Sunday, May 20, 2018

Calcite, Limestone, Dummy - The Freelance Files MCCXI

calcite crystal
Part of our staffers' research rubric is backgrounding the writers we feature. That's mostly because we don't want to harp on minor grammatical mistakes by non-English speakers (although English majors are fair game...). We're especially peeved when we run across someone who claims to have the background for a piece of writing, yet botches the assignment. Such is the case of freelancer J. Lang Wood, who submitted "What Is the Difference Between Limestone & Calcite" to eHow. The post now lives at

In the real world, the answer is quite simple: calcite is a mineral (chemical formula CaCO3); limestone is a sedimentary rock mainly composed of calcite. Given Wood's claimed "Associate of Arts degree in chemistry" – is there really such a thing as an associate of arts in a science? – one might assume she'd go straight to the science... and she did. Except that she got it wrong:
"Calcite is a mineral that occurs in the natural geological processes of the Earth. Calcite is a form of calcium carbonate, a type of calcium salt oxide with three atoms of oxygen bonded to one atom of calcium. Calcite binds with other compounds to create limestone which is used in construction."
See where J. Lang went wrong? We do: the chemical formula of calcite includes three elements: calcium, carbon, and oxygen. According to Wood, however, there are only two: calcium and oxygen.  But wait: calcite is "calcium carbonate" – where'd she put the carbon? She's recited the formula for lime, CaO2... oops.

Wood goes on to blather some elementary discussion of the physical properties of calcite, although she says nothing of its hardness, cleavage, or crystal structure; and fails to mention efferevescence. We assume that's because she didn't understand any of those properties...
J. Lang next applies her research chops to limestone, explaining to one and all that,
"Limestone is another form of calcium carbonate. It generally contains 50 percent of calcite along with other minerals such as quartz, clay, pyrite or other materials."
Wait, what? "[G]enerally contains 50 percent of calcite"? No, idiot, it always contains at least 50% calcite: any less and it's not even considered a carbonate rock. Oh, yeah, and it's not "another form of calcium carbonate" – it's a sedimentary rock! Oh, wait, she (kinda) figured that out:
"Fossils are often found in limestone-type rock formations."
Wood wastes much of her 400-plus word post telling people how limestone is used in construction, as well as at least moronic claim about calcite:
"Calcite was once used for gun sites [sic] for armaments during the second World War."
When she's done, however, her readers still don't know the difference between calcite and limestone, which is the primary reason J. Lang Wood is our Dumbass of the Day.


Saturday, May 19, 2018

Door Hinges for Dummies - The Freelance Files MCCX

shim for door hinge
We just noticed that it had been a while since we featured some of the unconstrained freelancers who ply their trade at While the website is a classic example of a moribund content farm, with only a few people still writing there, almost all of their old content still lives in all its scruffy glory. Today's DotD nominee, then, is two-site dumbass Maxwell Payne, here to misinform his readers about "How to Adjust Hinges to Make Room Doors Close Flush."

Friday, May 18, 2018

Universal Joints for Dummies - The Freelance Files MCCIX

universal joint
Sometimes, the staffer who submits content for a DotD nomination has to put quite a bit of effort into the reason for the nomination. Perhaps the bogosity is subtle; perhaps the errors require some expertise to uncover. On the other hand, we've had at least a few candidates who could easily nominate themselves based on their obvious failure to understand what they're saying. Today's nominee, eHowian Elizabeth Punke, falls into the latter category. We base that on her post at, "Types of Universal Joints."

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Formation Geology for Dummies - The Freelance Files MCCVIII

sample formation geology
Readers who stop by our topics index (see top of page or direct link) might notice that we debunk an awful lot of posts about geology (along with earthquakes, volcanoes, minerals, and the oil business). That's probably because our founder worked for many years as a geologist, and takes the stupidification of the internet particularly hard when it's about his favorite science. He has been heard many times complaining about the term "geological formation," because he knows it's so often misused. Even he admits that he's rarely run across someone with so tenuous a grip on the geological meaning of "formation" as Dee S, who wrote the article "What is Formation Geology?" for

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Eclipse, Umbra, and Penumbra for Dummies - The Freelance Files MCCVII

umbra penumbra light source
The Antisocial Network staffers find that their sources – our DotD candidates – demonstrate their topical ignorance in several different ways. The most common evidence, though, is not knowing some very basic information about their topic. That's the reason behind today's nomination, eHowian Chris Deziel, and his post, "What Is the Darkest Portion of the Moon's Shadow During a Solar Eclipse?" at

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Bosch Miter Saws for Dummies - The Freelance Files MCCVI

This is not James K Blake and a Bosch 5312
This is not James K Blake with a Bosch 5312
From time to time we take co-called mommy-bloggers to task for some of those obviously fake reviews written just to get free products and generate a few more eyeballs for their blogs. Of course, not all fake reviews are written by mommies; there are also daddy-bloggers out there plugging products. This big difference is that most of their products are ruinously expensive, so instead of hoping for a freebie they do what James K. Blake of did: just copy other people's thoughts into a post like "The Unique Features of The Bosch 5312 Compound Miter Saw Unveiled!" (the excitement is all Blake's).

Monday, May 14, 2018

Oil Wells for Dummies - The Freelance Files MCCV

open hole completion
Considering how dependent so much of the industrialized world is on petroleum, it's astounding just how stupid so many people are about the basics of the industry that produces that petroleum. Maybe that's why we prop up the Antisocial Network's staff petroleum geologist in front of his keyboard once every few weeks to lambaste some idiot freelancer trying to answer the question "How Does an Oil Well Work?" This time, we feature Edwin Thomas of