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Fake girlfriends: Creepy or a sign of the times? By Tessa Ferguson October 4, 2011 at 6:07 pm

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We have witnessed technology wipe out the cassette tape, the VCR player, the home telephone and now, possibly, the need for a real girlfriend. FakeGirlfriend.com, a website dedicated to helping single men seem not-so-single, is a new phenomenon in the ever-growing online world of smoke and mirrors. The process for gaining a fake girlfriend is simple. The website tells you to save their number in your phone as your “girlfriend’s” name.

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Then you text the number when you’re out with friends or with family who nags you about finding a nice girl and then, according to MSNBC’s Digital Life, a needy text like “Why don’t you leave the boys and come hang out with me?” finds its way to your inbox. You’d think that this couldn’t possibly work for long, right? Well, of course they don’t send you a real girlfriend but there’s also a website called Cloud Girlfriend that allows you to make her a Facebook page. You don’t even have to worry about who she’s messaging or who that guy from work she added is. She’ll even post nice, girlfriend-ish questions and sweet things on your wall. How romantic. Maybe I’m looking at this the wrong way but it sounds entirely too creepy to be real. Why use a fake girlfriend to achieve approval from friends and family? Is the pressure for guys to settle down growing? Possibly, but the fake girlfriend may attract other women. According The Huffington Post, a 2009 study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology showed “only single women were more interested in pursuing an attached (man) rather than a single (man).” So maybe these guys are on to something. Countless single guys in movies use wedding rings to attract women, maybe out of pity or as the study indicated, “mate poaching,” has landed a desperate man some attention but not for long. If a man pretends to be in a relationship in order to gain a relationship, there’s going to come a time for explanation. Use of a fake girlfriend can make your life easier for the moment but think about whether you’d have your friends and family view you as single or as a liar. The film “Lars and the Real Girl” tells the odd story of a detached man, Lars, who falls in love with Bianca, a life-size doll. The 2007 indie flick makes Lars seem to be out of touch with reality, but charming in his naivety and awkwardness.

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It might work for Ryan Gosling but the life-size doll thing is probably a deal breaker for most women. It’s not as blatantly loopy but having a fake girlfriend text you and post on your Facebook wall is http://www.statepress.com/2011/10/04/fake-girlfriends-creepy-or-a-sign-of-the-times/

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Fake girlfriends: Creepy or a sign of the times? | ASU News | The State Press | Arizona State University

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weird. Having a girlfriend isn’t everything. Don’t stress about where you’ll find the perfect girl because she’s out there, just not in your inbox. Reach the columnist at tafergu1@asu.edu Click here to subscribe to the daily State Press newsletter.

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Temple Grandin speaks on autism, animals | ASU News | The State Press | Arizona State University ADVERTISING

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Temple Grandin speaks on autism, animals By Tessa Ferguson March 1, 2011 at 10:13 pm

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ADVERSITY OVERCOME: Author and Colorado State University professor Temple Grandin speaks to the ASU community about her experiences with autism, her work designing livestock handling systems and how to understand different types of autism. Grandin studied animal science at ASU and was one of Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People of the Year in 2010. (Photo by Sierra Smith)

Temple Grandin, autism awareness advocate and animal scientist, spoke to a full audience at ASU’s Galvin Playhouse Tuesday night, sharing her expertise on autism, animals and sensorybased thinking.

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Hosted by ASU’s Institute for Humanities Research, Grandin is one of several distinguished lecturers that will speak at ASU in 2011 about humanities. The ongoing event called Project Humanities “celebrates the range, excellence and impact of humanity’s work,” CLAS Dean of Humanities Neal Lester said.

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Grandin obtained her master’s degree in animal science at ASU in 1975. She is currently a professor of animal science at Colorado State University. Grandin has penned eight books about living with autism and working with animals, including “Animals in Translation” and “Thinking in Pictures,” the autobiography that was made into an award-winning movie starring Claire Danes.

