Born and Bread: Warburtons, Bolton

first_imgEach month we profile a family business and look at how the baking craft has passed down through the generations. This month, how Warburtons grew from a single shop to a £500m-a-year business.Thomas Warburton and his wife, Ellen, opened a grocery shop in Bolton in 1870, with the help of Thomas’ brother, George. In 1876 the market slumped, so to make ends meet Ellen started baking bread – her first batch of four loaves of bread and six cakes sold out in under an hour and within two weeks the tiny shop was renamed Warburtons the Bakers.In 1890 the business had grown so much that Thomas had to invest in a pony to transport the bread and asked his nephew, Henry, to join the business. Seven years later Henry bought two more premises, one of which his wife Rachel ran single-handedly while also bringing up four children. By 1913 there were 24 staff and six delivery vehicles.After serving in the First World War, Henry’s sons Billy and Harry joined the company in 1921, the same year that Warburtons invested in its first semi-automatic wrapping machine.During the Second World War, Warburtons estimates it delivered around 1,300 loaves of bread an hour. In the face of petrol rationing, electric vehicles were used to deliver it.Warburtons remains a private, family-owned business, today and is managed by the fifth generation of Warburtons – Jonathan (who appears in the business’s Muppet-themed TV ads), Ross and Brett. Between them they assumed control of the business in 1991, following the retirement of their fathers. It is now the largest family-owned bakery business in the country and employs around 4,500 people in 12 bakeries and 14 depots across the UK.In 2005 the company opened a state-of-the-art bakery in Tuscany Park, Yorkshire. This was the first bakery in the world to have a computerised production line installed, and the company says it remains one of the most technologically advanced bakeries in existence.Four years later, Warburtons opened a ‘super bakery’ in Bristol that can produce more than 1.5 million products a week. And in 2011 it opened a dedicated gluten-free plant at Newburn, near Newcastle-upon-Tyne. In the same year a wraps and thins plant was introduced to the Bristol bakery and a new crumpet plant opened at the Enfield bakery in London. In 2012 it opened a new bakery in Bolton, which it says is “the most modern bakery in Europe”.The original site on 126 Blackburn Road, Bolton, is still owned by the company and isn’t far from its head office.“Since Warburtons was founded in 1876, family values have been at the heart of our business and remain at the core of everything we do,” Jonathan Warburton tells British Baker. “They are what makes our business unique, and are why everyone working here feels a part of the Warburtons family. This is incredibly important to me, Brett and Ross, we are the fifth generation of Warburtons to run the business and are very proud to be fulfilling the legacy left by our ancestors.He add that he believes it is essential for the business to have a long-term focus: “Everyday teamwork coupled with a driving ambition, great people working for us and a focus on our individual strengths to enable us to work together as shareholders to steer the business in the right directions.“Key to our success over five generations of Warburtons is our continued commitment to baking the best quality products for families across Britain. We believe this focus has helped to drive our continued growth in a challenging marketplace.”Warburtons has doubled in size in the past decade alone to become a £500m-a-year business that more than a quarter of all the bakery products consumed in the UK…. Timeline1876 – Thomas and Ellen Warburton found the bakery1890 – Thomas Warburton buys his first delivery pony and his nephew, Henry, joins the business1921 – Henry’s sons Billy and Harry join the company after returning from the war1936 – Billy, Harry and their brother George take over the business1966 – Fourth-generation Warburtons George and Derrick assume command1991 – Brett, Jonathan and Ross take the helmlast_img read more

