SECTION 1 Questions 1-14
Read the text and answer Questions 1-7
In this Issue
COVER STORY... 42
BUSINESS: Inside a Rogue Empire
The collapsed B.C.C.I. contained a "black network" that carried out missions ranging from arms sales to bribery to kidnapping ... 14
NATION: Browns vs. Blacks
The two biggest minority groups clash over employment opportunities ... 26
WORLD: What Russia Got
The London summit offers sacks of advice but no money
INTERVIEW Robert Dallek defends a much maligned President... 6
MEDICINE Should you worry about your dentist having AIDS?... 50
The FDA just says no to a touted Alzheimer's drug ... 52
EDUCATION Some of the best education happens below adult eye level... 54
TECHNOLOGY How to become a home-movie mogul... 56
TELEVISION From Britain, a caustic look at Hollywood ... 57
PRESS When reporters recycle the news ... 59
IDEAS Was Carol Iannone the latest victim of "PC."? ... 59
RELIGION Marianne Williamson is Hollywood's New Age attraction ... 60
LIVING For summer fun, people are getting stuck on Velcro balls ...61
Sports sandals are the hip soles for hip souls ... 61
DESIGN Mickey Mouse's firm becomes the big cheese in architecture ... 66
ESSAY What if we hold a primary and nobody comes? ... 70
LETTERS ... 8
MILESTONES ... 52
VIEW POINTS ... 63
COVER Photograph for TIME by Anis Hamdani
Read the text and answer Questions 8-14
On the Radio Tonight
Jenny Stephens - Jefferson 37 Episode 3
3/4. Dr Abbotts claims clones are emotionless, while Jefferson and Lucy probe Carter 5's fate.
Short Stories by Robert Heinlein Ordeal in Space
A tale by Robert A Heinlein that delves into the psyche of a traumatised spaceman.
19:00-19:30 Beyond Our Ken
Kenneth Horne's freedom of Gigglesway - and 'Hornerama' probes love and marriage.
Brothers in Law Tell 'Em the Tale
2/12. Lawyer Roger's got an appointment with his boss, but worries in case the news is bad.
20:00-21:15 Shifting the Leaves
Back in Cornwall's Porthant Bay, Marjorie Beaumont is coming to terms with her past.
21:15-21:30 Crossing the Glacier
Two emotionally frozen women get to know and help each other.
Mr Finchley Goes to Paris Episode 5
5/6. In London, Robert gets into trouble and the solicitor's clerk receives an unlikely visitor
Idiots of Ants: Totally Gizmo Invisibility
Invisibility: Fast-paced spoof of a futuristic gadget show first heard in 2020.
Hamish and Dougal: You'll Have Had Your Tea Series 1, Murder Mystery
2/4. The elderly Scotsmen probe Mrs Naughtie's odd disappearance amidst some unsavoury rumours.
Bleak Expectations Series 1, A Young Love Mercilessly Dismembered 5/6. Pip falls in love - but great drama awaits. Stars Richard Johnson.
Lee and Herring's Fist of Fun Episode 2
2/6. The cult series hits Plymouth University, Exmouth. With Stewart Lee and Richard Herring.
Four Sad Faces Episode 2
2/2. Quirky sketches from Jack Bernhardt, Tobi Wilson, Tom Crowley and Rachel Lerman.
SECTION 2 Questions 15-27
Read the text and answer Questions 15-20
TV Studio Tour
Of the commercial TV networks, only NBC Studios in Burbank offers the public a behind-the-scenes look at the inner workings of its television operation.
ABC TV doesn't offer a guided tour of their studio. Neither does CBS, nor even Fox. In fact, if you want to see the inside of a TV studio, your only other choice is over at KCET - the local public television (PBS) station, Channel 28 , which offers a free guided tour of its historic Monogram Studios.
The studio tour at NBC isn't free, but it is reasonably priced when compared with the cost of the tours provided by the local motion picture studios. NBC's $7.50 admission charge seems like a bargain compared with the $36 charged by Universal Studios or the $30 charged by nearby Warner Brothers. It also beats the $15 price of the Paramount Studiostour.
The NBC tour is a modest one, though. You'll find no audioanimatronic sharks snapping at your heels here, no 50-foot apes or flying DeLoreans. Unlike Universal, the NBC Studio tour is not a theme park in disguise.
And unlike the Warner Bros tour, there are no mini trams or giant back lots to explore. It's just a 70-minute, indoor walking tour, offering a down-to-earth view of a working television studio.
Their guided studio tour gives you a chance to go where TV history was made; it takes you deep inside the NBC studio. The tour shows you the vast warehouse areas where props are stored, and construction areas where craftsmen are hard at work building realistic sets, it shows you examples of special-effects hardware, and gives you a peek at the NBC wardrobe department.