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Temple Grandin speaks on autism, animals | ASU News | The State Press | Arizona State University

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“I realized my thinking was different when I asked people about church steeples,” she said. “Most people see a generic steeple, I see specific ones. There is no generalized steeple image to me.” Grandin said instead of seeing one image of an object, like a shoe, she sees multiple shoes that she has worn throughout her life when the object is brought up in conversation. With every seat in the theater reserved a month in advance, about 495 ASU students and community members filled the venue. Education graduate student Courtney Bruno has two children on the autism spectrum and came to the event to gather insight from Grandin’s personal experiences. “The way she sees the world in pictures helps me visualize how my children see things,” she said. Grandin said she is a visual thinker, which allows her to pick up on miniscule details, whereas “neurotypical” thinkers screen out details. This attention to detail has allowed Grandin to work well with livestock. She designed cattle corrals and chutes for meatpacking plants that ease the cattle into motion by using a series of turns that are more natural to them than straight pathways. Picking up on seemingly frivolous deterrents for cattle, such hanging chains or patches of light that serve as barriers on a run or corral, allows Grandin to help the animals feel more comfortable. “Our relationship with farm animals has to be symbiotic,” she said. “Every animal deserves the respect of their human handlers.” Director of the Institute of Humanities Research Sally Kitch said Grandin’s autism flourished in the arenas of science and technology, as it was nurtured by her science teacher and mentor early on.

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“Temple pushes us to examine, and even blur, the lines between humans and animals,” Kitch said. As an advocate for providing an outlet where children with autism and Asperger’s syndrome can excel, Grandin spoke animatedly about her frustrations with the lack of funding for education, something that leads to less hands-on classes and a shortage of science teachers. “Some people with brilliant minds are being labeled as handicapped,” she said. Along with her anger toward the lack of intervention for children with signs of autism, Grandin said she disagrees with giving prescription drugs to children who may just need a change of diet or more mental stimulation. “I’m appalled at the amount of drugs given out to kids like candy,” she said. However, she said low doses of antidepressants have improved her quality of life and the lives of other high-functioning autistic people. Grandin said she was mercilessly teased at her all-girls high school. “Carpentry and horses saved me in high school,” she said, adding that communicating with teenagers was never comfortable for her and still isn’t. She is currently promoting her most recent book, “The Way I See It,” in which she discusses how and why people with autism think differently. She also includes a discussion about the benefit of early intervention programs for autistic children. “If I could snap my fingers and get rid of my autism, I wouldn’t,” she said. “My science is first and autism is secondary.” As a member of the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame, Grandin typically wears rancher-style shirts to events. She wore a bright red one Tuesday night. One audience member asked where she gets her http://www.statepress.com/2011/03/01/temple-grandin-speaks-on-autism-animals/

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unique shirts. “I can’t tell you all my secrets,” she said as the audience broke out in laughter and a standing ovation. Reach the reporter at tafergu1@asu.edu Categories: Diversity Featured News Newsletter Spotlight Tempe Tags: "Thinking in Pictures" animal rights animal science Asperger's syndrome autism farm animals Temple Grandin

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Student, 19, beginning PhD work | ASU News | The State Press | Arizona State University ADVERTISING

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Student, 19, beginning PhD work By Tessa Ferguson April 13, 2011 at 7:45 pm

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He’s only 19 years old, but it might not be long before Zach Jibben is called “doctor.” The ASU senior is preparing to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in physics, and he’s already finishing his first semester of doctoral courses in aerospace engineering. At this point, he’s on track to earn his Ph.D. by the ripe age of 22. Impressive for a 19-year-old, but those who know Jibben understand the work ethic and intelligence that makes him extraordinary.

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Jibben was homeschooled and got ahead by attending college courses when he was just 16. His parents served as his teachers and encouraged his love of science. Jibben’s father, Jeffrey Jibben, said he saw an interest in his son at a remarkably young age.

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“Zach’s first interest in science was really when he was a toddler,” he said. “We began looking through the telescope together. He learned the moons, planets and the solar system and knew what was going on pretty well for someone who was four.” Before reaching ASU, Zach Jibben attended three universities in his home state of Minnesota.

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“I’ve really liked having a well-rounded education through that,” he said. “Each university was good for different reasons.” As Jibben tested each university in the style of Goldilocks, he found that none had exactly the http://www.statepress.com/2011/04/13/student-19-beginning-phd-work/

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Student, 19, beginning PhD work | ASU News | The State Press | Arizona State University

