Nearer than clitics but not as near as derivational affixes.OK, Friedman's not thinking about how complex word forms and longer strings of speech are put together. But what exactly does the headline mean?
As illustrated (image from here), I'm guessing it must be about a point of inflection, as defined here from the Oxford Dictionary of Economics (just an excerpt):
point of inflection A point where a function changes its curvature. This means that its second derivative changes sign. For example, consider the function y = ax 3 + bx , for which dy/dx = 3 ax 2 + b and d 2 y / dx 2 = 6 ax . ...In this kind of journalist setting, it's got to be a much more informal meaning, maybe more or less 'turning point'. So, it would be playing on "the end is near". That seems like a long and pretty tortured path for some headline writer to have hacked through.
What am I missing here?