Pinker believes cursing is rooted in a primordial part of our brains, which means f-bomb-like utterances are not unique to Homo sapiens. “I wouldn’t say that other mammals swear, per se, since they don’t have the language,” he explains, speaking in the academic tone of a spinster peering at a dog turd through pince-nez. “But I think the same parts of the brain are involved when you bump your head and yell, ‘Oh fuck!’ as when you step on a dog’s tail and get a very sudden howl.”
The experimental psychologist also takes a fresh look at the “poo-poo theory,” which proposes that swearing was actually the first form of language. He points to the fact that brain-damaged patients who lose the power of articulate speech often retain the ability to curse like a sailor. “Since swearing involves clearly more ancient parts of the brain,” Pinker says, “it could be a missing link between animal vocalization and human language.”
The Halifax bank is enrolling unsuspecting customers in trials of a new generation of RFID-enabled bank cards, and trying to keep them in the program even if they have mis-givings about the wave and pay technology.
PayWave allows punters to debit their account without having to enter a PIN or sign for goods valued at less than £10.
The RFID-based technology, backed by Visa, is being rolled out by UK banks Barclays and Halifax, as well as others on the continent. Mastercard is backing a similar technology called PayPass.
Halifax is introducing the technology in London to a number of punters, including Reg reader Pete.
Pete, a current account holder at Halifax, was among those issued with a new card. He didn’t want to use the unsolicited technology and his attempts to receive an alternative card, though ultimately successful, proved frustrating.
“I have to input my PIN the very first time I use this ‘Paywave’ card, but after that it is automatically authorised to work for all transactions under £10,” Pete explained. “I put the new card straight in the bin – in fact, I shredded it and put it in several different bins. I don’t want this highly insecure-sounding facility, and I never use a debit card for retail transactions anyway.”
The best quote from the article is by far:
“Major customer education issues still need to be overcome before everyone is happy to use this as a cash-replacement technology, which is what the banks and retailers want,” he said.
He may want to investigate the “customer education issues” that doomed the ChipKnip here in 0031.