Money in the news and how you are going to pay and pay and pay
THIS might sound a little odd and I’ll almost certainly be the only person telling you this. But George Osborne’s shelving of the fuel duty escalator is the right thing for him to be doing. No, not because it’s a tax cut, or not a tax rise, but because it’s the correct green thing to be doing for the environment. Yes, this is going to sound a little odd, isn’t it?
We need to go back a few years, to the Stern Review. In it the main recommendation was that we have to have a carbon tax at $80 per tonne CO2 emissions in order to beat climate change. This is the scientific consensus now, that we should have this tax.
GEORGE Osborne’s announced that he’s going to raise the state pension age and this makes damn good sense. No, not just because we’re all pig-faced Tories who love shafting the poor.
In potentially one of the most far-reaching reforms since the introduction of the state pension in 1908, Osborne will say the pension age for men and women will rise to 70 by the 2060s under a new formula linked to average life expectancy. This means that people born in the 1990s, who are now entering the workforce, will have to work until at least the Biblical life expectancy of three score and ten.
THIS is a nice little piece of research showing the variation in price of the iPhone all over the world. You can set it to tell you the absolute price in any country and see the impact of taxes etc on an iPhone 5s. Or you can mix and match it with how rich the country is and so see what percentage of the average salary it is.
THIS isn’t something I’ve ever really thought about: how do you go about training yourself to stick your finger up a man’s bum? No, no, not as part of the festivities on Hampstead Heath but rather, how does a doctor get trained to do prostate exams?
This is a fun little report. It’s also true (if perhaps a little exaggerated). The burning of coal to generate electricity does indeed kill people.
Labour will this week urge MPs to vote for tougher controls on Britain’s coal-fired power stations forcing them to reduce their emissions and pollution, as new figures show the old-style plants are responsible for 1,600 premature deaths a year. A report from the Health and Environment Alliance has found air pollution from coal plants causes respiratory problems that have a big impact on public health.
The charity released an analysis showing coal pollution leads to health complications resulting in more than 360,000 lost working days each year.
I wouldn’t take that 1,600 figure as being entirely and totally accurate but it is indeed well known that particularate emissions from coal burning do indeed kill some people each year. Fewer now that we filter the smoke, as we didn’t used to, but still some substantial number.
And we might check this against the number of deaths from the nuclear disaster at Fukushima. Which has been, so far at least, precisely zero. Or the deaths from Chernobyl 30 years ago. That total is guessed at as being some few hundred so far.
So, the two worst nuclear disasters ever have killed fewer people than the normal operation of coal fired plant does each and every year.
Sounds like we’d better go nuclear then, eh?
Ah, no, sorry, that doesn’t work, this report is sponsored by Greenpeace.
TO Minnesota, where the rain is made of currency. Serge Vorobyov has emptied $1,000 over the Mall of America in Bloomington. Vorobyov just wants to do something nice for people. And then the mall security staff arrested him. Read the rest of this entry »
Read the rest of this entry »
AH, Eastenders the only London garden square non-oligarchs and trust-funded sados (sons and daughters of stars) can afford to live in. London is now so very expensive that it’s a fortress. If you’re not already in, forget about settling there. Best to accept the fact that you can never live in the city. Make your home town at the end of the long commute the epicentre of culture.
The only working class people who can afford London property prices are fictional. It’s true.
THE Daily Mail is going Down Under:
Britain’s Daily Mail Group has announced it will launch an Australian version of its site with the goal of becoming this country’s leading news website. Daily Mail Australia will launch early next year and hire 50 local journalists, with an editor to be appointed in the next few weeks.
You might not like the Mail, but it makes money and employing local reporters is a sound move. They’re not the first UK organ to head to Oz. The Guardian has opened their version.
MailOnline publisher Martin Clarke said Australia was “an obvious market”.
“We are going very nakedly for a scale play,” he said … He dismissed comparisons with British rival Guardian Australia, which launched here six months ago. “I’m not hugely familiar with what they do in Australia,” he said. “We won’t be copying their model.”
THERE’S been a certain amount of giggling about those three slaves that were liberated in London. It turns out that they were not in fact slaves, not anything like it, they were however the remnants of one of London’s more insane Maoist communes. The leader of that commune being on Comrade Bala who was, if the stories are correct, the inspiration for Wolfie Smith in the TV comedy, Citizen Smith. This has all been going on a long time.
London Slaves: Statement To Comrade Bala By The Central Committee of the Communist Party of England (Marxist-Leninist) – August 1st, 1974
I’M sure you were as shocked as I was at that story of three women being held as slaves in London for 30 years. But the story is now moving from tragedy into proper giggle worthy territory. The suspected slave master has now been named as Aravindan Balakrishnan. Who was also known as Comrade Bala.
Yup, this is about a small Maoist commune that managed to stagger along from the 70s all the way to today. And not only did social services know all about it they were even providing them with the housing they were using.
I’VE long been a bit mystified by Bitcoin. You know this electronic currency that the geeks have been playing with for the past couple of years? As a little experiment yes, I can see it, but as a replacement for other currencies I tend to think that it won’t happen. But still, if people want to play with it, speculate on it, why the hell not?
