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Tuesday Open Thread

by dvx Tue Mar 6th, 2012 at 11:30:01 AM EST

Lay down your Monday and pull up a Wednesday.


Display:
Don't pay any attention to Sunday. She's in a bad mood.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Tue Mar 6th, 2012 at 11:30:57 AM EST
Politics live blog: Ed Miliband's "Made in Britain" speech and David Cameron on public service reform | Politics | guardian.co.uk

* Kirsty Walker in the Daily Mail says David Cameron will be his own bespoke iPad app to keep him up to date with government information. (Although he could, of course, save money just be reading this blog.)

At a glance, Mr Cameron will be able to keep up to date with all the latest information from across Government on his 'management dashboard'.

The application - tailor made for the PM - will produce data on polling, unemployment figures, NHS waiting lists and movements in the markets with just the touch of an iPad screen.

It will also give 'real time' news feeds from Google, Twitter and other outlets so the Prime Minister can keep up to date with events in the UK and around the world. Computer programmers inside the Cabinet Office have been working for the past few months on developing the personalised application.

According to reports, the cost of producing the software is estimated to have hit £20,000.

Or instead, we could offer him a subscription to ET for... say, half that amount.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Mar 6th, 2012 at 11:44:13 AM EST
Cameron isn't trying hard enough. If he'd been on the ball he could have had this app developed for nothing by unemployed IT experts.

I'm impressed that it's taken months and cost £20,000 though.

I expect that included a lot of meetings and tea drinking.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Mar 6th, 2012 at 12:14:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ThatBritGuy:
I expect that included a lot of meetings and tea drinking.

And somebody's cousin?

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman

by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Tue Mar 6th, 2012 at 12:20:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I've been looking at app dev. for a project.

£20,000 is what one of the trendy firms will quote you for a "hello, world" iPad app...

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Tue Mar 6th, 2012 at 12:44:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Huh? Where? If they're getting paid that much, I want to know where they are.

And if you need app dev for a project, talk to me - I can do it for rather more reasonable rates. (Seriously.)

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Mar 6th, 2012 at 01:49:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Shoxton...

(Shoreditch + Hoxton)

The client rather cooled on the idea after that - they were really keen on hanging out with some Shoxton types.

If I can redirect the goldfish attention levels, I'll drop you a line.

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Tue Mar 6th, 2012 at 02:11:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I expect that included a lot of meetings and tea drinking.

That's the problem, then.  Real Programmers® drink Tab, Mountain Dew, or coffee.

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot

by ATinNM on Tue Mar 6th, 2012 at 02:18:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There's better stuff than that on ET, charge him £30K.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Mar 6th, 2012 at 12:20:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]

We still have to decide, like during the First Council of Nicaea, if they are made of the same substance (homoousios), of a similar substance (homoiousios), or of a different substance (anomoios). Maybe a referendum...

By the way, Le Pen was born in La Trinité sur Mer...

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

by Melanchthon on Tue Mar 6th, 2012 at 12:22:44 PM EST
A possibly Germany-enabled vid of Jon Stewart putting the smackdown on Rush.

Of course, Jon was 20 years after the great Bill Hicks dropped a load on Limbaugh. That crater is still smoking.



keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Mar 6th, 2012 at 01:53:00 PM EST
Talking of Jon Stewart, John Oliver interviewed the Palestinian "ambassador" to the UN a few days ago. No youtube link yet, but you can see it on 972mag.
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Tue Mar 6th, 2012 at 02:27:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Excellent!

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Mar 6th, 2012 at 02:35:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww... terrific!

'tis strange I should be old and neither wise nor valiant. From "The Maid's Tragedy" by Beaumont & Fletcher
by Wife of Bath (kareninaustin at g mail dot com) on Tue Mar 6th, 2012 at 03:51:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In the last episode our hero tried in vain to get to the lightbulb in the oven, but was hindered by a stubborn glass thing that would not unscrew. The collective hive mind of ET also had a go at it, except for a certain part that preferred lightbulb-jokes.

And now, the conclusion of the exiting tale of the changing of the oven lightbulb.

After mailing the manufacturer and getting the recomendation to use tongue-and-groove pliers (which I had already tried, but without result) I realised that I live in a rental. So before I did something that destroyed the glass and got glass shards all over the oven I decided to give the landlord a chance to fix it. Ta-da! The super was here today and used his pliers and, well, superior muscle strenght and now the light shines again in my oven.

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!

by A swedish kind of death on Tue Mar 6th, 2012 at 01:53:43 PM EST
As an aging teenager i was often "farmed out" to our neighbor's farm for manual labor. Masquerading as a buddhist scholar, the farmer used to say, "If force don't work, ya ain't usin' enough."

