April 20, 2010 |
"There are 400,000 words in the English language, and there are seven of them that you can't say on television…. They must be really bad." In 1972, comedian George Carlin wrote a monologue titled, "Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television." When a version of this riff was broadcast the following year on a jazz radio station, it set off a legal battle that went all the way to the Supreme Court, which ultimately upheld the right of the Federal Communications Commission to regulate indecent material on the airwaves.
June 25, 1989
In their June 11 letters denouncing "word taboos," Eric Borer and Evan S. Marlowe seem to be saying: Because our society is permeated with vulgarity, violence and crime and because "we have as much to fear from ribaldry as from dirty laundry," let us be rid of all taboos. If I understand their message, vice should not be taught as evil, because it is part of our society. This kind of mentality led to the downfall of Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome. RICHARD D. SWIFT Rancho Cucamonga
November 1, 2012 |
Maplewood, N.J., was one of the communities hit by Hurricane Sandy. Located about six miles west of Newark, Maplewood saw massive trees fall and lost much of its electricity. Downed power lines forced the community to cancel its Halloween parade. However, parts of its downtown did not lose power; that's where [words] bookstore is located. Co-owner Jonah Zimiles emailed to let us know the store is powered up and open. He wrote that the lights are on, neighbors are stopping by to charge up their phones, and readers are browsing.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 21, 1990
The announcement that the UC San Diego Guardian has dropped "freshperson" from its "non-sexist language policy" in favor of "first-year student" (San Diego At Large, Jan. 10) points up, once again, the ridiculousness of trying to root out male-oriented words from the lexicon. Being a freshman is an honorable state, as is being a human or a woman. The suffix "-man" means person. It does not mean male. The words "man and "mankind" have always included males and females and are used generically to describe humans, as opposed to animals or other forms of life.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 29, 2013 |
An article in Friday's Times featuring centenarian and frequent letter writer Carleton Ralston caught the eye of reader Trent Sanders of La Canada Flintridge. Sanders is himself, to borrow reporter Gale Holland's phrase, a man of letters. Not only is he a regular correspondent to the Readers' Rep office, but he's had 54 letters to the editor published in The Times since 1985. "My compliments to Mr. Ralston," Sanders emailed. "Letters to the editor are one of the few ways an individual can influence public debate.
August 13, 2011 |
Over a recent breakfast at the Peninsula Hotel, Gloria Steinem is awash in pale, neutral colors. She wears a flowy white blouse, no makeup but for sheer, nude lipstick and soft, blond highlights still frame her face, as do her trademark aviator sunglasses. The neutral canvas catapults one accessory front and center: Steinem's words, which are unwavering and polished as ever. "I'm old, but the movement is young," says Steinem, 77. "Every social justice movement has to last at least 100 years or it doesn't really get absorbed into society.
April 12, 2012 |
Baboons don't read, don't speak and perhaps can't understand language at all. But scientists have found that they can learn to recognize writing on a computer screen, identifying correctly most of the time which combinations of letters are words ("done," "vast") and which are not ("telk," "virt"). The discovery may help explain how reading evolved in humans, researchers said, bolstering a theory that the skill first arose from animals' ability to distinguish objects, rather than from the uniquely human demands of verbal communication.
June 15, 2012 |
In an attempt to replicate the early experiences of infants, researchers in England have created a robot that can learn simple words in minutes just by having a conversation with a person. The work, published this week in the journal PLoS One, offers insight into how babies transition from babbling to speaking their first words. The 3-foot-tall robot, named DeeChee, was built to produce any syllable in the English language. But it knew no words at the outset of the study, speaking only babble phrases.