Cui bono?

honor hominesque honesti floreant

Category: snetworking

Parthian shots

1) Osama Bin Laden’s photograph   2) efficient communication   3) morphology and the islamic world          4) prediction            Future distributions, if any: see special announcement at the end

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The deputy editor writes: our editor left two weeks ago, asserting that the stress of business in this office forced him to book in for a week at what he decided to call a ‘meditation centre’.  It now seems he has extended his visit to Cebu, reasons unknown, but yesterday Andrew, an old friend of his since the days in Sun City (when Jim still had a full set of toes), dropped in to the office bringing this short piece together with a note from Jim insisting on it going into the next distribution, i.e. this one.   (I personally disclaim responsibility for allowing such a farrago of hypothesis onto our site):

‘That photo of Bin Laden, keeps turning up in the prints and online as well, but there are some very odd points about it.  First off, it was obviously not taken when a helicopter had just landed outside and heavily armed soldiers were crashing through the doorway.  But this was the only time when he was in that room in company with any of his opponents.  On the other hand, he was not in the habit of holding open house, so this snapshot could only have been taken by a friend or a servant, yet nobody who fell under those headings would have been trying to make him look feeble or despondent which pretty clearly was the intention of the photographer, who therefore would have had to be on the ‘other side’.  But as I’ve said none of those on that side were close enough to take such a photo, even supposing that he would sit quietly to let them take it.  That’s all supposing it really is Bin Laden anyway.  A view of an elderly Asian, heavily bundled up, three-quarters view from behind?!  As for the claim that the man in the photograph was watching a soap opera, how could we know since we’re not shown what he’s looking at.  How could anyone know, except trusted supporters, who wouldn’t be trying to take a photo showing him like a poverty-stricken elderly refugee with nothing better to do than sit on the floor watching television.  And if some of his friends had been taking photographs to make him look bad, do we say the execution squad was lucky to pick this one up, or unlucky that they couldn’t find a better one?

            When will guys realise that the more lies you put into a case, the weaker you make it?’

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Opinion piece (Julitta Pulversie)

Is this really the era of communication, with Flitter, Facetube, and Inked-up, all competing for a place in the frontal lobes of victims of screenfever (as well as hundreds of antisocial networks and a number of outright nasties, a.k.a. ‘governments’)?  It has to be admitted that the marvels of modern technology have dramatically changed possibilities: it is now possible to sit at one’s desk and with a single click send a message off to destinations all around the world so that not one, but many thousands, both private individuals and commercial companies, may all fail to answer it.  In other words we have to refine previous notions, and distinguish between old-fashioned communication which (along with correspondence) is a bilateral business, and on the other hand modern economical, time-saving, one-way communication.  Unofficial leaks from the headquarters of a  leading organisation guarding the security of electronic data transmission report that the percentage of unanswered communications has reached a new all-time high.  An initial message, known as the αcom (pronounced ‘alpha-com’), is counted as answered if a βcom, a reply, makes a return journey between the same two communication points within 72 hours.  On Thursday last the overall percentage of βcoms neasured against the αcoms fell to a new low of 8.1% – even when identifiable spam was excluded from the αcom total.  That is, about 11 out of every 12 non-spam messages sent was unanswered, thus providing the world’s information transmission system with enormous savings in time and money.

            There are no figures available for any exact comparison with thirty or forty years ago but research by the British Post Office (shortly to be converted into a retail chain specialising in stationery and office equipment, dropping the time-wasting transmission of personal mail though still open to logistics contracts for bulk delivery of advertising material) has suggested that personal correspondence back in those days was predominantly a two-way affair, even if a longer timespan had to be allowed for replies since transmission was in those days physical not electronic.  The estimate was that in the early 1980s about 11 letters out of 12 would be answered within two weeks.

            We need a new term for this more careful concept of messages hurtling through cyberspace like missiles ¹   on their way to points from which nothing will return.  ‘One-way communication’ is far too wordy.  Perhaps, bearing in mind the reputation, justified or not, of the famous triangle, we can call them ‘Bermudan messages’; and the activity of the optimists sitting at keyboards or prodding touch-screens to send them off in their millions will therefore be ‘Bermuding’.

