Networking is connecting many different computers or other electronic devices together.

Some pieces of networking hardware are routers, bridges, hubs, and switches. Networks often use cable, but some are wireless.

The Internet is a network.

In geometry, a network is a number of points, with line segments connecting them. The number of points, line segments (called "paths"), and regions (how many "spaces" within the network, including the exterior-- a square has 2 regions, a square divided into two triangles has 3 regions, etc.) is dictated by Euler's formula for polyhedra-- vertices (points) + faces (regions) - edges (paths) = 2.

A point in a network is either "even" or "odd," depending on the number of paths connected to it-- a point with 2 paths connected to it is even, a point with 1 path connected to it is odd, etc. Whether a network is "travelable"--that is, whether it is possible to travel all paths exactly once without leaving the path--is decided solely by the number of odd points: if there are 2 or 0 odd points, the network is travelable. Otherwise, it's not.


If a point has 3 paths coming out of it--it could be any odd number, but we'll call it 3--then two possibilities are possible: one has to arrive at the point, then leave, then arrive and be finished; or one has to start at that point, then leave, arrive, and leave again. Thus, that odd point has to be either the start-point or the end-point. If there are exactly two odd points, fine-- one's the beginning, and one's the end. But if there are more than two, you'd have to have more than one starting point (or more than one ending point), which is clearly impossible. And if there are no odd points, then you can start and finish wherever you want. Thus, a network must have exactly 2 or 0 odd points to be travelable. Q.E.D.

(In case you were wondering about a network with one odd point: It can't be done. Try it.)
A network is any array of dots, connected to each other in any manner. In practice, the dots can represent nearly any device.

For example...
I want you to go to the window, open it, stick your head out and yell: "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore!"

Network (1976)

directed by Sidney Lumet
written by Paddy Chayefsky

We'll tell you anything you want to hear, we lie like hell.

One of the greatest satires not only of the 1970s but of all film, Network attacks what was already seen as the sacrifice of ratings for quality, and of the merging of corporations and government (though, of course, Eisenhower had warned us of that in the '50s). It was also a prophetic film, bringing the above to their logical extremes: the infotainment of Howard Beale's "news" show, and Arthur Jensen's "evangel" on the coming New World Order we now know as the WTO, IMF, NAFTA, whatever name we want to apply to globalization.

All I know is, you've got to get mad! You've got to say, "I'm a human being, goddamn it! My life has value!"

Let us examine the case of Howard Beale. A longtime anchor at the network and former giant of the field, he is obviously losing his touch. His wife died the year before, and now he is an alcoholic. He is washed up, and just waiting for his boss and friend Max Schumacher to fire him. The ratings are plummeting, thanks to the flashy content on the other networks and his own incompetence. Howard is fired, and while drunk that night with Max, half-jokingly contemplates how high the ratings would go if he commited suicide on-air.1 And so, the next day, Beale goes on air and threatens to kill himself. Which, of course, does two things--scares the hell out of Max and drives up the ratings. The next night, he rails against the bullshit of society, the hypocracy of television, and the generals state of decline. America falls in love.

If a man can look around this mad slaughterhouse of a world we live in and tell you that man is a noble creature, believe me, that man is full of bullshit.

In steps Diana Christensen, sent by the network to utilize this new "hit"--her plans essentially boil down to giving the kids the candy they want. Let Beale go on air as the new prophet, she says--folks eat this shit up. The implicit belief is that by owning this naysayer, by being the network to feature this Jeremiah, the network wins the unconscious trust of the viewers, which they are then free to exploit for profit. For Diana, it's all just feathering her nest. Meanwhile, she and Max begin an affair, threatening Max's marriage.

The affiliates will kiss your ass if you can hand them a hit show...We're not a respectable network. We're a whorehouse network, and we have to take whatever we can get.

When Beale exhorts the viewers to get angry with society, to go to the windows and shout, "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore!", America goes wild. Here is our new prophet. Beale is the hottest thing on television. Soon it becomes a real sort of new age news revival meeting, complete with psychics and gossips and prophecies of doom. Diana introduces other shows, involving what we'd now call reality television, following the exploits of terrorists and Communists. It's all a hit, feeding into America's fear and anger.

