Inflation is a modern economic disease, which all consumers suffer from. When we are told that we have got a pay rise, we are naturally pleased. Yet when we go to the shops to buy things, we find that we cannot buy as much as we could a month ago. How is this possible? The reason, of course, lies in the fact that prices are rising all the time and we usually receive pay rises that are not as large as general price increases. We find, furthermore, that the money we have carefully saved in the bank cannot buy the house that we want because the price of the house has doubled.
It seems, in fact, that our wages have gone down although our employees have told us they have increased. It is not surprising, then, that political parties win or lose elections according to how well they persuade the people that inflation can be controlled by their policies. It is only to be expected, therefore, that the ordinary voter will support a government that promises to restore the value of money in the bank and to make wage increases equal to the increase of prices in the shops. As a result of this situation, we find governments being defeated by their economic policies. People are impatient and prefer to vote for a new government rather than wait for old economic policies to become effective: Unfortunately, promises about controlling prices and wages are not generally kept because there is no simple cure for the complex disease of inflation.
If you grow your own vegetables, they are bound to be fresher than those you buy in the shops; and the chances are that you will find they taste better, too. You can also grow things it is difficult to find in the shops. And you may save money – a family of four could have saved around £70 last year by growing all their vegetables. All of this, by doing something that many people regard as a healthy leisure activity.
In the first part of this report, we tell you what is involved in growing your own vegetables and how to plan a vegetable garden. In the second, we tell you how to get the best value for money when buying seeds and plants.
Much of the report is based on the experiences of our members – nearly 1,500 filled in a mammoth questionnaire. We are very grateful indeed for the help they gave us. One thing is clear from our members’ experience: growing vegetables can be hard work. Routine jobs like weeding and clearing take up a lot of time, quite apart from the exhausting chore of digging. However, nearly all our vegetable-growing members thought the results were definitely worth all the effort.
CHRISTMAS: MORE STUFFING?
Merry Christmas to you all… “Merry”, as you may know, has two meanings: a) happy, and b) drunk. If you’re like a large number of British people, then your Christmas will be an alcoholic, rather than a religious, occasion.
If you walk down Piccadily or Oxford Street just before Christmas, you will see an incredible amount of money being spent on electronic games, bottles of spirits, expensive clothes, LPs, cassettes, cameras, and large number of luxury items. If you walk down the main street of several towns of the Third World just before Christmas, you won’t see large amount of money being spent on presents: in fact, you won’t see a large amount of money being spent on anything.
80% of all disease in the world is caused by bad water supply: for millions of people, the perfect Christmas present would be a tap in the village square which would give pure, clean water.
Do we think of these people when we sit down to our Christmas dinner? Of course not – we’re too busy thinking about the turkey, the roast potatoes, and the presents sitting under the Christmas tree. The whole idea of Christmas now is completely unChristian – I’m sure that Christ would be furious if he could see what sort of celebrations are being carried out in his name.
So I’m against Christmas – I agree with Scrooge1 “It’s all humbug.” If we’re going to continue this wasteful, thoughtless ceremony, then let’s be truthful about it, and call it “Stuff-Our-Faces Week”, or “Stomach Week” – but let’s get rid of the hypocritical pretense that Christmas is “the season of the goodwill”.
1 Scrooge Charles Dickens’ın yarattığı, Noel kutlamalarının gereksiz olduğuna inanan bir roman kahramanı.
PACKAGING: THE INSANE WASTE OF MAKING THINGS TO BE THROWN AWAY
To get a chocolate out of a box requires a considerable amount of unpacking: the box has to be taken out of the paper bag in which it arrives; the cellophane wrapper has to be torn off, the lid opened and the paper removed; the chocolate itself then has to be unwrapped from its own piece of paper. But this insane amount of wrapping is not confined to luxuries. It is now becoming increasingly difficult to buy anything that is not done up in cellophane, polythene, or paper.
The package itself is of no interest to the shopper, who usually throws it away immediately. Useless wrapping accounts for much of the refuse put out by the average London household each week. So why is it done? Some of it, like the cellophane on meat, is necessary, but most of the rest is simply competitive selling. This is absurd. Packaging is using up scarce energy and resources and messing up the environment.
Little research is being carried out on the costs of alternative types of packaging. Just how is it possible, for instance, for local authorities to salvage paper, pulp it, and recycle it as egg-boxes? Would it be cheaper to plant another forest? Paper is the material most used for packaging – 20 million paper bags are apparently used in Great Britain each day – but very little is salvaged.
Both glass and paper are being threatened by the growing use of plastic. The trouble with plastic is that it does not rot. Some environmentalists argue that the only solution to the problem of ever-growing mounds of plastic containers is to do away with plastic altogether in the shops, a suggestion unacceptable to many manufacturers who say there is no alternative to their handy plastic packs.
It is evident that more research is needed into the recovery and re-use of various materials and into the cost of collecting and recycling containers as opposed to producing new ones. Unnecessary packaging, indeed to be used just once, is clearly becoming increasingly absurd. But it is not so much a question of doing away with packaging as using it sensibly. What is needed is a more sophisticated approach to using scarce resources for what is, after all, a relatively unimportant function.
SCHOOL AND CREATIVITY
Albert Einstein once attributed the creativity of a famous scientist to the fact that he “never went to school, and therefore preserved the rare gift of thinking freely.” There is undoubtedly truth in Einstein’s observation; many artists and geniuses seem to view their schooling as a disadvantage. But such a truth is not a criticism of schools. It is the function of schools to civilize, not to train explorers. The explorer is always a lonely individual whether his or her pioneering be in art, music, science, or technology. The creative explorer of unmapped lands shares with the genius what William James described as the “faculty of perceiving in an unhabitual way.” Insofar as schools teach perceptual patterns they tend to destroy creativity and genius. But if schools could somehow exist solely to cultivate genius, then society would break down. For the social order demands unity and widespread agreement, both traits that are destructive to creativity. There will always be conflict between the demands of society and the impulses of creativity and genius.
Then one day I found a fat mother scorpion in the wall. She was wearing a fur coat. I look more closely. It was really a mass of very small babies holding on to their mother’s back. I very much admired this family, and decided to take them secretly into the house and up to my bedroom. I wanted to watch them while they grew up. Carefully, I put the mother and family into a matchbox, and then ran to the villa.