Just in the last couple of days there’s been a surge in the price. And everyone’s been a bit puzzled by it but now there’s an explanation that does at least make sense. It may or may not be true, but it does actually make sense. That explanation is here:
THERE’S a fairly basic economic concept which states that if you increase the supply of something then the price of that thing is going to go down. Other things being equal, of course. There are exceptions but they’re exceedingly rare (wheat noodles in North China and rice in South China being the only two proven examples of Giffen Goods known).
So, when we decide to move from 10-15% of the age group going to university to 50% of it doing so what do we think is going to happen to the price of graduates? Quite:
Almost half of all recent university leavers are now working in non-graduate jobs, as those with media studies degrees fare the worst, a new report shows.
There’s an idea going around that perhaps we should have a one off wealth tax to restore the public finances. The rich bastards have oodles of cash so if we demanded that they paid over 10% of it all then all would be fine. It’s even being said that this would be a moral solution: but it would work out appallingly in practice:
Should advanced countries implement wealth taxes as a means of stabilising and reducing public debt over the medium term? The normally conservative International Monetary Fund has given the idea surprisingly emphatic support. The IMF calculates that a one-time 10% wealth levy, if introduced quickly and unexpectedly, could return many European countries to pre-crisis public debt/GDP ratios. It is an intriguing idea.
The moral case for a wealth tax is more compelling than usual today, with unemployment still at recession levels, and with deep economic inequality straining social norms. And, if it were really possible to ensure that the wealth levy would be temporary, such a tax would, in principle, be much less distortionary than imposing higher marginal tax rates on income. Unfortunately, while a wealth tax may be a sound way to help a country dig out of a deep fiscal pit, it is hardly a panacea.
ARE you an angry dwarf who enjoys to look down on people? If you answered ‘yes’ and ‘yes’, then the Hippodrome Casino in London wants you. The venue is looking for door dwarfs. An advert says:
“The Hippodrome is seeking to create a team of Britain’s smallest bouncers – Door Dwarfs – for its new entrance in Cranbourn Street, Leicester Square. Duties include door control and customer relations. We welcome applications from those under 4ft 10 inches.”
How big is the entrance? And is it that small to allow only true celebrtities to pass through, it being a fact that everyone on the telly is tiny?
Says Hippodrome Casino owner Simon Thomas: “We wanted to add some extra spectacle to Leicester Square. The Hippodrome is a building with a rich tradition of theatrical innovation with a history of dwarf acts appearing here. It fits perfectly with the way we do things here – differently, with a lot of fun involved, and we think they will be very effective on the door.”
Got to keep the wrong sort of dwarfs out some how.
HMM, given the way that I eff and blind on Twitter this isn’t going to be good news for me next time I go out to look for a job:
Employers could use new personality profiling software on jobseekers’ tweets to see if they are right for a role.
IBM developers believe they can successfully assess a person’s psychological traits by analysing the 140 characters they use on Twitter.
The software scans the most recent tweets, be it hundreds or thousands, to develop a personality profile.
THE are various plans put forward for how we should deal with climate change. Some say we should do sod all, others go to the opposite extreme and demand the dismantling of capitalist industrialism in its entirety.
Certain of the brighter climate change scientists and almost all of the economists insist that it’s really terribly simple. Just add a carbon tax and then wait 20 years. The problem will then solve itself. When I say the brighter of the climate scientists I mean of course those who have been listening to the economists, people like James Hansen.
There’s an interesting illustration of why this would work in the Telegraph today:
Two-thirds of Britons are expecting to cut back on heating their home this winter, with more 25 to 34 year-olds likely to turn down the thermostat than pensioners.
A new report last night claimed 32 per cent of people will “definitely” turn down the heating or switch off lights over the coming weeks in a bid to save money. A further 35 per cent will “probably” act.
Some 88 per cent of households classified among those struggling with the rising cost of living fear they will have no choice but to use less gas or electricity.
NOW, you might say that the top 1% get more than 30% of the income so therefore they should be paying more in tax than this. But that isn’t actually true:
Britain’s top one per cent are now paying almost 30 per cent of all income tax – despite only earning 10 per cent of all income.
Whatever else you want to say about the UK’s income tax system there’s no doubt that it is highly progressive. The rich are indeed paying more than their share of it with regard to their share of the income and this is the definition of progressive.
LEANDER Kahney is talking about the world’s most famous designer, Essex-boy and graduate of Newcastle Polytechnic done very good, Johny Ive. British writer Kahney has profiled the Apple legend in Jony Ive: The Genius Behind Apple’s Greatest Products. Here are a few extracts:
Phil Gray, who was his first boss after he graduated from design school, met him at the Olympics in London. “When I asked Sir Jony what was it like being a knight of the realm, he replied, ‘You know what? Out in San Francisco it means absolutely nothing. But back in Britain it is a burden.’”
At 25, he was headhunted by Apple.