Max thinks his old friend is being made a fool, but thanks to his boss Frank Hackett, Max is no longer in any position of power to stop the carnage. As Beale goes mad each night, Max slides deeper into a sickening anger.

We are no longer an industrialized society; we aren't even a post-industrial or technological society. We are now a corporate society, a corporate world, a corporate universe.

And so Beale one day gets word of a secret. A secret he has to share with the world. The parent company of his network--here we see the emergence of the media monopoly--is setting up deals with Arab businessmen, merging international entertainment, oil, business, and so on. (And, given the climate of the oil-shortaged 1970s...) So Beale blows the lid off of the deal.

And that's when God shows up.

Well, not God exactly. But god-like. Arthur Jensen, head of CCA, the parent company of the network who has one hell of a stake in the deal, summons the mad prophet before him:

You have meddled with the primal forces of nature, Mr. Beale, and I won't have it, is that clear?! You think you have merely stopped a business deal - that is not the case! The Arabs have taken billions of dollars out of this country, and now they must put it back. It is ebb and flow, tidal gravity, it is ecological balance. You are an old man who thinks in terms of nations and peoples. There are no nations! There are no peoples! There are no Russians! There are no Arabs! There are no Third Worlds! There is no West! There is only one holistic system of systems, one vast and immane, interwoven, interacting, multi-variate, multi-national dominion of dollars! Petro-dollars, electro-dollars, multi-dollars, reichmarks, rins, rubles, pounds and shekels! It is the international system of currency which determines the totality of life on this planet. That is the natural order of things today. That is the atomic, and subatomic and galactic structure of things today. And you have meddled with the primal forces of nature, and you will atone! Am I getting through to you, Mr. Beale? You get up on your little twenty-one inch screen and howl about America and democracy. There is no America. There is no democracy. There is only IBM, and ITT, and AT&T, and DuPont, Dow, Union Carbide, and Exxon - those are the nations of the world today. What do you think the Russians talk about in their councils of state - Karl Marx? They get out their linear programming charts, statistical decision theories and mini-max solutions and compute the price-cost probabilities of their transactions and investments just like we do. We no longer live in a world of nations and ideologies, Mr. Beale. The world is a college of corporations, inexorably determined by the immutable by-laws of business. The world is a business, Mr. Beale. It has been since man crawled out of the slime, and our children will live, Mr. Beale, to see that perfect world in which there's no war or famine, oppression or brutality. One vast and ecumenical holding company, for whom all men will work to serve a common profit, in which all men will hold a share of stock, all necessities provided, all anxieties tranquilized, all boredom amused. And I have chosen you to preach this evangel, Mr. Beale.

Howard Beale: Why me?

Arthur Jensen: Because you're on television, dummy. Sixty million people watch you every night of the week, Monday through Friday.

Howard Beale: I have seen the face of God.

Arthur Jensen: You just might be right, Mr. Beale.

And Beale, overwhelmed, goes on television to preach the goodness of coprorate governance:
Because in the bottom of all our terrified souls, we know that democracy is a dying giant, a sick, sick dying, decaying political concept, writhing in its final pain. ...Well, the time has come to say, 'Is dehumanization such a bad word?' Because good or bad, that's what is so. The whole world is becoming humanoid, creatures that look human but aren't. The whole world, not just us. We're just the most advanced country, so we're getting there first. The whole world's people are becoming mass-produced, programmed, numbered, insensate things...

And thus, in telling the other side of the truth, the nihilistic element, his ratings plummet. The network panics. And they realize the only way to bring up the ratings is to go with the original idea: kill Howard Beale on live tv. And so, the terrorist lead-ins for Beale's show gun him down.

We're in the boredom-killing business.

I've seen few films which have been so damned prophetic.

