Words: scuttlebutt, n.

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The Independent Culture
TECHNOLOGY CHANGES but human nature remains the same; which makes for new business opportunities. Ewatch is a firm which monitors the many aspects of digital communication and reports upon any scuttlebutt about its clients in chat-rooms and suchlike.

This is a transformation from the pure to the foul. In the 19th century, a scuttlebutt was a cask with a hole cut in it, origins obscure and distinct from coal-scuttle but similar to the French ecoutille, hatchway. On deck it held fresh water. In crossing the Atlantic, however, it gained a new connotation - gossip exchanged over the scuttlebutt, akin to chat by the picklebarrow. We can perhaps anticipate a time when Ewatch touts a service of monitoring any subversive water-cooler?