“I remember very clearly Steve announcing that our goal is not just to make money but to make great products,” Ive later recalled. “The decisions you make based on that philosophy are fundamentally different from the ones we had been making at Apple… We were on the same wavelength. I suddenly understood why I loved the company.”
In the design studio:
Ive has the only private office. The front wall and door are made of glass, with stainless steel fittings, just like the ones in Apple’s shops. Except for a small shelf system, the office is bare with plain white walls, featuring no pictures of his family or design awards; just a desk, chair and lamp.
Ive is Apple’s soul:
Just before he died on October 5, 2011, Jobs revealed the degree to which he had empowered Ive inside the company. “He has more operational power than anyone else at Apple except me,” Jobs said. “There’s no one who can tell him what to do, or to butt out. That’s the way I set it up.”
“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. 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.”
Well, I bought an Ive original. Then I bought another. And another…
Lead Photo: In this file photo taken March 19, 1999, Jonathan Ive, left, Apple’s vice president of design, and Jon Rubinstein, Apple’s senior vice president of engineering, pose behind five iMac personal computers, at Apple headquarters in Cupertino, Calif. Apple CEO Steve Jobs may be the company’s most recognizable personality, but much of its cachet comes from its clean, friendly-looking designs, the product of its head designer, Jonathan Ive.
UPDATE: A husband and wife tell NBC 4 New York they did leave a tip. They say they have a credit card statement as proof. The tip was a generous $18. The wife says: ”We’ve never not left a tip when someone gave good service, and we would never leave a note like that.”
Morales adds: “I don’t know, all I know is what I’ve been saying.”
Morales had recently announced that people were sending her tips from all over the world, and was donating some of the money to the Wounded Warrior Project. ”I just felt like people have a right to know that — it’s fine if people want to donate to her or to the Wounded Warriors, but they’re doing it under a false pretense,” the wife said.
This is the original story:
WE all know that idiots get weird around gay people. Presumably their brains get tied in knots because they constantly and vividly imagine all that sex they do. They get a clear image in their minds about glistening gay naked bodies all writhing around. That’s because, absolutely 100% across the board, bigots are all a bit pervy.
And so to a waitress in New Jersey who had her £10 tip withheld and was left a crappy note by a bigoted customer, allegedly. She says she was denied her tip because she is a gay woman. She told the internet and now, she’s been inundated with more than £1,000 in donations from around the world.
IN times of austerity, things get tough for people… and no-one suffers more than the middle classes. Stores throughout Britain are reporting a new type of problem – middle class theft – with items like gammon, parmesan, nice coffee and perfume being swiped.
Russell Holland, of security firm Checkpoint Systems, which sponsored the study, said: “We know that due to the recession people are stealing out of need for food. But you also have a Middle England group of people who have not had a bonus or pay rise but still want to maintain their lifestyle.”
Further pain for the middle-classes is afoot too, with reports of a worldwide goat’s cheese shortage, not to mention a wine shortage too. If this carries on, we’re all set for the politest rioting in the history of mankind.
One Tesco store in Cambridge has had to put manuka honey (£20 a jar) into plastic security boxes and Marks & Spencer now puts tags on turkey crowns.
Also getting robbed are lipsticks, perfume, hair straighteners, electric toothbrushes and power tools. The upwardly mobile have gone more mad than ten spring breaks.
The report, compiled by analysts Euromonitor for Checkpoint Systems, said: “A key observation from the grocery retailers interviewed was an increase in food theft – including items such as fresh meat – owing to the weak economy.”
Time to invest in a hummus safe house and get some laser beams around your tagines.
THIS is pretty much how HR works:
Cellular Solutions: The Hove Company Where Middle-Aged White Males Manage Lots Of Young White Females
CELLULAR Solutions is an equal opportunities employer. Young, attractive women are not prejudiced against when it comes to picking staff to work at the company’s offices in Hove, East Sussex. And white males can be leaders:
Of course, all staff were picked on merit. It just looks odd.
IT wasn’t derivatives that cauded the financial crash. Therefore regulating derivatives won’t be the magic wand that prevents another financial crash. This is something that they seem to have forgotten over at The Guardian:
The CFTC, under Gensler, has been a darling of the few remaining policymakers who listened to the complaints of Occupy Wall Street. The agency has been largely openly antagonistic towards Wall Street in the sense that it has insisted on more regulation of derivatives, the Jekyll-and-Hyde financial instruments that are as speculative as they are about reducing risk. The financial crisis showed us that derivatives, which are meant to help investors hedge against risk, are often abused as vehicles of profitable speculation. The question that is before Congress right now is: how do you allow derivatives while curbing the abuse?
THERE have indeed been some revelations from Edward Snowden and the rest over things that the NSA and GCHQ are doing that shouldn’t please the rest of us. Widespread spying on us, the citizens that actually pay for the spies for example, isn’t one of the things that we want them to do.
However, spying on the enemies who would do us harm sounds like an excellent thing for them to do doing. And they have been, they’ve been spying on OPEC:
The latest earth-shattering Snowden revelation emanating from the Russian Front (aka Der Spiegel) is that NSA and GCHC have spied on OPEC.