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Money | Anorak - Part 18

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Money in the news and how you are going to pay and pay and pay

Is The Resurgence Of The Clap About To Reverse The Sexual Revolution?

WE’RE all used to the idea of getting our jollies fairly regularly these days. Certainly it’s all very different from Victorian times when it was supposedly marriage, celibacy or prostitution. But what is it that actually caused the change?

 

 

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Some have pointed to the invention of the Pill, the first simple and reliable contraceptive but it’s possible that we’re about to find out whether that is true. For gonorrhea is making a comeback and what happens next will tell us a great deal about what happened last time around:

Gonorrhea has taken many forms over the last few decades. The strain that people acquire today isn’t the same one that previous generations had to deal with. In fact, it might not be the same strain that infected people a little over 10 years ago. That’s because gonorrhea, a sexually transmitted disease (STD), has become resistant to most of the antibiotics that we have used to combat it over the last three decades. That’s right: penicillin and various tetracyclines have all stopped working against the most prevalent strains. This means that today’s gonorrhea patient has very few treatment options left.

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Posted: 15th, March 2014 | In: Money, Reviews | Comment


Polly Toynbee Should Realise That It’s Just Great When Bankers Get Bonuses

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THE reason being that when bankers get bonuses then we get most of it flowing right back into the Treasury in the form of taxes. Which makes this complaint of hers really quite remarkably stupid:

Barclays, HSBC, RBS and Lloyds are paying themselves £5.5bn in bonuses this year. How much is that? About a penny and a half off the income tax, or the cost of the BBC plus the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, and museums. Look how strenuously the bankers are avoiding the EU’s new rules limiting bonuses to a stingy 100% of salary, or 200% with shareholder approval. Astonishingly, George Osborne is taking legal action against the EU to try to get this lifted. The Bank of England’s plan announced yesterday – a six-year period in which bonuses can be clawed back in the case of serious wrongdoing – would be hard to effect, says the High Pay Centre. Instead, slithering round the law, the banks re-badge bonuses as “monthly allowances”, while the regulator turns a blind eye: ignoring the spirit of the law is regulatory capture – and we know where that led last time.

Of course, Barclay’s and the other banks are not paying themselves anything at all: they’re paying the staff their wages. And we can make all sorts of complaints about how much they get, for sure, but to complain about tax is simply ludicrous. For here’s what happens when the banks pay those bonuses. First, out of the total amount of the bonus, the government gets 13.8% of the cash in employers’ national insurance. Then, out of what’s left, it gets 45% in income tax and 2 % in employee’s national insurance. Let’s call that 55% or so in total, just to do a bit of rounding.

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Posted: 14th, March 2014 | In: Money | Comment


Hurrah! The CIA Spies On The Senate!

THIS is excellent news really, that the CIA has been spying on the people in the Senate over in the US. OK, in one sense it’s a bit naughty as the CIA isn’t supposed to ever do anything domestically. And the Yanks also tend to frown a bit on one part of the Executive part of government  trying to interfere with a part of the Legislative side of government. They’re supposed to be quite different. But this can still be seen as cheering news:

A bitter dispute between the CIA and the U.S. Senate committee that oversees it burst into the open on Tuesday when the committee chairwoman accused the agency of spying on Congress and possibly breaking the law.

Veteran Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein said the CIA had searched computers used by committee staffers examining CIA documents when researching the agency’s counter-terrorism operations and its use of harsh interrogation methods such as simulated drowning or “waterboarding.”

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Posted: 12th, March 2014 | In: Money, Politicians, Reviews | Comment


Scamtastic: How Absolutely Glorious About Ponzicoin

THESE people really should have known just given the name of the scheme. Quite the best story about alternative currencies today:

This is pure comedy gold. Operator of a bitcoin ponzi website has decided to pull a runner without paying people out:

http://ponzicoin.co/

Reactions: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=474730.1240

I usually don’t laugh at other people’s misfortune but it’s kind of hard not to laugh when someone knowingly invests in a ponzi scheme, loses money and then gets upset.

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Posted: 11th, March 2014 | In: Money | Comment


Did Mt. Gox Go Bankrupt Or Do They Still Have The Bitcoins?

