Money in the news and how you are going to pay and pay and pay
WE’VE only just had the news that Apple has won big by suing Samsung over certain patents on mobile phones. What seems to have been missed is that there’s another case coming through the system. Yes, Apple v Samsung again. But over a different set of patents:
Last week’s resounding victory over Samsung in a patent trial in California mostly centered on hardware developed by the South Korean electronics maker, while including some features related to Google’s Android mobile software.
Another Apple suit, which the company filed in February, contends that all eight of the patents it is asserting are being infringed by features related to Android. They include features found in Android versions of popular Google apps like YouTube, Google Maps and Gmail as well as Google’s Quick Search Box that lets users search multiple types of data at the same time.
WHO knew that they had it in them? The Lib Dems that is, being capable of offering up a good idea?
Replace inheritance tax with an “accessions tax” on beneficiaries of estates. A section on wealth taxes in a party consultation paper talks of “an accessions tax, where the tax liability would fall on the person receiving the income rather than the estate of the deceased. This would simplify the settling of the estate, making inheritance income more like employment and investment income.”
HOW surprising to see in The Guardian the usual moan about how flogging off the NHS is a very bad idea indeed. Which it might actually be but the really interesting question is how would we find out?
As for public accountability, there is none. Commercial contracts are redacted so that crucial financial information is not in the public domain. Government departments and companies refuse to release the necessary information on the grounds of commercial confidentiality and allow companies to sequester their profits in offshore tax havens. NHS staff transferred from the public to the private sector see their wages and benefits eroded. But all this is nothing compared with what is in store for patients.
In the new world it will no longer be possible to measure coverage or fairness. Former NHS hospitals, free to generate half their income from private patients, will dedicate their staff and facilities to that end, making it impossible to monitor what is public and what people are paying for.
LEGAL news: Christopher Bridgeman and Martin Borger are suing Continental Airlines. The couple claim they were humiliated when the dildo they’d packed into their luggage was removed by persons unknown, covered in a greasy substance and taped to the outside of their bag.
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Read the rest of this entry »
THERE’S a point that the subject of economics really tries very hard to get across. There’s no such thing as a solution: there are only tradeoffs. These tradeoffs come in a series or more or less acceptable ones, true, but tradeoffs there always are.
Stepping entirely outside economics for a moment here’s an interesting example:
The production of France’s Roquefort cheese is being threatened by the return of the wolf to the country’s southern mountains.
BOTH Apple and Samsung Guilty! Probably the best result possible in the ongoing patent wars between the two companies. They’re both very naughty little boys. Unfortunately this is the verdict in the South Korean case, not in the girt big one in California.
A South Korean court has fined both Apple and Samsung, ruling that each infringed the other’s patents in building their mobile devices and banning some of their products from sale in the country.
The Seoul central district court ordered Apple to remove the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPad 1 and iPad 2 from shelves in South Korea, citing they infringed two of Samsung’s telecommunications patents. The court also ruled that Samsung infringed one of Apple’s patents related to the screen’s bouncing back ability and banned sales of the Galaxy S2 and other products in South Korea.
Sales of devices recently released by Samsung and Apple including the iPhone 4S and the Galaxy S3 smartphones were not affected.
The basic problem is that so many damn patents are being issued on so many damn stupid things (Apple appears to have one on a rectangular shape with rounded corners for God’s Sake!) that it’s pretty much impossible for anyone to do anything in the high tech space without falling afoul of one patent or another.
The best hope of cutting through this mess is that more of the cases are decided as this court has. You’re all fucking up so you’ll all have to sit down and sort it out properly. Given that the politicians have no real clue about what is happening here it will have to be either that or the courts themselves imposing some sort of solution.
What is really annoying though is that government is for sorting out these sorts of things. And, as above, they’re clueless and can’t/won’t do anything. So we in hell do we have to pay for all this government which isn’t sorting out the problems which government is there to sort out?
UNHOLY nonsense about food speculation at Glencore. In fact, not just nonsense, but drivel. Glencore has said that as there are droughts and food shortages then this is a good business opportunity for them:
Glencore’s director of agriculture trading, Chris Mahoney, sparked the controversy when he said: “The environment is a good one. High prices, lots of volatility, a lot of dislocation, tightness, a lot of arbitrage opportunities.
“We will be able to provide the world with solutions… and that should also be good for Glencore.“
WHY bosses are paid more. Or at least, why good bosses should get paid more. Interesting research from the real world:
Three findings stand out. First, the choice of boss matters. There is substantial variation in boss quality as measured by the effect on worker productivity. Replacing a boss who is in the lower 10% of boss quality with one who is in the upper 10% of boss quality increases a team’s total output by about the same amount as would adding one worker to a nine member team. Using a normalization, this implies that the average boss is about 1.75 times as productive as the average worker. Second, boss’s primary activity is teaching skills that persist. Third, efficient assignment allocates the better bosses to the better workers because good bosses increase the productivity of high quality workers by more than that of low quality workers.