Lunch was on the table. I put the matchbox carefully on a shelf in the sitting room and went to the dining room and joined the family for the meal. I ate slowly, gave Roger food secretly under the table and listened to the family. I completely forgot about my exciting new pets. When Larry finished his meal, he took some cigarettes from the sitting room. He sat back in his chair, put one in his mouth and picked up the matchbox which he had brought. I watched him with interest. He was still talking when he opened the matchbox.
Now I still say this: the mother scorpion did not want to hurt anyone. She was worried and angry, so she took the first chance to escape. She climbed out of the box very quickly. Her babies were still holding on when she climbed on to the back of Larry’s hand. There she was a bit uncertain, and she paused. Her sting was curved up at the ready. When Larry felt the movement of her claws he looked down and saw her. Then everything got confused. He screamed with fear and Lugaretzia dropped a plate. Roger came out under the table and began to run wildly.
Larry shook his hand and the scorpion flew down the table. She fell between Margo and Leslie and her babies went everywhere when she fell on to the table-cloth. She was now very angry and ran towards Leslie. Leslie jumped to his feet, overturned his chair, and hit the scorpion with his napkin. Mother put on her glasses and looked down the table. At that moment Margo tried to stop the scorpion and threw a glass of water at it. But, the shower hit mother, who immediately lost her breath and couldn’t speak. The scorpion was not behind Leslie’s plate, but her babies were running all over the plate. And, Roger, who wanted to help, was making angry noises and running round the room.
“It’s that horrible boy again !” shouted Larry.
“Be careful ! They’re coming !” screamed Margo.
“All we need is a book,” shouted Leslie. “Find me a book!”
“What’s the problem ?” mother was asking while she tried to clean her glasses.
“It’s that horrible boy … he’ll kill us all … Look at the table … knee-deep in scorpions …”
Naturally, Roger did not know what the problem was. He knew that the family was in danger. He wanted to protect the family and, because Lugaretzia was the only stranger in the room, he bit her on the leg.
This did not help very much.
On February morning in 1966 Cleve Backster made a discovery that changed his life and could have far-reaching effects on ours. Backster was at that time an interrogation specialist who left the CIA to operate a New York school for training policemen in the techniques of using the polygraph, or “lie detector”. This instrument normally measures the electrical resistance of the human skin, but on that morning he extended its possibilities. Immediately after watering an office plant, he wondered if it would be possible to measure the rate at which water rose in the plant from the root to the leaf by recording the increase in leaf-moisture content on a polygraph tape. Backster placed the two pscyhogalvanic-reflex (PGR) electrodes on either side of a leaf of Dracaena massangeana, a potted rubber plant, and balanced the leaf into the circuitry before watering the plant again. There was no marked reaction to this stimulus, so Backster decided to try what he calls “the threat-to-well-being principle, a well-established method of triggering emotionality in humans.” In other words he decided to torture the plant. First he dipped one of its leaves into a cup of hot coffee, but there was no reaction, so he decided to get a match and burn the leaf properly. “At the instant of this decision, at 13 minutes and 55 seconds of chart time, there was a dramatic change in the PGR tracing pattern in the form of an abrupt and prolonged upward sweep of the recording pen. I had not moved, or touched the plant, so the timing of the PGR pen activity suggested to me that the tracing might have been triggered by the mere thought of the harm I intended to inflict on the plant.”
Backster went on to explore the possibility of such perception in the plant by bringing some live brine shrimp into his office and dropping them one by one into boiling water. Every time he killed a shrimp, the polygraph recording needle attached to the plant jumped violently. To eliminate the possibility of his own emotions producing this reaction, he completely automated the whole experiment so that an electronic randomizer chose odd moments to dump the shrimp into hot water when no human was in the laboratory at all. The plant continued to respond in sympathy to the death of every shrimp and failed to register any change when the machine dropped already dead shrimp into the water.
CALCULATOR, CALENDAR AND CLOCK
Even the cheapest and least complicated digitals are minor miracles of modern technology. They replace the traditional hands, springs and cogs with flickering digits and electronic circuits.
Some just display hours, minutes and seconds, but many function like baby computers. At the push of a button you can check the time in New York or New Delhi, see exactly how long Mario Andreotti takes to lap a race track, set a small but shrill alarm, or even programme the watch, months in advance, to flash out a reminder about birthdays and other special dates. Some digitals have calendars that “know” all about leap years and remain accurate well into the 21st century.
Quartz, one of the world’s most common minerals, lies at the heart of every digital watch. Almost a century ago, scientists discovered that quartz crystals vibrate at an absolute constant frequency when an electric current is passed through them. But quartz watches did not become practical until miracles of miniaturisation were developed to save weight and room in spacecraft. The typical watch crystal, powered by a battery the size of a fingernail, vibrates 32,768 times every second. The vibrations are fed into a tiny “chip” – little bigger than the end of a match – which is crammed with more than a thousand transistors and other components. This microscopic maze is watch’s “brain” and can be designed to store a remarkable amount of information. But its most important function is to keep dividing the vibrations by two until the quartz is pulsing precisely once every second.
Battery, crystal and chip combine to produce remarkably accurate watches whose time keeping rarely strays by more than one or two seconds each month. They also tend to be very reliable, thanks to the absence of all the ticking machinery packed into a conventional clockwork watch.
If you fancy a digital watch, ask yourself how many of the tricks it performs are likely to be of genuine value. It makes no sense to spend extra money on what could become gimmicks once the novelty has worn off.
THE SECRET FEW PEOPLE COULD GUESS
Brenda Linson never goes anywhere without an empty spectacles case. It is as vital to her as her purse. Yet, she doesn’t wear glasses. The reason she can’t do without it is because she can’t read and she can’t write. If ever she gets into any situation where she might be expected to do either of these things, she fishes in her bag for the specs case, finds it empty, and asks the person concerned to do the reading for her. Brenda is now in her late thirties. She’s capable and articulate and until a few months ago hardly anybody knew she was illiterate. Her husband didn’t know and her children didn’t know. Her children still don’t.
She had any number of tactics for concealing her difficulty – for example, never lingering near a phone at work, in case she had to answer it and might be required to write something down. But, in fact, it is easier for illiterates to conceal the truth than the rest of us might imagine. Literacy is taken so much for granted that people simply don’t spot the giveaway signs.
It has never occurred to the children that their mother cannot read. She doesn’t read them stories, but then their father doesn’t either, so they find nothing surprising in the fact. Similarly they just accept that Dad is the one who writes sick notes and reads the school reports. Now that the elder boy Tom is a quite proficient reader, Brenda can skillfully get him to read any notes brought home from school simply by asking, “What’s that all about, then?”
Brenda’s husband never guessed the truth in 10 years of marriage. For one thing he insists on handling all domestic correspondence and bills himself. An importer of Persian carpets, he travels a great deal and so is not around so much to spot the truth. While he’s away Brenda copes with any situations by explaining that she can’t do anything until she’s discussed it with her husband.
Brenda was very successful in her job until very recently. For the last five years she had worked as a waitress at an exclusive private club, and had eventually been promoted to head waitress. She kept the thing a secret there too, and got over the practical difficulties somehow.
The one thing that went to get talked about non-stop throughout mid 1990s is about as big as this n.
For the electro-technologically minded, it’s a miracle of micro-processing wizardry with the mind-boggling potential to revolutionise the whole of life. For the uninitiated, it’s a source of bafflement, unease, and a vaguely sci-fi fascination. It represents the major challenge of this century’s last twenty years, so all the expert futurologists claim, yet sounds to most of us like some newly-fanged substitute for fried potato.
It’s the silicon chip.
Not surprisingly, most non-scientists find that the effort of trying to grasp what a silicon is turns out to be just as bewildering as the struggle to comprehend what a silicon chip does.
Fifty years ago, the world’s first electronic digital computers weighed about thirty tons and filled a room. Today silicon chip equivalent weighs a fraction of gramme and would disappear on your fingernail.
Once designed, a silicon chip can be ludicrously cheap to manufacture in bulk. That is why everyone can now buy for peanuts such sophisticated gadgets as pocket calculators or complex TV games. Desk-top computers are as familiar as desk-top typewriters.
Not only is the silicon chip small and ever more inexpensive, it is also reliable and immensely versatile. Already the world market is estimated at £3 billion a year. By the mid-2000s, one chip-maker predicts, every person in the world may need to own at least one microprocessing toy just to an outlet for the industry’s burgeoning supply.
Such talk is typical of the increasingly extravagant claims being made on behalf of the silicon chip. It has been called the most significant invention since wheel. A single chip can far outstrip the mathematical speed and capacity of any man. Multi-chip computers can perform a million error-free calculations in the time it takes to blink and they’re getting faster all the time. All that is holding them back is the speed at which data can be programmed in, or applications for them found.
More and more small firms take advantage of small, purpose- programmed computers to keep the books. Instrumentation on cars gets neater and more comprehensive. Telephones have increased international capability, telephone and television-linked information systems are more comprehensive and more wide-spread. Cameras get smaller and more automated, fun toys like talking calculators and programmable video gadgets fight for the home entertainment market. Money continues to give way to computerised accounting and debiting systems, all kinds of security systems are rapidly advanced. Shops keep track of their stock with micro-processing systems, all kinds of traffic control has become more efficient, less energy is wasted by better power systems.
The previous century, in short, certainly saw a gathering pace in the applied use of silicon ships but there is not the remotest chance that applications will keep pace with theoretical development. The long-term effects of the micro-processing revolution are incalculable – even for a silicon chip.
The most talked-about social implication is, of course, the effect of ever more sophisticated automation on employment. Here, too, there has been a marked tendency to take off into scare mongering with exaggerated claims that silicon chips will cause overnight disruption, making millions redundant. A study by the UK Central Policy Review Staff is characteristically sober: “Reports suggesting large-scale loss of jobs from micro-processing applications overestimate the speed at which these applications could be introduced and underestimate the new markets created in the process.”
LEARNING TO LIVE WITH THE COMPUTER
A rapid technological advance has been accepted by many manufacturing industries for some time, but for the office worker, who has led a sheltered existence in comparison, radical changes are a new experience. With the advent of electronic data processing techniques and, especially, computers, this situation has altered very swiftly. Office staff are finding themselves exposed to the traumatic consequences of scientific progress.
Most offices, by the very nature of their structure and function, are geared to stability or slow change. Accelerated change of the kind that a computer brings is likely to prove disrupting and disturbing. This is because people in stable organizations tend to expect a steady continuation of existing arrangements, and because departments unaccustomed to change frequently find they have become too inflexible to assimilate it without stress. Social as well as technical factors are therefore highly relevant to a successful adaptation to new techniques.
Research into the social and organizational problems of introducing computers into offices has been in progress in the social science department in Liverpool University for the past four years. It has been shown that many firms get into difficulties partly because of lack of technical knowledge and experience, but also because they have not been sufficiently aware of the need to understand and plan for the social as well as the technical implications of change. In the firms that have been studied, change has been seen simply as a technical problem to be handled by technologists. The fact that the staff might regard the introduction of a computer as a threat to their security and status has not been anticipated. Company directors have been surprised when, instead of cooperation, they encountered anxiety and hostility.
Once the firm has signed the contract to purchase a computer, its next step, one might expect, would be to “sell” the idea to its staff, by giving reassurances about redundancy, and investigating how individual jobs will be affected so that displaced staff can be prepared for a move elsewhere. In fact, this may not happen. It is more usual for the firm to spend much time and energy investigating the technical aspects of the computer , yet largely to ignore the possibility of personnel difficulties.
This neglect is due to the absence from most firms of anyone knowledgeable about human relations. The personnel manager, who might be expected to have some understanding of employee motivation, is in many cases not even involved in the changeover.
THEY HAVE YOU TAPED – AND THERE AREN’T ENOUGH SAFEGUARDS
The dangers of increasing computerization of personal, official and business information have long been recognized, and are scarcely any longer controversial.
First, data can be stored which is inaccurate, incomplete or irrelevant, and yet can be used as the basis for important decisions affecting people’s lives.
Second, people may have no idea of the information kept on them, have no way of finding out, and no opportunity to correct mistakes. Third, there is the possibility that the information can fall into unauthorized hands, who could use it for all sorts of hostile, even criminal, purposes. Fourth, the information could be used for a purpose other than that for which it was gathered. Fifth, because computer systems can now communicate with each other easily and speedily, the possibility is increased that comprehensive Big Brother1 files will be compiled on private citizens.