Dorian S. Nakamoto listens during an interview with the Associated Press, Thursday, March 6, 2014 in Los Angeles. Nakamoto, the man that Newsweek claims is the founder of Bitcoin, denies he had anything to do with it and says he had never even heard of the digital currency until his son told him he had been contacted by a reporter three weeks ago.

Dorian S. Nakamoto listens during an interview with the Associated Press, Thursday, March 6, 2014 in Los Angeles. Nakamoto, the man that Newsweek claims is the founder of Bitcoin, denies he had anything to do with it and says he had never even heard of the digital currency until his son told him he had been contacted by a reporter three weeks ago.

MATTERS at the Bitcoin exchange in Japan, Mt. Gox, are getting ever murkier: ever more fascinatingly interesting in fact.  For hackers have now broken into the exchange and gobbled up a lot of the internal documents. And, of course, printed them out on the internet. You can see part of it here.

To give you the background to the story. Bitcoin is the new supper must have shiny technology. It’s essentially a new form of money or, if you prefer, a new way of making payments. You really only need on piece of technical information to grasp the point of it all.

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Posted: 10th, March 2014 | In: Money, Reviews | Comment


Charles Koch Of Koch Industries Hates Cronyism – Gives Son Top Job

The Koch Industries Inc. headquarters is shown Monday, Nov. 14, 2005, in Wichita, Kan. In an announcement Sunday, paper products giant Georgia-Pacific Corp., the maker of Brawny paper towels and Angel Soft tissue, is being acquired for more than $13 billion by Koch Industries Inc., the nation's second-biggest private company. (AP Photo/Larry W. Smith)

The Koch Industries Inc. headquarters is shown Monday, Nov. 14, 2005, in Wichita, Kan. In an announcement Sunday, paper products giant Georgia-Pacific Corp., the maker of Brawny paper towels and Angel Soft tissue, is being acquired for more than $13 billion by Koch Industries Inc., the nation’s second-biggest private company. (AP Photo/Larry W. Smith)

 

CHARLES de Ganahl Koch is an American businessman and philanthropist. He is co-owner, chairman of the board, and chief executive officer of Koch Industries.

In 2010, he told the Wall Street Journal: “Corporate Cronyism Harms America.”

In 2014, he added in an interview with the Wichita Business Journal:

You name it, in every industry we have this. The successful companies try to keep the new entrants down. Now that’s great for a company like ours. We make more money that way because we have less competition and less innovation. But for the country as a whole, it’s horrible. And for disadvantaged people trying to get started, it’s unconscionable in my view. I think it’s in our long-term interest, in every American’s long-term interest, to fight against this cronyism.

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Posted: 9th, March 2014 | In: Money, Reviews | Comment


Casting Call Woe: The Funniest Real Casting Calls From Casting Websites

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ANORAK’s new distraction is the Tumblr Casting Call Woe:

REAL CASTING CALLS FROM REAL CASTING WEBSITES BROUGHT TO BY THe EGLE-EYEDE @PRORESTING

Ready for your close up? Here goes:

 

Screen shot 2014-03-08 at 17.57.09 Screen shot 2014-03-08 at 17.56.23

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Posted: 8th, March 2014 | In: Key Posts, Money | Comment (1)


Old Man Who Hired Escort Surprised To See Son’s Girlfriend Arrive

OR alternatively, don’t try ordering in an escort until you’re sure that your son’s girlfriend isn’t one:

An elderly Italian man got a rather unwelcome surprise when he ordered an escort – and his son’s girlfriend turned up.

The 70-year-old from Treviso, a city in the northern region of Veneto, hired the escort from the neighbouring town of Vicenza.

But to his shock, it was his 40-year-old son’s South American girlfriend who arrived at his house, The Local reported, citing Italian newspaper Il Gazzettino.

Red-faced, the pair declined to take the encounter further and swiftly parted ways.

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Posted: 7th, March 2014 | In: Money, Strange But True | Comment


British Women Have More Leisure Than Most In Europe

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THIS is a fun little finding about how much leisure time people seem to have. It rather gives the lie to those complaints of ever greater working time that we hear so often:

It is a statistic likely to raise eyebrows in more than a few households but an international study has crowned British women among the “queens of leisure” of the western world.

