Something for the Weekend: The Pen is Mightier Than the Sword

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Something for the Weekend: The Pen is Mightier Than the Sword

The pen is mightier than the sword is something that people used to say all the time. So why don’t they say it now, you might ask? Well there is a simple reason: it was banned from the internet. When filters based on algorithms were introduced to find and eliminate expletives, and words that people scared of their own shadow might not want to see online – or equally to prevent other people from seeing online – it was not a great success. How did one of our most famous sayings fall foul? Well, the algorithm ignores the space between ‘pen’ and ‘is’, and that means the saying includes the word penis. Clearly the word ‘penis’ could bring down societies and has to be kept on a leash. Never mind that an estimated 30% of all internet traffic is, ironically, porn.

On the subject of porn, Judge Warren Grant is appealing through the London Central Employment Tribunal against his dismissal for watching porn in his chambers, whilst at work, and ‘pleasuring himself’, the official line goes. He’s appealing against being given the sack – not a choice of words I would have gone with if I were him.

There was the famous instance of Phil Collins getting away with “you must take me for a right wanker” on Miami Vice in the ‘80s because the Yanks didn’t know what it meant. And of course the most classic of all was the Scunthorpe Problem, as it’s known. In the ‘90s AOL wouldn’t allow any use of the town’s name due to four consecutive letters that are known technically as a sub-string. Computers playing ‘word search’, basically.

The most amusing of all is the town of Fucking in Austria. Yes you read that right. It’s a village in the Innviertel region just north of Salzburg. Apparently they replaced the village sign with an enormous rock bearing the name after Brit tourists kept stealing the less substantial signs as trophies!

Meanwhile, people who will be swearing, no doubt, are the 700k more young people who will have to live with their parents for the foreseeable. I wrote last year about how this phenomenon had played into the hands of pubs and bars in the South East of England. We have here hundreds of thousands of young people on good incomes of £50k+ living at home with their parents and having loads of spending money.

The trick is to know what they’re spending their spare cash on as most of the obvious areas (travel, pubs, restaurants) aren’t offering up any significant trading opportunities. However, we do know they are spending money, and lots of it online. Often they’ll be using vouchers and deals bought online even if they are going out in the real world to consume. PaySafe Group (LON:PAYS) is in the business of offering payment processing, and the chart looks like they might be getting some of the pie.

Paysafe chart

Having done very well after IPO they were in the doldrums for years. They’ve come through a congestion area in ‘14/’15 (200p-300p) and for a measured move they’d be on for reaching the ATH around £1 higher than they are now. A good entry signal and this could be a nice little earner. It’s plodding along. No sign of overheating and collapse. But that’s what we’d expect to see at some point with a recovery like this. Good news for those already in at the time. Let the public provide you liquidity to cash out.

Back to the saying I started the article with. If you want to use ‘the pen is mightier than the sword’, then use the same idea as Leet, the language used by hackers to communicate by using strings of characters that look like words, but are abstract to scanning software. The pen 15 mightier after all!

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