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right program he wanted to study, until he found his “just right” place at ASU. “I came to ASU because I want to do aerospace engineering, and Minnesota doesn’t really have much stuff industry and companies wise,” he said. “Arizona does.” Although Jibben is younger than many of his classmates, he has been able to relate to people well because of his maturity, his father said. Jibben said he was scared about going into a large university setting but soon realized, “there were a lot of people who were in the same boat.” His friend Bryan Rock, a physics junior, said he didn’t know Jibben was younger when they first met last September. “I didn’t know right away, but as soon as I started talking to him he told me he was 19,” he said. “I definitely think he deserves what he’s worked for, he’s a very hard worker.” Despite the variety of schools he has attended, Jibben said his favorite professor is his current quantum physics professor Richard Lebed. Lebed has taught Jibben for two semesters and said that along with being a “prodigy,” Jibben makes time for socialization with his peers. “He’s a friendly, outgoing kid,” he said. “He’s a social person. I’ll find him chatting up other people before class starts.” Jibben is not solely interested in science and logic, as some might assume. He said he enjoys hiking and photography, and he has a strong Christian background. “He is also somebody who really cares about relationships,” his father said. “He has good friends and cares about people. It’s not just all intellectual.” Jibben’s schedule is packed with classes, labs and work. He will be graduating with 140 credits, 20 more than required, and began his graduate studies because, “I had open space in my schedule.”

Other stories from the News desk Residents oppose thrift store’s redevelopment Open Source Project redefines coffee shops Faculty startup brings video games to the classroom Collaboration provides prostitutes alternatives ASU iPhone robbers strike again Police Beat: Oct. 11 Redevelopment plans turn mill into ‘gateway’ Restaurant holds fundraiser to benefit former police officer’s foundation Harry Potter website will open wizarding world Police Beat: Oct. 10

His busiest day of the week is Thursday, he said, when classes begin at 6:30 a.m. and end at 6 p.m., leaving him very little down time. “I try to eat somewhere in between there,” he said of the time between classes and his tutoring job at the Noble Library. He is also a member of the Society of Physics Students at ASU. Jibben’s grade point average last semester was a 4.0 and he said that he had two A+ grades in his physics classes. For a student who seems to excel at everything, Jibben said one particular subject just didn’t click. “Spanish was one of those things that don’t go in,” he said while shaking his head. “Electrodynamics, no problem.” As his time as a university student will come to a close in a few short years, Jibben is looking forward to a career in engineering. His atypical college experience has not affected him negatively; in fact he is eager to finish as early as possible. “I want to get into it as fast as I can. I really like this stuff, so the earlier the better,” he said. Jibben is looking into companies like Lockheed Martin, Boeing or Orbital, where he wants to design aircrafts. Lebed sees a wealth of opportunities for his student in the future. “I can easily see him working on the next generation of planes or planes that can make it into space,” he said. “I wouldn’t be surprised to find out he was the lead researcher on that kind of work.” Jibben’s father said he is proud of his son’s accomplishments up to this point and expects him to achieve even more.

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Student, 19, beginning PhD work | ASU News | The State Press | Arizona State University

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“He’s heading in the right direction,” he said. Reach the reporter at tafergu1@asu.edu Categories: Featured News Newsletter Student Life Tags: aerospace engineering ASU Zach Jibben

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Stuck in the Web: How technology ruins relationships | ASU News | The State Press | Arizona State University ADVERTISING

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Stuck in the Web: How technology ruins relationships By Tessa Ferguson September 6, 2011 at 6:57 pm

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In times where a fast Internet connection is more important than a meaningful personal connection, and where 140 characters is all it takes to express emotions, it is understandable that personal relationships are suffering. Succinct messages with smiley faces and acronyms are more important than slowly devised hand written letters or a dozen red roses. The faster technology grabs a hold onto the population, the easier it is to let the ebb and flow drag you into the sea of profiles and petty hash tags. We even have speed dating, as if to say lengthy dates are passé.

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Maybe I’m too old-fashioned, but where do you draw the line between rapidity and romance? With the click of the mouse you can flirtatiously “like” a person’s status or picture, update your relationship status or send off a break-up tweet. The days of face-to-face communication are few and far between, unless you count Skype. An upcoming webinar hosted by The Glendon Association called, “Love in the Time of Twitter: Keeping Relationships Strong in the Age of Social Media,” will be live for subscribers to view on Sept. 20. Despite the irony that the event is hosted online, it is a sure way to grab their target audience: the romantically challenged, 21st century, social media fanatic. According to The Glendon Association we spend “about nine and a half hours a day listening to music, emailing, texting, instant messaging, Facebooking, Twittering, surfing” and almost anything you can think of besides really communicating. The group cites the constant stimulation as a reason why we push out, “deep intimacy,” for an alternate reality. The thought that relationships are being compromised by this new technology is depressing, to say the least. It’s sad to think that many of our future friendships, business connections and romances may begin and end online. While I’d rather talk to a stranger than stare at my phone screen waiting for a text message or scrolling through my email, it is much easier to stare blankly at a screen than to get up the courage to break out of the tangled Web.