A new comparison published by the OECD found that women in the UK have – or at least admit to having – more leisure time than their counterparts in any other EU country and second only to those in Norway among the world’s leading economies.

It claims that British women clock up an average of 339 minutes a day relaxing – almost 70 per cent more than those in Portugal enjoy and 61 per cent more leisure than Chinese women have.

Who would have thought it, eh? Especially when we’ve every damn columnist in the land demanding that we do something about the work life balance?

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Posted: 6th, March 2014 | In: Money, Reviews | Comment


The Idiots In LA Are Banning Vaping And E-Cigarettes Now

John Hartigan, right, proprietor of Vapeology LA, sits behind an array of electronic cigarettes at his store in Los Angeles. The Los Angeles City Council voted 14-0 to approve an ordinance to ban e-cigarette use, or "vaping" at public places where tobacco smoking is restricted.

John Hartigan, right, proprietor of Vapeology LA, sits behind an array of electronic cigarettes at his store in Los Angeles. The Los Angeles City Council voted 14-0 to approve an ordinance to ban e-cigarette use, or “vaping” at public places where tobacco smoking is restricted.

 

I THINK we’re all aware these days that smoking is bad for us. That it’s probably something we shouldn’t do for the sake of our health but then again, it is our health to use or abuse as we wish.

I think we’re all also aware that vaping, or using electronic cigarettes, is an alternative to smoking. Gives people the nicotine hit but without that cloud of toxic carcinogens to go with it. So, all other things being equal we’d probably think it’s a good idea for people to switch, from one to the other. To stop smoking, or at least smoke fewer, cigarettes and to suck on some steam containing nicotine instead.

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Posted: 5th, March 2014 | In: Money, Reviews | Comment


Surprise! Men In Pubs Target The Drunk Women! And Shirley Temple Smoked!

DEAR God this is one hell of a surprise, isn’t it?

The more drunk a woman looks in a bar, the more likely she is to be targeted by predatory men, a study has claimed.

Nine out of ten aggressive incidents in bars involved men approaching women because they look ‘easy’.

The research, published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, investigated sexual aggression in bars.

Well knock me over with a feather and all that.

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Posted: 4th, March 2014 | In: Money, Reviews | Comment


Rachel Johnson Discovers The Poor On A London Poverty Safari: London Mayor’s Sister Finds UK’s Lost Tribe

THE Times reports on Rachel Johnson, sister to London mayor Boris Johnson. She’s been on a Poverty Safari. Yes, those darling poor London wildings have been viewed:

 

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Spotter: @Fatima__Ayad

Posted: 4th, March 2014 | In: Celebrities, Money | Comment


It’s Smoking Bans That Cost Money, Not Smoking Breaks

smoking is good for you

 

WE’VE the usual suspects out today trying to tell us that smoking is very very bad indeed and all who do so must be held to account. The particular method today is to show how much production is lost by people going off on smoking breaks:

Cigarette breaks at work cost British businesses £8.4bn a year in lost productivity of smokers who disappear for a cigarette for 10 minutes four times a day, new research reveals.

Smoking breaks cost employers £1,815 a year for each full-time member of staff who lights up during working hours, according to a study for the British Heart Foundation (BHF) carried out by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR).

This is of course piffle.

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Posted: 4th, March 2014 | In: Money | Comment


Whining About Google’s Racist Doodles, A Seriously First World Problem

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THERE are indeed things wrong with this world and it behoves us all to pay attention and try to make the world a better place by solving such problems. However, whining about what Google puts in its front page as a doodle may not actually be one of these things.

Activists have accused Google of being racist and sexist in their choice of figures to create the firm’s much loved Google Doodles for.

Spark, which describes itself as a ‘girl-fueled activist movement’, said its analysis found the majority of Google’s doodles were of white males.

It said the accolade was the modern equivalent of being put on a stamp, and said ‘it’s uncommon for Google to celebrate historical women of color.’

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Posted: 28th, February 2014 | In: Money, Technology | Comment


Do Benefits Benefit The Workers Or The Employers Paying Scummy Wages?

