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A random sample from the British periodicals

Machine takeover

Cornwall Roy Jenkins: Early in the 20th century a typewriter was a person who operated a typewriting machine. Mid-century, a computer was a person who made calculations for engineers. Which words that now refer to people are likely to become names of machines during the current century? I suggest diagnostician, banker and, sadly, teacher.

The Daily Telegraph

Age Factor

Somerville David English: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, both several years past the standard ret­irement age, are competing for the same exceedingly strenuous job. It’s a job that requires a 24-hour-a-day commitment. The physical demands can take the form of sleep deprivation, in the event of a crisis, when the commander-in-chief needs to be alert for extended periods. When a new bridge is under construction, it’s ess­ential that the engineers conduct tests to ensure that it can withstand the stresses of longtime use. Americans des­erve to know whether or not a presidential nominee will be capable of withstanding the physical demands the job will impose. If he or she is reluctant to disclose health records, it suggests that there might well be worrisome cracks in the foundation.

The New York Times

The ‘So’ cliche

Cambridgeshire Brian Storey: An epidemic of interviewees on Radio 4’s Today start their replies with the word ‘so’. Could John Humphrys be issued with a horn to blow each time this happens?

The Daily Telegraph



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