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A Mathematician Reads the Newspaper by John Allen Paulos

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Clinton, Dole in Sparring Roles

Who’s News and Grammar Checkers

Like news content, the frequency of reporting on various newsmakers also has an inverted-pyramid structure. Important newsmakers make vastly more news than do unimportant ones. This seemingly vacuous statement suggests that we identify important newsmakers with frequent newsmakers. So be it.

Who are the principal whos about whom we read and whose whims whet our wanton inquiries into what, when, where, why, and whatnot? (Sorry.) On the front page and in the first section of a newspaper, the number-one newsmaker, the Who that’s on first, is undoubtedly the president of the United States. Also big newsmakers are presidential candidates, congressional representatives, and other federal ...

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