Senate Balance of Power and Revelation Chapter 12
Zedekiah, Nebuchadnezzar, and 1914

Xerox and Erasable Paper

Rochester’s own Xerox Corporation just came up with a great new invention: erasable paper, for those you-only-have-to-read-it-once messages. Within a day, the paper erases itself and you can reuse it! Thrilled, the cutesy Rochester Democrat and Chronicle used a fading headline to announce the innovation. No, they’re not going to sell it right now, it will take a few years to get to market. But when it does, just think of all the paper it will save!

There was a time when a more naïve Sheepandgoats would have lapped up every word of this hype, but no more. Weren’t PCs supposed to bring about this same huge paper saving? Yes they were, and, spurred on by anticipated savings, companies which once distributed documents only to those two or three who needed to see them instead sent an e-copy to every employee who could read, only to find that each recipient promptly printed out a hard copy.

And what about the internet? Wasn’t that also supposed to conserve paper? Alas, starry-eyed scientists discovered too late that there is no joke too asinine, no story too sappy, to not copy and paste and send to everyone in your address book, each of whom also must print a  hard copy.

Sheepandgoats predicts that this invention too will squander paper, not save it. Exactly how he can’t yet say, he just has faith in man’s infinite capacity to screw things up. Perhaps, as with PCs, the new paper will spur ever more messages. Why not, since the cost is negligible? “So-and-so is going to the bathroom.”  No announcement will be too trivial! Then, after messages have proliferated, some recipients will complain that they’ve missed some, since not everyone reads incoming drivel right away, but puts it aside till they get a minute, which may come days or weeks or months later. Missed messages! We can’t have that. The obvious solution: don’t use the newfangled stuff, but use good ‘ol chop-a-tree-down paper that doesn’t go belly up on you.

That’s not all. There‘s no end to potential abuses. Already, that lazy lout Tom Pearlsandswine has exploited the new technology, and its not even out yet.  He bought a few reams of blank paper, distributed it via office mail to coworkers and supervisors alike, claimed to have done a ton of work, and, when informed he’d only sent blank sheets, blamed a defective beta version of the new erasable paper, which wiped out his work prematurely! But we’re all wise to that skunk by now. His incoming phone call was traced to the golf course.

Indeed, the only permanent customer Sheepandgoats can envision is the Impossible Mission Force, (IMF) which will use the new paper to give Tom Cruise his assignments.



Tom Irregardless and Me               No Fake News but Plenty of Hogwash

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Romulus Crowe

(ahem) Starry-eyed scientists? Yes, many do (I don't. I delete all asinine and pointless Emails and have never yet fallen foul of the promised 'bad luck').

But remember, scientists might have invented the Internet but they are far from being the only ones who use it. Every level of management wastes time and effort on idiotic Emails. Every level of private user does too. So it's not all down to the scientists on this one.

On a more serious note: this paper has no chance of success. Health and safety, quality control, auditors and taxmen insist on records being retained for up to five years. Records that fade away tomorrow won't do. It would put administrators out of work and they won't allow that to happen.

There's also the legal issue: you can't prove your boss told you to do something stupid if the hard-copy has faded into the air.

So you're right. The paperless office is a myth, and always will be.

At least until people can trust each other, and that won't happen any time soon.

Unless, of course, it turns out the Witnesses are right after all. There's a part of every one of us that hopes you are, even those who won't admit it.


Nice idea, and I agree that for legal reasons this type of paper won't catch on. However, it would also be handy for a manager to ask someone to do something and claim that they never did so with a straight face because the only copy has faded....

Unless the employee made a photocopy on the old-type of more paper will be used...

Good thing many lumber companies are managing forest resources better...In theory.

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