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¹ Jeremy wishes to add a note that, according to his personal research, with some servers a more accurate phrase might be ‘faster than a fairly fit carrier pigeon’

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Linguistic corner (contributed by Svetlana Helgasdottir, docent in the Freie Universität Neasden)  The western news media are flushed and breathing hard with reports of islamists taking control of territories all over northern Africa.  Unless I am much mistaken this is a striking change from just a decade ago when those nations were known to have a moslem population (or in the case of very elderly journalists ‘a mohammedan people’).  The suffix ‘-ist’ has had a patchy career.  It was borrowed originally from the Greeks (who would probably like to claim it back or even better to have a large sum to cover unpaid fees for its use) but at first served simply to refer to someone regularly associated with an activity indicated by the first part of the word to which it was attached: harpist, pianist, artist, optimist, physicist.  Often there are groups of people who specialise in those activities, and so naturally ‘-ist’ was also used when the emphasis was on the group or some shared characteristic of the group rather than the activity itself: communist, socialist, impressionist, monarchist.  (This is language at work, not a mathematical system, so of course what we find are family resemblances among different uses of a suffix, no exact criteria.)   From this point it is not at all surprising that it became especially common with political groupings.  As geopolitics became more complex over the past two centuries the number of recognisable political groups increased, and their sheer number together with the fatal tribal impulse in human nature guaranteed most of them would be viewed with disfavour by any randomly selected citizen – ‘our side’ against the rest.  From the point of view of the European voting classes, colonies which wanted their freedom were full of nationalists.  The proletariats, who obediently thought as their country’s leaders instructed them, deplored the influence of marxists.  ‘Communist’ which started out as simply a designation for people subscribing to a particular social theory soon acquired this new nuance (and hasn’t it raced ahead on that route since!) 

            Given the way that history actually developed (egged on by a popular press and populist  politicians) it was entirely to be expected that the suffix would soon be used when with the implication not merely ‘on the other side, and disliked’ but ‘on the other side doing evil stuff’; thus the predominant use of anarchist, extremist, terrorist, and more recently fascist and Maoist (but let’s be kind and exclude dentist from this group)We now have a suffix with various nuances: on the other side, doing evil stuff, member of a group, attachment to a particular idea or theory, or a particular activity.  As already said this is not a mathematical system and one still finds the suffix where one or more of these ideas is not required; for instance, arsonists are not normally considered to gather together in groups.  (Also of course where a name for members of the other side was already well established there was no need to import the suffix;  Democrats continue to speak of Republicans, not Republicists, though perhaps both groups may feel that, as politicians, there is one ‘other side’ group they are are opposed to, namely the lobbyists?)  But where all those shades of meaning are felt to be present, ‘-ist’ is now definitely the favoured suffix.  There is now little danger of encountering anarcheers, extremians, or terrorites.

            So it is interesting to see the political groups in northern Africa who have a moslem allegiance referred to frequently as islamist in news reports, instead of the previously normal islamic or moslem, even when speaking of groups not engaging in violence.  Now whether the change was actually engineered by forces with axes to grind, or whether it has been promoted after appearing spontaneously is not the point.  What is a factor to be taken into account is the nuance usually carried along with the suffix.  It is then worth noticing that the islamic groups currently holding power in Egypt, put there by two successive free elections which each gave them around 65% of the vote are now widely referred to as an islamist government, while it is those opposed to them who have formed a clear majority of those rioting and throwing stones in Tahrir Square.

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prediction (after our note in the previous distribution about Leah Menshevik’s shrewd prediction, two readers have written in to comment that our own record is good enough to justify including a prediction with each distribution.  As stated in the announcement below, the journal may not be able to provide a regular feature on these lines.  Nevertheless here at least we can offer one, borrowed with permission from The Tale of Esmond Maguire pt 3 (§ 137):

            Oscar tells me that the way things are going in neurology, it will one day be possible to have elections that are truly and deeply democratic, where not merely are numbers counted, but strength of support is measured individually for each elector with respect to each candidate.  Of course, those same advances will make it unlikely that any régime, once in power, will ever find itself inclined to hold the elections.

honor hominesque honesti floreant

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announcement: The trouble with CENSOR (see earlier distributions) continues, even though we did no more than reprint items from Luddites Gazette (now indefinitely forbidden publication since they were unable to reach the appeals tribunal within the time limit set).  A final decision about our service is to be handed down on 1st April, and we have been given a temporary ban for the intervening period.  However, as often with authoritarian bodies, they have combined injustice with incompetence, and the ban was ordered for the whole of the month of March; they apparently thought this would include our next distribution scheduled for the first of that month.  So we are bringing the distribution forward by one day.  For prospects in the longer term check this site on 2nd April.

