Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Three things I’ve learned this week

  1. A fake grassroots movement is known as an Astroturf campaign.
  2. Nearly-round-number prices (e.g. £9.99) were introduced not to make things seem cheaper, but to force cashiers to give a penny change, so they have to put the transaction through the till and can’t just pocket the tenner.
  3. There is an inexhaustible supply of halfwits willing to pronounce with authority both on the progress and competence of a Portuguese police investigation based on a few vague leaks, and on the guilt or innocence of two suspects based on their TV appearances. Although actually, I was already pretty familiar with the media torrent of confident, emotive ignorance that passes for analysis and insight.

(Chris is managing to learn seven things a week; I’m slower on the uptake.)

1 comment:

Rev. Dr. Incitatus said...

My mother lives in Espiche, about five miles from Lagos. For the last 8 years she's had nothing but praise for the GNR and their seemingly limitless tolerance for expats (many of whom do not return that tolerance at all). She was unfortunate enough to get robbed two weeks after the Madelein incident (by expats as it turned out). Needless to say, the police were not terribly cooperative. In fact the officer she dealt with went off on quite a rant about all the bitching from England, and the insinuations that the Portuguese were just a bunch of backward bumpkins. He wrapped it up by reiterating what I think the Lisbon chief of police pointed out; these things don't usually happen in Portugal, and when they do, it's generally the estrangeiros involved.

The Sun, The Daily Mail, The News of the World. These papers adequately represent the worldview of the majority of British, and it's worrying to say the least. No, not worrying. It's downright embarrassing.