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“Facebook friends” are not the same as friends, especially those of us who have 3,594 of them. Sorry, but have you ever met these people in the real world? Join the conversation

It’s wonderful that people can meet online and share a life together but how authentic is that first meeting really when it’s through a computer screen? Although we brag about how globally interconnected we are through technology, we truly are alone. http://www.statepress.com/2011/09/06/stuck-in-the-web-how-technology-ruins-relationships/

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Stuck in the Web: How technology ruins relationships | ASU News | The State Press | Arizona State University

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Reach out to the people around you, they might be longing for that deep, personal connection rather than a web-based one.

Reach the columnist at tafergu1@asu.edu Click here to subscribe to the daily State Press newsletter.

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Sex, lies and magazine sales | ASU News | The State Press | Arizona State University ADVERTISING

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Sex, lies and magazine sales By Tessa Ferguson August 17, 2011 at 4:12 pm

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John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Jennifer Aniston, Barack Obama and Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi all have something in common: they all have made an appearance on the cover of Rolling Stone, some even in their birthday suits. Sex sells. It’s a formula that Rolling Stone and almost every other magazine have used to market themselves to a vast audience. Sure, The New Yorker has political articles, but who can turn down a magazine with a barely legal, scantily clad Britney Spears clutching a Teletubbie?

Alden Darby wears pink in memory of his aunt No. 22 ASU football at Utah live updates Broke's the New Black: Review of Phoenix Fashion Week Redevelopment plans turn Hayden Mill into city ‘gateway’ New Harry Potter website will open wizarding world to all Residents oppose local thrift store’s redevelopment Editorial: Constitutional question ASU iPhone robbers strike again

Researchers at the University of Buffalo analyzed covers of Rolling Stone starting in 1967 and ending in 2009, concluding that the images of musicians, actors, politicians and reality stars have become more sexual as the years have gone by. In addition, the images of women in particular blurred the lines between provocative and pornographic. It appears that magazines have evolved to cater to the ever-changing public, even if it means they’re selling people rather than their content. The study, “Equal Opportunity Objectification? The Sexualization of Men and Women on the Cover of Rolling Stone,” solely focused on this magazine because of their long history and coverage of a wide variety of topics from pop culture and music to politics and current events. However if they were to analyze almost any magazine, except maybe Cat Fancy, they would come to the same conclusions. Using these “pornified” images, publications are making more money. According to MSN’s entertainment site Wonderwall, Lady Gaga’s April 2010 Cosmopolitan cover, where the reigning queen of pop and shock sported lacy lingerie, sold 2.8 million copies. The eccentric star was a top seller of all magazines in 2010. Cosmopolitan, a magazine known for dishing sex tips, relationship advice and fashion also featured a bold type blurb next to Gaga’s head that read, “The sex article we can’t describe here!” and lower on the cover, “50 things to do butt naked,” as if you needed help figuring out more. Although this strategy works tremendously for magazine sales, it’s troubling to think that the public is missing out on truly thought-provoking content in lieu of picking the magazine with a Kardashian or teen mom on the cover. According to Huffington Post, the worst-selling magazine covers in 2009 caused Americans to snooze, but the topics that were presented were perhaps more pertinent than Kate Gosselin and her brood.

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A Newsweek cover featuring a white background and artfully placed green leaves displayed the headline, “The greenest big companies in America,” and turned out to be a flop.

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Sex, lies and magazine sales | ASU News | The State Press | Arizona State University

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The worst seller for The Economist in 2009 was a cover story on the U.S. trade imbalance with China. It featured a large tire labeled, “free trade,” stuck by an American flag dart; the tire is slowly deflating while President Obama walks away. Both were important issues that year but were clearly not sensational enough to entice the public. Michael Jackson proved to be the issue the public cared about; his death sold the most magazines in 2009. As sad as it is that the majority cares more about the royal wedding than greener energy, what surprises me is that there is not a bigger outcry for quality content in publications. Why should magazines attempt to sell hard-hitting stories to a public who demands fluff and salacious gossip? I am completely guilty of foregoing a deep issue only to read dirt on celebrities and look at beautifully composed photographs of shoes I can���t afford, but let’s challenge ourselves to choose more wisely. For every article read about Hilary Duff’s pregnancy or Kim Kardashian’s wedding in the coming weeks, read two articles about the 2012 election or the debt crisis — topics that are growing concerns for our generation. Sex sells, but we don’t need to buy it. The columnist can be reached at tafergu1@asu.edu Categories: Columns Newsletter Opinion

