Money in the news and how you are going to pay and pay and pay
There’s a few things about the reaction to the news which have struck me, so I thought I’d jot my notes down.
THE Mail is reporting that Eric Schmidt, the multi-billionaire chairman of Google, has a penchant for shagging around a bit.
Yet today The Mail on Sunday can reveal that 58-year-old Eric Schmidt, Google’s executive chairman, does fiercely protect one thing: his own private life, which is as colourful and complex as the ever-changing ‘Google doodle’ which pops up each time the search engine is launched.
In the past few years, the unlikely sex symbol with thinning hair and pockmarked skin has embarked on a string of affairs with younger women, including a vivacious TV presenter who dubbed him ‘Dr Strangelove’, a leggy blonde public relations executive and a sexy Vietnamese concert pianist.
THIS is one of those newspaper pieces where you have to check that the people are still living on the same planet as the rest of us. They’re talking about whether Spotify is paying enough in royalties to the musicians who produce the work. Yet they manage to miss the most basic point about the whole subject:
Spotify is selling a lie, though. In this post-Napster world, the pressure is on for new independent artists to have their music sit alongside massive acts – but we’re not getting anything back. We are told that it’s good exposure, and will lead to increased album and ticket sales, but this simply isn’t the case.
THIS absurd tax story is brought to you by The Independent:
The standard rate of corporation tax in the UK is 24 per cent of a company’s profit. The F1 teams tend to avoid this because they spend all of the money they receive in a bid to boost their chances on track. Breaking even or making a loss means that they don’t need to pay tax as there is no profit for it to be charged on.
ARCHITECT Laura Jane Clark has transformed these ancient Crystal Palace Parade underground toilets (built: 1929; closed in the 1980s) into a 600 square foot home.
She bought he lavs for £20,000, invested £65,000 and now owns an underground home that boasts a few original fixtures and fittings, notably the public health warning sign for VD.
THE seductive idiocy of gambling on dumb luck: Chris Dillow reviews:
Jordi Brandts and colleagues got a group of [fourth-year finance] students to predict a sequence of five coin tosses, and then selected the best and the worst predictor. They then asked other subjects to bet on whether the best and worst predictor could predict another five coin tosses. The subjects were told that they would bet on the worst predictor from the first round, unless they paid to switch to the best predictor.
82% of subjects paid to make the switch.
But of course, there is no such thing as an ability to predict the toss of a coin. Most subjects, then, saw skill where there was only luck. And, what’s more, they were willing to spend good money to back this daft opinion.
Wonder what the experts say..?
THIS is really rather good in The Guardian. Further evidence that the people who produce it just don’t understand numbers.
There’s a piece cooing over a new method of producing hydrogen. Basically, if we boil up some plants then we can stop using that nasty petrol and Gaia will be saved. Which is great, if it’s true:
In 2011, the US consumed 134bn gallons (507bn litres) of gasoline, but “with our technology, just 700m pounds [317,500 tonnes] of biomass would be enough to replace the whole yearly [gasoline] production,” says Zhang. The last official assessments estimate the availability of crop residues for biomass in the US to be about 157m tonnes per year.
AUSTIN Mitchell’s Tax Rate Is Lower Than That Of The Prince Of Wales….
A fact which makes his comments in the Commons yesterday really rather interesting.
Mitchell announced that the Prince of Wales pays tax at a lower rate than the poor do. He reached this conclusion by doing something fairly interesting:
Austin Mitchell said that the Prince’s accounts show that he paid less direct and indirect taxes as a percentage of income that the “bottom quartile of households” in Britain.
WE all need someone to blame sometimes. As long as it isn’t ourselves. And one lawyer is suing Apple over his porn addiction, like he couldn’t stop watching bongo films all by himself.
Chris Sevier claims to have become addicted to adult sites after ‘accidentally’ typing ‘fuckbook’ rather than “facebook’ when using Safari.
The dirty bugger has now filed a complaint against the company at the Tennessee Supreme Court, blaming his addiction on the lack of a porn filter on the browser.
THE latest is the row about how the royalty streams from Spotify are too low turns up in The Guardian. As you might expect from that paper there’s a great deal of indignation and not a lot of light and sense.
