Mass Media Articles
Excerpts of Key Mass Media Articles from Major Media
Below are many highly revealing excerpts of important mass media articles reported in the mainstream media suggesting a cover-up.
Links are provided to the full articles on their major media websites. If any link should fail to function, click here
. These mass media articles are listed in reverse date order. For the same list by order of importance, click here
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For an index to revealing excerpts of media articles on several dozen engaging topics, click here
A Vision of Iceland as a Haven for Journalists
2010-02-22, New York Times
Iceland, where the journalists run free. Iceland is considering a new vision: to become a haven for journalists and publishers by offering some of the most aggressive protections for free speech and investigative journalism in the world. The proposal, the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative, combines in a single piece of legislation provisions from around the world: whistle-blower laws and rules about Internet providers from the United States; source protection laws from Belgium; freedom of information laws from Estonia and Scotland, among others; and New York State’s law to counteract “libel tourism,” the practice of suing in courts, like Britain’s, where journalists have the hardest time prevailing. “We would become the inverse of a tax haven,” said Birgitta Jonsdottir, a member of Parliament and a sponsor of the initiative. “They are trying to make everything opaque. We are trying to make it transparent.” For many observers, this legislation represents a direct reversal of recent Icelandic history. Secret dealings by a few banks in Iceland, combined with a lack of regulation and oversight, led to calamitous debts that were nine times the gross domestic product. In response, Iceland would institutionalize the most aggressive sunshine laws possible.
Despite Budgets, Some Newsrooms Persist in Costly Fight for Records
2010-02-15, New York Times
Last fall Hearst, the big media company that owns newspapers, magazines and television stations, filed a lawsuit against the Texas governor’s office, seeking access to a clemency report in the case of Cameron Todd Willingham, who was executed in 2004 but whose guilt is now in doubt. It is the sort of case — Mr. Willingham may have been innocent, but there is no way of saving him now — that one might not expect to be taken up by a news organization amid a wrenching economic downturn that has forced a trimming of journalistic resources across the industry. But [some] big companies, like Hearst and The Associated Press, have been quietly ramping up their legal efforts, by doing more of the work in-house — and saving costs by not hiring outside lawyers — and being more aggressive in states where they can recoup legal fees and at the federal level, which also allows plaintiffs in such access cases to sue for legal fees when they win. At Hearst, the company’s top lawyer says it has never had more First Amendment lawsuits in courtrooms around the country than it does now. “I think we’d be the only media company that would say that we’re at an all-time high with the number of access cases we’re bringing,” said Eve Burton, vice president and general counsel at Hearst.
US frees Iraqi photographer held for 17 months
2010-02-10, BBC News
American forces in Iraq have released an Iraqi freelance photographer held in detention for 17 months without charge. Ibrahim Jassam Mohammed, who worked for Reuters, was arrested in September 2008 in a dawn raid on his home. The US said the photographer was a "security threat", but all evidence against him was classified secret. An Iraqi court had ruled in December 2008 that there was no case against him and that he must be released, but the US military refused. The US military has detained a number of Iraqi journalists working for international news organisations, but none have been convicted. It has been criticised by press freedom organisations such as Reporters Without Borders.
Note: So the U.S. can detain someone without any publicly-stated reason merely on suspicion of being a security threat? Sounds like something a police state would do. And why isn't this even being seriously questioned in the media?
Will You Be E-Mailing This Column? It’s Awesome
2010-02-09, New York Times
Do people prefer to spread good news or bad news? Would we rather scandalize or enlighten? Which stories do social creatures want to share, and why? Now some answers are emerging thanks to a rich new source of data: you, Dear Reader. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have intensively studied the New York Times list of most-e-mailed articles, checking it every 15 minutes for more than six months, analyzing the content of thousands of articles and controlling for factors like the placement in the paper or on the Web home page. According to the Penn researchers, Jonah Berger and Katherine A. Milkman, people preferred e-mailing articles with positive rather than negative themes, and they liked to send long articles on intellectually challenging topics. Perhaps most of all, readers wanted to share articles that inspired awe, an emotion that the researchers investigated after noticing how many science articles made the list. “Science kept doing better than we expected,” said Dr. Berger, a social psychologist and a professor of marketing at Penn’s Wharton School. “We anticipated that people would share articles with practical information about health or gadgets, and they did, but they also sent articles about paleontology and cosmology."
