches' curse?