PHOTOS: Closer To The Sun 2017 With Slightly Stoopid, SOJA, Stick Figure, & More

first_imgLoad remaining images San Diego-based dub rockers Slightly Stoopid celebrated their fourth annual Closer To The Sun destination event at the New Sapphire Resort in Puerto Morelos, Mexico earlier this month. Offering four nights of music on the beach, a poolside stage perfect for afternoon sets, and a palapa for late night shows, there’s nothing quite like Closer to the Sun! On top of three shows from Slightly Stoopid, fans were delighted to two shows each from SOJA, Stick Figure, J Boog, Fortunate Youth, and The Expanders. With special guests G. Love, Chali 2na, Don Carlos, and Rashawn Ross on deck, the experience fulfilled the ultimate musical paradise. There’s truly nothing like the experience of being surrounded by awesome new friends of the Closer to the Sun community, digging your toes in the sand with a drink in your hand–all while watching your favorite musicians perform.Photographer Dave Vann was on site capturing the magic, as you can see in the full gallery below.Closer To The Sun 2017 | Puerto Morelos, Mexico | Photos by Dave Vannlast_img read more

EPL: Newcastle pip 10-man Southampton

first_imgRelatedPosts EPL: Newcastle set to extend winning streak EPL: Newcastle hammer West Ham away EPL: West Ham, Newcastle in cagey duel Newcastle United leapfrogged Southampton in the Premier League standings and moved up to 13th with a 1-0 win at St Mary’s Stadium on Saturday, thanks to a solo second-half effort from French winger Allan Saint-Maximin. Southampton struggled to get a foothold in the game after they were reduced to 10 men when winger Moussa Djenepo made a reckless challenge to get sent off in the 28th minute. Djenepo was initially booked when he caught Isaac Hayden above the ankle but the Video Assistant Referee advised referee Graham Scott to take a second look on the pitchside monitor, after which a red card was produced. Southampton were nearly undone just before halftime when Sofiane Boufal used his upper arm to clear the ball inside the box, awarding Newcastle their first penalty of the season, but Alex McCarthy dived to his left to stop Matt Ritchie’s effort. With Southampton a man down, it was down to McCarthy to deny the Newcastle players on numerous occasions — particularly Dwight Gayle who had three shots on target blocked — and the goalkeeper finished the first half with six saves. But McCarthy could do nothing when Saint-Maximin pressed Yan Valery, pinched the ball from his fellow Frenchman and then toe-poked the ball off the post for his second goal of the season to give Newcastle their first league win since January.Tags: Allan Saint-MaximinIsaac HaydenMatt RitchieNewcastle Unitedlast_img read more

Xtreme Football & Cheer kicks off seventh season

first_imgWe are Xtreme Youth Football & Cheer. In 2007, we will be kicking off our 7th Season. We concentrate our recruiting in Montebello, Monterey Park and in the City of Commerce. However, we will accept anyone from anywhere. The Xtreme is dedicated to providing the children of our community with a viable alternative to the negative influences that too often prey on our youth. We strongly believe that youth sports provide a great opportunity for families to bond with one another while participating in a positive and exciting environment. We dont have tryouts and we dont cut on the basis of athletic ability. Also, we give EVERYONE a chance to participate for FREE (not a misprint)! To date, no other league in the ENTIRE San Gabriel Valley, football or not, has been able to offer anything similar or better. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! In an effort to provide a secure and safe environment, it is mandatory that every parent & adult volunteer adhere to a strict Code of Conduct. Also, every adult volunteer must be fingerprinted using LiveScan by the local authorities & obtain a state issued CPR/1st Aid card. Furthermore, every football & cheer coach must attend a Rules & Safety seminar hosted by our conference annually. Lastly, to ensure the safety of the spectators, participants, coaches and officials, all games must be played in high school stadiums with a conference representative present. Our website is center_img Our registration info is Our phone number is 877-XTREME-3, 877-987-3633 We are looking for Coaches, players and cheerleaders. last_img read more