As background, Thom Yorke has demanded that Spotify no longer play his songs as he thinks they offer a really bad deal to musicians. So, The G went out and found someone who agreed:
ASIANA Airlines will sue the TV station that reported on the accident that saw three passengers killed (two have been named as Ye Mengyuan, 16, and Wang Linjia, 17) and scores more injured when one of it jets crashed into the tarmac at San Francisco airport.
Reports suggest that the 777 descended too fast, causing the tail of the airliner to strike a sea wall.
The pilot was Lee Kang Kuk.
Yoon Young Doo, Asiana’s CEO, said the crash was not down to mechanical failure.
OR, in this case, platinum and other valuable metals:
One of the country’s biggest street cleaning firms has announced it is to “mine” the sweepings it collects from roads and pavements, in search of gold and other precious metals.
Veolia Environmental Services believes it can find at least £1 million worth of materials like platinum, palladium and rhodium from the muck swept up from Britain’s streets each year.
ACCORDING to 1980s pop culture stereotypes, anyone who likes computers is compensating for being a socially clueless nerd who cannot get laid. Kudos to pop culture for evolving beyond that, but why the hell are today’s gamer boys trying so hard to revive old stereotypes?
For over a week now, male gamers have been freaking out over news that a woman— 19-year Microsoft veteran Julie Larson-Green — has been named the new head of the Xbox division. Not that the company is any feminist utopia (or dystopia, depending on your preference); it’s the same Xbox which, just last month, got called out by Anita Sarkeesian for introducing its new line of games and “revealing to us exactly zero games featuring a female protagonist for the next generation”.
Estate agency writes the best property blurb ever – ‘Due to the owner’s hobby, we are unable to take internal photographs’
YOU looking to buy a 3-bed semi-detached house on Eastcroft Road, West Ewell, for £337,950? McCann’s estate agents, on Epsom High Street, has just the thing. Want to see inside?
Sorry. You can’t. Why? Well the estate agency says:
“Due to the owners hobby, we are unable to take internal photographs”
This is how you market a property. You create a mystery. Now we call want to look inside. Anyone know what’s there? Is “internal photographs” a clue?
I ASSUME that we all actually know this by now, that you cannot keep things secret on the internet? At least, we should all have learnt it from the revelations by Edward Snowden I think, no? That the only truly secure computer is one that’s not connected to anything at all?
It would appear that the Russians have worked this out:
In the wake of the US surveillance scandal revealed by the US whistleblower Edward Snowden, Russia is planning to adopt a foolproof means of avoiding global electronic snooping: by reverting to paper.
The Federal Guard Service (FSO), a powerful body tasked with protecting Russia’s highest-ranking officials, has recently put in an order for 20 Triumph Adler typewriters, the Izvestiya newspaper reported.
BOOKS are not just objects to buy and trade. The BBC reports on a ruling that Apple ”conspired with publishers to fix the price of electronic books”.
And those are the electronic books that thanks to convoluted copyright rules you are not permitted to pass on to friends, as you can with an actual paper book.
A SURVEY by Ipsos MORI for the Royal Statistical Society and King’s College London looks at scare stories and the facts behind them.
These are the popular misperceptions:
Fear: 15% of girls under 16 get pregnant each year
Fact: 0.6% % do.
THE Wall Street Journal thinks Egypt needs a General Pinochet
And this has predictably outraged just about everyone else:
Egyptians would be lucky if their new ruling generals turn out to be in the mold of Chile’s Augusto Pinochet, who took over power amid chaos but hired free-market reformers and midwifed a transition to democracy.
What’s wrong with that of course is that Pinochet overthrew a democtratically elected President (Allende), tortued and murdered and then, when age caught up with him, brought back that democracy. Sorta.
What’s right with it is something more subtle and well expressed by Fraser Nelson here:
All this has been established by Hernando de Soto, a Peruvian economist who travelled to Egypt to investigate the causes of the Arab Spring. His team of researchers found that Bouazizi had inspired 60 similar cases of self-immolation, including five in Egypt, almost all of which had been overlooked by the press. The narrative of a 1989-style revolution in hope of regime change seemed so compelling to foreigners that there was little appetite for further explanation. But de Soto’s team tracked down those who survived their suicide attempts, and the bereaved families. Time and again, they found the same story: this was a protest for the basic freedom to own and acquire ras el mel, or capital.
