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There was an article in yesterday’s NYTimes talking about the controversy regarding the recently announced new planet past Pluto. The main idea is that an American group discovered it but kept it secret, then a Spanish group announced their discovery of the same planet. The American group now says that the Spaniards found the coordinates of the planet on their website. How do they know that? The article explains on on page 3 (subscription required) that the an American astronomer “was able to trace the computers through the so-called IPP numbers, which the Internet assigns to each computer on it.”

It so happens that there is no such thing as “an IPP number.” The journalist probably heard someone mention an “IP address” and couldn’t later remember what the actual term was. One wonder if they considered googling for “IPP number” and checking what comes up.

What’s interesting, however, is that today the NYT added an erratum to the page that explains that they really meant “IP address.” They did not however change the text of the page – it still what it said yesterday.

I am impressed with NYT’s commitment to keeping published things published, especially in light of some country’s administrations editing their earlier press releases to remove predictions that didn’t come true.