Context of the change The global war of 1939-45 was followed by two decades that have been described as the most socially turbulent in human history.1 When the war started Great Britain was the world power, and when it fi nished it was the United States. The atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima generated a new fear for the human future and a fresh concern about the products of science. The massive wartime allocation of resources had led to the development of amazing new technologies, of which electronic communication was only one. The skies fi lled with planes, and radio (then still called wireless) became an all-pervading global communication network. Newspapers were powerful organs of particular interests. When television went worldwide in the 1960s, the world became aware of the power of citizen opinion when coupled with the new electronics. The image of the planet in space reached an unprecedented number of households. A photograph of a burning child running down a Vietnam village street helped end the US-Vietnam war.2