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    Mark Twain, another Midwestern wit of some repute, would appreciate the billionaire's corporate report, Ben Yagoda thinks.

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  • 03/19/13--21:01: Don’t Thank Me?
  • Lucy Ferriss takes on a "New York Times" columnist who says electronic thanking wastes his time. Not hers.

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    Even under an extraordinarily plaintiff-friendly legal system, says Geoff Pullum, surely a librarian should not have been deemed vulnerable to a libel suit for comments on book quality?

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  • 03/26/13--21:01: Guys and … ?
  • What are the politics of the words "girl" and "woman" for college-age students? Anne Curzan explores the usage conundrum of having no word for women with the age flexibility of "guy."

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  • 03/27/13--21:01: Mr. X
  • Ben Yagoda reflects on an amazing sex-abuse charge against one of his former teachers.

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  • 04/17/13--21:01: Signs of the Times
  • Ben Yagoda reflects on "restricted clientele" and other genteel euphemisms that meant "whites only."

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  • 04/21/13--21:01: Responding First
  • Lucy Ferriss salutes those who ran toward the danger in Boston because they knew that, with their training, they could help.

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    The word "slash" is being transformed by younger speakers from a punctuation mark into a conjunction. Anne Curzan shares examples from college students to explain the innovative uses.

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  • 05/05/13--21:01: The Comic Stylings of POTUS
  • The remarkable thing about Obama doing stand-up, says Ben Yagoda, is that he really is the coolest guy in the room.

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  • 05/06/13--21:01: R.I.P. LOL
  • The term's appearance in Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s e-communications could show how he was distancing himself from his emotions, says Lucy Ferriss.

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    Geoff Pullum says computer systems should be able to understand simple English questions--and answer them.

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    Looking for keywords in files was dumb until the discovery of a magic additive that made it usable, Geoff Pullum explains.

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  • 05/19/13--21:01: Dueling Titles
  • Given the richness of the English language, says Lucy Ferriss, it’s hard to believe that only one title fits an original piece of narrative work, and that that same title also fits another.

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    Voice interaction with machines has been brought up to a useful level not so much by accurate identification of speech, says Geoff Pullum, but by structuring the space of possible conversations.

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    Google Translate does power guessing, says Geoff Pullum; and although we know we can't trust it, with nowhere else to turn, we use it anyway.

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  • 06/04/13--21:01: When Fizzling Was Taboo
  • Anne Curzan explains how the word "fizzle" became 19th-century slang and lost its forbidden meaning.

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  • 06/09/13--21:01: Dying Is Easy
  • And comedy is supposed to be hard. However, Ben Yagoda writes, we're experiencing a Golden Age of the television sitcom.

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  • 06/17/13--21:01: Sight for Sore Eyes
  • Is the phrase positive or negative? Anne Curzan explains a current shift in the idiom's meaning.

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    Anne Curzan addresses the question of whether younger speakers are really failing to respond appropriately to expressions of thanks.

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    The magazine is searchable online today, writes Ben Yagoda, thanks to the decades-long efforts of staff members who knew their way around a summary.

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