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The Soldier Formerly Known as Bradley Manning

Here is the entry on it from The Times’s “Manual of Style and Usage,” a guidebook used by reporters and editors throughout the newsroom: transgender (adj.) is an overall term for people whose current identity differs from their sex at birth, whether or not they have changed their biological characteristics. Cite a person’s transgender status only when it is pertinent and its pertinence is clear to the reader. Unless a…

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This Is What It Looks Like Just Before the Muslim Brotherhood Jumps You

As the recent death toll in Egypt surpasses 500, news of Muslim Brotherhood supporters being slaughtered in Rabaa Al-Adawiya Square has been an especially tragic manifestation of the powder-keg that is “post-revolutionary” Egypt. Just days before, our photographer found himself embroiled in an MB protest near to that now-tragic location. While this story does not in any way compare to the events that are currently transpiring there, it might shine…

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Astronaut Luca Parmitano describes near-drowning experience in space

With water already obscuring his vision, he had to turn upside down in order to release his safety cable. “Two things happen: the Sun sets, and my ability to see — already compromised by the water – completely vanishes, making my eyes useless; but worse than that, the water covers my nose — a really awful sensation that I make worse by my vain attempts to move the water by…

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Lego-Building Tween Refers to “The Hobbit” Text

My daughter, having just received a hand-me-down paperback, is annotating it and consulting it as she cannibalizes multiple generic Lego sets for what looks to be an epic DIY “Lego Hobbit” video. (We did buy her a small “Riddles in the Dark” set so she could have a Gollum, Bilbo, and ring, but everything else is remixed from some other set.)

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Rant against the death industry

Death is universal, so one day I’ll face these decisions. I just asked my tween to put down her Legos and my teen to put down his algebra, so I could tell them that when I’m dead, I don’t want them to pay for a fancy coffin, or cushions, or an open casket. I told them to put a picture of me on a stand, and to ask people at…

William Shakespeare (Portrait)

Coined by Shakespeare? Think again

For years, Shakespeare has been thought to deploy greater linguistic variety than contemporaries like Marlowe, Kyd, and Jonson; scholars have estimated that he coined as many as 1,700 words, and that he employed a uniquely large vocabulary of at least 20,000 words. As professor Alfred Hart, long the authority on Shakespeare’s vocabulary, wrote in 1943, his addition of new words play after play shows “how deep and apparently inexhaustible were…

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Don’t Like Hamlet? Now’s Your Chance To Rewrite It

“It’s not really fair to say, ‘Look at this guy who died 400 years before I was born. He certainly had different opinions than me about the value of women.’” North says. “There’s stuff that doesn’t age as well, and what you do is you either adapt it so it works better now, or you ignore it.” For the purists, the original storyline remains in To Be Or Not To…

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Disruptions: Texting Your Feelings, Symbol by Symbol

Being a word-oriented thinker, I don’t have much interest in emoji icons. I dislike it when an autocorrect turns a traditional sideways smiley into an icon. My daughter, who at age 11 is too young for a Facebook account, sometimes uses my Facebook account to chat with her slightly-older teen friends, which means that when I am using Facebook on another device, chat windows pop up and fill themselves with…