Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Sacramento Bee says nuts to Vacaville's Nut Tree

The Sacramento Bee on 10 Feb 09 went after an historical inaccuracy at Vacaville's Nut Tree:

Vacaville's Nut Tree, a famed tourist site that has been recast into a more commercial vein in recent years, has hung a series of banners that highlight celebrities who have visited. One of the banners celebrates "Gov. Richard Nixon, 1962," which doesn't quite square with history. Of course, Richard Nixon was a nominee for California governor in 1962, losing to Pat Brown. Richard Nixon never was governor of California.

In 2005, the Stanford Law Review had a similar glaring inaccuracy:

Mark A. Lemley, Patenting Nanotechnology, 58 Stan. L. Rev. 601, 611-612 (2005):

The integrated circuit was itself an improvement in the field of computing, a way of building transistors (an invention discussed above) [p. 612] directly into a computer chip by using charged silicon, a semiconductor. The invention opened up not just computing but also calculators, cell phones, and a host of other portable electronic devices. But because two different inventors working independently developed the integrated circuit at about the same time (1971), the patents were put into interference. Gary Boone was ultimately declared the winner, but not until 1999, twenty-eight years after the first patent application was filed.

Gary Boone had nothing to do with the invention of the integrated circuit. The IC was invented much earlier than 1971, by two guys named Noyce and Kilby. [At least the Nut Tree got the relevant date right on Nixon and the governorship race.]

Perhaps the Sacramento Bee can comment on that one. One might think expectations of accuracy are greater for the Stanford Law Review than the Vacaville Nut Tree. Perhaps Noyce and Kilby are not as recognizable names as Nixon, but Kilby did get a Nobel Prize for his work.

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