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Tyler, you hide your most provocative posts in a most cowardly way. "I have understood you."

Hey, look, Sumner is being hyper-defensive of China and endlessly snarky about Americans. Tune in tomorrow for another installment.

#3 is in principle a useful idea, and I use Google myself when I need to write something in a language other than English. But of course there are obvious pitfalls to relying purely on a single simplistic count.

For one thing, near-synonyms often have slightly different connotations, and similar phrases often have subtly different meanings. Should I say "I don't know if he can win" or "I don't know that he can win"? The first phrase is much more popular and standard; the second is semi-slang and possibly regional (is it comprehensible to Brits?). The first is relatively neutral, while the second carries a heavy connotation of "I doubt that he can win".

And counts can be misleading, because they also include contexts where one snippet is not substitutable for the other. To use the article's example, a phrase like "the designer's new fall line combines affordability with style" would misleadingly raise the statistics for "with style" vs. "in style".

There are also problems if people use this as a spell-checker while unaware of the existence of homonyms.

Tyler, a friend and colleague from social enterprise work in India is trying to rectify Ezra's nightmare: http://www.getfreshdetroit.com/

It started as a project in one of his business school classes at University of Michigan and now they're within reach of the startup capital needed to make this work.

Detroit proper may not have any chain groceries, but in addition to the many chain stores located within the suburbs a short drive away, there are apparently a number of great mom & pop groceries such as this one in the shadow of the infamously derelict train station.

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