YOU don’t export electricity. Or at least the country which is most successful at exporting electricity doesn’t in fact export electricity. Iceland has lots of luvverly cheap green ‘leccie. It’s also miles n’ miles from anywhere and trying to cable that stuff out would see most of it wasted before it could be used. So, Iceland exports electricity by not exporting electricity.
LORD save us form the newspaper fools. Especially the fools who write the editorials. Here’s the Daily Telegraph shouting that we must have lots more infrastructure spending:
It is little wonder that bold, longer term projects such as a Thames Estuary airport and a Severn barrage for power generation are struggling to be taken seriously – though it was encouraging to learn that David Cameron has now been briefed on the latter, even though the scheme was rejected on cost grounds by the Department for Energy last year.
It wasn’t rejected upon costs grounds. It was rejected on lack of benefit grounds.
THIS Apple v Samsung patent fight is actually getting rather interesting at last. The judge asked one of Apple’s lawyers yesterday whether he was smoking crack, leading to distinguished counsel having to deny it.
Judge Lucy Koh has grown increasingly irritated with lawyers on both sides of the ongoing lawsuit between Apple and Samsung, but she hit a new boiling point on Thursday when Apple presented her a 75-page list of potential rebuttal witnesses for the four hours it has remaining in the trial.
“This is ridiculous,” the San Jose Mercury News reports Koh as saying. “Unless you’re smoking crack, you know these witnesses aren’t going to be called.”
The judge has ruled this trial with an iron fist, allowing each side only a limited amount of time to present evidence to the jury. One reason being that if Apple could drag the trial out over months and months then they would have won: Samsung currently isn’t allowed to sell some of its products in the US and won’t unless they win this case.
A NICE little conundrum: if all our solar panel companies are going bust because of Chinese competition then what should we be doing about it? And our solar companies, the US and the European ones, are all going bust. And they are going bust because of competition from Chinese companies, those slant eyed devils getting lots of support, lots of subsidy, from the Chinese taxpayer.
So, clearly, we must protect our boys by raising tariffs against the dastardly and wily orientals, and subsidise our boys to help then survive, right?
If the Chinese want to subsidize the production of solar panels, far be it from me to stop them. Consumers around the world can benefit from China’s beneficence-and stupidity. There is no reason for us to imitate it.
DID you read the news in the Daily Mail? No, amazingly it’s not that cancer causing immigrants damage house prices. Nor even that immigrants raising house prices cure cancer. Rather, it’s that markets work:
Holiday money firms are setting sneaky traps as part of a £720 million racket in rip-off fees for families going abroad, Money Mail has found.
The tricks are set to catch out hundreds of thousands jetting off on a post-Olympics break and, in particular, will shock many who took out pre-paid cards in the belief they were a cheaper alternative to expensive bank cards.
Firms are also making bigger profits by charging poorer exchange rates to travellers who live outside London or travel from cheap-flight airports.
The thing about cheap flight airports is that they are small airports. They’re not the vast retail emporiums that Heathrow or Gatwick are. And the thing about not London in this here UK is that they’re all smaller towns. With fewer shops in them.
THIS is how not to use twitter. Let’s say that you’re a very rich person indeed. Billions of $ worth of rich. And in fact you’re so rich that lots and lots of money is spent on your security each year. Maybe, like $2.7 million is spent on keeping you safe from attack and or kidnapping each year.
Or perhaps you’re the teenage daughter in a family like that. So this is how not to use Twitter:
Alexa Dell’s overenthusiastic social networking habits were curbed after she unintentionally disclosed details about her father’s whereabouts. His security team is understoof to have considered the posts compromising.
The 18-year-old was a keen user of Twitter and the photo-sharing website Tumblr, ostensibly using it like any other teenage girl to update her friends and followers on the minutiae of her daily life.
But many of her posts were stamped with a GPS location, showing exactly from where it was sent. Her posts also included the exact dates she and her family were arriving and departing certain cities and the location she was shopping.
Mrs Bayford tells media (and if she want to buy some, she can take her pick of titles):
“I looked up and he [Adrian] was a bit pale.. I checked the numbers on my iPhone, the TV and the internet. We just looked at each other and giggled.”
NOW that the actual Olympics Games themselves are over all we’ve got left are the vacuous claiming them as support for their fat headed plans. Will Hutton, of course, did this in yesterday’s Observer. But a much more interesting example was in the Telegraph, from the head of the CBI.