THERE’S an argument around and about the place that paying benefits to poor people just ends up as a subsidy to the people who pay them scummy wages. The argument being that as the taxpayer is picking up part of the bill of keeping body and soul together then the employer can get away with paying peanuts.

To which my usual response has always been, well, great, let’s abolish all benefits then and see whether wages rise.

However, I’ve rather changed my mind as a result of this point:

As long as non-workers remain eligible for poverty programs, the answer is no. This is basic supply-and-demand. When the government offers free stuff to people with low incomes, the marginal benefit of work falls – and so does labor supply. When labor supply falls, hours of work go down, and wages rise. This could be very nice from the point of view of Walmart’s workers. From the point of view of Walmart’s stockholders however, it’s bad.

Not convinced? Ask yourself: “If I ran Walmart, would I favor higher unemployment benefits?” Of course not. Why not? Because higher unemployment benefits make it easier to not apply for a job at Walmart. The same goes for any government program that makes idleness less unpalatable.

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Posted: 27th, February 2014 | In: Money | Comment


Those Tax Dodging Scumbags At Zara!

WE’RE well used to hearing stories about how the tech companies, Apple, Google and the like, are dodging taxes all over Europe. But people are starting to realise that it’s not just that sector. Many other multinationals are indulging in very much the same behaviour:

Another reason for Inditex’s industry-best profit margins of almost 15 percent: the company uses the kind of tax loopholes coming under increasing scrutiny from international regulators.

In the past five years, Inditex has shifted almost $2 billion in profits to a tiny unit operating in the Netherlands and Switzerland, records show. Although that subsidiary employs only about 0.1 percent of Inditex’s worldwide workforce, it reported almost 20 percent of the parent company’s global profits last year, according to company filings.

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Posted: 26th, February 2014 | In: Money, Reviews, The Consumer | Comment


Econophysics: When Physicists Do Economics They Do It Late And Badly

THERE’S a whole new field out there called “econophysics”. It comes from the brainboxes in physics noting that they deal with chaotic systems a lot and so does economics: therefore we can apply what we know in one field in the other.

It does rather fail in one sense, for absolutely none of the physicists would agree that an economist knows damn all about quantum theory but they’re absolutely certain that a physics guy can know all about minimum wages. Odd that.

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Posted: 25th, February 2014 | In: Money | Comment


Christian Aid’s Hugely Amusing Ideas About Tax In Africa

CHRISTIAN Aid has a new report out about how tax should work in Africa. And it’s a hugely amusing report. Amusing for devotees of blinkered ideologues ignoring reality that is.

The page is here and the actual report here.

Here’s the basic problem. In this part they are correct:

After a decade of high growth, a new narrative of optimism has taken hold about Africa and its economic prospects. Alongside buoyant growth rates, there has been some poverty reduction and some positive progress in sectors such as health and education.

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Posted: 25th, February 2014 | In: Money, Reviews | Comment (1)


Special Offer: 100 Plastic Pennies For $3.49

THE economy can be saved. Keep your bitcoins – invest in plastic pennies:

pennies

Spotter: Bits and Pieces

Posted: 25th, February 2014 | In: Money, Photojournalism, The Consumer | Comment (1)


Good News: The Dying Record Industry Continues To Fleece Music Lovers And Acts For Mega Bucks

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IDIOTS keep saying the music industry is dying. Of course it isn’t. Have you seen how much money they spent on The Brits? If they’re skint, award shows would be held in a pub function room with darts trophies handed to the three remaining artists who have been daft enough to sign to a record company.

No, the record industry is doing just fine.

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Posted: 23rd, February 2014 | In: Money, Music, Reviews | Comment


Now You Can Lick Steve Jobs’ Arse!

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THIS is, of course, the moment that all Apple fanboys have been waiting for, the opportunity to get up close and personal with their now departed icon. The ability, even, to give his arse a good licking:

While Steve Jobs probably didn’t send much snail mail in his later years, the US Postal Service intends to honor the late tech icon by putting his visage on a commemorative stamp.

Stamp subjects are normally kept secret until just before printing, but the Washington Post obtained a document outing approved stamps for the next few years. The Apple co-founder’s stamp is already in design development for 2015, alongside stamps for music legends Elvis Presley and James Brown.

