Money in the news and how you are going to pay and pay and pay
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.
IT would appear that The Guardian is simply entirely ignorant of how this creative destruction stuff of capitalism works. Commenting on the Twitter IPO that made loads of millionaires they wonder why we the customers didn’t get any cash:
Finally, look at Twitter’s business. Or rather, look at its own assessment of its business, as stated in its S-1 stockmarket filing. Early on comes the delicious admission: “Our success depends on our ability to provide users of our products and services with valuable content, which in turn depends on the content contributed by our users.” Read that again: Twitter is in the business of selling us to us – our news and views and idle banter. Without those, without us, it is nothing. As with Facebook and Tumblr and all the other social media, we’re also part of Twitter’s workforce. But I bet you haven’t seen any stock options, either.
SO. Here’s an interesting little question. We’ve had several waves of social media sites already and none of them has really lasted more than a few years. Friends Get Divorced did ferociously well until it was passed by MySpace, which itself was rather pushed out of the way by Bebo which was then in turn flattened by Facebook. And we could think that Facebook will now rule the roost forever because it’s just so darn big: or we might think that we’re just waiting for the cool kids to find somewhere else to go.
Over at The Guardian they’ve found just the one line which makes it possible that it will be the latter:
Facebook made a startling admission in its earnings announcement this month: it was seeing a “decrease in daily users, specifically among teens”. In other words, teenagers are still on Facebook; they’re just not using it as much as they did. It was a landmark statement, since teens are the demographic who often point the rest of us towards the next big thing.
THIS is an interesting call:
Paul Massara took to his personal Twitter account to vent his anger over the ‘cartel’ claims minutes after they were made by several MPs in the House of Commons.
“Lots of wild talk about cartels but no evidence and the facts don’t support. Where is the evidence ????” he wrote. “Put up or shut up.”
The interesting thing about it is that no one as yet has in fact presented any evidence showing that there is a cartel in action. All we’ve been told is that they all put their prices up at the same time so therefore they musty be.
WHAT are the top 33 Whitest Jobs in the USA? One would hesitate to guess that Number 1 would be Head Klansman, followed by Ice Hockey Professional, national newspaper editor, ambassadors to European nations (all are white), spies in Russia and US Senators.
HOW’S Obamacare working out for you?
RYANAIR chief executive Michael O’Leary is man known for opening his mouth and letting absolutely anything fall out of it. He’s in the papers today saying that burkas should be banned in the UK and claimed the country is “leaning over far too much for some of these minority religions”.
He said: “I think we should ban burkas here in the UK. If you go to Saudi Arabia and they say the ladies have to veil up, you respect the local culture. If you want to come and live in Western society, I don’t think you should be allowed to walk around with some inalienable right to cover yourself up with only your eyes looking out.”
He also said he doesn’t buy into climate change, adding: “Temperatures have been moving up and down for 200 years yet every time you have a couple of warm summers they go — “Oooh, global warming’. There’s a degree of arrogance in thinking that any man-made phenomenon is going to change nature. Trying to reverse it by taxing air travel is absurd. We should encourage more driving and flying around because that kind of economic activity is what generates great wealth.”
Let us peer into his other views on the world.
On refunds: “You’re not getting a refund so f*ck off. We don’t want to hear your sob stories. What part of ‘no refund’ don’t you understand?”
On fat people: “Nobody wants to sit beside a really fat bastard on board. We have been frankly astonished at the number of customers who don’t only want to tax fat people but torture them.”
On people who forget to print their boarding pass: “We think [they] should pay 60 euros for being so stupid.”
On customer service: “People say the customer is always right, but you know what – they’re not. Sometimes they are wrong and they need to be told so.”
On Guardian readers: “The chattering bloody classes, or what I call the liberal Guardian readers, they’re all buying SUVs to drive around London. I smile at these loons who drive their SUVs down to Sainsbury’s and buy kiwi fruit from New Zealand. They’re flown in from New Zealand for Christ sakes. They’re the equivalent of environmental nuclear bombs!”
On green campaigners: “We want to annoy the fuckers whenever we can. The best thing you can do with environmentalists is shoot them. These headbangers want to make air travel the preserve of the rich. They are luddites marching us back to the 18th century. If preserving the environment means stopping poor people flying so the rich can fly, then screw it.”
