Grammar Check: e.g. vs. i.e.

I have a confession. Until I looked it up today, I wasn’t entirely sure of the difference between these two often-used abbreviations. Now I know:

e.g. means “for example” (Latin exempli gratia).
i.e. means “in other words” or “that is” (Latin id est).


“WordPress has useful plugins; e.g., WPStats and Configure SMTP.”
e.g. == “for example”

“Ubuntu works well on my PC; i.e., it doesn’t crash as often as Windows XP.”
i.e. == “in other words”

Grammar Monster, Grammar Girl and Dr. Grammar have great examples of using the two correctly. Somehow, I skipped this during my nights on the copy desk.

Calculating Medians With SQL

Given that median is such a valuable statistical measure, it’s baffling that Microsoft’s SQL Server and other relational databases (MySQL, PostgreSQL) don’t have a built-in MEDIAN function. Well, this week, after working through a data set in SQL Server — and deciding I didn’t want to push the data into SPSS to find medians — I hit the web to find a T-SQL workaround.

I found a ton of solutions (some from people with no clue about the difference between median and average), but the one below — adapted from a post by Adam Machanic at — was the best. It produces accurate results and is fairly speedy to boot.

Here’s an example. Consider this table with student grades from two courses:

ID Class FirstName Grade
1 Math Bob 65
2 Math Joe 72
3 Math Sally 95
4 Science Bob 65
5 Science Joe 81
6 Science Sally 81
7 Science Mike 72

We’d like to find the median grade in each class. Here’s the script:

It’s Journalism, Yes. But Is It Art?

With journalism in the midst of a reinvention, there’s no shortage of opinions as to which content or practitioners will carry the flag forward. We’ve read enough about whether data is journalism, and we can fill a book with opinions on bloggers and whether what they do is journalism or not.

But here’s another question: Regardless of what you’re doing — writing, coding, designing — is it worthy of being called art?

On a recent trip to New York, we stopped in Mountainville to tour the Storm King Art Center. It’s a 500-acre sculpture museum with works by Maya Lin, Andy Goldsworthy and others who take simple elements and arrange them in fresh, surprising ways. We toured the fields, and we saw stone, glass, metal and earth all crafted into surprising shapes. The place is massive and so are the works. For example (click for full size):

Beethoven’s Quartet (front) and Pyramidian by Mark di Suvero:

Frogs Legs, also by di Suvero:

Storm King Wall by Andy Goldsworthy, snaking through a stand of trees: