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David Porter » Archive

Old Boy (and Girl) Networks Still Make the World Go Round

Computer and social networks are now integral to daily lives, but “who knows who” still opens doors, influences, controls, decides and shapes business. Networks in business, politics, the social world did not arrive with the internet age. The old, historical, personal and informal networks are what still create jobs, wealth, governments. From royal families and medieval knights & trades guilds, like-minded men in early politics and political clubs, certain schools, the military, the church, the law, the criminal fraternity, select businesses, private clubs & organisations, older universities, the world is an overlapping matrix of networks. These are also known as nods & winks, understandings, accommodations, handshakes, relatives, mafias, cartels, brother/sisterhoods, hierarchies, alliances and secrets. Networks Serve Small Elites In Britain, a particular expression, … Read entire article »

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Violence Makes Interesting Drama, But Is It Harmful Influence?

Many people find violent theatre, games & films entertaining, but they are also social reflections and present potential danger to the susceptible. The notion that stage, TV, film or game violence desensitizes, is hardly new, but is given a fresh airing when shocking pictures of war, disaster and accident are streamed straight to screens. Sometimes people walk by; some help. Rubberneckers slowing to look at carnage on motorway/freeway pile-ups, are a danger to others. Bloodbaths and Atrocities on Stage Violence and theatre have always been partners. Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus is described by Sparknotes as “nonstop bloodbath of abomination with 14 killings, 9 on stage, 6 severed members, 1 rape (or possibly 3), 1 live burial, 1 case of insanity and 1 of cannibalism. That’s 5.2 atrocities per act, one every 97 lines”. Sarah Kane’s … Read entire article »

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Rebellion as Adolescent Stage and Performance Stage Inspiration

While not as loud as earlier generations, youth rebels today are part of growing up and helping to create some great art works, just like their fathers. Musicians, film makers, poets and writers have expressed rebellion against parents, governments and norms of the time, provoking outrage through their music, clothes, hair, tattoos, piercings and public behaviour. The Decadent Thirties, and Swinging Sixties with its “protest movement,” stand out. However, history is littered with parents and children falling out, each unable to understand the other. Accumulated wisdom and proffered advice is usually rejected. Each generation makes its own mistakes. Historical Rebellions, Uprisings and Wars There are shades of rebellion: from passive resistance via civil disobedience, through subversion to revolt, insurrection, mutiny, terrorism, revolution to … Read entire article »

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Driving on the Left is Natural or Just a Historical Hangover

There appears to be no definitive answer as to why Great Britain and 73 other countries drive on the left-hand side of the road, while all others go right. One theory is that it began with the Romans, who ordered horse-drawn chariots to travel on the left, so the whip hand, right for most men was away from pedestrians at the side. Cart ruts have been found in a former Roman quarry near Swindon, England which support the view – light carts going in on the left, heavy carts out the other side. However, that doesn’t explain why Britain kept left after the Romans went away, while other lands now drive right, including Italy. History of Jousting Supports the Right-Hand Drive Theory A variant theory is … Read entire article »

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Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar (SPAG)

SPAG errors cost money. They also look bad if your written communications to the public and customers are badly presented and littered with basic English howlers! A July 2011 report on BBC News Education and Family suggests that businesses trading on the web are losing millions of pounds through bad grammar, poor spelling and misunderstood punctuation. Charles Duncombe, in travel, mobile phones and clothing websites, pointed out how online errors cost sales, because they diminish the credibility of a site.  He said that he had been ‘shocked’ by poor written English in many job applications, too. Head of Education and Skills at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), James Fothergill, agreed by stating that many employers invested in remedial English for staff. In autumn 2010 it was reported that the Leeds Building Society … Read entire article »

Filed under: Business English

World Water Wars: Next Mega Conflict or Next Big Scare Story?

People can adapt without their earth-changing oil, plastic, gravel; but without water, there is no life. Concerted action is the next world challenge ahead. Water as liquid, ice, vapour and steam occupies 71% of the earth’s surface. Virtually all forms of life depend on it. Every cultural, historical and human landscape is locked into it, either plentifully or in shortage. The earth’s entire economy is finally balanced on H20’s continuing supply: it’s essential in everything from manufacturing to power generation and cooling, food preparation, sewerage and agriculture. History shows that whenever there is a shortage of an in-demand commodity, first the price goes up. Then the conflicts to own it start. That is the doomsday scenario occupying scientists, some politicians, and … Read entire article »

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Soccer and Politics: The Beautiful Game is a Political Football

English football and politics have always been closely aligned. Today, as football industry and market demographics change, they are still intermingled. The 2010 Football World Cup has opened debates about the state and future of football in a global economy under pressure, the top echelons isolated from the lower, who should own clubs, all driven by the media in a time of cultural diversity, environmental change and new entertainment demands. Barney Ronay writing in The Guardian in April 2007 2010 asked what happened to the workers’ game now football is awash with TV money; where are the old socialists? He cites Brian Clough and Bill Shankly, who were not only footballing legends, but known firebrands of left-wing politics. Clough is best remembered as manager for … Read entire article »

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Olympic Games and Politics: Two Sides of the Same Coin

Inspirational, high-minded, competitive, controversial – sports and politics are not separate entities, but are in fact inextricably interwoven. Former President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Juan Antonio Samaranch, writing in Thesis, a Journal of Foreign Policy Issues in Autumn 1997, said the history of the Olympic movement provides examples of how “sport and politics influence each other, directly and indirectly”. Diplomatic heights are often scaled in compromises, negotiating between factions, to get as many nations as possible to compete, leaving differences aside, albeit temporarily. This common interest, the IOC claims, enabled better relations between USA and China in the 70s, allowed People’s Republic of China and Chinese Taipei to be recognised equally; secured South Africa’s return to international sporting arena in … Read entire article »

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Music Videos Make Claims to be Real Artistic Statements

Often derided as sales gimmicks for songs, music videos have become controversial, experimental and challenging. They are now a serious, accepted art form. Popularised on MTV and elsewhere during the 1980s, music videos are short films that accompany songs. They are basically a marketing/promotional tool, designed to exhibit a song in a visually interesting way, in the hope that more copies will be sold. However, they are older than the 80s. Music videos might contain a mini-narrative to parallel song lyrics or enact them. They can use animation, abstracts, still image sequences, surrealism or be unconnected with the song. They may be documentary, or docu-drama. Some are deliberately mysterious; a few set out to be provocative. Some History Historians reckon ‘an illustrated song’ was … Read entire article »

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Blog Writing Is A Different Art

I am a guest blogger on some of the blogs for MailBigFile, by way of feature articles about the world of cloud futures, technology, cyberspace and the world we live in through all that technology. On their first anniversary, May 2012, they wrote: ‘A big thanks must go to David Porter, who has worked tirelessly on the blog these many months. His contributions to the blog have been nothing short of brilliant, with his posts being insightful, original and well-written. If you’re not already subscribed to the blog for Porter’s posts, he writes three pieces a week, then you really ought to be. They are typically posted on a Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.’ Sometimes the work for others caries links to the research I do, as in the one about virtual holidays, … Read entire article »

Filed under: Blogs: For Others