From birth to death, every individual will regularly find something appearing about him in some file or other. Estimates of how many different files are kept on the average individual range from 15 to 50. Some may be thought trivial in themselves – though even library computers can now reveal that a reader took out a book on guerrilla warfare and another on Marxist ideology. Credit card files might disclose an inappropriate spending pattern. The Vehicle Licencing Department keeps tabs on every driver’s change of address, and their computer is available to the police. The list of information kept on the individual – his health, income, social security position, details of property, his car, his job, and so on – goes on.
Of course, for those who have been in trouble with the police, or been members of an “undesirable” political group, even though they have done nothing illegal, the information kept on them multiplies. More and more of all this information has been removed from the old-fashioned filing cabinet and is being put into computers.
The need for safeguards is not limited to personal information. Business, too, needs protection. If a company’s list of customers, or its pricing or production formulae, got into the hands of the competitors, the result could be financial ruin.
In 1978, the Lindop Committee set out the principles which should govern data protection: (1) The individual should know what personal data is being kept, why it is needed, how long it will be used, who will use it, for what purpose, and for how long. (2) Personal data should be handled only to the extent and for the purposes made known at the outset, or authorized subsequently. (3) It should be accurate and complete, and relevant and timely for the purpose for which it is used. (4) No more data should be handled than is necessary for the purposes made known. (5) The individual should be able to verify that those principles have been compiled with.
1 Big Brother, 1984 başlıklı romanda her şeyi denetleyen, gözetleyen ve yöneten sistem.
For centuries man believed the Earth to be the centre of Creation. The true picture is far more awe-inspiring.
We live on a small planet revolving round a star of only average size, which is itself revolving, with thousands of millions of other stars, in one galaxy among millions in a Universe that may well be boundless.
Scientific observation has so far probed only a fraction of it. Yet to travel to the frontiers of that observed fraction, even at 186,300 miles per second (the speed of light) would take 6,000 million years, about 20,000 times the total period that human life is estimated to have existed on Earth.
The different bodies and structures in the universe, all of which appear to be receding from us, range from single galaxies to mammoth clusters containing as many as 500 galaxies.
Although the cluster of galaxies to which our galaxy belongs is comparatively small (it has only 25 members), our galaxy itself, the Milky Way System, ranks among the larger of the known stellar systems. Counting its almost 100,000 million stars (of which the Sun with its family of planets is one) at the rate of one star a second would take about 2,500 years.
Teaching is supposed to be a professional activity requiring long and complicated training as well as official certification. The act of teaching is looked upon as a flow of knowledge from a higher source to an empty one. The student’s role is one of receiving information; the teacher’s is one of sending it. There is a clear distinction assumed between one who is supposed to know (and therefore not capable of being wrong) and another, usually a younger person who is supposed not to know. However, teaching need not be the province of a special group of people nor need it be looked upon as a technical skill. Teaching can be more like guiding and assisting than forcing information into a supposedly empty head. If you have a certain skill you should be able to share it with someone. You do not have to get certified to convey what you know to someone else or to help them in their attempt to teach themselves. All of us, from the very youngest children to the oldest members of our cultures, should come to realize our own potential as teachers. We can share what we know, however little it might be, with someone who has need of that knowledge or skill.
POCKETY WOMEN UNITE ?
Pockets are what women need more of. The women’s movement in the past decade has made giant strides in achieving greater social justice for females, but there’s a great deal of work yet to be done. And it can’t be done without pockets.
It has been commonly thought that men get the best jobs and make the most money and don’t have to wash the dinner dishes simply because they’re men, that cultural traditions and social conditioning have worked together to give them a special place in the world order.
While there is undoubtedly some truth to this, the fact remains that no one has investigated the role that pockets have played in preventing women from attaining the social status and right that should be theirs.
Consider your average successful executive. How many pockets does he wear to work ? Two in the sides of his trousers, two in the back, one on the front of his shirt, three on his suit coat, and one on the inside of the suit coat. Total: nine.
Consider your average woman dressed for office work. If she is wearing a dress or skirt and blouse, she is probably wearing zero pockets, or one or two at the most. The pantsuit, that supposedly liberating outfit, is usually equally pocketless. And it usually comes with a constricting elastic waist to remind women that they were meant to suffer. Paranoid, you say? Well, how many men’s trousers come with elasticized waists?
Now, while it is always dangerous to generalize, it seems quite safe to say that, on the whole, the men of the world, at any given time, are carrying about a much greater number of pockets than are the women of the world. And it is also quite clear that, on the whole, the men enjoy more power, prestige, and wealth than women do.
Everything seems to point to a positive correlation between pockets, power, prestige, and wealth. Can this be?
An examination of the function of the pocket seems necessary. Pockets are for carrying money, credit cards, identification (including entrance to those prestigious clubs where people presumably sit around sharing powerful secrets about how to run the world), important messages, pens, keys, combs, and impressive-looking handkerchief’s.
All the equipment essential to running the world. And held close to the body. Easily available. Neatly classified. Pen in the inside pocket. Keys in the back trouser pocket. Efficiency. Order. Confidence.
What does a woman have to match this organization? A purse.
The most hurried examination will show that a purse, however large or important-looking, is no match for a suitful of pockets. If the woman carrying a purse is so lucky as to get an important phone number or market tip from the executive with whom she is lunching, can she write it down? Can she find her pen ? Perhaps she can, but it will probably be buried under three grocery lists, two combs, a checkbook, and a wad of Kleenex. All of which she will have to pile on top of the lunch table before she can find the pen.
Will she ever get another tip from this person of power ? Not likely. Now she has lost any psychological advantage she may have had. He may have been impressed with her intelligent discussion of the current economic scene before she opened her handbag, but four minutes later, when she is still digging, like a busy prairie dog, for that pen, he is no longer impressed.
He knows he could have whipped his pen in and out of his pocket and written fourteen important messages on the table in the time she is still searching.
What can a pocketless woman do?
Two solutions seem apparent. The women can form a pocket lobby (Pocket Power?) and march on the New York garment district1.
Or, in the event that effort fails (and well it might, since it would, by necessity, have to be run by a bunch of pocketless women) an alternate approach remains.
Every man in the country for his next birthday finds himself the lucky recipient of those very stylish men’s handbags, and to go with it, one of those great no-pocket body shirts.