Les nains de l’homme argenté

1) Egyptian democracy   2) How to handle a population   3) yet more progress!   4) Readers’ letters   5) question of the fortnight         Further distribution aiming at 1-3-2013

This journal has acquired a fine record of political and social predictions, some from our own staff (contact harpress@gmail.com for fees of consultancy contracts), some from readers.  A good example is the observation by Leah Menshevik (20-11-2012).  She pointed out the crippling flaw in the claim that social networks using the new adult electronic toys would bring an age of truer democracy.  The crucial factor is the huge divergence between the population of frequent users of social media (and of the shiny gewgaws which support them) – very largely urban and overwhelmingly young –  and on the other hand all the other inhabitants of a country.  Instead, the tendency would be towards the appearance of urban mobs, passions inflamed by the mutual assurances of justified rage flashing around their favoured networks.  This matches extremely well what has been happening recently in Egypt (assisted, certainly, by the deep-rooted belief of police in Egypt as elsewhere that one of the rewards of serving a population is the right to beat up or taser members of the population who displease them).  There have been and are rioting mobs in Cairo and other cities, demanding the resignation of Mursi, alleging that he has betrayed the democratic revolution.  Yet the moves made since Mubarak was overthrown have twice been put to a nationwide vote, unprecedentedly free and fair, in which Mursi’s group and allies won, each time, around 65% of the vote.  That they should now take the leading part in organising the way forward conforms precisely to the principle of democracy – doesn’t it? – whether or not that 65% came from outside the cities, and the poorer sections of the population.  Or perhaps elections only count as democratic when they deliver the result that we – whoever ‘we’ may be – want?

[Two more reader’s letters at the end of this distribution]

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Our arrangement with Luddites’ Gazette (see earlier distributions passim) has to end; the editorial staff were held as suspected illegal immigrants on reaching Switzerland; their bicycles were impounded and  they lost their chance to appeal against CENSOR’s decision.  So we have made an informal agreement with the Wessex Posthorn (a young staff gallantly pushing out independent views in one of the more dismal port cities of southern England) (Please note we present this document as received, and apologise for the poor quality of the writing):

A bit of good news from France, some really bad news from America.  From this month on, first time in 212 years, Frenchwomen have the right to wear trousers without going first to a police station to get permission.  That urge to dictate to women how they can dress seems deep embedded in the collective mind of the French bureaucracy, but perhaps we should (for once) congratulate those French police, for pretty generally having had enough sense not to enforce that law, we hope they will continue with this rare sanity in the matter of that preposterous veto on the burqa.

            The terrible news (for people who are going to see brothers, husbands, neighbours, and family friends who had just popped in for a visit, killed or maimed, without any proper investigation into claims they might be intending harm to anyone) is like the American executive branch are giving themselves the right to send a drone to kill, not arrest, never mind trial, American citizens who they think are preparing violent action against America.  We think this move is heavily against America’s own interest, but first let’s just point out a lot of people think it’s a breach of the constitution (and what the hell is the point of having a constitution if the authorities any time can just ride over it when they don’t like the rules it makes?)  More important point for the rest of the world is when you ask the question, if they can do that for American citizens what are the chances for anyone else, if for any reason, right or wrong (including mistakes over identity because of similar names as has already happened, not to mention wedding parties and meetings of chief elders against the taliban), the authorities decide that someone has been plotting violence against America.

            First off, the move is puzzling.  If your surveillance techniques are so good they can detect political views and plans of action (i.e., eavesdrop on conversations inside mud houses and read thoughts inside heads, in villages high in difficult mountains) how can they not be good enough to detect when the individual actually starts to do something – like travelling outside his home base or buying dodgy equipment  – and then maybe send in the drone to stop him?  (He’ll have a hell of a long way to go.)  As we said, the policy looks exactly against America’s own interest.  Probably America’s  most unpopular policy round the world.  The evidence is already in, using superior armed force to impose your conqueror’s power and defeat resistance (which may not even be there in the first place) by a civilian population usually fails and worse it gives terrible losses to the ones trying it.  What about France and Ukraine in World War II, or Vietnam, Somalia, and Iraq since then?  Vietnam is worth looking at twice over.  Trying to beat the communists (more like nationalists really anyway) cost tens of thousands of young American lives, with even more wounded, and vast amounts of money, and it failed.  But, treating Vietnam with a mix of trade, co-operation, realism, and some sort of respect from 1988 has got America pretty much the sort of Vietnam she wants.  Please think again.

