Money in the news and how you are going to pay and pay and pay
THIS will come as a surprise to some and as a simple confirmation of reality to others. For it appears that our Prime Minister is simply ignorant of the constraints which the law puts around him.
The SWA, whose 56 members employ 35,000 people in Britain, argues that minimum unit pricing would be illegal under EU trade rules as it would amount to a domestic barrier to free trade.
In the letter, the trade organisation stresses that efforts in the past by other countries such as the Netherlands to introduce minimum pricing have been rebuffed by the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg.
This is all about that idea of having minimum pricing for alcohol. We who actually understand that much of our law is now made in Brussels, not London, have been pointing this out for years. All those people arguing for that minimum pricing are simply being ignorant as well as stupid.
ONE little story about the police destroying £750,000’s worth of fake Mulberry bags. The problem with this story being that if they were real ones then they wouldn’t have been destroyed but beause they were fake ones they’re not worth £750,000.
Dealers attempted to smuggle more than 1,000 fake designer handbags worth more than £750,000 through Manchester Airport.
The fake Mulberry handbags were discovered by Border Force officers in a crackdown on counterfeit goods that arrived from Hong Kong.
SO. Apple’s brought out the iWatch and as a piece of tech it looks not half bad. It’s a phone, a fitness gadget, can help you read maps and, well, it’s actually a blindingly interesting piece of kit. Whether people will go mad for it we’ll just have to see.
However, there’s a certain problem at the top end of the range, where they’ve got a gold iWatch. Yes, OK, there’s lots of gold watches out there. So, obviously, there should be a gold version of the apple Watch? Yes or no?
FACES of the day: Costumed characters hold signs prior to a press conference held by NYC Artists United for a Smile at Times Square in New York, Tuesday, Aug.19, 2014. The artists called for the fair treatment and the right for performers to work for tips. (AP Photo/Vanessa A. Alvarez) Date: 19/08/2014
If it’s not that coffee causes cancer then it’s that coffee cures cancer at the Daily Mail, as we know. And if they ever managed to link cancer, immigrants and house prices in the one headline then the world as we know it will implode. But today we get another of those interesting headlines that aren’t true and that we can show aren’t true. This times it’s autism: is it ‘coz the kiddie got kicked in the head?
Is this what causes autism? Brain injury in the womb might be root of the disorder according to new research
No, it ain’t.
A new paper by Dr. Samuel Wang, a professor at Princeton, argues that damage to the cerebellum in the womb could be the root of autism
Though most associate the cerebellum with motor skills, Dr. Wang theorizes it plays a much larger role in a child’s early development
Early brain injury has a major impact on how a child forms normal social relationships according to Dr. Wang
All of those things could be true, of course they could be. But that still ain’t the cause of autism.
You see, autism isn’t actually a “disease”. It’s actually a condition. A symptom if you like. To take an odd example, you’ve got the sniffles, a runny nose. Is that because you’ve got a cold? Could be, sure. Might also be because you’ve got sinusitis, could be a hole in your skull and your brain’s leaking out (no, has happened) or could be you’ve got a broken nose. The sniffles are a condition, a symptom, not the disease itself.
Autism’s not a disease either, it’s part of the normal human spectrum but that’s another matter.
So it’s entirely possible that there are different causes of those symptoms we call autism. Could be that some get kicked in the head as a foetus and that causes it. But we know absolutely that it’s not the cause of all that we call autism. Because we know that runs in families. And if it runs in families it means that there’s a genetic component to it.
We also know that it’s vastly more prevalent in boys than it is in girls: another indication that there’s something genetic about it. And if it’s the genes then it ain’t about boots to the skull. QED.
SO a bloke goes along to Tesco and has a look at the apples on sale. He’s like to buy some lovely fresh British apples. And why not? They can be very scrummy indeed. Having looked at 22 varieties of apples on sale in that Tesco store he gets a bit miffed to find that there’s no British ones among them. Hmm, as he says:
Mr Deen, the town’s mayor Janet Jackson and Food4Macc, a campaigning group, are now calling for stores to stock more locally-sourced produce.
Mr Deen, 50, from Siddington, said: ‘When I couldn’t find an English apple I had to check twice. A member of staff checked as well and admitted they had none in stock. He was clearly embarrassed.
‘Supermarkets should be buying local or at least from the same country and supporting British farmers, not flying in apples from the other side of the world during peak apple season in this country.’
And that’s where the idiocy comes in.
THE British Humanist Association has a court case looming:
The British Humanist Association (BHA) and Witchcraft and Human Rights Information Network (WHRIN) are being sued by the wealthy evangelical preacher and ‘witch hunter’ Helen Ukpabio who has dubbed herself a ‘Lady Apostle’. Mrs Ukpabio claims to have expertise in identifying children and adults who are possessed with witchcraft spirits and in how they can be ‘delivered’ from those spirits. Her lawyers have informed the BHA and WHRIN that she is launching a legal case against them due to their criticism of her teachings and methods.
