Proper Treatment 正當作法/ blog/ posts/ There goes 26.694 cm² for my project description
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2008-08-17 19:19

Photo of trash flying in a tree

The National Science Foundation just released new requirements for the format of grant proposals (page 31):

  1. An Arial, Helvetica, Palatino, Computer Modern, or Georgia typeface, a black font color, and a font size of 10 points or larger must be used. (A Symbol font may be used to insert Greek letters or special characters; however, the font size requirement still applies.)

  2. No more than 6 lines of type within a vertical space of 1 inch; and

  3. Margins, in all directions, must be at least an inch.

Let me count the horrors:

  1. Arial? Palatino? Georgia? Were reviewers complaining about Comic Sans, about Times, or what? I wouldn’t mind banning Book Antiqua but…

  2. The old guide consistently used metric units such as 2.5 cm, following the Metric Conversion Act of 1975, as amended, and Executive Order 12770 of 1991. The new guide blatantly reverts to inches.

  3. Because 1 inch is 2.54 cm rather than 2.5 cm, this change subtly increases the required margins by 0.04 cm on each side and the required baseline distance by more than 0.006 cm. Over the course of a 15-page project description, the new rules encroach on 26.694 cm² of typeblock area and reduce text width by 338.3856 cm. That amounts to more than 2000 characters of Computer Modern—several paragraphs’ worth.

Where is the outrage?