Fewer Law Enforcement Officers Died on Job in 2009
2009-12-28, New York Times
Law enforcement deaths this year dropped to their lowest level since 1959, while the decade of the 2000s was among the safest for officers -- despite the deadliest single day for police on Sept. 11, 2001. Through Dec. 27, the report by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund found [the following]. 124 officers were killed this year, compared to 133 in 2008. The 2009 total represents the fewest line-of-duty deaths since 108 a half-century ago. Firearms deaths rose to 48, nine more than in 2008. However, the 39 fatalities in 2008 represented the lowest annual figure in more than five decades. One female officer was killed in 2009, compared with 13 the previous year. There was no explanation for the decline. An average of 162 officers a year died in the 2000s, compared with 160 in the 1990s, 190 in the 1980s and 228 in the 1970s -- the deadliest decade for U.S. law enforcement. Seventy-two officers died on Sept. 11.
Note: Why wasn't this article titled something like "Law Enforcement Deaths Lowest in 50 Years"? Why is this inspiring news given so little attention? Did you know that violent crime nationwide in the US has decreased by 50% in the last 15 years? Click here to read about this. Why is news that inspires fear given such prominence while inspiring news gets so little notice? For a possible answer, click here.
Ventura says MSNBC nixed his show for not supporting Iraq War
2009-11-30, Minneapolis Star Tribune
Conspiracy theorists awaiting Wednesday night's premiere of "Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura" might take interest in a curious comment Ventura made in the Los Angeles Times this weekend. Ventura ... told the paper that MSNBC cancelled his show "Jesse Ventura's America" in 2003 because he did not support the Iraq War. He said the network "in essence" paid him to be silent. "It was awful. I was basically silenced. When I came out of office, I was the hottest commodity out there. I was being groomed for a five day-a-week TV show by them. Then, all of a sudden, weird phone calls started happening: 'Is it true Jesse doesn't support the war in Iraq? My contract said I couldn't do any other cable TV or any news shows, and they honored and paid it for the duration of it. So in essence I had my silence purchased. Why do you think you didn't hear from me for three years? I was under contract. They wouldn't even use me as a consultant!"
Justice Dept. Asked For News Site's Visitor Lists
2009-11-10, CBS News
In a case that raises questions about online journalism and privacy rights, the U.S. Department of Justice sent a formal request to an independent news site ordering it to provide details of all reader visits on a certain day. The grand jury subpoena also required the Philadelphia-based Indymedia.us Web site "not to disclose the existence of this request" unless authorized by the Justice Department, a gag order that presents an unusual quandary for any news organization. Kristina Clair, a 34-year old Linux administrator living in Philadelphia who provides free server space for Indymedia.us, said she was shocked to receive the Justice Department's subpoena. The subpoena ... demanded "all IP traffic to and from www.indymedia.us" on June 25, 2008. It instructed Clair to "include IP addresses, times, and any other identifying information," including e-mail addresses, physical addresses, registered accounts, and Indymedia readers' Social Security Numbers, bank account numbers, [and] credit card numbers. Clair [called] the Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco, which represented her at no cost. Making this investigation more mysterious is that Indymedia.us is an aggregation site, meaning articles that appear on it were published somewhere else first, and there's no hint about what sparked the criminal probe. Clair, the system administrator, says that no IP (Internet Protocol) addresses are recorded for Indymedia.us, and non-IP address logs are kept for a few weeks and then discarded. "This is the first time we've seen them try to get the IP address of everyone who visited a particular site," [EFF's Kevin] Bankston said. "That it was a news organization was an additional troubling fact that implicates First Amendment rights."
Note: For many reports from major media sources of growing government threats to civil liberties, click here.