HAVE we been taken over by some alien race of puritans or something? They’re telling us today that having a long shower is a “waste”. One that we should righteously avoid:
An average shower lasts seven-and-a-half minutes, yet cutting just a minute off that time would save British households £215 million on energy bills each year, the report said.
TWO stories that show quite how insane people are becoming over this corporate tax dodging stuff. Both, of course, from the Mail. The paper that can indeed read the zeitgeit but never quite get the details correct.
The first, about Starbucks:
Starbucks’ UK sales during the year rose 4 per cent to £413.4million – the biggest increase since 2008.
But the company made a loss of £30.4million – after paying £26.5million to overseas subsidiaries in ‘royalty payments’.
It also paid £1.8million to other Starbucks companies as interest payments on loans made between divisions.
YOU’VE got to hand it to the campaigners: they can get newspapers to print the most godawful rubbish these days. The latest complaint seems to be that a company is paying all the tax that is due. What Horrors!
Downing Street faces more flak over company tax arrangements after it emerged that a major Government contractor is funnelling profits into an offshore haven.
Telereal Trillium has a £3.2 billion contract to manage buildings such as job centres for the Department for Work and Pensions. It also manages property used by the DVLA.
While the company paid full UK corporation tax last year, it funnelled £163 million of its post-tax profits in the form of share dividends into a parent company based in the British Virgin Islands where there is a zero rate of income and corporation tax.
THIS has to be the most insane side effect of the hysteria over climate change yet: we’re all supposed to kit ourselves out with diesel generators:
NHS hospitals are being asked to cut their power demand from the National Grid as part of a government attempt to stave off power blackouts, which the energy watchdog Ofgem warns could arrive as early as 2015.
According to one energy company, four hospitals have already signed up to a deal under which they will reduce demand at peak times by using diesel-fired generators.
SOME scientists are working on the idea that we do you know. Fortunately, they’ve really not grasped an important part about the world that we live in:
American families may soon be using waterless toilets and recycling their urine, according to new research.
Chemical engineers at the University of Florida have been looking at ways to extract phosphorus – a life-sustaining element – from urine, before it enters the sewage system and becomes diluted.
Since estimates suggest that phosphorous – which occurs as phosphate rocks and is mined for crop fertilizer – could be exhausted in the next 50 to 100 years, urine recycling may be the key to conserving the non-renewable resource in the future.
SO, someone’s gone and had a look at the Apple UK tax filings and once again we find that the company has paid no UK corporation tax whatever. Which really shouldn’t some as all that much of a surprise:
The US technology giant used tax deductions from share awards to employees to help wipe out the corporation tax liabilities of its UK businesses.
Accounts filed by one of Apple’s two main UK divisions, Apple Retail UK Ltd, showed the company made a pre-tax profit of £16m on sales of almost £1bn in the year to September 29.
Another subsidiary, Apple (UK) Ltd, made a pre-tax profit of £43.8m on sales of £93m, according to accounts filed at Companies House, while a third, Apple Europe, made a pre-tax profit of £8m.
However, the company offset tax deductions relating to share schemes of £27.7m against its corporation tax liabilities in the UK. The move also enabled it to claim a tax credit of £3.8m to carry forward to future years. Experts have also suggested Apple’s total sales in the UK are far higher, as many are logged elsewhere.
THE Guardian’s been lambasting any and every one who doesn’t pay the amount of tax that they think they should. But of course, we find there is hypocrisy there:
The events and magazines company Top Right Group ran up a corporation tax bill of just £200,000 despite making a pre-tax profit of £186.2m last year.
Top Right, owned by Guardian Media Group and Apax Partners, landed a huge one-off windfall of £166.1m after selling its motoring research arm, CAP. Its chief financial officer, Mandy Gradden, told The Independent the profits on the sale were “exempt from tax under the substantial shareholding exemption which is available to every company in the UK”.