The tour leads you through the studio's labyrinth of hallways, past the makeup department, through the Peacock Store, and out into the parking lot where Jay Leno and other celebrities park their cars. You even get a glimpse of the infamous NBC commissary.
Then it's up to Studio Three, the set where the "Tonight Show" is taped. (Jay Leno moved the show to this building in 1994, from the historic Studio One where Johnny Carson taped his shows.) There, tour guests get to sit in the same seats as the "Tonight Show" studio audience and see that famous, familiar "Tonight Show" set up-close.
The tour shows you videos about NBC's history, gives you demonstrations of sound-effects machines, and explains how such TV effects as 'chroma key' is brought to life. You might even bump into a minor celebrity along the way. And they accomplish all of this in less than 90 minutes. It's a polished, professional little tour which probably satisfies most tourists' urge for a behind-the-scenes glimpse of some aspect of Hollywood.
The problem is that the NBC tour is just a little too slick. In fact, it's superficial - bordering on condescending. Tour guests don't actually visit the wardrobe department, for instance, they just walk past it, and look at mannequins in a picture window. Tour guests don't get to see the actual makeup or special-effects departments in action, instead they are merely shown simple display cases filled with related props. The tour guide points to the NBC commissary from afar, but they won't let you actually go inside that well known cafeteria. When they take visitors out to the studio parking lot, they actually expect us to be impressed by the oil stain left by Jay Leno's car.
You get the feeling that someone in charge thinks the tour guests have just fallen off the turnip truck. When soap opera actress Deidre Hall (from "Days of Our Lives") "accidentally" walks by and waves hello, you're supposed to believe that it was a blissful coincidence. When they demonstrate the well-known blue-screen process (by making a volunteer "fly" in a Superman cape against a blue background) we are supposed to be dazzled by 20-year-old video technology that in this day of home computers and videocams is old hat to just about everyone taking the tour.
Guests are "treated like tourists" in the worst sense of that term. The well groomed tour guides are friendly and polite, but you are always aware that, as a visitor, you are being kept on a very tight leash.
Read the text and answer Questions 21 - 27
Here are ten of my favorite ways to manage information:
A Factor reference from action. Carve out action items, To Dos, and tasks from your incoming streams of information. If it’s not an action, it’s reference. I first learned this practice when I was dealing with information overload as a support engineer. I ended up cementing the idea while working on our Microsoft Knowledge Base. The Knowledge Base is a vast collection of information, where each article tends to be optimized around either action or reference.
B Create lists. Make a new To Do list each day and use it to organize your key action items for the day. Create checklists for your common routines.
C Create collections. Put things into collections or think in terms of collections. Consolidate your notes into a single collection that you access quickly, such as in a personal notebook, a Word document or etc. Consolidate your thoughts or ideas into a single collection. Consolidate reference examples of your heroes or stories you can use for inspiration. Consolidate your “ah-has” into a single collection. Note that by single collection, I don’t mean you have it all in a single document, although you can. Instead, I’m thinking of collections of items, much like a photo album music collection. By stashing things of a similar type, such as “idea” or “note” ... etc., you can determine the best way to arrange that collection. Maybe it’s a simple A -Z list or maybe you arrange it by time. For example, when I keep a journal of my insights, and each time I get an “ah ha”, I write it down under the current date. This way I can easily flip back through days and see my insights in chronological order. While I could arrange them A - Z, I like having my most recent ideas or inspirations bubbled to the top, since chances are I’m finding ways to act on them.
D Put things where you look for them. Where ever you look for it, that’s where it should be. If you keep looking for something in a certain place, either just put it there when you find it or add some sort of pointer to the actual location. While you might logically think something belongs in a certain place, the real test is where you intuitively look for it.
E Keep things flat. Out of sight, out of mind holds true for information. Avoid nesting information. Keep it flat and simple where you can. Think in terms of iTunes or a playlist. A well organized playlist is easy to jump to what you need.
F Organize long lists or folders using A-Z. When you have long lists or big collections, then listing things A-Z tends to be a simple way to store things and to look things up fast. Once a list gets long, A-Z or a numbered list is the way to go.
G Archive old things. When information is no longer useful for you, consider archiving it to get it out of your way. This usually means having a separate location. I’m a pack rat and I have a hard time letting things go, so I tend to archive instead. It let’s me get things out of the way, and then eventually get rid of them if I need to. Archiving has really helped me get a ton of information out of my way, since I know I can easily rehydrate it if I need to.
H Bubble up key things to the top. When you have a lot of information, rather than worry about organizing all of it, bubble up things to the top. You can effectively have a quick, simple list or key things up top, followed by more information. Keep the things up front simple. This way you get the benefits of both exhaustive or complete, as well as simple. Whenever you have a large body of information, just add a simple entry point or key take aways or summary up front.
