The next time you get a rejection letter from a prospective employer and you let loose a string of expletives, you may well hear someone telling you to wash your mouth out with soap. It won’t be your mother or spouse but the paper that is in your hands. Don’t express your alarm or surprise aloud or your copy of the Hindustan Times will be trying to calm you down with a few soothing words.
Swedish scientists have invented a paper that can talk back to you. So journalists had better be careful when asking for the “dummy pages”. Pat may come the answer, “who the hell do you think you’re calling a dummy, you dummy”? The prototype uses conductive inks that are sensitive to pressure and printed speakers. This could well be the start of a long and chatty relationship with your newspaper. Imagine being able to get up in the morning and have an invigorating matter with your daily. You could freely vent your spleen about Bush’s Iraq policy or the price of onions, only to get an informed response.
Of course, this could change the course of conversation as we know it. Now you could go to a social gathering and state authoritatively “as my paper was saying this morning” and mean every word of it. This talking back thing has its downside too. When bills come in at the end of the month or that feared letter from a loathed relative announcing his intention to drop by arrives, the last thing you want is backchat from the missive. Being on talking terms with your paper is all very fine, but be sure you don’t leave a paper trail.