September 10, 2010

The Reported Explosion

Within just a couple of hours, news cobbled together of the the explosion in San Bruno had gained the attention of the entire world. The BBC News RSS headline, linked to an article on its website, stated, inaccurately, Blaze engulfs San Francisco homes and continued, inaccurately, "Dozens of homes have been set ablaze near San Francisco International Airport, after a reported explosion."

Residents and travelers alike have long noted that San Francisco International Airport is not in San Francisco, but on the shore of San Francisco Bay miles south of the city. If the body of the RSS feed is accurate, and the blaze, caused by a reported explosion, caused dozens of homes near the airport to be engulfed in flames, then its headline is simply wrong, as there are no houses both in San Francisco and near its airport. Complicating matters, the actual homes set ablaze in San Bruno are not only not in San Francisco but not particulary close to the airport, either.

The BBC's RSS feed makes for a crude approximation of the event it points to. "San Francisco" BOOM! would do as well. But it's notable that even garbled word of this local catastrophe was reverberating in London less than three hours after the terrible explosion.

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