[for reading if you got French: article by Jean d’Amécourt, French ambassador in Kabul 2008-2011 in Nouvel Observateur, ‘Les pièges de Kaboul’  30-1-2013]

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Dr Ilya Sprat, Chairman of Wessex Petronine Gastronomes denies being the speaker of certain remarks recorded at a dinner for toothpaste and oral hygiene executives in Exeter last Friday, congratulating Deviathon-Slodge on siting their new project in Devon.  “It’s true some local peasantry are bellyaching about too many middle-class incomers in the county already, sticking up new concrete and glass ‘villas’, blocking the parking places with their Chelsea tractors, filling the local schools with pushy kids, and sending prices in the farmers’ markets skyrocketing.  But the more thoughtful among us see the benefits people like you bring with your culture and wider commercial contacts, and some of us are already experiencing a very satisfying increase in the value of our own businesses.”

            The new project to be called Imaginative Living for Extended Value (it was originally going to be called the Extending Value in Imaginative Living project until one of the workmen installing the jacuzzi in the new building spotted the difficulty) was set up with the mission of providing the conglomerate with ‘blue-sky thinking factoring foresight into your future’, (a phrase which according to one critic already inspires a chilling surmise as to the sort of thoughts it is going to deliver).   Indeed it has already won a major government-funded contract for the provision of muzak to be played as background on all calls to emergency services nationwide, as recommended by consultant psychologists.  According to the project leader, “This will be a loss-making venture and is designed solely to show Deviathon-Slodge making a useful contribution to society.  The aim is to help these important calls to proceed with maximum efficiency and minimum distress to those involved.  Our intelligent software will be able to detect instantly from the timbre of the voices whether to play soothing music, or a brisk march – perhaps something by Philip de Sousa – to raise energy levels, or perhaps in occasional instances something loud and obtrusive to call a duty officer back to the telephone if for some reason their attention has wandered.  My nephew tells me some ‘Dubstep’ by ‘Skrillex’ – is it? – might help there.  There is also, regrettably, the possibility of the duty officer deciding that the call is a hoax in which case he will be able to use an additional facility to switch in a recording of giga-noise klaxons as developed by the military for semi-lethal crowd control, to dissuade further attempts.”

            However, speaking off the record an anonymous source alleged that Deviathon-Slodge’s boffins had another objective in view.   “Certainly they’re going to supply the service free but they’re still aiming to make money.  Adverts.  Nothing explicit of course.  Playing the jingle of a fastfood place when some woman is screaming for police to come quick because a murderer is trying to break in might not have maximum soothing effect.  No, just the old subliminal game, quick phrases not quite consciously audible behind the noise – sorry, muzak.  The thing is, in calls like that the emotions of the caller are at peak level so the ‘hit’ will go in several times harder than in the ordinary way.  Plus, of course, millions of calls like that every year.  Money in shedloads.”

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Readers’ letters (selected in accordance with our rule that submissions will be limited to one grammatically correct sentence, please note)

There is a view widely held, in the marketing departments of companies selling genetically modified doughnuts, genetically modified sardine yoghurt and similar marvels of the twenty-first century pantry and larder, that consuming genetically modified foods cannot be bad for human beings because the American public has been doing it for 25 years, but when one reviews all kinds of recent events in that nation, not least in politics as practised for instance in senatorial contests in Mississippi, one may be inclined to think more research is needed for a definitive justification of that confidence, while in the background there remains the question as to whether already 25 years ago 4% of the American public believed that they had been abducted by aliens.

Marcia Henscropp, Gaza

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Glad as I am that my ancestor Richard III has been rediscovered, albeit exhumed and indeed earlier asphalted over without my consent, and that some enthusiastic practitioners of one of the more obscure academic trades have offered us their idea of the face that once overlay the extant skull, I assume, having seen the result, that there must be a fair amount of flexibility in the procedures for producing reconstructions, since there is no reason to believe that Richard had any oriental blood flowing in his arteries, and very strong reason to believe that he was not a woman.

Prof.Pixi Immental, Porto Alegre

(Congratulations professor on the absence of that meaningless ‘as’ which so often flaunts grammatical ignorance at the head of concessive clauses!)