Media destruction of ACORN
2009-09-24, MSNBC 'The Rachel Maddow Show'
MADDOW: Tonight, a dash of truth. Seriously rich corporate interests are out to paint ACORN as a vast left-wing conspiracy against the American way of life. You can look at ACORNâ€˜s primary political sin as theyâ€˜re trying to raise the minimum wage. ACORN has been caricatured by people, like Congressman King, as a corrupt, criminal enterprise that steals elections and turns a blind eye to prostitution. Thatâ€˜s the story line the mainstream media has latched on to, as well. What you might not know from all of the breathless ACORN damnation coverage is what ACORN actually does. They do things like advocating for a higher minimum wage. They do things like helping low-income families file their taxes. They do things like helping low-income families find jobs. And as we discovered most recently in the healthcare debate, when industries sense a threat to their profits, they go into kill mode. They create corporate-funded purportedly grassroots organizations to derail and destroy whomever they believe to be the source of that threat. Say youâ€˜re a company that doesnâ€˜t really want the minimum wage to be raised. But you also donâ€˜t want to be seen fighting ACORN yourself. What you do is you hire Richard Berman. And what you get is "RottenACORN.com," a grassroots-ish looking Web site dedicated to destroying ACORN. "RottenACORN.com" is run by something called the Employment Policies Institute, a nonprofit think-tank that happens to be run by Richard Berman, who also happens to be the man behind grassroots-ish Web sites like the anti-labor one, "UnionFacts.com." Also, "MercuryFacts.org." which assures people that there really isnâ€˜t that much mercury in that fish.
Note: A video of this segment is available at this link.
Pay-for-Chat Plan Falls Flat at Washington Post
2009-07-03, New York Times
For generations, The Washington Post has been a scrupulous watchdog over the capital’s cozy world of power networking. For a short time, it almost became the network’s host. The Post decided Thursday to cancel plans to charge lobbyists and trade groups $25,000 or more to sponsor private, off-the-record dinner parties at the home of its publisher, Katharine Weymouth, events that would have brought together lobbyists, business leaders, Post journalists and officials from the Obama administration and Congress. The revelation of the parties early Thursday morning by Politico.com appalled members of The Post newsroom and put the paper squarely in the cross hairs of journalism ethicists. In response, Ms. Weymouth canceled the first dinner, scheduled for July 21. A flier describing the events promised corporate sponsors conversation (“Spirited? Yes. Confrontational? No.”) at the Washington home of Ms. Weymouth. Sponsors were asked to pay $25,000 to attend an event, or underwrite a series of 11 for $250,000. The July 21 event, focusing on health care reform, “guaranteed” a “collegial evening” with health industry advocates, Post journalists covering the field and administration officials involved with its policies. The Politico article prompted an immediate newsroom reaction. The Post’s ombudsman, Andrew Alexander, wrote on his blog that “this comes pretty close to a public relations disaster.” With the print business in tough straits, many news organizations have turned to conferences and other events to raise revenue and their profiles. But the planned Post events seem particularly audacious, not only acting essentially as a paid conduit between lobbyists and government officials, but also providing sponsors the opportunity to make their case to Post journalists.
Note: This article shows the blatant manipulations going on behind the scenes in our major media. To learn just how compromised the media have been for a long time, click here to read about former Post owner Katharine Graham's connections with the CIA. And to understand how major news is suppressed, click here.
Health care outrage goes uncovered
You probably have never heard of Robin Beaton, and that's what's wrong with the debate over health care reform. Beaton, a retired nurse from Waxahachie, Texas, had health insurance -- or so she thought. She paid her premiums faithfully every month, but when she was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer, her health insurance company, Blue Cross, dumped her. The insurance company said the fact that she had seen a dermatologist for acne, who mistakenly entered a notation on her chart that suggested her simple acne was a precancerous condition, allowed Blue Cross to leave her in the lurch. Beaton testified before a House subcommittee this week. So did other Americans who thought they had insurance but got the shaft. The subcommittee's chairman, Democrat Bart Stupak of Michigan, called the hearing to highlight the obnoxious and unethical practice called rescission. His researchers produced performance reviews of insurance company bureaucrats who were praised and rewarded for kicking people off their coverage. Then Stupak asked three health insurance executives the big question: Will your company pledge to end the practice of rescission except in cases of intentional fraud? All three health insurance executives said no. It was as dramatic as congressional testimony gets. Yet it got no airtime on the networks, nor, as far as I can tell, on cable news, although CNN.com did run a story. The story did not make The New York Times. Nor The Washington Post, which found space on the front page the morning after the hearing for a story on the cancellation of Fourth of July fireworks in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, but not a story on the cancellation of health insurance for deathly ill Americans who've paid their premiums.
Note: For lots more on corruption in the health industry, click here.