…Her legal case against the BHA is based on Mrs Ukpabio’s stating that she wrote that a child ‘under the age of two’ who is ‘possessed with black, red and vampire witchcraft spirits’ can be identified by features such as s/he ‘screams at night, cries, is always feverish, suddenly deteriorates in health, puts up an attitude of fear, and may not feed very well.’ Her teachings are to the effect that babies under the age of two who exhibit signs of illness or standard, entirely normal childhood behaviour (such as crying, not feeding well, screaming at night, having a fever) may be possessed by vampire witchcraft spirits. She also teaches that children who stamp their feet may be ‘trying to make signs… to communicate with gnomes, the witchcraft spirit in charge of the earth.’ Ukpabio claims that the BHA misrepresented her by saying that she ascribed these symptoms to Satanic possession and hence has damaged her reputation and livelihood to the sum of half a billion pounds.
IF you sell a vehicle and fail to cancel the insurance – and the new owner fails to get any insurance – you could be liable for any damge they cause. Sound fair?
Paul Duffy sold his Kawasaki Ninja motorbike to James Bryson on August 13 this year. Mr Duffy did not know that the buyer was serving a four year driving ban. He had no insurance. Seven days after the legal trade, Mr Bryson collided with a Toyota Yaris near Arbroath, Scotland.
Paul, 48, a carer for his wife whose recovering from leukaemia, is understandbly unhappy. He was , after all, neither the bike’s registerd keeper nor the owner.
“Lawyers said that because Mr Bryson had died and had no insurance, they would be paying out on my policy. Because he chose to buy my motorcycle, I am, in the eyes of the law, giving him permission to ride the bike and I am in breach of my contract. So if I have any assets, MCE can take them from me to recover costs. I am effectively having to pay for an uninsured driver having a fatal accident. I have never broken the law. I don’t even have as much as a speeding ticket. But I have been told this is the law, and I have no protection or rights. I honestly thought that once the bike was sold, it was no longer my responsibility. I feel this is something every law-abiding, insurance-paying person should be aware of.”
HERE’S a slightly odd little factoid about the upcoming Scottish independence vote. If Scotland does leave then both countries will become more equal. And given that we’re told that inequality is the defining scourge of our times, that’ll be nice, won’t it?
Not that anything will actually change in either country you understand: only that inequality the way we measure it will fall. No poor people will gain higher incomes as a result of this, no rich people will have their incomes reduced: but inequality will still fall. All of which rather tells us that the way we measure inequality isn’t, perhaps, as important as some might think.
A Disney Princesss is talking to the Mirror:
“I was hit on as Pocahontas more than Mulan or Silvermist, & it definitely has to do with the amount of clothing she’s wearing….there’s always the family that makes grandpa or the dad get a picture alone & they’d whisper how pretty I was or ask when I got off of work. I’d get slipped the occasional phone number on a napkin… Back when Toontown was still in the Magic Kingdom, there were three Princess rooms. One Cinderella, Aurora, & Belle in each one. If all three rooms were operating, that means when the girls went on break, other girls would replace them. So there were a total of six Cinderellas around the area at a time. None of the guests know this because there are attendants to take them into each room, one group at a time.
“It’s a very cool operation… Cinderella is in the Parade, doing breakfast, lunch, & dinner rotation at Cinderella’s castle, & she is in the princess room. At Epcot she is at the Norway breakfast. She’s also in the night time parade. She’s also in the main stage show at Magic Kingdom. That’s at least ten girls who are Cinderella in one day.
“It’s awesome to think about the fact that you never see two together.”
If you fancy Minnie Mouse, contact the security guard for directions to the cheese shoppe…
HOW much is qualification to the Champions’ League 2014 worth to Arsenal?
The Sun: “ALEXIS SANCHEZ paid off his entire transfer fee with one kick — firing Arsenal to a £50million Champions League place”
The Times: “…a goal worth roughly £30 million in prize money”
SO the Daily Mail tells us: we’re total and complete grossouts when we eat a barbecue. We eat far more at one than we do at a normal meal. All of which is terribly interesting but it is rather missing the point about a barbecue isn’t it? That they’re supposed to be the times when we pig out? It’s a bit like saying that we have more calories at dinner than we do with a lunchtime sandwich: that’s the bloody point!
It may not come as a surprise that a diet of sausages and ribs could leave you, well, a little porky.
But you probably didn’t realise that we eat up to three times more at a barbecue than in a normal meal.
WELL, nice to see one of the old patriarchal tropes has some empirical evidence behind it. Women who shag around before marriage seems to be less happy inside marriage than those who don’t. But for men sowing those wild oats seems to make no difference. Thus, sadly, our grandparents were right, women shouldn’t shag around while men may:
Women who have several sexual partners before getting married have less happy marriages – but men do no harm by playing the field,a study has found.
