Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Alternative Proverbs (1)

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. Teach a man to program and he can buy all the fish he needs as well as Playstations, beer and hookers.

Monday, 27 June 2011

More to This Than Meets They Eye?

Former Justice Secretary Jack Straw is calling for motor insurance companies to stop selling motorists' details to personal injury lawyers without permission.
The Blackburn MP described the soaring cost of insurance - caused by referrals to 'no win, no fee' firms for up to £1,000 a time - as "a racket".
Writing in The Times today, he said: "The quicker it's ended, the better it will be for the law-abiding motorist."
Mr Straw was alerted to the problem by constituent Phil Riley, who was "bombarded with texts and personal calls" following a minor "fender bender" in which he suffered no injury.
Phil Riley happens to be Jack Straw's election agent.

Films where the 3rd one is the best in the Series

OK, here's a challenge for any readers... Which film series were produced where the 3rd film was the best?

I think Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade may be the best 3rd film in a series, but I still think that Raiders of the Lost Ark tips it. I also quite like Return of the Jedi, but it ain't as good as the 1st two.

The only one that I think might deserve it is Return of the King, which was grander than the originals.

Any thoughts?

BBC Bias Over Roads

From the BBC:-

Two short lengths of road are about to open at a combined cost of £1bn. They represent a last hurrah for expensive road projects in an era of cost-cutting.

At a time of austerity, the idea of spending more than half a billion pounds on a five-mile stretch of road might seem strange to some. But the M74 extension is about to open in Glasgow at a cost of £657m, which works out at £131m per mile or £75,000 a yard (£80,000 a metre).

Go on, try and find an article anywhere on the BBC where a writer talks about the idea of spending billions on HS2 as "strange".

The most expensive road per mile is the Limehouse Link. The 1.1 mile (1.8 km) tunnel in London's Docklands opened in 1993 at a cost £293m. Adjusted for one measure of inflation that would be £445m or £230,000 per yard (£250,000 per metre). It was designed and built in seven years and at the time was the second biggest engineering project in Europe after the Channel Tunnel.
"It was almost insane," says Sir Peter Hall, Bartlett professor of planning at University College London. "But Margaret Thatcher would stop at nothing to get the Isle of Dogs developed." The price tag can be explained by the fact it had to avoid other tunnels and a river basin and incorporate a junction within the tunnel.
Ah yes, the left's favourite old witch. You can use words like "insane" around Thatcher. Of course, the Jubilee Line extension had to do similar things and cost 10 times more, but no-one's calling Blair that.
The advent of the road protest movement - personified by Swampy at the Newbury bypass protests of the 1990s - showed that attitudes had changed. Governments saw roads as potentially controversial and took seriously the arguments against.
Sadly, because they believed that somehow, a few NIMBYs and swampies actually represented the people. I remember what it was like going from Oxford to Portsmouth pre-Newbury bypass, and the word "insanity" summed up what you had. About 60 miles of dual-carriageway on the major link between the midlands and the south, with a bottleneck of about 2 miles in the middle.

People still like roads. The numbers spell this out.
Nowadays the motorway is more likely to be associated with long tailbacks than speed, as summed up by Chris Rea's song about the M25: "This ain't no upwardly mobile freeway, oh no, this is the road to Hell."
More leftist anti-road propaganda. The fact is that while the M25 ain't perfect, I've actually tried the alternatives like the North Circular (for a laugh) and, I would never go back on it.

The Mash Nails the Olympics

We will be releasing a million tickets some time next year, when it finally dawns on the current crop of successful applicants that they've shat away the price of a foreign holiday to watch some obsessive nobody fuck about in a canoe.
The thing with the Olympics tickets is that they're like exotic foreign holidays. People don't go to the Caribbean because the sun shines longer or the sand feels better than Spain, it's so they can show off to their friends that they aren't going to Spain. It's pure oneupmanship.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Damn, this looks good

Not NIMBYism, making the right call...