We all revelled in outstanding performances where selection and nurturing of identified talent in specific sectors ensured a small country could more than punch its weight when pitted against competition that measures population in billions of people and growing wealth in trillions of dollars.
IS the Daily Mail insane? This headline is simply unbelievable:
Record number of buy-to-let mortgages worth more than £160bn drives up rent bills
In what universe does an increase in the number of houses for rent push up the rent of houses?
I THINK we all remember that David Cameron put a nice little windmill on his roof just to show that he really was green? And that there was a little bit of controversy about whether it would ever in fact generate any electricity at all? After you’d subtracted the energy needed to make it in the first place?
We’ve now got some real numbers from an experiment in the US.
In the 15 months since the turbine was installed, though, it has delivered less than 4 kWh—enough only to power a 12,000 btu window air conditioner for one afternoon.
In an ominously quiet West End, businesses said they were angered by the “scaremongering” over public transport in central London. Teacher Anja Gottschalk, 27, right, came to London from Berlin to cash in on the Games by offering rickshaw rides to tourists but is now considering going back home.
She said: “Everyone has been scared off coming into the centre by all the warnings about public transport, car parking and the greedy hotels putting their rates up three or four times.
“I worked as a rickshaw rider in London before moving to Berlin, and I’ve never known it this quiet. I’m thinking of baling and going back home. But there’s only so much you can do in Stratford once you’ve been to Westfield so I’m hoping people will start coming back into town.” – London Evening Standard, July 31, 2012
Real, outright, total, stupidity happened.
They believe that Knight was testing to make sure that a new market maker software package (Retail Liquidity Provider – RLP) would integrate with the NYSE live trading system.
In addition to the RLP code, there’s a testing routine that fires off buy and sell orders at RLP in order to ensure that it properly records all of the trades. It’s like a load generator for a commercial application, and it’s used in an isolated lab to simulate live trading.
It looks like that package was mistakenly included in the RLP deployment package, and the whole thing was fired up on Wednesday morning and linked to the NYSE live system.
YOU may have noticed that one company claims to have found large amounts of shale gas underneath Blackpool. Cuadrilla Resources says that there’s untold trillions of cubic feet of gas down there. Enough to keep us all warm and toasty and lit for decades at the top end of their estimations.
You might also have noticed the screaming hordes of hippies demanding that such must be left in the ground. Which is odd really:
“Natural-gas generation is becoming the preferred generation of choice since it’s cheaper and more efficient, more flexible and environmentally cleaner than coal,” Jack Fusco, chief executive officer of Houston-based Calpine, said during a July 27 conference call with analysts. “Coal-fired generation is in a secular decline, facing pressure from both environmental regulations and lower natural-gas prices.”
However, the getting from here to there is the difficult part. And as an example of quite how difficult it would be, here’s what Shell is doing right now:
Mr Henry is cited as saying that the Anglo-Dutch oil major would rather deposit $15bn of cash in non-European assets, such as US Treasuries and US bank accounts.
The firm is forced to keep some money in Europe to fund its operations, but is keeping the bulk of its reserve liquidity out of the eurozone to avoid growing macroeconomic risk, the report said.
SO. What do we think is the best system then? Taking all the people to dim to go into banking, sticking them in the Department of Health and giving them 10% of GDP, one tenth of all the gelt that the nation produces each year, to buy our health care for us?
Or perhas a slightly more decentalised system in which the tax money is still spent on scraping us up off the roads after an accident but we don’t rely on all those really celver people or the way that it’s spent? You know, perhas we allow people who actually know what they’re doing to spend it instead?
DAI Teatime has an email scam. In the missive Your Life is in Danger, Dai writes:
“As I sit here sipping a martini it is my regretful duty to inform you that you have been selected for assassination.”
“SMERSH have contacted me to assassinate you and have specifically paid extra for a particularly nasty death which makes it look like you died in a particularly bizarre sex game gone wrong….Get back to me if you value your life with all due speed or else I regret I will have to carry out my original contract to assassinate you and, although he is quite charming for a horse, I don’t think Henry is the most sensitive of lovers.”
APPLE does not do it for the money. This is a nice claim but I wouldn’t want to run too far with it.
Sir Jonathan Ive, the man credited with shaping the iPad and iPhone and whose personal fortune is estimated at $130m, said today that Apple’s guiding principal was nothing to do with its balance sheet, instead it simply wanted to make “great products”.
“Our goal isn’t to make money. Our goal absolutely at Apple is not to make money. This may sound a little flippant, but it’s the truth,” said the British designer. “Our goal and what gets us excited is to try to make great products. We trust that if we are successful people will like them, and if we are operationally competent we will make revenue, but we are very clear about our goal.”