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Tags: 2012 election actors Barack Obama Britney Spears Cosmopolitan Hilary Duff Huffington Post Jennifer Aniston John Lennon Kate Gosselin Kim Kardashian lady gaga magazine marketing Michael Jackson musicians Newsweek Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi politicians reality stars Rolling Stone sexualization The Economist The New Yorker University of Buffalo Yoko Ono

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Oxford English Dictionary adds text lingo to online site By Tessa Ferguson March 30, 2011 at 6:19 pm

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LIKE OMG: The Oxford English Dictionary expanded this week, adding more than 900 new words including "OMG" and "LOL" among other common slang terms. (Photo by Lisa Bartoli)

Get ready to make the dictionary your new BFF and don’t forget to make a, “I <3 English,” T-shirt, LOL. In its quarterly update last week, the Oxford English Dictionary adopted words commonly found on Twitter, Facebook or in a text message. Coined “initialisms,” words like OMG, LOL, TMI, FYI and more were inducted into the pages of the dictionary’s online edition, generating discussion of whether these terms commonly reserved to informal arenas will be accepted academically.

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Retha Hill, director of the New Media Innovation Lab at ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication said, “as a living, breathing dictionary,” it is about time the OED recognized these terms. “All of these terms have gotten into the lexicon of English, and especially American usage, so I think it’s fair game for the Oxford English Dictionary to include those,” she said. “Over the years you’ve seen the Oxford English Dictionary add terminology from the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, ’90s and certainly the second decade of the 21st century.”

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According to the OED, OMG was first used in a personal letter that dates back to 1917. LOL, now

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Oxford English Dictionary adds text lingo to online site | ASU News | The State Press | Arizona State University

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defined as “laughing out loud,” was first used in 1960 to denote a “little old lady.” English professor James Wermers said in time, they will probably trace the origins back further. “The suggestion seems to be [that] there’s a history for these things and it’s part of a growing way of communicating and growing technology,” he said. “Recognizing that language is growing, shifting and changing is something we have to do.” Both Hill and Wermers cited the uprising in Egypt as an example of the benefits of technology that requires such acronyms or terms. “I don’t know if during the revolution in Egypt they were tweeting things like LOL, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that didn’t make it into text messages that were going around the country trying to get people to participate in the demonstrations,” Hill said. Though appropriate in written form, simply saying that someone is your BFF or hearing a professor say OMG when you forget your paper is still not widely understood. “I’m not sure that I ever want someone to look at me and go, ‘LOL’ or ‘OMG’. There’s a problem with that,” Wermers said. “When we sit down and talk to each other we should be taking the time to talk to each other, so acronyms and shortened things, we don’t need to use them.” For many ASU students, access to computers and the Internet has been available for the majority of their lifetime. Marketing junior Nick McDonald said he sees people use words like LOL and OMG, “all the time.” “There’s always been slang, shortened words, shortened ways to say things online,” he said. Although McDonald sees initialisms on social networking sites like Facebook, he doesn’t think it will make them more appropriate for writing or speaking. Wermers said he has never come across a student using text lingo in formal papers because high school teachers have made sure they do not use them.

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Hill worries that preteens in middle school might not understand the appropriate time to use such words. “I can imagine a 10- or 11-year-old using short hand language so much and then when it’s time to write an essay, I wouldn’t be surprised to see some of this alternative spelling in their school essays,” she said. Knowing word etiquette for certain social situations seems to be a factor in an individual’s usage. “If we’re being ironic, maybe there is room to drop the occasional OMG in conversation,” Wermers said. Despite feelings of the possible destruction of the English language with words like muffin top, defined as, “a roll of flesh which hangs visibly over a person’s tight-fitting waistband,” Wermers said he is interested to see how the new additions to the OED will affect Scrabble rules. “Not that you can score a lot of points with LOL, but a WTF, that could be a big play,” he said. Reach the reporter at tafergu1@asu.edu Categories: business Featured News Newsletter Spotlight Student Life Tags: BFF facebook LOL OMG oxford dictionary text messaging Twitter

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