Evidence-Based Cosmology

first_imgFrom what we observe, we can draw inferences without the need to posit occult phenomena.Anthropic ObservablesFine tuning: A new measurement of the ratio between proton and neutron masses was calculated ab initio by European scientists. This ratio is very important for the stability of atoms. Their result, published by Science Magazine, confirms the narrow range of values that make our universe possible:The existence and stability of atoms rely on the fact that neutrons are more massive than protons. The measured mass difference is only 0.14% of the average of the two masses. A slightly smaller or larger value would have led to a dramatically different universe….The mass of the visible universe is a consequence of the strong interaction, which is the force that binds together quarks into protons and neutrons. To establish this with percent-level accuracy, very precise calculations based on the lattice formulation of quantum chromodynamics (QCD), the theory of the strong interaction, were needed. Going beyond such calculations to control much finer effects that are at the per mil (‰) level is necessary to, for instance, account for the relative neutron-proton mass difference, which was experimentally measured to be close to 0.14%. Precisely, this difference is needed to explain the physical world as we know it today. For example, a relative neutron-proton mass difference smaller than about one third of the observed 0.14% would cause hydrogen atoms to undergo inverse beta decay, leaving predominantly neutrons. A value somewhat larger than 0.05% would have resulted in the Big Bang Nucleosynthesis (BBN), producing much more helium-4 and far less hydrogen than it did in our universe. As a result, stars would not have ignited in the way they did. On the other hand, a value considerably larger than 0.14% would have resulted in a much faster beta decay for neutrons. This would have led to far fewer neutrons at the end of the BBN epoch and would have made the burning of hydrogen in stars and the synthesis of heavy elements more difficult. We show here that this tiny mass splitting is the result of a subtle cancellation between electromagnetic and quark mass difference effects. In combination with astrophysical and cosmological arguments, this figure can be used to determine how different values of these parameters would change the content of the universe. This in turn provides an indication of the extent to which these constants of nature must be fine-tuned to yield a universe that resembles ours.Their calculation of the mass difference – 0.14% — is very tight: almost one in a thousand. If that ratio varied by one-third of that tiny amount, a universe with stars and complex life could not exist. In a summary of the paper in Science, Jelena Stajic agrees:Elementary science textbooks often state that protons have the same mass as neutrons. This is not far from the truth—the neutron is about 0.14% heavier (and less stable) than the proton. The precise value is important, because if the mass difference were bigger or smaller, the world as we know it would likely not exist. Borsanyi et al. calculated the mass difference to high precision using a sophisticated approach that took into account the various forces that exist within a nucleon. The calculations reveal how finely tuned our universe needs to be.This paper dealt with things that can be observed and measured: protons, neutrons, and (by consequence) stars, planets, and life.Matters Dark and MysteriousIn the same issue of Science Magazine, however, other cosmologists are on a losing quest for something they cannot see and do not understand: dark matter. Even the name sounds occult. Whatever it is (if it exists), it is “in a form outside the standard model of particle physics.” Astrophysicists have been searching for dark matter (inferred only by its supposed gravitational effects) for years now. New results announced by the ESA/Hubble Information Centre say that dark matter is “even darker than once thought.”Using the Hubble Space Telescope and Chandra X-Ray Observatory, astronomers looked for dark matter interactions in two colliding galaxy clusters but found none. The results show that “dark matter interacts with itself even less than previously thought, and narrows down the options for what this mysterious substance might be.”We know how ordinary matter acts when it collides: it leaves detectable “wreckage” behind. Dark matter, by contrast, is “a giant question mark looming over our knowledge of the Universe,” the press release says. The non-detection of a recognizable interaction cross-section adds to the pile of failed searches (see 10/30/13, 10/06/14). If it was crunch time in 1/24/15, it’s even more so now. Are cosmologists on a snipe hunt, looking for a phantom that doesn’t exist? The BBC News comes just shy of calling it a ghost story:“If you want to figure out what something is made out of, you knock it, or you throw it across the room and see where the bits go.”In this case, the bits went straight through each other.Unlike the gas clouds, which grind to a turbulent halt, and the stars, which mostly glide past each other, the ubiquitous dark matter passes through everything and emerges unscathed, like a ghost.To be sure, there are still some options available for the searchers, but they are narrowing. How much more time do they get, before unbiased observers accuse them of tinkering with mythology? (1/24/14). Remember, these same secular cosmologists—most of them materialists—believe in another occult phenomenon, dark energy, that is even more mysterious. Yet dark energy is supposed to be even more plentiful than dark matter (10/21/12). The universe we observe, they claim, represents only 4% of reality.If one believes occult phenomena account for 96% of reality, then anything is possible. No wonder NASA’s Astrobiology Magazine speculated that dark matter might have been responsible for mass extinctions and geologic upheavals. Ghosts can do mysterious things in the dark.So there you have it. The fine-tuning of the cosmos is evidence-based, backed up by decades of precise measurements. The effects of fine tuning are clearly seen in the things that are measurable and observable: stars, planets, life, and our own bodies. Dark matter, by contrast, has no hard evidence. Believers are running out of options for their Mysterious Unknown Stuff.Unless you are prepared to jump off the deep end with unverifiable imaginations about multiverses and Boltzmann brains (akin to paranoid delusions), you’re stuck with evidence-based cosmology. Fine-tuning implies a self-existent Tuner outside the cosmos. Check the scoreboard: intelligent design 100, unguided materialism 0. Now go watch Privileged Species featuring Michael Denton for relief of stress caused by occult speculations. (Visited 49 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Small farmers ‘need more support’