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images3

Question of the fortnight.  The government in Kuala Lumpur has ruled that in future shopping malls in that city must reserve 7% of the parking space provided, for female drivers.  Since shopping is predominantly a chore undertaken by women and, even more clearly, the great majority of customer time in shopping malls is spent by women, we would suggest that the government should have ordered the reserved space to be 70%.

            The question: ‘Can any feminist explain why this suggestion gets treated as an example of male chauvinism?’

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honor hominesque honesti floreant

A Luddites Gazette special

Stonehenge still off limits.  We shall challenge government’s right to restrict access to public domain.  (Further information as available.)      Our readers having complained that Luddites Gazette has not been getting a fair share in the distributions, all items below are randomly selected from that esteemed organ:

1) Tasers not used   2) Social network bunkum   3) Arabian enigma   4) Strategy enigma   5) Hollande   6) used news       New distribution pencilled for 30-11-2012

1) Local news

At 2 am 11 November an 84-year-old man in Port Macquarie, New South Wales, was woken by two men entering his bedroom.  (This authentic story can be checked with reputable news sources for the area.)  The men were carrying a hammer, a metal pole, and a knife.  The 84-year-old man leaped out of bed and tackled the man with the knife, managed to seize it, and then drove both intruders out, losing only his wallet.

Q: How did the 84-year-old man know they were not police making a search?

Ans: Because they did not taser him.

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2) Opinion (Leah Menshevik, Eastbourne)

It is the purest hand-stuffed baloney to claim that social networks will bring a great advance towards democracy.  First, the crucial factor in sending a message or a clip proliferating through the social networks is the level of its interest quotient or power to rouse strong emotions; nothing to do with factual accuracy.  Second, use of the social networks is not evenly distributed through the population.  The devices are predominantly held by the young.  Even if only through lack of experience the young sometimes get led into troublesome misjudgements (cf membership in sects).  Third, another way that the distribution of users is skewed is towards city-dwellers.  In many nations views and wishes in cities are quite different from those of the country dwellers.  It is very likely there was some rigging of the election that put Ahmadinejad back as Iranian president, but according to polls beforehand (and common sense, in the case of those who had been paying reasonable attention to Iranian politics for more than a week or two) not nearly enough to invalidate his claim to have won.  It was the well-educated urban young who believed that the election had been simply stolen.  It may well be that in the election of Putin as Russian president there were some voting irregularities.  (Personally I think a shot of a soldier helping an old woman to fill in her voting form falls a long way short of demonstrating widespread military manipulation of the election.)  By the way, is there ever an election even in the cleanest countries which does not have some voting irregularities?  In the Russian case the evidence of opinion polls, for those who bothered to know of their existence, showed rural support for Putin on a scale easily enough for him to win.  ‘Ah, but the election was unfair, because of manipulation of the media by the group in power before the election.’  Perfectly true, but the usual understanding is that the election result has to be based on the votes cast on the day of the election.  Show me a country anywhere in the world where the party in power takes scrupulous care to present the opposition’s photo-opportunities as beautifully as their own.

            Finally, even though the well-educated urban young do get to grips with domestic technology faster than ruling bureaucracies ¹, the governments are going to catch up, and they have the means and the motive to undertake massive misreporting and misinformation through the social networks when they finally cotton on.  So much for democracy after that!  The networks can open the door to democracy if it happens that the ‘authorities’ are useless at faking, and that the complaints of the networkers happen to match those of the non-young, the non-urban, and the non-skilled who do not use the net (estimated in the UK in 2011 at around 14% of the population).  But there is another door.  That one opens the way to coups by urban mobs.

¹ military technology is quite another matter; ruling bureaucracies do not get to grips with that ever, leaving it in the hands of the generals

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3) Behind the news

  It is not necessarily astonishing that Saudi Arabia should have just placed an order for twenty large transport aircraft.  Admittedly, one does not foresee oil exports going by air on any large scale but perhaps some market has just discovered that it has a large appetite for sand – maybe to fill the sandbags to deal with the ever worsening floods in Asia.

[Government interruption under Correct Information decree dns31b): recent flooding in several countries is merely part of a natural fluctuation in the planetary climate and absolutely in no way connected with any notion of so-called  global warming and even more definitely not linked to any global warming produced by human activity such as ill-informed critics suggest will follow our decision to withdraw development funds from research into renewable sources of energy, and instead to invest massively in shale oil and fracking so that transport and energy production may carry on in precisely the ways which we have used so long to achieve successful economic development.  Without them the whole framework of our economy would have to be redesigned.]