1 New York’ta moda evlerinin bulunduğu bölge
YOU AND YOUR BODY
The imagery that we use for reconstructing our own insides seems to vary from country to country. For example, the French seem to have an obsession with the liver, while in Germany, they explain all their peculiar feelings in terms of an organ which they call “the circulation” – whatever that is. I remember, when I was producing an opera in Frankfurt about six months ago, that whenever singers arrived late for rehearsal they would apologize for it by saying they had had “ze circulation collapse” which had somehow reduced their efficiency.
It is very easy to get the impression that everyone outside the English-speaking world is a hypochondriacal loony, or a visceral fantasist. This is not altogether so, because, although I have not been able to find, so far, an American “national organ” among the British, the last four feet of the intestine seem to loom larger than they ought to. The word “constipation” is used so often that it is very hard to know what is being referred to – regularity of the bowel, headaches or lassitude. A vast laxative industry is based on our national fantasy, and even the medical profession has sometimes fallen victim to the same obsession. In the early 1900s, there was a surgical craze for removing yards and yards of intestine at the slightest excuse.
TIGHTEN YOUR BELT
The fact is that the energy crisis, which has suddenly been officially announced, has been with us for a long time now, and will be with us for an even longer time. Whether Arab oil flows freely or not, it is clear to everyone that world industry cannot be allowed to depend on so fragile a base. The supply of oil can be shut off at whim at any time, and in any case, the oil wells will all run dry in thirty or so at the present rate of use. New sources of energy must be found, and this will take time, but it is not likely to result in any situation that will ever restore that sense of cheap and copious energy we have had in the times past. To make the situation worse, there is as yet no sign that any slowing of the world’s population is in sight. The food supply will not increase nearly enough to match this, which means that we are heading into a crisis in the matter of producing and marketing food.
Taking all this into account, what might we reasonably estimate supermarkets to be like in the year 2005?
To begin with, the world food supply is going to become steadily tighter over the next thirty years. This means, for one thing, that we can look forward to an end to the “natural food” trend. It is not a wave of the future. All the “unnatural” things we do to food are required to produce more of the food in the first place, and to make it last longer afterward. It is for that reason that we need and use chemical fertilizer and pesticides while the food is growing, and add preservatives afterward. In fact, as food items will tend to decline in quality and decrease in variety, there is very likely to be increasing use of flavouring additives. Until such time as mankind has the sense to lower its population to the point where the planet can provide a comfortable support for all, people will have to accept more artificiality. Then, too, there will be a steady trend toward vegetarianism. A given quantity of ground can provide plant food for man or it can provide plant food for animals which are then slaughtered for meat. Yet, land devoted to plant food will support ten times as many human beings as land devoted to animal food. It is this (far more than food preferences or religious dictates) that forces overcrowded populations into vegetarianism. This will come about because our herds will decrease as the food demand causes more and more pasture land to be turned to farmland, and as land producing corn and other animal fodder is diverted to providing food directly for man.
The Beginning and The End Isaac Asimov’dan uyarlandı.
THE 800TH LIFE
In the time between now and the twenty-first century, millions of ordinary, psychologically normal people will face a sudden confrontation with the future. Many of the citizens of the world’s richest and most technologically advanced nations will find it increasingly painful to keep up with incessant demand for change that is a characteristic of our time. For them, the future will have arrived too soon.
This book is about change and how we adapt to it. It is about those who seem to thrive on change, as well as those multitudes of others who resist it or seek flight from it. It is about our capacity to adapt. It is about the future and the shock that its arrival brings.
Western society for the past 300 years has been caught up in a storm of change. This storm, far from abating, now appears to be gathering force. Change moves through the highly industrialized countries with waves of ever-accelerating speed and unprecedented impact. It brings with it all sorts of curious social phenomena – from psychedelic churches and “free universities” to science cities in the Arctic and wife-swap clubs in California.
It breeds odd personalities, too: children who at twelve are no longer children; adults who at fifty are children of twelve. There are rich men who playact poverty, computer programmers who turn on with LSD. There are married priests and atheist ministers and Jewish Zen Buddhists. A strange new society is apparently developing in our midst. Is there a way to understand it, to shape its development?
Much that now seems incomprehensible would be far less so if we took a fresh look at today’s rapid rate of change, for the acceleration of change does not merely affect industries or nations. It is a force that reaches deep into one’s personal life, compels him to act out new roles, and confronts him with the danger of a new and powerfully upsetting psychological disease. This new disease can be called “future shock”, and a knowledge of its sources and symptoms helps explain many things that otherwise resist rational analysis.
DEMOCRACY AND HUMAN POTENTIAL
Nearly every aspect of life affects every other part of life in some way. Historically, we can see that revolutions in social order have caused profound and gradual changes in people’s lives, not just politically and socially, but also personally and emotionally.
Democracy, for example, is a relatively new kind of social order. Although democracy was born in ancient Greece, it was not until about two hundred years ago that a modern opportunity for a democratic government arose. The United States was formed on democratic principles in 1776. Yet the results of democracy are still forming. Over a hundred years passed before the principle of equality for all human beings generalized enough to include women as well as men. In 1920, women’s right to vote was exercised for the first time. Full rights for women leaders were won slowly. By the 1960s, women leaders were gaining influence. People like Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem were busy “raising consciousness” about the silken chains that still bound women to servitude, to second class status.
However, the basic appeal of the premise1 that all people are created equal eventually began to have results. Young women had the courage to apply for admission to professional college programs; mature women were encouraged to ask for better jobs, for respect, and for responsibility outside their homes. The movement that began with women’s struggle for the right to vote thus developed into what came to be called “women’s liberation” and generalized into human potential movement2.
If women had rights, then surely men had rights too. If women were being encouraged to ask for what they wanted, men too had the right to voice their feelings about their work situations, their problems, their worries. Whereas once people chose a life profession and were expected to work at that one job for the rest of their lives, the liberation movement in the 60s and 70s restored to people the power over their own futures. Suddenly a college physics professor decided to study yoga, an accountant became a carpenter, and a doctor gave up his or her practice. Suddenly society in general was more willing for women to have what had been traditionally male characteristics of leadership, assertiveness, and strength. Simultaneously the more gentle and caring side of many men was freed, making it acceptable for a man to be actively involved in the care of the sick as nurse, instead of always being cast as the cool, clinical doctor.
Because of the education in the human potential movement, society accepted men who chose to teach young children and saw the benefits of having both male and female roles for preschool and elementary school children. Because of the education in the human potential movement, women were free to work in traditionally masculine jobs; for example, in mines, in factories, on road-construction crews. Furthermore, women were also free to be feminine in dress and in manner while being successful at their jobs just as the men who were now in professions that had been female-dominated were still seen as masculine and attractive males.