According to new research by the National Marriage Project, more than half of married women who had only ever slept with their future husband felt highly satisfied in their marriage.
But that percentage dropped to 42 per cent once the woman had had pre-marital sex with at least two partners. It dropped to 22 per cent for those with ten or more partners.
But, for men, the number of partners a man they appeared to have no bearing on how satisfied they felt within a marriage.
Researchers said the study showed that sex with many different partners ‘may be risky’ if the woman is in search of a high-quality marriage.
It concluded: ‘Remember that what you do before you say ‘I do’ seems to have a notable impact on your marital future. So decide wisely
Clearly, given the source, this “research” is highly biased.
WELL, what the stock market was worrying about has come to pass. King Digital is the maker of Candy Crush Saga, that game that’s been sucking the life out of the nation for the past couple of years. It’s also one of the great UK successes in the mobile games space. However, they’ve not been able to come up with anything to replace that now becoming ever less fashionable game: thus the stock sank like a stone:
King Digital Entertainment, the makers of mobile game Candy Crush Saga, has cut their 2014 forecast following the company’s poor performance at the New York Stock Exchange.
THIS lassie on STV News being told about the 2.5% rise on train ticket fares…
LOVE this from @Reuters. I don’t *think* they meant it to be interpreted as a Venn diagram
It’s a bit off my having to agree with hte Wee Eck here but it is true all the same that Alex Salmond is correct about a newly independent Scotland being able to continue using the pound sterling.
Alex Salmond has given his clearest indication yet that he would want an independent Scotland to keep the pound, even without a formal currency pact, after stating “we are keeping it, come what may”.
OUR latest little excitement on the political front is that a Labour MP has decided to try to massage the facts about the gender pay gap. You’ll see it all over the papers today, the gender pay gap is 20% or so, that this is appalling and only the Labour party is going to do anything about it. Here’s the Mail as an example:
It will take another 60 years before women earn the same as men at the current pace of change, Labour warned today.
Women still earn just 80p for every pound men take home and the pay gap widened last year.
Shadow women’s minister Gloria De Piero accused the Tories of the ‘turning the clock back’ for female workers by failing to do more to reduce unfairness in the workplace.
Latest figures show that in April 2013, men earned £12.86 per hour and women £10.33, a gap of 19.7 per cent.
It marked an increase on 2012, when the gap was 19.6 per cent, with women paid £10.05 to men’s £12.50.
Since 2010 the pay gap has closed at a rate of only 0.3 per cent per year on average, according to the House of Commons library.
That’s the question that’s asked over in the New York Times, whether Apple deliberately slows down its old iPhones so that people will go out to buy a new model. And the answer is, well, you might think so, but probably not. For it’s true that there’s evidence that everyone complains about how slow their old phones are when a new one comes out: but that’s a function of technology, not active malevolence:
A new study is backing up long held suspicions that Apple slows down older models of its iPhones to encourage users to buy a new release.
The U.S. study analysed worldwide searches for ‘iPhone slow’ and found that the search term spiked significantly around the time of new iPhone launch.
It then compared those results with similar searches for the term ‘Samsung Galaxy slow’, and discovered the term was unaffected by new releases from Samsung.
A report newly in telling us just quite how bad the screechings of Justin Bieber are. So bad that they actually scare away the wild animals. so bad that they’ve just saved a Russian hunter from the maulings of an angry bear:
Igor Vorozhbitsyn had his life saved by a Justin Bieber ringtone, when his mobile phone went off during a potentially fatal attack by a brown bear.
The 42-year-old was pounced on as he was walking to a favourite fishing spot in northern Russia’s Yakutia Republic and firmly believed that he was going to be killed.
But as the bear began to claw at him, Igor’s mobile went off. The singer’s hit Baby rang out and the bear turned tail and fled back into the forest.
So now you know what to do. If you’re out in the wilds and a pack of ferocious animals are trying to eat you then start singing Bieber. Assuming you know any of his songs that is. Should work with wild boar in the Forest of Dean, wild bears in Yakutia and lions in Africa, no doubt about it.
Which leaves us with just one important question. What the hell was a mighty Siberian hunter doing with a Justin Bieber ringtone in the first place? Doesn’t, as with Bieber’s singing itself, sound quite right, does it?
And no, it’s not just because of what Barbie said, “Math is hard”. We really are seeing evidence in empirical (that is, when people go out and study the real world rather than just theorising in ivory towers) studies that men are, on average, better at maths than women on average. But do not that this is about averages: plenty of women are better than most to nearly all men at maths. This tells us nothing about any one individual however true it might be of the population:
Men’s and women’s brains really are different.
Researchers say that if both sexes had access to the same levels of education, they’d expect women to do best on tests of memory – and men to excel at maths.