Right, if we may resume.  The twenty large transport aircraft are themselves not so remarkable, but the other part of the order was for five refuelling aircraft.  That suggests long flights over territory where one will not be able or not allowed to refuel, which does not these days apply to many civilian cargo journeys.  Those unfamiliar with maps of the Middle East may leap nervously to the conclusion that the project is an invasion of Iran, but that would be mistaken.  No need for refuelling there, only a short hop across the Gulf.  So clearly they are not needed for an invasion of Iran by Saudi Arabia.

            But if not that, what?  Has anyone any suggestions?

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4) Thought for the day

An eye for an eye is one thing (though people with a highly developed awareness of the way to deal with other humans know only too well that this is usually among the worse ways to deal with a problem and in fact very often aggravates the problem instead of solving it.)  But when an eye lost is thought to be compensated by an eye, and another eye, together with an arm, and two legs, and also the eyes of a wife, and the lives of a neighbour and the neighbour’s children …  But we’ll leave airy matters like justice and humanity to others, and just ask here whether that sort of approach to a problem is likely to be effective.

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5) From our readers’ letters

One hates to kick a man when he is down, so I shall simply remark that some men are born with a natural air of authority (which of course is quite a different question from whether they can be entrusted with exercising it) and carry it round with them through success and setbacks alike.  Romney lacked it and lost.  Conrad Black emerged from a prison term looking ready to lead a continent to victory.  But poor François Hollande.  Probably the first French president with a natural air of ineptitude.

Augustus de Courtmond, Québec

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6)  Editorial Several years ago the BBC was forced into major cost-cutting measures in order to maintain its standards (‘the highest in the world!’) of broadcasting and to offer salaries that would encourage first-class staff (‘outstanding in their field!’) to work at the BBC to produce high-quality programmes (‘for which it is justly famous!’) in addition of course to its own ‘public service’ announcements squeezed into large cracks between thin programmes to inform the world how good the BBC (‘the world’s leading broadcaster!’) is.  The latter type of production is not inexpensive as well as taking a great deal of staff time, and so it was decided then to save money in the future by trying as far as possible to buy only second-hand news.  This of course brings a considerable saving on the budget, especially when the news, as with most science items for example, is more than a month  old.  (There is not a simple link between the age of news and its cost, however.  For instance recent reports on the sinking of the Titanic one hundred years ago were said to have needed several committee meetings and according to one source even a week-end conference in Barcelona to get its budget approved, although this has been denied.)  Since then salaries, for those staff who have been lucky enough to remain on the payroll, have of course increased substantially along with production costs and other miscellaneous expenses, but the world will be thankful that financial disaster is still being staved off.  This is largely  because the BBC has again changed its practice in news purchase.  Formerly, after of course using free government press releases, it dealt mostly with established news vendors (it is many years since it maintained a large enough overseas corps of its own), but now it is willing to accept items from almost any source provided that the cost is considered acceptable.  It is rumoured that sometimes for reasons of their own outside organisations have been willing actually to pay for some item to be included in news programmes, but it has not been possible to confirm this.  Individuals often appear willing to contribute newzak or blurred actuality shots taken on mobile phones entirely free of charge.  But this policy has its risks.  Major news vendors can usually be trusted to check the validity of their items with some care.  Individuals and less reputable companies may not; some may even knowingly offer false stories or misleading pictures either for profit or from some more noble ulterior motive.  Before long the BBC risks being overwhelmed by callers, angry, honest, malicious, gullible, or careless according to the circumstances, offering material appearing to show, for instance, that a controversial politician has been photographed trousering a fat brown envelope, or that some well-known public figure has a cupboard in his attic containing a bunch of angry skeletons hammering to be let out.  Even as those words are wrtten, reports come of columns of lawyers and police, heavily armed with affidavits and warrants, advancing on the BBC from several directions.

            Can the BBC continue to rely on an audience for news programmes composed almost wholly of two constituent parts: those who listen without attention, and those who have given up even bothering to switch its newscasts on?

Appeal: do you have any old newspapers or magazines at home?  Spare five minutes to cut out anything you think might fit into a BBC newscast and send to ‘BBC, Broadcasting House, London’.  Every little helps.

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honor hominesque honesti floreant