first_img23 October 2012 President Jacob Zuma has urged stakeholders in South African agriculture to find ways of providing tenure security for communal farmers, to increase support for emerging farmers, and to consider a new approach to land reform in the country. “We need to find ways of providing tenure security for communal farmers, and investigate better ways of financing land reform so that new farmers do not become saddled with debt,” Zuma at the African Farmers Association of South Africa (Afasa) gala dinner outside Pretoria on Monday evening. Zuma said South Africa was planning for what its agriculture sector would look like in the next 30 years through the National Development Plan produced by the country’s National Planning Commission. ‘More support for emerging farmers’ South Africa’s commercial farming sector, comprising an estimated 37 000 members, currently produces 90 percent of the country’s agricultural output. On the other hand, there are 25-million people live in SA’s rural areas, producing 10 percent of agricultural output through subsistence farming. Zuma said more support for emerging farmers would enable the government to improve the participation of black South Africans in commercial agriculture. He said 11 000 new smallholder farmers had been established since 2009, with a target of 50 000 having been set for 2014. Support has been provided to both new and long-established farmers through various state programmes, including Letsema, the Recapitalisation and Development Programme, and through funding agency Mafisa. Despite this support, Zuma said, only a marginal number of 5 381 smallholder farmers were involved in agri-businesses, and a mere 3 910 were linked to markets. “To achieve further success, smallholder farmers require a comprehensive agribusinesses support package, including favourable commodity pricing, access to finance, provision of technical expertise and mentorship, and contracted markets,” he said.Land reform: lessons learned On the question of land reform, Zuma said that the government had made a commitment in 2009 to transfer 30 percent of the 82-million hectares of agricultural land which was white-owned in 1994 to black people by 2014. This 30 percent translates to 24.5-million hectares. “Between 1994 and December 2011, 3.9-million hectares were redistributed through the land acquisition and redistribution programme. We have learned a number of lessons from the exercise.” According to Zuma, one major lesson was that the process of acquiring and distributing a particular piece of land was often lengthy, which escalated the cost of redistribution because the previous owner stopped investing in the land. He said many farms were in a poor state of repair at the point of acquisition, contributing to a decline in productivity on redistributed farms. This led to the adoption of the Recapitalisation and Development Programme in November 2010. By December 2011, 595 farms were in the process of being rehabilitated under this programme, mainly through rebuilding infrastructure.Land reform: new approach put forward Taking these issues into account, South Africa’s National Development Plan proposes a district-based approach to land reform and its financing. It proposes that each district should establish a land reform committee where all stakeholders can be meaningfully involved. The committee would be charged with identifying 20 percent of the commercial agricultural land in the district and giving commercial farmers the option of assisting in its transfer to black farmers, in line with the government’s land reform targets. The implementation of this land reform proposal would entail identifying land that is readily available from land that is already in the market; land where the farmer is under severe financial pressure; land held by an absentee landlord willing to exit; and land in a deceased’s estate. In this way, land could be found without distorting markets. After being identified, the land would be bought by the state at 50 percent of its market value, which is closer to its fair productive value. The shortfall of the current owner would be made up by cash or in-kind contributions from the commercial farmers in the district who volunteered to participate. In exchange, commercial farmers would be protected from losing their land and gain black economic empowerment status.Land reform: spreading the cost Zuma said this would remove the uncertainty and mistrust that surrounds land reform and the related loss of investor confidence, adding that a stepped up programme of financing should be created. “This would include the involvement of the National Treasury, the Land Bank as well as established white farmers. The model envisages that the cost of land reform be spread between all stakeholders. It also envisages new financial instruments being designed for the purpose of facilitating land reform. “These could include 40-year mortgages at preferential rates for new entrants into the markets, as well as land bonds that white farmers and others could invest in.” Zuma said this was an innovative proposal that needed to be tested, and that it would be useful to hear from members of the farming sector if they would support such an approach. Zuma said South Africa’s food security situation was too serious to leave to short-term planning only. “Our long-term vision document, the National Development Plan, forecasts that by 2030, more than 70 percent of South Africa’s population will live in urban areas, compared to just over 60 percent today. “Even with these changes, rural areas will remain home to millions of our people. We know this because there is also considerable movement within rural areas resulting in a consolidation into denser settlements,” Zuma said.Agriculture and job creation The National Development Plan argues that agriculture is the primary economic activity in rural areas and has the potential to create close to one-million new jobs by 2030; Zuma said this could be done by expanding irrigated agriculture. “There is evidence that the current 1.5-million hectares under irrigation can be expanded by at least 500 000 hectares through more efficient use of existing water resources and the development of new water schemes,” he said. Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson, also speaking at Monday night’s dinner, said the government was working extremely hard to assist smallholder farmers to become commercial farmers. “We are working very hard to turn rural areas into commercially viable zones. We are trying to eradicate deeply entrenched poverty in rural areas through programmes that will overhaul the entire social system. “We need to decisively move so our programmes translate to visible change in our communities,” she said. Source: read more

