Ask Mr Brain . . . all will be explained

PUBLISHED : Friday, 01 December, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 01 December, 2000, 12:00am

What is industrial espionage?

Espionage is the process of obtaining secret information by using spies, secret agents or illegal monitoring devices.

Industrial espionage is getting trade secrets from business compet itors. It is a reaction to the efforts of many businessmen to keep secret their designs, manufacturing processes, research and future plans to protect or expand their share of the market.

A employee may secretly sell confidential information to compet itors. Another technique is when several employees leave a company and set up a rival firm capitalising on information they gained while at the former company.

Are cockroaches useful for anything, or are they just pests?

Cockroaches are very important ecologically. They have been around for the last 300 million years and they are not about to disappear.

Cockroaches have all sorts of bacteria and organisms in their digestive system to help their digestion, so basically they can eat any thing. In the wild, cockroaches are nature's cleaners and recyclers. They scavenge and eat dead plants, animals and animal waste.

What comes out of the other end can be used by other organisms as nutrients.

Cockroaches that lived 300 million years ago looked a lot like modern cockroaches. This is because they are so good at what they do, they have not had to change.

All cockroaches need is a warm place to live and food. We keep our houses warm and store plenty of food, so can you blame the cockroaches for moving in ?

Also, most cockroaches are not pests. There are about 3,500 species in the world, but only about 12 invade our homes, so why not keep one for a pet?

What is the meaning of the term 'bureaucracy'?

Bureaucracy is a professional body of officials organised in a hierarchical system.

It operates under impersonal, uniform rules and procedures. The rules are meant to maximise efficiency.

One of the most basic features of a bureaucracy is a highly developed division of labour.

This is achieved by a precise and detailed description of the duties and responsibilities of each position or office.