We've just found out that in the lower field from us, a developer wants to build 60 houses. I'm kinda disappointed, because it's quite a way from us to the next field (I'm on the edge of a large town) and a bit of green space would be nice.

But, I'm not going to protest it. I'm going to protest the access if they don't go via the main road (which they probably will anyway) as we live in quite a small residential street, but anyone trying to get me to go looking for newts will find themselves being told to politely fuck off.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

New Nukes
Ministers have announced plans for the next generation of UK nuclear plants.
The government confirmed a list of eight sites it deems suitable for new power stations by 2025, all of which are adjacent to existing nuclear sites.
Now, I'm perhaps giving the government a bit too much credit here, but whoever decided to release this news at the same time that the most vocal opposition are going to be in a muddy field in Somerset, stoned out of their gourds and away from their laptops was a bit of a genius.

Why Don't Labour Back LVT?

I've been pondering the question for a few days of why Labour doesn't back Land Value Tax (LVT). Consider the effect of it on the electorate:-

1) The Labour base. They would be reasonably OK with this. They live in small flats in cheap parts of cheap areas of the country. They'd be better off.
2) The floating voters (C2s). Basically unaffected by LVT.
3) Productive business owners. Would find little unwelcoming about it (and they're the businessmen that the public like).
4) The aristos and large land owners. Pissed off to hell, but they're never going to vote Labour anyway. And of course, you can get your class warfare out of this.

It would also be economically good too, encouraging growth and therefore doing good for Labour.

There's 3 possible reasons that Labour aren't doing it.
1) They're not aware of it.
2) They're too dumb to work out it's a good idea
3) The Labour Party is no longer run for blokes with flat caps and whippets, but for Guardian-reading Hampstead liberals, who are as much into homeownerism as everyone else.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Just a Thought...

Two things:-

1. We have employment laws, because otherwise, evil corporations wouldn't hire non-white people.
2. Corporations don't seem to have any problems with sending work out to India, China and The Phillipines. In effect, increasing the amount of money they pay to non-white people, far above any statutory requirement.

Now, here's what I suspect really happened about these laws (and also things like bullying laws): the state was a much bigger problem than private industry.

Let's say I'm running a company as a money-grabbing capitalist. It's completely irrational for me to discriminate on race. Forget common humanity. Even in £sd, I should be hiring the best value staff, because they'll make me richer.

The state on the other hand doesn't have such targets. Bigots can hide in places where no-one is pushing you for more productivity and get away with a lot.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Alice's Bucket List

This 15 year old girl is fighting terminal cancer and wants to do a load of things, including Swimming with Sharks, have an iPad, meet Take That and to stay in a caravan. Altogether, heart-crumbling, really.

Maybe someone reading can help:

Normal grumpiness will be restored soon.

Monday, 6 June 2011

A Ray of Sunshine In Swindon

From the Adver

Last summer the council slashed parking prices in the centre of Swindon from £1.20 for an hour and £4.80 for four hours, to £1 an hour, or £2 for four.
Now, a report coming before the cabinet on Wednesday has hailed the move a success, and the council wants to extend it permanently to stop town centre trade falling.
But it also states the cut-price parking rates take an estimated £500,000 out of council coffers each year.
The Brunel Shopping Centre says because of the move, there have been 286,000 more visitors so far in 2011, compared to the same period in 2010 when the car parking prices were still high.


The whole point of parking charges isn't about raising council funds (which mostly comes from residents anyway), it's about rationing of something in short supply. I've been into Swindon since it changed, and the car parks are pretty chocka at 2pm on Saturdays, but there's still spaces (not too many though). Therefore, the rationing is about right.

It also makes the town more competitive. Perhaps not for people in Swindon itself, but for those people half way between Swindon and elsewhere, in Faringdon or Cricklade, this might tip the decision. And those are typically people with a bit more money.