The prediction comes after an analysis of how the sexes’ abilities varied across Europe across time.
More than 31,000 men and women aged 50-plus from 13 countries were put through three tests of brainpower.
They did all the things you should do, controlling for education levels for example (this being very important as it wasn’t all that many decades ago that women in southern Europe were educated to a very different standard than men. Where I live in rural Portugal it’s not unusual to find women in their 60s or 70s who are profoundly, completely, illiterate and innumerate).
And they found that in verbal ability it all looked about the same, in maths men were better and in memory women were. All of which solves one great confusion of modern life, why can women remember anniversaries and birthdays and men not? But which leaves us with another: why can men not calculate these things with their better maths?
Google’s UK accounts have been filed and thus, as sure as eggs is eggs, we’ve got the Waily Mail chuntering on about how appalling it is that the company is dodging all of this tax. Except the truth is that Google simply isn’t dodging, not avoiding and most certainly not evading, tax in the UK. It’s doing exactly what the law in general says it may do, what European law actually encourages it to do:
Google is facing fresh outrage over its meagre contribution to the UK taxman, after revealing it paid just £20million in corporation tax last year.
The California-based internet giant has faced stinging criticism for using a complex corporate structure that allows it to route UK sales through Ireland to slash its tax bill.
And the scheme appears to have again paid off.
Last night it revealed in accounts filed to Companies House that it paid £20.4million in taxes last year – despite admitting earlier this year that it pulls in £3.3billion of revenues in Britain, largely from advertising.
But in accounts filed last night Google UK said it made a profit of £70.8million before tax on sales of £642million.
But it doesn’t “route” those sales through Ireland: it actually makes those sales from Ireland. Which is exactly what this whole Single Market malarkey is all about. The EU wants corporations to treat the EU as that one single market: this means that they are not just allowed but encouraged to sell to all 29 countries from one single base in just one of them. Which is exactly what Google does. And as to whether this is tax avoidance, here is our own dear HMRC on the subject:
Non-resident trading companies which do not have a branch in the UK, but have UK customers, will therefore pay tax on the profits arising from those customers in the country where the company is resident, according to the tax law in that country. The profits will not be taxed in the UK. This is not tax avoidance: it is simply the way that corporation tax works.
Most major economies operate corporation tax in the same way as the UK, so UK-resident companies are treated in a similar way in other countries. In other words, UK companies do not pay corporation tax to another country on the profits from sales in that country, unless they trade through a branch based there. Instead, they pay corporation tax in the UK.
Note that: the bleedin’ taxman says it isn’t tax avoidance. So, therefore, it ain’t tax avoidance, is it?
THESE might well be the sexual preferences of many of us, not just politicians. It’s just that we tend not to expect a politician to say so quite so publicly. But fair dinkum to the Ozzies, they have managed to elect one who actually tells it like it is:
Jacqui Lambie, an Australian MP who shares the balance of power in the upper house, has apologised after declaring in a radio interview that she is looking for a partner who is “well-hung” and loaded with cash.
“They don’t even need to speak,” said Ms Lambie, a 43-year-old single mother of two.
The late and dearly beloved (to those of a certain age that is) Bernard Levin once wrote an entire column in The Times in praise of the Advertising Standards Authority’s existence. I do not have the great man’s eloquence but I would like to repeat that praise as a result of this decision over whether pyramid teabags are actually better than round ones. For it does make exactly the same point that he noted about the earlier adjudication over whose crisps were the crunchiest:
It is a debate that splits tea lovers – which tea bag makes the better cuppa. But now the Advertising Standard’s Authority has ruled that pyramid shaped bags are more effective than the more traditional flat, round tea bags when making a brew. The advertising watchdog has said that PG Tips has successfully shown the infusion of tea leaves in its pyramid shaped bags was more efficient than in round tea bag as used by rivals Tetley. It made the ruling after Tata Global Beverages, the makers of Tetley, complained to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) about a PG Tips TV advert starring Johnny Vegas and his sock puppet monkey. Tetley said the ad, which showed the difference in ‘brewing power’ between a pyramid and a round tea bag, was exaggerated and misleading to viewers.
How Glorious for out Happy little isle, that we have a department, an organisation, who can devote the time to deciding on these important matters. This must mean that we’ve solved all of the important problems, yes? We’ve dealt with housing for the poor, clothing for the naked, food for the starving, so that we can devote those precious scarce resources of society to deciding which shape of teabag infuses more quickly (do note, this decision is a matter of law now) or which crisp is crispier?
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IT’S a common enough idea, that you need to practice at something for 10,000 hours to actually be any good at it. And that might well be true, too. However, the idea does sometimes (ie, in almost all of he UK education system) get mixed up with the idea that if you do 10,000 hours practice then you will be good at something. And that just ain’t true.