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But such is the nature of contemporary use of language, which is becoming truncated in our pursuit of speed and efficiency. Our speech today is peppered with cryptic appellations: CEO, IPO, EIR, MOU, APR, 401 (k), LLP, UPS, FEDEX, LAX, NBA, NFL, MLB, ALCS, ESPN, SUV, ABS, MSRP, IRS, HMO, PPO, PLO, OPEC, FDIC, NASA, EPA, CD, DVD, MP3, PCS, GPS, RAM, URL, Y2K. Ironically, however, the zeal of our society to abbreviate language through creation of acronyms and short-cut terminology only short-circuits understanding and engenders confusion. The term "CD," for example, can refer either to a financial investment medium (certificate of deposit) or to a digitized storage medium for sound or data (compact disk). Likewise, subjects of political strife and financial security share another abbreviation, "IRA," which can refer either to the Irish Republican Army or to an Individual Retirement Account.

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