Thinking about counterfeiting? Stock up on newsprint

When (Albert) Talton set out to circumvent the U.S. Treasury’s security measures, he had no experience in counterfeiting, printing, or graphic design, and he didn’t even own a computer. His first attempts were made with a Hewlett-Packard all-in-one ink-jet printer/scanner/fax/copier, which could be picked up at the time for less than $150.

Early experiments, printed on regular copy paper, were fuzzy, so he cleaned up the original image on a computer. But there was a problem, Talton says: “It wouldn’t take the mark.” Counterfeit-detection pens mark yellow on genuine currency but brown or black on fake. Talton didn’t know why. At first he thought the Treasury treated the paper, so he experimented with chemicals he found at the body shop and even tried dipping his notes in fabric softener. Nothing worked.

Frustrated, he began taking a detection pen everywhere he went, trying it on whatever paper he came across. He was about to give up when one day, sitting on the toilet, he found himself staring at the roll of tissue beside him. He took out the pen: The mark showed up yellow.

Talton discovered that toilet paper, the pages of Bibles and dictionaries, and newsprint are all made from the same kind of recycled paper pulp, and all take the mark. Newsprint is strong, and it has an additional advantage for the large-scale buyer: “Newsprint is real cheap,” Talton says.

What are counterfeiters going to do without a source of “real cheap” raw material for their efforts?

Yet another reason to keep newspapers going.

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Napkins: An Alternative Story Form

No matter where you are on the debate over health care reform take a look at this simple “napkin” presentation that outlines the debate.

Although it’s a complex issue and there are lots of napkins (51) these presentation simplifies the debate/discussion like no strictly word article can.

Call it dumbing down if you will, but newspapers should be exploring alternative story forms like this to help the public understand issues. If people are not reading, then let’s give them something different!

5 reasons why newspapers are failing

Skull

Some good points that are brought up at this post. Head on over for the analysis, but here’s the author’s top five list:

  1. Consumers don’t pay for news. They have never paid for news.
  2. Newspapers are the product of monopolist thinking
  3. Timidity doesn’t work on the web4. The staffs of the papers, from management down to the reporters, deserve a big share of the blame
  4. The staffs of the papers, from management down to the reporters, deserve a big share of the blame
  5. Newspaper websites suck

I agree with some of them, not so on others; read the post and draw your own conclusions, but over at Techdirt I think this commenter has brought up something that should be at the top of everyone’s “Why Newspapers are failing list:”

My local newspaper has a circulation of around 3000 once a week. I can get 3000 people to SEE my ad on the internet per DAY for the price of a single copy. If I were to actually spend $60-200 for a weekly ad in the paper, I’d still only have a possible 3000 eyes looking at it, fewer noticing that they saw it consciously, and maybe a handful of people who look at it enough to think about my business.