Filming incentives grow South African movie industry

first_imgA still from the filming of the award-winning South African movie Of Good Report.National Film and Video Foundation+27 11 483 [email protected] NaidooWith the film industry raking R3.5-billion annually into South Africa’s economy (according to a 2013 study conducted by the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF), government – via the NFVF, the Industrial Development Corporation and the Department of Trade and Industry  – has stepped in to provide incentives to improve on the sector’s growth.The trade and industry department revised its film and television production incentives – effective from April 2012, and to be administered up to 2014 – to attract international production houses to shoot on location and conduct post-production in South Africa. Its South African film and television production and co-production incentive is aimed at local movie producers creating local content.The foreign film and television incentive is intended to attract large-budget film and television production and post-production work in a bid to create jobs. It offers movie houses a 20% tax reduction on production expenditure for foreign productions filmed in South Africa with a budget of R12-million (about $1.3-million) or more. The incentive also provides a 22.5% to 25% tax reduction if post-production takes place in South Africa. Post-production expenditure must be R1.5-million (about $166 000) or more to qualify for the incentive.Local film production incentivesThe incentive for local moviemakers offers a 35% rebate for the first R6-million (about $662 000) spent, and 25% for the remainder of production expenditure.According to the NFVF’s study, “South Africa’s potential growth on local productions has improved over the last few years. Local film production is benefitting from increased assistance from government, co-production treaties with various countries and ordinary success of the film.”The country “generated revenues of more than R879-million in 2013 for the 204 films shown at the box office. This is due to a growing film industry and higher demand from consumers. Locally produced films have increased from 19 in 2012 to 25 in 2013, generating revenues of more than R98-million, putting SA’s box office share at 11%, while foreign films altogether generated more than R780-million with box office share of 89%.” The film industry annually rakes in R3.5-billion. (Image: Of Good Report)South Africa’s top two films at the box office for 2013 were Schuks! Your Country Needs You and Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, grossing more than R20-million. Local films making substantial earnings in that year were Khumba (R8.5-million), Spud 2: the Madness Continues (R6.8-million), As Jy Sing (R6.5-million), Klein Karoo (R5-million), and Fanie Fourie’s Lobola (R3.7-million).More sophisticated local moviesAnother factor in local movies scoring more box office share is that local content is increasingly sophisticated. Comedies rely less on slapstick and opt for more nuanced storytelling, while local dramas are increasingly tackling difficult social issues, and coming up against censorship for it.An example is the movie Of Good Report, taking on a pernicious problem – age-disparate relationships in schools. With such sensitive subject matter, the movie came under fire from the South African Film and Publication Board.On 17 July 2013, just before Of Good Report was due to open the 2013 Durban Film Festival, the board ruled on a “refused” classification. The ruling is issued when the organisation deems a film contains “child pornography or propaganda for war, or incites imminent violence. Unless judged within context, the film or game is, except with respect to child pornography, bona fide documentary, scientific, dramatic or artistic merit or is on a matter of public interest.” The board later withdrew the classification.The movie, an homage to film noir, subsequently scooped awards for best feature film, best director, best actor (Mpthusi Magano), best supporting actor (Tshamano Sebe), and best supporting actress (Tina Jaxa) at the 2014 South African Film and Television Awards.South African film: the numbersAccording to the NFVF, around 25 films, officially, are locally produced for movie theatre release, but the real number is much more as made-for-TV films that go straight to DVD are not included. There are 750 cinema screens in more than 70 complexes across the country, and the industry creates some 25 175 full-time jobs, with additional employment opportunities at the 2 500 direct service providers to the industry.last_img read more

Welcome home, Rolene

first_img19 December 2014A new South African hero was born as Rolene Strauss was crowned Miss World on Sunday, 14 December 2014 in London.The 22-year-old beat 120 international contestants each deemed not only the most beautiful in their home countries, but a shining example of what it meant to be a modern woman.Strauss will be arriving back home from London at 10am on Saturday, 20 December, at OR Tambo International Airport. Her triumph, as with many other proudly South African moments, is a critical element of our nation-building and social cohesion objectives.Strauss is the first Miss World to come out of South Africa since 1974, and the very first in the democratic dispensation and indeed she deserves a rousing welcome from all South Africans.Sun International and Cell C, in partnership with the Department of Sports and Recreation, Lead SA, Brand South Africa and OR Tambo airport invite the public to be a part of this historical moment, and calls on everyone to ensure a deserved hero’s welcome for Strauss.Bring posters, banners, South African flags and vuvuzelas to give her a proudly South African welcome at OR Tambo International Airport, International Arrivals terminal.The Gautrain is giving away 100 return tickets to the airport for 100 lucky winners to get to the welcome. Follow @lead_sa on Twitter for details on how to win.SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

Facebook on Google Buzz: How Well Does That Friendship Model Work?