The transition to a truly egalitarian, or democratic, state is still going on. Parts of the order of society are still in flux. New rules and new guidelines for the family are being formed as people learn which solutions to problems work and which ones do not.
Right now, the American family is changing. Divorce, single-parent homes, “his and her”3 families are all common. Yet, the next twenty years might show results of yet another stage of development in life, caused ultimately by the human values of democracy.
1 premise = basic idea
2 the human potential movement = the social change during which people began to understand their power and control over their lives
3 “his and her” families = families with children from both partners’ previous marriages
PLAGIARISM IN THE ACADEMIC COMMUNITY
Scholars, writers, and teachers in the modern academic community have strong feelings about acknowledging the use of another person’s ideas. In the English-speaking world, the term plagiarism is used to label the practice of not giving credit for the source of one’s ideas. Simply stated, plagiarism is “the wrongful appropriation or purloining, and publication as one’s own, of the ideas, or the expression of ideas (literary, artistic, musical, mechanical, etc.) of another.”1 From an ancient Latin word meaning to kidnap or steal the child or slave of another, plagiarism is universally condemned in the modern academic world. It is equivalent to stealing the livelihood or savings of a worker, for it robs the original writer or scholar of the ideas and words by which he makes a living.
The penalties for plagiarism vary from situation to situation. In many universities, the punishment may range from failure in a particular course to expulsion from the university. In the literary world, where writers are protected from plagiarism by international copyright laws, the penalty may range from a small fine to imprisonment and a ruined career. Protection of scholars and writers, through the copyright laws and through the social pressure of the academic and literary communities, is a relatively recent concept. Such social pressures and copyright laws require writers to give scrupulous attention to documentation of their sources2.
Students, as inexperienced scholars themselves, must avoid various types of plagiarism by giving appropriate credit for the source of borrowed ideas and words. There are at least three classifications of plagiarism as it is revealed in students’ inexactness in identifying sources properly. These categories, which will be discussed in some detail in succeeding paragraphs, are plagiarism by accident, by ignorance, and by intention.
1 Oxford English Dictionary, London, 1933
2 “Copyright”, The New Caxton Encyclopedia, London, 1969.
NEW POLICY DEBATE
For nearly two decades technical and financial assistance to Third World population and family planning programs has been an important component of foreign aid programs. Support for these activities by the United States and other industrialized donors has been justified in part by the long-standing belief that rapid population growth in the developing world dilutes and in some cases impedes economic development.
But in the last several years this contention has been sharply challenged by a small group of Western economists who argue that population growth is often the driving force behind economic expansion and technological change. Citing historical precedents in Western countries and post-war economic successes in Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea and elsewhere, they make three general points: first, that population growth is the natural result of improvements in the human condition, especially improved health; second, that an expanding labor force, an expanding market, and other consequences of population spur economic growth; and third, that economic progress, in and of itself, will lead to population stabilization through changes in desired family size. Direct interventions to reduce birth-rates are unnecessary or even counterproductive.
In the United States this “anti-Malthusian” view, as it is called by its proponents, has recently gained support in some government circles and among political pressure groups (most prominently anti-abortion groups) who oppose assistance to population programs on other grounds. Their attack on U.S. population assistance peaked in the summer of 1984, during preparations for U.S. participation in the U.N. International Population Conference. It precipitated the first major public debate in the 20-year history of U.S. foreign aid for family planning. Although public and media attention declined after the Conference, the policy debate has continued.
THE WAY UP TO HEAVEN
All her life, Mrs. Foster had had an almost pathological fear of missing a train, a plane, a boat, or even a theatre curtain. In other respects, she was not a particularly nervous woman, but the mere thought of being late on occasions like these would throw her into such a state of nerves that she would begin to twitch. It was nothing much – just a tiny vellicating muscle in the corner of the left eye, like a secret wink – but the annoying thing was that it refused to disappear until an hour or so after the train or plane or whatever it was had been safely caught.
It was really extraordinary how in some people a simple apprehension about a thing like catching a train can grow into a serious obsession. At least half an hour before it was time to leave the house for the station, Mrs. Foster would step out of the elevator all ready to go, with hat and coat, gloves, and then, being quite unable to sit down, she would flutter and fidget about from room to room until her husband, who must have been well aware of her state, finally emerged from his privacy and suggested in a cool dry voice that perhaps they had better get going now, had they not?
Mr. Foster may possibly have had a right to be irritated by this foolishness of his wife’s, but he could have had no excuse for increasing her misery by keeping her waiting unnecessarily. Mind you, it is by no means certain that this is what he did, yet whenever they were to go somewhere, his timing was so accurate – just a minute or two late, you understand – and his manner so bland that it was hard to believe he wasn’t purposefully inflicting a nasty little torture of his own on the unhappy woman. And one thing he must have known – that she would never dare to call out and tell him to hurry. He had disciplined her too well for that. He must also have known that if he was prepared to wait even beyond the last moment of safety, he could drive her nearly into hysterics. On one or two special occasions in the later years of their married life, it seemed almost as though he had wanted to miss the train simply in order to intensify the poor woman’s suffering.
Assuming (though one cannot be sure) that the husband was guilty, what made his attitude doubly unreasonable was the fact that, with the exception of this one small irrepressible foible, Mrs. Foster was and always had been a good and loving wife. For over thirty years, she had served him loyally and well. There was no doubt about this. Even she, a very modest woman, was aware of it, and although she had for years refused to let herself believe that Mr. foster would ever consciously torment her, there had been times recently when she had caught herself beginning to wonder.