I Know whether you’re optimizing for storing or retrieving. Distinguish whether you are storing something because you will need to look it up or refer to it a lot, or if you are simply storing it because you might need it in the future. For information that I need to look up a lot, I create a view or I make it easy to get to the information fast. For example, I might use a sticky note since I can quickly put it wherever I need to. For a lot of information, you simply need a quick way to store it. What you don’t want to do is have to work to hard, each time you need to file a piece of information. This I is where having a place for things, using lists, and organizing information in a meaningful way comes in handy. For most of my reference information, I organize it either by A-Z or by time. This way I don’t have to think too hard. I don’t create a bunch of folders for my email. Instead, I just store it all flat so it’s easy to search or browse or sort. For example, if I need to find an email from somebody, I simply sort my email by their name. Just by asking the question whether you’re optimizing for fast filing or for fast lookup will get you improving your information management in the right direction.
J Create views. Create views for the information that you need to frequently access. For example, you might put sticky notes of information that consolidate just the key things. As an analogy, think of your music store versus your playlists. You store might be a large collection organized A-Z, but your playlists are views that are more focused or have themes. You can apply this metaphor to any of your information collections.
SECTION 3 Questions 28 - 40
Read the text and answer Questions 28 - 40
A diverging media
A Joe Swanberg makes films about the romantic lives of young urbanites. He shoots quickly with a digital camera and asks actors to wear their own clothes. His films, which tend to cost between $30,000 and $50,000 to make, are almost never shown in cinemas. Instead they are available on pay-television as video-on-demand, as downloads from iTunes (Apples digital store) or as DVDs. By keeping his costs down and distributing digitally, Mr Swanberg is making a living.
B Technology was expected to help young artists like Mr Swanberg. In 2006 Chris Anderson, the author of “The Long Tail”, predicted that the internet would vastly increase the supply of niche media products and bring audiences to them. That has certainly happened. But so has the opposite. In film, music, television and books, blockbusters are tightening their grip on audiences and advertisers. The growth of obscure products has come at the expense of things that are merely quite popular. The loser in a world of almost limitless entertainment choice is not the hit, but the near-miss.
C There are several reasons for this. Some are as old as Charles Dickens (or perhaps even Homer). People still want to have something to talk about with their friends. Thus “American Idol” and “The X-Factor” do pretty much as well as TV hits did ten years ago, “New Moon” set a new record at the box office and bestselling books sell better than ever. Research shows that people enjoy hits more than they do obscure stuff, often because they are the only thing that many people try in that genre: lucky Dan Brown and Katie Price.
D But some things are new. All that technology that has made niche content so much more accessible has also proved handy for pushing blockbusters. Missed “Twilight”, the predecessor of “New Moon”? There will be other chances to catch it, in a wide variety of formats. Technology helps hits zip around the world, too-even in the art market.
E Blockbusters are doing well not in spite of the fact that people have more choice in entertainment, but because of it. Imagine walking into a music shop containing 4m songs (the number available on We7, a free music-streaming service in Britain) or more than 10m (the choice on iTunes), all of them arranged alphabetically in plain boxes. The choice would be overwhelming. It is far easier to grab the thing everybody is talking about or that you heard on the radio that morning.
F Is this increasing polarisation into blockbusters and niches good or bad? It certainly makes life harder for media companies. In a world of growing entertainment options it is more important than ever to make a splash. Miss the top of the chart, even by a little, and your product ends up fighting for attention along with thousands-perhaps millions-of other offerings. That prospect makes for jitters and, sometimes, conservatism. Broadcast television programmes must succeed quickly or they will be cancelled. It is becoming even harder to talk studio bosses into approving some kinds of film. Want to make a complicated political drama, based on an original screenplay, with expensive actors in exotic locations? Good luck with that.
G Yet the challenge for the moguls is a boon to consumers. In the past firms made a lot of money supplying content that was not too objectionable to people who did not have much of a choice. In a world of hugely expanded options they cannot get away with this. These days there is rarely nothing good on television. So media companies must raise their game.
H Creative types who are accustomed to lavishing money on moderately appealing projects will have to do more with less. Or they must learn how to move between big-budget blockbusters and niche, small-budget fare, observing the different genre and budget constraints that apply in these worlds. A few forward-looking folk, such as Steven Soderbergh, a film-maker, are already doing this. Some will find shelter. Premium television channels such as HBO, which are built on passion more than popularity, offer some protection from chill market winds. So do state broadcasters like the BBC.
I Thinking people naturally deplore the rise of lowest-common-denominator blockbusters, and wish that more money were available to produce the kind of music, films and television programmes they like. The problem is that everybody has different ideas about exactly what they want to see. Some may thrill to a documentary about Leica cameras; others may want to spend an hour being told how to cook a better bouillabaisse. But not many want to do either of these things, which explains why such programmes are niche products. There are only a few things that can be guaranteed to delight large numbers of people. They are known as blockbusters.