first_imgjolie odell The Dos and Don’ts of Brand Awareness Videos A Comprehensive Guide to a Content Audit Related Posts Guide to Performing Bulk Email Verification While end users are eager to try out Google Buzz for themselves, many of the Web’s largest social properties have expressed a certain amount of fear, uncertainty and doubt about the search giant’s move into the social space.A Facebook rep said that the company is interested to see how Google’s latest product will make the Web more social and more open, but the Facebook team has their concerns about whether Buzz’s friendship model is really all that functional. After a little bit of messing around with the new product today, we can understand their point of view.ReadWriteWeb’s full coverage and analysis of Google Buzz:Live Blog From AnnouncementAnalysis: Open Data StandardsAnalysis: Geo-Social NetworkFacebook & Google BuzzComparison to FriendFeedEnterprise ApplicationsBuzz Hacks & TipsThe Missing FeaturesGoogle Makes Changes to Buzzcenter_img Facebook is Becoming Less Personal and More Pro… “We’re supportive of technologies that help make the web more social and the world more open,” a Facebook rep wrote to us today, “and we’re interested to see how Google Buzz progresses over time.”However, the Facebooker had words of warning about Buzz’s hazy friendship model. To offer a brief explanation, Google has taken users’ Gmail inboxes and Google Talk IM contacts and programmatically tried to determine with whom users communicate most frequently. Users can share Buzz posts with the world (and Google search), or they can share privately through their existing Gmail groups or custom-made groups in Buzz. For more detail, take a look at this demo video: Tags:#Facebook#Google#web Google Buzz seems to involve an asymmetric follower/friend model, but we’re not completely sure how friendships and shared posts will work. As our Facebooker wrote, “The continued growth of the social web will be determined by people and personal relationships. The people that you email and chat with the most may not be your closest friends or the people that you want to share and connect with.“We can definitely understand this point of view. Some folks rarely use Gmail to communicate with their closest friends and family members because they see them in person or use other networks to get in touch. On the flip side of that coin, as more of us are using Gmail for work communication, it might be irrelevant or overly personal to follow and share with professional contacts.All in all, one of our biggest concerns about Buzz adoption (being able to play nicely with existing social apps) carries over into this part of the conversation, as well: In addition to creating “best guesses” for who to friend and follow using Gmail & Google Talk, why doesn’t Google simply use Twitter OAuth and Facebook Connect to import existing friendships?What do you think? Will Google Buzz’s friendship model work? Or does Facebook have a point about having carefully user-approved friendships online?last_img read more