On his popularity: “I don’t give a shit if no-one likes me. I am not a cloud bunny, I am not an aerosexual. I don’t like aeroplanes. I never wanted to be a pilot like those other platoons of goons who populate the airline industry.”
On a bomb scare in Scotland: “The police force were outstanding in their field. But all they did was stand in their field. They kept passengers on board while they played with a suspect package for two and three quarter hours. Extraordinary.”
Discussing his plans for a transatlantic Ryanair: “In economy no frills; in business class it’ll all be free – including the blowjobs”
On his wedding day, asked if the bride would be late: “Yes, she’s flying Aer Lingus”
On Michael O’Leary: “I’m probably just an obnoxious little bollocks. Who cares?”
On the future: “Making the world a better place… by taking a vow of silence”
IF we repealed the laws that ban child labour here in the UK then what do we think would happen to the number of children forced into going to work? Correct, pretty much nothing: almost no one wants to send their children to work and alomst no one wants to employ children.
However, we do also think that child labour is a pretty bad thing and we also argue that other places, other poorer places, should ban child labour as well. And things might not work out the same way elsewhere. For it can happen that if you ban child labour then the amount of child labour goes up, not down:
In this paper, we examine the consequences of India’s landmark legislation against child labor, the Child Labor (Prohibition and Regulation) Act of 1986. Using data from employment surveys conducted before and after the ban, and using age restrictions that determined who the ban applied to, we show that child wages decrease and child labor increases after the ban. These results are consistent with a theoretical model building on the seminal work of Basu and Van (1998) and Basu (2005), where families use child labor to reach subsistence constraints and where child wages decrease in response to bans, leading poor families to utilize more child labor.
MAX Mosley has just won yet another court case about that sadomasochistic orgy he had a few years back. This time it’s against Google.
The original case was that by filming the fun and games the News of the World had breached his privacy: which seems fair enough really. If you pay out to have yourself whipped then you might expect that you’ve a right not to be filmed as it happens.
NIGERIAN scammers have found a way to reach Lottery winners and recipients of General Goodboy’s largesse: messages in bottles.
Tom Fenton, from Caversham, Berkshire, spotted bottles bobbin in the River Thames. He fished them out. Inside each were notes:
“Dear Friend, I am pleased that this letter has reached you safely. I was given your name as an honourable and upright person to do business with.
“Let me introduce myself; I am Umsloppogas Adinga a barrister working in the Nigerian inheritance court and have been assigned to the estate of a Mr Bates who has left an unclaimed estate totalling £4,500,000. If left, the money would revert to the government and I want to get the money safely to a western bank account. If you will allow me to use your bank account for this purpose, I would be happy to render 10 per cent of the estate to you as a fee for helping me with this transaction.
“If you are happy to help me with this, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your details so that we can progress this and once you have paid any fees necessary the money can be transferred to your account. May the lord bless our business arrangements. Yours faithfully, Barrister Adinga (aka Impro)”
Did these cries for help bob all the way to the River Thames from Nigeria, fighting against the currents to head upstream? Is this epic journey a sign of God’s will?
Much to debate, especially how anyone without email and internet connection can reach Barrister Adinga? We’d suggest cramming fistfuls of cash into the toilet and hitting the flush. With a following wind and luck. he’ll get the messages he so richly deserves…
I’VE just realised that I was interviewed about the Call of Duty game back a while. They wanted to know how realistic was the plot point in the game where the Chinese exploited their monopoly of rare earths production.
Complete bollocks was my simple response. Here’s the set up:
Blockbuster video game Black Ops II last year enthralled gamers, with its premise that the world could be brought to the brink of war over China’s dominance of rare earth minerals (REM).
The premise is based on the scarcity of these minerals which are used for, among many other things, powerful batteries, camera lenses, MRI scanners, modern electronics, such as iPods, TVs and computers, and for renewable energies, such as solar panels and wind turbines, meaning they are integral to modern life.
Although obviously far fetched, at its inception Black Op II’s narrative didn’t seem so implausible. For many years, China had been responsible for producing 97% of all REMs. In recent years it has been known to use its monopoly of the industry as a geopolitical weapon, and to drive up the price of REMs. However, more recently China’s dominance has diminished and in November last year, the country closed its largest mine, Baotou Steel mine, in a bid to maintain falling prices.
As a direct result of China’s tactics, the exact opposite to Black Op II’s narrative has occurred – the world hasn’t fought China for its REM riches, but found its own.