Roald Dahl: Kiss Kiss
COMMON SENSE ABOUT SMOKING
It is often said, “I know all about the risk to my health, but I think the risk is worth it.” When this statement is true it should be accepted. Everyone has the right to choose what risks they take, however great they may be. However, often the statement really means, “I have a nasty feeling that smoking is bad for my health, but I would rather not think about it.” With some people the bluff can be called and they can be asked to explain what they think the risk to their health is. When this is done few get very far in personal terms. The bare fact that 23,000 people died of lung cancer last year in Great Britain often fails to impress an individual. When it is explained that this is the equivalent of one every twenty-five minutes or is four times as many as those killed on the roads, the significance is more apparent. The one-in-eight risk of dying of lung cancer for the man who smokes twenty-five or more cigarettes a day may be better appreciated if an analogy is used. If, when you boarded a plane, the girl at the top of the steps were to welcome you aboard with the greeting, “I am pleased that you are coming with us – only one in eight of our planes crashes,” how many would think again, and make other arrangements ? Alternatively, the analogy of Russian roulette may appeal. The man smoking twenty-five or more a day runs the same risk between the ages of thirty and sixty as another who buys a revolver with 250 chambers and inserts a live bullet and on each of his birthdays spins the chamber, points the revolver at his head, and pulls the trigger. One of the difficulties in impressing these facts on people, is that, despite the current epidemic of lung cancer, because it is a disease which kills relatively quickly, there are many have as yet no experience of it among their family or friends.
That language is highly complex is shown by the fact that up to now it has not proved possible to translate mechanically from one language to another, with really satisfactory results. The best programmed computer still cannot consistently translate from, say, Russian into English. The fault lies not in the computer but in the failure to provide it with sufficiently accurate instructions, because we are still unable to handle this vastly complex system. It has been calculated that if the brain used any of the known methods of computing language, it would take several minutes to produce or to understand a single short sentence.
Secondly, language is productive. We can produce myriads of sentences that we have never heard or uttered before. Many of the sentences in this book have been produced for the first time, yet they are intelligible to the reader. It is clear that we have some kind of sentence-producing mechanism – that sentences are produced anew each time and not merely imitated. One task of grammatical theory is to explain this quite remarkable fact.
Thirdly, language is arbitrary. There is no one-to-one relation between sound and meaning. This accounts for the fact that languages differ, and they differ most of all in their grammatical structure. But how far are these differences only superficial, in the shape of words and their overt patterns? Some scholars would maintain that “deep down” there are strong similarities – even “universal” characteristics – disguised by the superficial features of sound (and perhaps of meaning). It is not clear how we can find the answer to this problem.
The Bible, while mainly a theological document written with the purpose of explaining the nature and moral imperatives of the Christian and Jewish God, is secondarily a book of history and geography. Selected historical materials were included in the text for the purpose of illustrating and underlining the religious teaching of the Bible. Historians and archaeologists have learned to rely upon the amazing accuracy of historical memory in the Bible. The smallest references to persons and places and events contained in the accounts of the Exodus, for instance, or the bibliographies of such Biblical heroes as Abraham and Moses and David, can lead, if properly considered and pursued, to extremely important historical discoveries. The archaeologists’ efforts are not directed at “proving” the correctness of the Bible, which is neither necessary nor possible, any more than belief in God can be scientifically demonstrated. The historical clues in the Bible can lead the archaeologists to a knowledge of the civilisations of the ancient world in which the Bible developed and with whose religious concepts and practices the Bible so radically differed. It can be considered as an almost unfailing indicator, revealing to the experts the locations and characteristics of lost cities and civilisations.
There is no denying that in the last hundred years the condition of civilised man has changed more radically than at any previous time. Inventions and discoveries, from the steam engine to internal combustion engine, from electricity to atomic power, have led to the mechanisation of industry, which in turn has basically affected the social, economic and political structure of our society. A society of the masses has come into existence and is being buttressed by such mass means as the press, the cinema, radio and – latterly – television.
It is hardly surprising that these rapidly changing circumstances should have had their effect on the arts, too.
Art has always been a highly sensitive instrument for registering any changes in the social order or in the ideas, beliefs and activities of man. One might ask whether it is possible for the creative faculty to exist at all in a mass-society, whether our mechanised world is the proper place for the production and enjoyment of a work of art. If it is true that calm contemplation is vital to the artist, does it not also follow that his whole being will protest most violently against an epoch in which machine sets the pace, a pace which, in its ruthless precision, is the very opposite of that rhythm of life out of which art has hitherto grown?
The Picture Encyclopedia of Art, Thames and Hudson
IFS OF HISTORY
Speculating “what if …?” is always enticing. What if Alexander Fleming’s dishes of infected jelly had been tidied up and thrown out as they should have been – would we now be without penicillin? If James Watt had dropped off to sleep before his kettle boiled, would there never have been any trains ? When it comes to invention or discovery, the chances are that if scientist A is hit by a falling roof-tile, scientist B will get there pretty soon all the same; for both would have been building on the same state of previous knowledge. Stephenson also invented the Davy lamp; a chap called Reis very nearly invented the telephone just before Bell; there were several other maniacs attempting powered flight just as doggedly as the Wright brothers.
What’s far more problematic is the follow-up. What happens after a discovery may indeed depend on the crucial presence of one man. If Darwin had died on the voyage [to Galapagos], then Wallace would have been the father of evolution – but without Darwin’s brilliant tenacity in proving and presenting the thing, would the impact have been as great?
“What if …?” in history is even more fun. In the eighth century the Moors in Spain sent out a reconnaissance party along the Roman road into France, got ambushed, and decided that France was no go. There’s a theory that if they’d had stirrups , they could have ridden down the ambush (without stirrups, you can too readily be pushed off your horse by anyone with a pike). Then the Moors might have gone ahead and invaded France.
Of all the changes introduced by man into the household of nature, large-scale nuclear fission is undoubtedly the most dangerous and profound. As a result, ionising radiation has become the most serious agent of pollution of the environment and the greatest threat to man’s survival on earth. The attention of the layman, not surprisingly, has been captured by the atom bomb, although there is at least a chance that it may never be used again. The danger to humanity created by the so-called peaceful uses of atomic energy may be much greater. There could indeed be no clearer example of the prevailing dictatorship of economics. Whether to build conventional power stations, based on coal or oil, or nuclear stations, is being decided on economic grounds, with perhaps a small element of regard for the “social consequences” that might arise from the over-speedy curtailment of the coal industry. But that nuclear fission represents an incredible, incomparable, and unique hazard for human life does not enter any calculation and is never mentioned. People whose business it is to judge hazards, the insurance companies, are reluctant to insure nuclear power stations anywhere in the world for third party risk, with the result that special legislation has had to be passed whereby the State accepts big liabilities. Yet, insured or not, the hazard remains, and such is the thralldom of the religion of economics that the only question that appears to interest either governments or the public is whether “it pays”.