Email Will Never Die – The Man Who Invented It Reveals Why

first_imgWhy Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… markhachman In the fall of 1971, Tomlinson sent the first network email, using the SNDMSG program that ran on the TENEX time-sharing program for Digital PDP-10 computers. Email on a single computer had existed since the early 1960s, the equivalent of a digital post-it note that could be left to another user. But Tomlinson tweaked the CPYNET file transfer program, then appended it to SNDMSG. That gave one user the power to send a message to another on a remote machine, and email was born.The first email message has been lost to history; Tomlinson tells ReadWriteWeb that it was one of a number of “entirely forgettable” test messages. But that first email message, sent from one machine physically sitting next to another, functioned as a sort of “hello world” message explaining that, well, network email was up and running. The response was low-key.“I don’t recall any actual replies” to the first email, Tomlinson says. “I did get some comments from people in the hall.” Tomlinson was also the first person to use the now ubiquitous “@” symbol – a no-brainer, as it explained that a user was “at” a given host, Tomlinson said. There was one glitch, however: “I was later reminded that the Multics time-sharing system used the @ sign as its line-erase character. This caused a fair amount of grief in that community of users,” he notes on his own website.Email began to take hold as both a cultural and a technical phenomenon in 1972, when the next release of TENEX was shipped – on magnetic tape via snail mail – to some 15 other sites scattered around the country. Users could then send messages back and forth. As each site came online, email’s utility increased, Tomlinson recalls.Even back then, though, email was used in much the same way it is now.“I think it was mostly used as a replacement for telephone calls,” Tomlinson says. “You got a more immediate response. With time zone differences you didn’t have to have someone there to receive the call.”Email TodayForty years later, email use has grown to enormous proportions. But most of it is not legitimate communications and more than half of it never gets delivered. According to the Messaging Anti-Abuse Working Group (which has reformed to fight take on malware as well) between 88% and 90% of all email sent during the first three quarters of 2011 were spam, or unsolicited commercial email. For example, Microsoft’s Hotmail alone processes more than 8 billion messages a day. But only some 2.5 billion messages are delivered to the user’s inbox. Several types of methods of dealing with spam have sprung up: blocking or “blacklisting” domains notorious for sending spam; blocking everything except for approved“whitelisted” domains,” and various filtering techniques that use reputation or text analysis to try and block suspicious emails.Tomlinson supports whitelisting, where only users who pass through some additional level of security are allowed to send email. “If it’s a person out there he’ll send it again,” Tomlinson said. “If it’s a machine he’ll move on and send it to the other five million.”But the spam problem is also one of identity. When Tomlinson first sent networked emails into the ether, the address was a specific person. Today, email senders can use aliases, multiple accounts and even bots to communicate. Should users be forced to tie themselves to a single email identity? The debate has included both Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, who has promoted user Facebook accounts as identity tokens, as well as 4chan founder Christopher Poole, a strong advocacy for privacy and anonymity online. Tomlinson takes a middle view.