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A "mil" is 1/1000-th of an inch. If you had read my ATypI "Presswork Critique" link you'd know. But also, it's in the dictionary. So Jim's "three-one-thousandths of an inch" is 3 mils. Gain certainly varies a lot, but interestingly for a common class of printing it seems to hover around 1 mil, and apparently this average hasn't changed much at least since Dwiggins's time (when he noted that is was 1 mil). The other three parties I mentioned have all arrived at values of around 1 mil for typical gain, and it's very telling that they've done so independently.
1) More than anybody I wish Jim would stop using you as a proxy.
2) I am American mostly on paper. I don't usually drink instant coffee. I prefer tea. But most of all, I prefer serving an especially potent brew of Armenian coffee, as I'm doing now.
3) You're not talking about Democracy (which I hate), you're talking about Glasnost (which I love, although Putin is ten times the man Gorbachev was).
Anyway, again trying to expose the wheat:
Do you agree or not that letterpress type generally looks darker than the equivalent font printed offset?