The train into London was 10 minutes late and as the fare had just gone up I was about to advance my theory concerning the immutable law of British Rail – viz., that the higher the fare, the worse the service – when the regular commuter beside me gave a long, low whistle of amazement.
“Either my watch has gone haywire,” he said, “or this train is only 10 minutes late.”
I knew he was a regular commuter because he was down to his shirt sleeves and was the only cool-looking fellow among us. The rest of us, the non-regulars, had fallen into the oldest trap in the history of railways – to wit, we had assumed that because there had been no heating in the carriages last week when there was snow and frost about and the temperatures were below zero, there never would be any heating in the carriages.
The flaw in this assumption, as the regular commuter would doubtlessly have pointed out had we consulted him, was that it was based on the expectation that the cold weather would continue. But in fact the morning of which I speak was rather mild for the time of year and consequently whoever ordains these things had turned the heating on full-blast and was chuckling happily away to himself as he thought of us sweltering there amid our greatcoats, blankets, and hot-water bottles.
Anyway, there was much consulting of watches as the regular commuter spoke and a great shaking of heads of disbelief as we assured him that his watch was accurate and that, incredibly, it was the train that was fast.
And then, of course, the travellers’ tales began as people tried to remember the last time this particular train had only been 10 minutes late and the stories grew wilder and wilder until it reached the high absurdity with some ancient at the back who claimed that he’d been commuting daily for nearly twenty years, ever since he left school (and indeed he had the white hair, the palsied twitch and the hopeless gaze to prove it) and insisted that he could remember an age when, almost as often as not, some of the trains actually ran on time.
Well, naturally nobody believed the old fool and in any case some of the passengers were rather bitter about the morning’s break with the tradition and one man said his entire day was constructed round the certain knowledge that the train would be at least half an hour late and now he was going to fetch up in London with 20 minutes to kill and if you could no longer rely on the total incompetence of British Rail, what could you rely on?
“Next thing you know,” he said scathingly, as he shuffled his feet among the yellowing newspapers that warned of the danger of drought, “they’ll be cleaning the carriages.”
There was a collective gasp of horror at this prediction, far-fetched though it was, because railway commuters are creatures of habit who like to be surrounded by familiar things as they wait, forgotten, in some remote siding. There is, for instance, the smoker who inevitably knocks his out his pipe in the ashtray that’s full of petrified orange peel, while I always try to stand beside the bloke who always sits beside the window on which someone had once scrawled in dust the cryptic message, “Bring back Washbrook.”
I mention standing because, of course, few commuters are lucky enough to find a seat unless they happen to be travelling in holiday times, such as the week after Christmas, when with hardly any passenger to cater for, British Rail naturally adds extra coaches to each train.
However, I finally arrived in London ten minutes late having paid a fare which, in spite of allegations that the increases would range from 10 per cent to 17 per cent, was actually 23 per cent up on the previous week, to find the B.R. Spokesman had words to cheer us.
“If more people would travel more,” he said with dazzling naively that illuminates all the doings of the British Rail, the customers might “get away” without any more fare increases this year! Gosh, fancy “getting away” with traveling in extreme discomfort on possibly the worst railway in the civilised world without having to pay more for the privilege.
I blew my nose loudly to hide the tears of gratitude – and then a certain weakness in the Spokesman’s statement occurred to me. “If more people travelled more” would seem to me that if I, for example, travelled to London seven days a week instead of four, the fares would not be increased, right? Right. Even so, getting to and from London would cost me 75 per cent more than it did now, right? Right – but remember it would only be 75 per cent more at the present rate.
A continuous commentary of mirror of “real” life had been created on television. To switch on the set when the day’s viewing started, with one’s mind slightly turned down, or in a bit of a fever, or very tired, and to watch, steadily, through the hours, as little dressed figures, diminished people, dressed up like cowboys or like bus drivers or like Victorians, with this or that accent, in this or that setting, sometimes a hospital, sometimes an office or an aircraft, sometimes “real” or sometimes imaginary (that is to say, the product of somebody’s, or some team’s, imagination), it was exactly like what could be seen when one turned one’s vision outwards again towards life: it was as if an extreme of variety had created a sameness, a nothingness, as if humanity had said yes to becoming a meaningless flicker of people dressed in varying kinds of clothes to kill each other (“real” or imaginary) or play various kinds of sport, or discuss art, love, sex, ethics (in “plays” or in “life”) for after an hour or so, it was impossible to tell the difference between news, plays, reality, imagination, truth, falsehood. If someone – from a year’s exile in a place without television, let alone a visitor from Mars – had dropped in for an evening’s “viewing”, then he might well have believed that this steady stream of little pictures, all so consistent in tone or feel, were part of some continuous single programme written or at least “devised” by some boss director who had arranged, to break monotony, slight variations in costume, or setting (office, park, ballet, school, aircraft, war), and with a limited team of actors – for the same people had to play dozens of different roles.
It was all as bland and meaningless as steamed white bread; yet composed of the extremes of nastiness in a frenzy of dislocation, as if one stood on a street corner and watched half a dozen variations of human animal pass in a dozen different styles of dress and face.
Toplam 30 çeviri metninden sonra, bir tane de eğlence amacı ile alınmış metin! Bu metin Türkçeye elbette aktarılabilir, ama büyük özen gösterilmesi durumunda.
THE TWELVE BOTTLES OF WHISKY
I had twelve bottles of whisky in my cellar and my wife told me to empty the contents of every bottle down the sink – or else! So I said I would, and proceeded with the unpleasant task. I withdrew the cork from the first bottle and poured the contents down the sink, with the exception of one glass, which I drank. I extracted the cork from the second bottle and did likewise, with the exception of one glass, which I drank. I withdrew the cork from the third bottle and emptied the good old booze down the sink, except a glass which I drank. I pulled the cork from the fourth sink and poured the bottle down the glass, which I drank. I pulled the bottle from the cork of the next and drank one sink out of it and poured the rest down the glass. I pulled the sink out of the next glass and poured the cork down the bottle. I pulled the next cork out of my throat, poured the sink down the bottle and drank the glass, then I corked the sink in the glass, bottled the sink and drank the pour.
When I had emptied everything I steadied the house with one hand and counted the bottles and corks and glasses with the other, which were twenty-nine. To make sure I counted them again, when they came to seventy-four. And as the house came by, and finally I had all the bottles and corks and glasses counted, except one house and one cork, which I drank.