“In some ways the lack of an official identity when using email has compounded problems like spam, but I think that’s the convenience versus utility versus functionality,” Tomlinson says. “It’s more convenient if you don’t have to worry about identifying yourself. You don’t have to buy a [security] certificate, or authenticate the centers of email.“I think completely anonymous email would not be a good idea,” Tomlinson adds. “On the other hand, having email identities that you can link to very specific information is a definite problem. It’s one thing to say I am who I am, but I’m not going to tell you my life history at the same time.”The Future of EmailIn many ways, the future of email is already here today. SMS text messages are archived; instant message windows can be left open, and Facebook Messenger treats an instant message to an offline friend as, essentially, an email. This latter model is what Tomlinson sees email evolving into over time.“Whether the name will persist or not, I suspect email will be around for at least for a good long time,” Tomlinson predicts. “We may find that these other forms of communication may be merged with email, so you send an IM to somebody, and if they don’t respond it turns into an email-like thing without any intervention on your part.”Tomlinson image courtesy of BBN.Black and white image by Dan Murphy.Lead, spam and @ symbol images courtsey of Shutterstock. Texting, instant messaging, Facebook, Twitter – we have dozens of ways to pass a message from one user to the next, and yet we keep coming back to email. Why? According to the man who sent the first one, because there’s still nothing quite like it.Possibly the most revealing statement that can be made about the power and persistence of email is that – unlike almost everything else in the technology industry – how we use it has remained virtually unchanged for more than 40 years.According to the Radicati Group, 144.8 billion emails are sent every day, and that number is projected to rise to 192.2 billion in 2016. There are about 3.4 billion email accounts worldwide, Radicati said, with three-quarters owned by individual consumers.The youngest users of email, however, have an enormous number of different methods to choose from to communicate – and many of them prefer these methods for most communications.This, in turn, has prompted to some to wonder whether email is a dinosaur, among them young people who say they actually mean “Facebook” when they say “email”. In 2010, comScore kicked off a fuss by noting that Web email use had dropped 59% among teens. So why would anyone continue to use email in the age of social media? “Because none of them really fill the space that email serves, which is you have a specific audience,” answers Ray Tomlinson, a principal engineer at BBN Technologies and the so-called “father of email.”“A lot [of the alternatives] are like a billboard, with limited utility – you put these things on the billboard, and if they choose to they [your audience] can look and see it.”“But email has the time difference – that is, you send it now, you read it later – you don’t have to have someone sitting there and ready to respond like you do with instant messaging to make it work and make it effective,” Tomlinson explains. “You can use instant messaging that way, but if they’re not there, nothing happens, and you gotta remember that there may be a message coming back to you and go back to the IM client and look for the response.”The Birth Of EmailIn 1971 Tomlinson worked as an engineer for Bolt Beranek and Newman (BBN), a contractor that had been assigned to develop ARPANET, a communication network that would allow scientists and researchers to share each other’s computer resources. 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