Sometimes he was right.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin

by Crazy Horse on Tue Mar 6th, 2012 at 02:36:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Along with a little WD-40.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Tue Mar 6th, 2012 at 03:30:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And duct tape.

(Or "duck tape" as the unwashed heathens would have it.)

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot

by ATinNM on Tue Mar 6th, 2012 at 06:44:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We have too few supers these days, sadly.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Mar 6th, 2012 at 02:37:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Brute force and ignorance beats the the ET hive mind. Who Could Have Predicted?

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Mar 6th, 2012 at 02:41:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A swedish kind of death:
I decided to give the landlord a chance to fix it

You should be ashamed of yourself. That's the sort of cop-out collectivist mentality that's destroying Europe.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Mar 7th, 2012 at 03:29:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Iceland adopting the Canadian dollar? - MarketWatch

PORT TOWNSEND, Wash. (MarketWatch) -- Will Iceland get loonie? asked one major Canadian business publication last week. Is that troubled, isolated nation about to shun the European Union and the euro and adopt the Canadian dollar as its currency?

Iceland's fear of the euro collapsing has caused one of Iceland's political parties to openly suggest the idea of going Canadian and dropping the idea of EU membership and currency. (And besides, the just-released see-through Canadian plastic bank notes are waycool.)

Ever since Canadian Business magazine broke the story of Iceland possibly adopting the loonie, the Canadian media has been having a field day with the story. It probably won't happen, but a stable economy (the kind Iceland wants again) needs a stable currency. Like Canada's.

The Bank of Canada, for its part, says it will be glad to sell Iceland all the Canadian notes and coins it wants. And that's all it'll say; it doesn't comment on other countries' monetary policies.

Iceland's krona has taken a battering since the collapse of the country's three major banks in 2007. The country is still struggling to recover from that speculative disaster, and the krona is still being called a glorified poker chip. Iceland's economy may be off life support, but it's still in serious condition.

The krona is roughly 40% from its 2007 peak. Capital controls put in place after the crisis restrict the flow of money into and out of Iceland and keep the currency stable. But if the controls are removed too soon, the krona could crash again, while keeping them for too long discourages foreign investment. Not a good situation.

Joining the EU, which Iceland saw as a way to attain a stable currency, doesn't look like much of a lifeboat these days. Fellow northerner Canada looks like a viable Plan B to some in Iceland these days.

Aside from worries about EU stability, many Icelanders are concerned about the loss of autonomy that comes with joining, particularly if it means less control over their prized fishing industry.

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Tue Mar 6th, 2012 at 02:10:00 PM EST
I take it they have some sort of objection to the also hyper stable Norwegian Krone.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Mar 6th, 2012 at 02:44:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If the Icelanders decide to dump the krona they will be more likely to move to the Norwegian krone than the Canadian dollar.  There's a thousand years of cultural and social ties to Norway, Icelanders have warm fuzzies for Norway and Norwegians, and Norway shares the Icelandic determination to protect their fisheries.

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot
by ATinNM on Tue Mar 6th, 2012 at 03:11:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I take it some Icelandic parties are nuts. Why would they prefer to be have another currency when they so well have demonstrated the advantages of having their own.

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!
by A swedish kind of death on Tue Mar 6th, 2012 at 03:28:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Stable currency?

Someone should tell them that the oil induced appreciation of Loonie is fueling the return of manufacturing that had gone from the US to Canada when the Loonie was weak during the 1990s. That's one of the things that I think was misrepresented in the Canadian press during the whole flap over the closing of a the Caterpillar plant in Hamilton, ON at the same time that there was hiring going on at the new plant in Indiana.

People talked about the wage differential between $30/hr Canadian against the new wage rate of $14/hr at the Indiana plant as though they had always been roughly equal.  Truth of the matter is that if the exchange rate is the same as it was back in 2002, that that $30 Canadian wage would only come up to $19.11 in US dollars.  With the added health care cost on the US side, it's clear that much of what's driving the outsourcing of Canadian jobs to the US is the rising loonie, which makes Canada a lot less cheap in American dollar terms. And this only looks to continue as oil sands production increases.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Tue Mar 6th, 2012 at 03:22:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So the drama of Greece with its problems tremendously aggravated by lack of control of its currency isn't enough to scare the Icelanders???
by asdf on Tue Mar 6th, 2012 at 03:29:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Open Thread - very entertaining and interesting.

Mirta and I were in Kaua'i for my oldest nephew's wedding. The first 3 days there were very pleasant, then it rained buckets for 2 days. My brother and his family all live in central Texas. One report said that we had 14 inches of rain, which is about what Austin had last year in total. Of course, Mirta and I are used to it in the Pacific NW, but the Texans were not. Funny thing was that the temperature varied little - 16 to 21, night or day, rain or sun.

Now we're in Honolulu. Had a deluge and a nice lightning show last night. Looking OK for some sight-seeing today and tomorrow.