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Posted: 21st, February 2014 | In: Money, Technology | Comment


Paying $19 Billion For WhatsApp Will Kill Facebook

THIS will sound a little contrary, but bear with me: the purchase of WhatsApp by Facebook for $19 billion contains the seeds of what’s going to kill Facebook in the end. For it’s a sign that it’s both relatively easy to start a new messaging application and also that Facebook is going to have to keep buying up the new ones as they appear. And that way lies eventual bankruptcy.

The deal in essence is as follows:

The two men have known each other for years, but only began discussing the deal 12 days ago. They settled it for $19bn, including $4bn in cash, $12bn in Facebook shares and $3bn in restricted stock awards for WhatsApp’s founders and employees.

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Posted: 20th, February 2014 | In: Money, Technology | Comment


Sorry Folks, Raising The Minimum Wage Does Increase Unemployment

OK, so this evidence is from the US but it is pretty conclusive:

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The Congressional Budget Office has cranked through the numbers for the proposed rise in the US minimum wage and it appears that it will put 500,000 people out of work.

Once fully implemented in the second half of 2016, the $10.10 option would reduce total employment by about 500,000 workers, or 0.3 percent, CBO projects. As with any such estimates, however, the actual losses could be smaller or larger; in CBO’s assessment, there is about a two-thirds chance that the effect would be in the range between a very slight reduction in employment and a reduction in employment of 1.0 million workers.

….
The increased earnings for low-wage workers resulting from the higher minimum wage would total $31 billion, by CBO’s estimate. However, those earnings would not go only to low-income families, because many low-wage workers are not members of low-income families. Just 19 percent of the $31 billion would accrue to families with earnings below the poverty threshold, whereas 29 percent would accrue to families earning more than three times the poverty threshold, CBO estimates. Moreover, the increased earnings for some workers would be accompanied by reductions in real (inflation-adjusted) income for the people who became jobless because of the minimum-wage increase, for business owners, and for consumers facing higher prices.

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Posted: 19th, February 2014 | In: Money | Comment


How To Marry A Rich Guy

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WHAT can you do to marry a rich guy. So asked Ms Pretty on a forum:

I’m going to be honest of what I’m going to say here. I’m 25 this year. I’m very pretty, have style and good taste. I wish to marry a guy with $500k annual salary or above. You might say that I’m greedy, but an annual salary of $1M is considered only as middle class in New York. My requirement is not high. Is there anyone in this forum who has an income of $500k annual salary? Are you all married? I wanted to ask: what should I do to marry a rich person like you? Among those I’ve dated, the richest is $250k annual income, and it seems that this is my upper limit. If someone is going to move into high cost residential area on the west of New York City Garden(?), $250k annual income is not enough. I’m here humbly to ask a few questions: 1) Where do most rich bachelors hang out? (Please list down the names and addresses of bars, restaurant, gym) 2) Which age group should I target? 3) Why most wives of the riches are only average-looking? I’ve met a few girls who don’t have looks and are not interesting, but they are able to marry rich guys. 4) How do you decide who can be your wife, and who can only be your girlfriend? (my target now is to get married)
Ms. Pretty

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Posted: 19th, February 2014 | In: Money | Comments (2)


Fitbit’s Wristbands Cause Nickel Dermatitis: Just Like The Euro

THIS amused me: the new wristbands containing all sorts of lovely electronic gizmos to aid in monitoring your health actually make you ill. Fitbit, the company that makes them, apparently forgot about how you’ve got to be careful of the nickel content of something that you’re going to put onto a human being who then starts sweating:

Fitbit, a maker of wristbands that track physical fitness, says it is “helping people lead healthier, more active lives.” But complaints continue to mount from users who say Fitbit’s newest product, the Force band, is causing blisters, rashes and itchy dry patches on their wrists.

User forums on Fitbit.com, the website of the San Francisco company that also makes other wearable devices, include hundreds of comments about skin problems from wearers of the $129 Force.

One woman said she developed a burn-like red patch on her wrist that required medical treatment after wearing the wristband for seven weeks. She said Fitbit offered her a financial settlement, which she declined.

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Posted: 17th, February 2014 | In: Money, The Consumer | Comment