Barometer

What Samsung’s new TVs owe to Jeremy Bentham

Plus: How far did Japanese prices deflate? And just how dangerous are lorries?

14 February 2015

9:00 AM

14 February 2015

9:00 AM

Watching brief

Samsung warned users of its voice-activated televisions that what they said in front of the TV could be transmitted to other people. The story attracted comparison with the telescreens in George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, but the principle of keeping a population under control by surveillance was foreseen a century earlier by Jeremy Bentham.
— In 1791 he came up with the idea for a Panopticon, a circular prison with one-way observation holes which would allow a single gaoler to patrol several hundred prisoners, none of whom could tell whether they were being watched at any one moment.
— Bentham saw the government’s eventual rejection of the scheme as ‘sinister’, a word now more likely to be used to describe the idea itself.

Land of the sinking price

Britain was predicted to be heading for ‘Japanese-style deflation’. How far did prices fall in Japan? It had consumer-price deflation in eight of the past 20 years:

1995 -0.4%
1999 -1.1%
2001 -1.3%
2003 -0.4%
2005 -0.4%
2009 -1.7%
2011 -0.2%
2012 -0.1%

Source: www.inflation.eu

Curtain call


Sir Tom Stoppard complained that theatre audiences aren’t as clever as they used to be and don’t get his jokes. Who goes to the theatre?

— The age group most likely to attend is 16–19
— The average income is £31,300
65% are female
55% work full time and 12% part time
11% are students; 15% are retired
29% have checked their phone during a performance
50% have eaten during a performance
Source: Ticketmaster/Society of London Theatres

Killer lorries

A runaway lorry killed four people in Bath, following the dustcart accident in Glasgow before Christmas. Are lorries a menace?

% traffic made up by lorries
Motorway 11%
A-road 5.4%
Minor 1.4%

Source: Department for Transport

% fatalities
involving lorry
Motorway 52%
A-road 18%
Minor 7.2%

Source: Department for Transport

Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.

You might disagree with half of it, but you’ll enjoy reading all of it. Try your first 10 weeks for just $10


Show comments
Close