As to turbodiesels (yesterday's OT), we have a Jetta TDI wagon. We average 44 mpg on the road, but we drive the speed limit. Town driving is probably mid-30s mpg, but, since we're rural, highway driving dominates. We'd get higher mileage, but my wife wants automatic trans only. Also, the wagon shape creates turbulent airflow - you can tell by the amount of crap that builds up on the rear window.

They solved the particulate problem (no diesel smell either) with some sort of capture system apparently. It passes California standards easily.

We like our car, except that they 'powered it up' - probably to increase their U.S. market share. The older TDIs here get 55 mpg. The more recent models have way too much horsepower. I can hit 80 mph from 55 in less than 2 seconds, but it's not needed in the least. (I just do it for fun occasionally when I'm passing someone.)

As to speeding in the Pacific NW, the rule is 5 mph more than the highway limit to avoid police problems. Interestingly, most people drive closer to the limit than that. I'm fairly mainstream at about 1 mph over.

paul spencer

by paul spencer (spencerinthegorge AT yahoo DOT com) on Tue Mar 6th, 2012 at 02:10:12 PM EST
In the UK where we have a 70mph limit on motorways the speed "barrier to entry" for the outside (fast) lane on the motorway is 80 minimum, sometimes 85. If you ain't doing it, you're in everybody's way.

I always obey 30 mph limits, I might drift over a bit downhill but generally I'd rather do 25 than 33. But in a 40 I'd get up to 45 before I worry and thereon up.

But it's years since I've had a car that's remotely economical at 70 so I don't go there

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Mar 6th, 2012 at 02:39:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Dirt on the back window isn't necessarily a bad thing from the aerodynamic viewpoint. Unless you want the car to be 10 meters long, you have to cut off the tail somewhere. Kamm worked out the math in the 1930s...

If you want to optimize your fuel economy, pump up your tires and drive more slowly.

by asdf on Tue Mar 6th, 2012 at 03:40:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course, it's a bit lighter, too. Yes, I can get 48 mpg if it's a 55 mph limit, but it's probably not smart to go 55, when the tractor-trailers are going 62. Tires are at VW's recommended pressure. I'll probably stick with that.

paul spencer
by paul spencer (spencerinthegorge AT yahoo DOT com) on Tue Mar 6th, 2012 at 09:38:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Another interesting installment of posts about small firms, large firms, employment and investment:

Is small business a Good Thing? | Flip Chart Fairy Tales

Small business is, apparently, the Backbone of Britain. And the Backbone of Europe. And the Backbone of America. And the Backbone of Australia. If I could speak another language, I could probably find lots of other places that small business is the backbone of.

We like small businesses. They are much less stuffy than the boring old corporates. They are swift and nimble, unlike the lumbering bureaucracies which take ages to make simple decisions. Small businesses are efficient and decisive because they can't afford to carry fat. Who'd want to `work for the man' in a big dinosaur company when they could be working for a swashbuckling dynamic micro business?

The reality is a bit more complex, though. Small and medium-sized firms, defined by the EU as those with fewer than 250 employees, are actually not that efficient at all. They tend to have lower levels of productivity than larger firms. As the Economist explains:

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Tue Mar 6th, 2012 at 02:13:23 PM EST
that sounds like a "knows the price of everything and the value of nothing" argument.

Lots of small firms create an entrepreneurial environment which throws up the large growing companies. Cut off the supply and everything stagnates.

Everything in balance grasshopper

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Mar 6th, 2012 at 02:47:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well - it's much easier to industrialise wealth extraction at larger scales.

It's also worth asking how many 'productive' employees were off-shored to happy lands of cheap wages and minimal employer obligation.

And of course 'growth' isn't always a social benefit. WalMart may be 'efficient', but taken as a whole - especially when you include the political leanings of the family who own it - it's hardly a social good overall.

Especially not for some of its suppliers.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Mar 6th, 2012 at 03:28:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Smoking and health 50 years on from landmark report

Fifty years ago on Tuesday, a key report was published that marked the beginning of a change in our relationship with smoking.

Although there had been previous warnings linking smoking and lung cancer, it was the 1962 study by the Royal College of Physicians, Smoking and Health, that really broke through to the public and politicians.

Attitudes in the intervening 50 years have changed enormously.

But in 1962, very few people took the dangers posed by smoking cigarettes seriously.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 6th, 2012 at 02:33:25 PM EST
Police Drone Crashes into Police

The Montgomery County (Texas) Sheriff's Office had a big day planned. After becoming the first department in the country with its own aerial drone ($300,000!), they were ready for a nice photo op. And then the drone crashed into a SWAT team.

The Examiner reports a painfully contrived police action-athon:



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 6th, 2012 at 03:26:20 PM EST


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