Does Accuracy Count?
Practical Sailor accepts no commercial advertising,1 so there's an assumption that their reporting won't be slanted in favor of an advertiser as it might be in a conventional magazine.
Part of the implied contract that Practical Sailor has with their readers is unbiased reporting. Another part of the implied contract is accuracy. How well does Practical Sailor live up to the implied contract?
Biased reporting is not as easy to prove as inaccuracy. Of course you can be inaccurate without being biased, but inaccuracy demonstrates a lack of committment to the implied contract.
Over the years we've reported on inaccuracte statements in article published by Practical Sailor. Usually the inaccuracy demonstrates a lack of a true understanding of the subject matter. For the instance reported here, there may be a different explanation ...was the author just too lazy to look up the correct answer.
The First Sentence ...
In the October 15th, 2000 issue of Practical Sailor, an article on AGM batteries starts out, ``The basic lead-acid storage cell was invented by Thomas Edison in the late 1880s, and the fundamental chemistry hasn't changed since.''
One thing we know about the author or this report - they haven't read the book Living on 12 Volts with Ample Power. They would have learned that lead-acid battery technology has been around long before that, with science done in the 1830s by Michael Faraday. He quantified the electro-chemistry.
If you're looking for the father of the lead-acid technology used today, that person is Plant/'e who's work in 1859 paved the way for the battery industry as we know it.
So what contributions did Thomas Edison make to lead-acid battery technology? While Edison had a lot to do with batteries, his contributions to lead-acid technology per se are slim to none. In 1912 he suggested how gas might recombine in a battery cell.
And the rest of the article?
Normally we'd quit reading if the author can't manage to get the first sentence correct, but we did finish the rest of the article. Thankfully no other errors as blatant as the first showed up.
We still knash our teeth when authors are confused between Amps and Amp-hours ...if they don't know the difference, why are they writing about batteries?.
Ample Power products are manufactured by Ample Technology,
2442 NW Market St., #43, Seattle, WA 98107 - USA