Historic Broadcast of "9/11 Press For Truth"
2009-06-06, KBDI-TV (Colorado Public Television station)
Following the attacks of September 11th, a small group of grieving families waged a tenacious battle against those who sought to bury the truth about the event. In this documentary, six of them – including three of the famous 9/11 widows known as the "Jersey Girls" – tell the powerful story of how they took on the greatest powers in Washington, compelling lawmakers to launch an investigation that ultimately failed to answer most of their questions. The filmmakers collaborated with the media group Globalvision to stitch together overlooked news clips, buried stories, and government press conferences, revealing a pattern of official lies, deception, and spin. As a result, a very different picture of 9/11 emerges – one that raises new, and more pressing, questions. To mark the film's U.S. broadcast premiere, Executive Producer Kyle Hence, Director Ray Nowosielski, and family member Bob McIlvaine – who lost his son Bobby in the attacks on New York – will be in the KBDI studios to discuss the film throughout the evening. Additionally, volunteers from Colorado 911 Visibility will be on hand to answer phones.
Note: To watch this important, landmark 9/11 documentary, click here. This highly engaging, well researched film may be the best way yet to open the eyes of those who don't know about the major 9/11 cover-up.
Mancow Waterboarded, Admits It's Torture
2009-05-22, NBC Chicago
Shock jocks shock. And so it went Friday morning when WLS radio host Erich "Mancow" Muller decided to subject himself to the controversial practice of waterboarding live on his show.
Mancow decided to tackle the divisive issue head on -- actually it was head down, while restrained and reclining. "I want to find out if it's torture," Mancow told his listeners Friday morning, adding that he hoped his on-air test would help prove that waterboarding did not, in fact, constitute torture. At about 8:40 a.m., he entered a small storage room next to his studio. "The average person can take this for 14 seconds," Marine Sergeant Clay South answered, adding, "He's going to wiggle, he's going to scream, he's going to wish he never did this." With a Chicago Fire Department paramedic on hand, Mancow was placed on a 7-foot long table, his legs were elevated, and his feet were tied up. Turns out the stunt wasn't so funny. Witnesses said Muller thrashed on the table, and even instantly threw the toy cow he was holding as his emergency tool to signify when he wanted the experiment to stop. He only lasted 6 or 7 seconds. "It is way worse than I thought it would be, and that's no joke," Mancow said, likening it to a time when he nearly drowned as a child. "It is such an odd feeling to have water poured down your nose with your head back...It was instantaneous...and I don't want to say this: absolutely torture."
Note: Click on the link above to watch a video of Mancow being waterboarded.
Inspector at Pentagon Says Report Was Flawed
2009-05-06, New York Times
In a highly unusual reversal, the Defense Department’s inspector general’s office has withdrawn a report it issued in January exonerating a Pentagon public relations program that made extensive use of retired officers who worked as military analysts for television and radio networks. Donald M. Horstman, the Pentagon’s deputy inspector general for policy and oversight, said in a memorandum released on Tuesday that the report was so riddled with flaws and inaccuracies that none of its conclusions could be relied upon. In addition to repudiating its own report, the inspector general’s office took the additional step of removing the report from its Web site. The inspector general’s office began investigating the public relations program last year, in response to articles in The New York Times that exposed an extensive and largely hidden Pentagon campaign to transform network military analysts into “surrogates” and “message force multipliers” for the Bush administration. The articles also showed how military analysts with ties to defense contractors sometimes used their special access to seek advantage in the competition for contracts related to Iraq and Afghanistan. The report released in January took issue with the articles. [It] has been the subject of controversy, with some members of Congress calling it a “whitewash” marred by obvious factual errors. For example, the report erroneously listed many military analysts as having no ties whatsoever to defense contractors.
Note: The author of this article, David Barstow, won a 2009 Pulitzer prize for exposing military corruption, yet the press gave virtually no coverage to his prize.
Why does it seem that the media don't want us to know about military influence on the news we receive?