Faye Dunaway .... Diana Christensen
William Holden .... Max Schumacher
Peter Finch .... Howard Beale
Robert Duvall .... Frank Hackett
Wesley Addy .... Nelson Chaney
Ned Beatty .... Arthur Jensen

Best Actor: Peter Finch (awarded posthumously)
Best Acress: Faye Dunaway
Best Supporting Actress: Beatrice Straight
Best Screenplay: Paddy Chayefsky

FACT: for his couple of scenes as corporate god Arthur Jensen, actor Ned Beatty was nominated for an Academy Award as best supporting actor. Though he didn't win, it must be unique to be nominated for what is little more than a bit part at the end of the movie. However, it is his speech, his ability to sound like the burning bush itself, that truely transforms the movie from a clever satire to a frightening prophecy.


  • IMDB
  • Watching the movie
  • Extreme paranoia come to fruition.

  • 1. Which only serves to remind me of Budd Dwyer's televised suicide in 1987, which I saw as a child on our local news station--the more they played that clip, the more their ratings went up.

    This is one of my favorite movies, up there with Brazil, Dr. Strangelove, and It's a Wonderful Life. Yeah, I know, that last one kinda doesn't make sense.

    In advertising, a network is a group of ads with a particular demographic alignment. Put another way, an ad network is a selection of ads that are targeted to a particular aspect of the population based entirely on their placement.

    Look at it like this: make a list of all the bars in an area. Now narrow the list down to bars that cater to African-Americans over the age of 35 with high disposable income, ie, bars in middle-class neighborhoods that feature live jazz. Any advertising in or in the vicinity of those bars that are under an ad agency's control, everything from posters to cocktail napkins, would be considered a network because there's a better chance of those ads being recalled by a given demographic, and companies with that demo as a target audience (in this case, say, makers of whiskeys, mid-range cigars and near-luxury automobiles) can comfortably assume that ads placed around there have a better shot of being absorbed by who they're trying to reach. As a corollary, if the demographic you were trying to reach was still African-American but younger with a proportionally lower median income, your network would focus on clubs with a hip-hop focus, would be more centered outside the establishments and would include local areas of mass transportation, bus shelters and subway stations and the like, because lower income potential customers, particularly those in high density urban centers, are less likely to have their own cars.

    Ad networks are reductive things by definition, but people as a whole prefer their advertising to be targeted specifically to them because advertising that resonates with the viewer is less obtrusive than those that don't - to take it to an extreme, ads for feminine hygiene products placed in a men's bathroom won't tank the sales of Tampax because men don't buy them anyway, but would be an waste of money and would probably result in an overall lowered perception of the brand due to Word of Mouth and Spill.

    The most interesting thing about networks is the intelligence required to build effective ones - without massive amounts of market research, any foray into this realm would be like firing a shotgun at a black piece of paper in the dark.

    "Hey, Les, what's up?"

    "There you are -- thought you got lost."

    "No, that avenue to the southside was closed for Harbor Spring 10K Run, and I couldn't get across for awhile. Garlic Man was probably running in it. I know the Passage well from spending more than a couple of hours here."

    "Yeah, tell me about the time you lost your boots on that bet! OK, rack 'em up. Let me get us a pitcher."


    "What have I got -- low balls?" said Les returning to the table, and continuing, "when I first arrived and was standing at the bar to order, that old guy was going on about how he could've waited 'till Thursday and sold the Stock for even more, but you never know on these big momentum 'gaps' he called them ... the stock could easily give back a 20% drop the next morning, and he took his money while he could. I wonder how much he did make on that trade."

    "This town is full of these widowers and retired couples, isn't it? What an easy life, eh? -- and we have to hustle our butts every day. Eleven ball in the side" .... Plop.


    "Fourteen, in the corner" .... Plop. "Eight ball in the other corner."

    "Say, d'ya know of rooms to rent near you? -- we've got to move from that rooming house down the street. It's become intolerable."

    Net"work` (?), n.


    A fabric of threads, cords, or wires crossing each other at certain intervals, and knotted or secured at the crossings, thus leaving spaces or meshes between them.


    Any system of lines or channels interlacing or crossing like the fabric of a net; as, a network of veins; a network of railroads.


    © Webster 1913.

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