Some see media flu coverage as overblown
2009-05-03, San Francisco Chronicle
After a few days of breathless H1N1 flu coverage - some of it on his own network - CNN commentator Jack Cafferty noted that 13,000 people have died from the "regular ol' flu" this year in the United States, compared with just one confirmed H1N1 flu death. Cafferty then asked his audience to respond to his online poll asking "if swine flu coverage was overblown." He waited a moment, then said, "Hint: Yes." For a week, the flu story has whet cable TV's bloodlust with what the 24-hour cable news vacuum craves: mystery, death and great visuals that inspire fear. "Frankly, I've been a little horrified by how sensationalist and scare-mongering it is," said Vivian Schiller, chief executive officer of National Public Radio. No detail about the flu - often delivered without context - has been too tiny to go unreported, which means that cable TV viewers are getting coverage that is moment-to-moment but often not terribly useful. Conservative talk radio hosts have used fear about the flu to segue to anti-immigrant remarks and calls to close the U.S.-Mexico border.Just when the coverage appeared to be calming a bit Thursday, Vice President Joe Biden helped rekindle fears by saying on the "Today'" show that he "would tell members of my family - and I have - I wouldn't go anywhere in confined places now." Health stories always attract huge audiences, said Andrew Kohut, president of the Pew Research Center. But viewers shouldn't expect as much breathless coverage when Congress begins debating an overhaul of the U.S. health care system over the next few months.
Note: For an excellent article showing how media fear-mongering of this and past flu emergencies have brought unprecedented profits to the pharmaceutical companies, click here.
How to Deal with Swine Flu: Heeding the Mistakes of 1976
2009-04-27, Time Magazine
In February 1976, an outbreak of swine flu struck Fort Dix Army base in New Jersey, killing a 19-year-old private and infecting hundreds of soldiers. Concerned that the U.S. was on the verge of a devastating epidemic, President Gerald Ford ordered a nationwide vaccination program at a cost of $135 million (some $500 million in today's money). Within weeks, reports surfaced of people developing Guillain-Barré syndrome, a paralyzing nerve disease that can be caused by the vaccine. By April, more than 30 people had died of the condition. Facing protests, federal officials abruptly canceled the program on Dec. 16. The epidemic failed to materialize. Medical historians and epidemiologists say ... the decisions made in the wake of the '76 outbreak — and the public's response to them — provide a cautionary tale for public health officials, who may soon have to consider whether to institute draconian measures to combat the disease. "I think 1976 provides an example of how not to handle a flu outbreak," says Hugh Pennington, an emeritus professor of virology at Britain's University of Aberdeen. Despite modern advances in microbiology, today's health officials still make decisions in a "cloud of uncertainty," Pennington says. "At the moment, our understanding of the current outbreak is similarly limited. For example, we don't yet understand why people are dying in Mexico but not elsewhere." Howard Markel, director of the Center for the History of Medicine at the University of Michigan and a historical consultant to the CDC on flu pandemics, says the most vexing decision facing health officials is when to institute mass vaccination programs.
Note: To watch two short commercials made in 1976 showing clear scare tactics, click here. Only one person died from the actual flu in this 1976 "epidemic," yet more than 30 died of the flu vaccine. To explore the serious risks of vaccines reported in the media, click here. For lots more on bird and swine flu scares, click here.
2009-04-24, Newsweek blog
We missed this story from earlier this week, but think it's still worth sharing. Glenn Greenwald over at Salon.com wrote an interesting column on Tuesday about the lack of cable news coverage related to New York Times journalist David Barstow's Pulitzer Prize for investigative journalism. Barstow wrote two fascinating, deeply researched stories last year about how retired generals, acting as military analysts for cable channels, had been co-opted by the Pentagon to push their line on the war. He also discovered that the generals had, as the Pulitzer committee describes it "undisclosed ties to companies than benefited from the policies they defended." Greenwald notes that there was a virtual moratorium on discussing Barstow's prize on TV. Brian William at NBC just said that the NYT had won five awards, and CNN's write-up didn't even mention Barstow's name. You can read Greenwald's piece here.
Note: For lots more on major media cover-ups, click here.
Pentagon sets sights on public opinion
2009-02-05, MSNBC/Associated Press
The Pentagon is steadily and dramatically increasing the money it spends to win what it calls "the human terrain" of world public opinion. In the process, it is raising concerns of spreading propaganda at home in violation of federal law. An Associated Press investigation found that over the past five years, the money the military spends on winning hearts and minds at home and abroad has grown by 63 percent, to at least $4.7 billion this year, according to Department of Defense budgets and other documents. That's almost as much as it spent on body armor for troops in Iraq and Afghanistan between 2004 and 2006. This year, the Pentagon will employ 27,000 people just for recruitment, advertising and public relations — almost as many as the total 30,000-person work force in the State Department. The biggest chunk of funds — about $1.6 billion — goes into recruitment and advertising. Another $547 million goes into public affairs, which reaches American audiences. And about $489 million more goes into what is known as psychological operations. Staffing across all these areas costs about $2.1 billion, as calculated by the number of full-time employees and the military's average cost per service member. That's double the staffing costs for 2003. Recruitment and advertising are the only two areas where Congress has authorized the military to influence the American public. Far more controversial is public affairs, because of the prohibition on propaganda to the American public.
Note: For more revealing reports from reliable sources on the realities of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, click here.
You are being lied to about pirates
2009-01-05, The Independent (One of the U.K.'s leading newspapers)
Who imagined that in 2009, the world's governments would be declaring a new War on Pirates? The British Royal Navy – backed by the ships of more than two dozen nations, from the US to China – is sailing into Somalian waters to take on men we still picture as parrot-on-the-shoulder pantomime villains. But behind ... this tale there is an untold scandal. In 1991, the government of Somalia collapsed. Its nine million people have been teetering on starvation ever since – and the ugliest forces in the Western world have seen this as a great opportunity to steal the country's food supply and dump our nuclear waste in their seas. Yes: nuclear waste. As soon as the government was gone, mysterious European ships started appearing off the coast of Somalia, dumping vast barrels into the ocean. The coastal population began to sicken. At first they suffered strange rashes, nausea and malformed babies. Then, after the 2005 tsunami, hundreds of the dumped and leaking barrels washed up on shore. People began to suffer from radiation sickness, and more than 300 died. At the same time, other European ships have been looting Somalia's seas of their greatest resource: seafood. We have destroyed our own fish stocks by overexploitation – and now we have moved on to theirs. More than $300m-worth of tuna, shrimp, and lobster are being stolen every year by illegal trawlers. The local fishermen are now starving. This is the context in which the "pirates" have emerged. Somalian fishermen took speedboats to try to dissuade the dumpers and trawlers, or at least levy a "tax" on them.
One Man’s Military-Industrial-Media Complex
2008-11-30, New York Times
Through seven years of war an exclusive club has quietly flourished at the intersection of network news and wartime commerce. Its members, mostly retired generals, have had a foot in both camps as influential network military analysts and defense industry rainmakers. It is a deeply opaque world, a place of privileged access to senior government officials, where war commentary can fit hand in glove with undisclosed commercial interests and network executives are sometimes oblivious to possible conflicts of interest. Few illustrate the submerged complexities of this world better than Barry McCaffrey. General McCaffrey, 66, has long been a force in Washington’s power elite. A consummate networker, he cultivated politicians and journalists of all stripes as drug czar in the Clinton cabinet, and his ties run deep to a new generation of generals, some of whom he taught at West Point or commanded in the Persian Gulf war. But it was 9/11 that thrust General McCaffrey to the forefront of the national security debate. In the years since he has made nearly 1,000 appearances on NBC and its cable sisters, delivering crisp sound bites in a blunt, hyperbolic style. He commands up to $25,000 for speeches, his commentary regularly turns up in The Wall Street Journal, and he has been quoted or cited in thousands of news articles, including dozens in The New York Times. His influence is such that President Bush and Congressional leaders from both parties have invited him for war consultations. At the same time, General McCaffrey has immersed himself in businesses that have grown with the fight against terrorism.
Note: This in-depth article on the "military-industrial-media complex" is worth reading in its entirety. For lots more on war profiteering from reliable sources, click here.
Waiting for the internet meltdown
2008-07-06, The Sunday Times (London)
The end of the internet is nigh - and in less than three years, according to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The problem is that the world is running out of internet addresses. More than 85% of the available addresses have already been allocated and the OECD predicts we will have run out completely by early 2011. These aren’t the normal web addresses you type into your browser’s window, and which were recently freed up by ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers). Beneath these commonsense names lie numerical internet protocol (IP) addresses that denote individual devices connected to the internet. These form the foundation for all online communications, from e-mail and web pages to voice chat and streaming video. When the current IP address scheme was introduced in 1981 there were fewer than 500 computers connected to the internet. Its founders could be forgiven for thinking that allowing for a potential 4 billion would last for ever. However, less than 30 years later we’re rapidly running out. Every day thousands of new devices ranging from massive web servers down to individual mobile phones go online and gobble up more combinations and permutations. “Shortages are already acute in some regions,” says the OECD. “The situation is critical for the future of the internet economy.” As addresses run dry we will all feel the pinch: internet speeds will drop and new connections and services (such as internet phone calling) will either be expensive or simply impossible to obtain.