MPs are complaining about taxpayers subsidising the lifestyles of the rich. How much did they claim in expenses again?
3711 posts • joined 28 Feb 2007
MPs are complaining about taxpayers subsidising the lifestyles of the rich. How much did they claim in expenses again?
Yes they did:
Killed off by the ICBM.
He never said he was an archaeologist.
He might be an archaeology student in which case he can see sites from all around the world. Or he might just be an enthusiast with a passion for history.
If it's Product RED then there are always better ways of giving money to charity. In RED a product is authorised to carry the logo and a percentage (not specified) of the profits go to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Whereas you could just donate money to a charity directly and not have to pay the overheads of RED.
RED has in the past even gone so far to say that it exists to 'raise awareness' of issues. Which is largely done by giving slebs stupidly expensive goodie bags to attend an exclusive party somewhere.
I use a Kata 3n1-22 to carry a laptop and SLR equipment. Very comfortable indeed and it has plenty of high-tech cleverness including the ability to turn into a sling bag for quick access to a camera. It comes with a funky yellow rain cover and the interior is finished in the same bright yellow so no blundering around in the gloom looking for a lens cover.
Must be like interviewing Rupert Murdoch.
iCloud went down for 3 days for me a couple of weeks ago. Once again Apple said it was to do with software updates on their servers, very small number of people affected, etc.
Lucky I don't rely on it for anything vital, but why iCloud is actually an improvement on the hopeless and horrible MobileMe, the impossibly dreadful .Mac and the simply unspeakable iTools. You'd have thought they'd have either fixed it by now or taken it out the back and put a bullet through its head.
'Is her husband the same Neil Gaiman who wrote a Doctor Who episode last year?'
All of which are good reasons to only ever dig wells using high explosives.
...that's a missile silo.
Svið versus súrsaðir hrútspungar versus selshreifar
If your Icelandic is less than fluent that is:
Singed and boiled sheep's head* versus whey preserved pressed ram's testicles** versus seal flippers cured in lactic acid
* or the child-size portion of half a sheep's head
** no longer attached to the ram
If anyone is really feeling manly there is a whole menu of similar horrors served in Iceland during Þorri (late January to February) called Þorramatur. The full list is here:
The mystery of why Icelandic cooking hasn't taken the world by storm only deepens. Although I could murder some harðfiskur right now.
It took a little bit of effort to get Google calendars to sync with my Lumia (the phone needed to be set to American English for m.google.com to recognise it as a WP7), but since then it has been spookily good. Since my last experience was the 'will it? won't it?' syncing of iCal, this has been a breath of fresh air.
This is clearly nothing more than scaremongering by an organised lobby seeking to destroy our economies. Everyone knows that bacon availability has fluctuated throughout human history and in fact bacon today is almost certainly less crispy than when the Vikings settled in Greenland. Making projections like this on little more than computer models doesn't take account of Thames frost fairs or the Maunder Minimum and just because the majority of bacon experts are adamant we are heading into a crisis doesn't mean we should continue to change our behaviour. We will always be able to find more bacon so long as we ignore the Green lobby and start fracking for shale bacon.
Hold on - a 3 inch long WASP????
[Crosses another holiday destination off the map]
Ozzie boffins can now breed bigger wasps capable of dragging cane toads back to their nests to feed the wasplings - there is literally nothing that could possibly go wrong with this scenario.
Cans of surströmming are banned on flights for all too-obvious reasons.
Well-prepared hákarl can clear a restaurant. This summer a friend (foolishly) wanted to try it. Despite my protestations, and those of the restaurant owner - who said 'it's terrible!' he got his half dozen cubes of shark, picked one up on a cocktail stick and started chewing, and chewing and chewing - because not only is it appalling to taste and to smell - it has the consistency of an insole. Then the horror began, one cube fell from the cocktail stick and bounced on to the floor (and my how it bounced). You know those movies where the hand grenade rolls through a room with people diving to avoid the blast until the hero throws themself on it and grabs the lever? Like that except replace 'hand grenade' with 'shark' and 'hero' with 'plucky Icelandic waitress'.
There is something even worse, the Icelandic festival of Þorláksmessa (23rd December) features picked putrefying skate topped off with hamsatólg - melted sheep fat. Many of those who chow down on hákarl, wolf down the sheep's testicles and think nothing of sucking on the eyeball in a half-sheep's head refuse to try the skate.
Presumably the 22" phone will follow?
'and since you can't be prosecuted for something you did before it was illegal...'
Yes you can. The UK has created a number of so-called ex post facto laws including the 1991 War Crimes Act and various bits of taxation law to crack down on tax avoidance schemes. Technically the European Convention on Human Rights forbids ex post facto *criminal* laws, but some of Britain's brightest legal brains (notably Lord Denning) have said the Convention is overridden by Parliamentary Supremacy.
'Coincidentally does their IT planning bod have a name like 'Nostradamus' ?'
' Germany is opening coal plants, Spain is cutting subsidies to solar power.'
Germany is increasing its coal-fired electricity production because it is closing down its nuclear fleet and Spain is cutting subsidies to solar because its economy is - technical term approaching - fucked. Neither of these decisions have anything to do with the evidence in climate change.
'Surely the Arctic was warmer a thousand years ago when Scandinavians settled in Greenland to farm?'
The Norse didn't settle the Arctic areas of Greenland, only the very margins in the far south.
But to answer your question - the settlement was from about 980CE into an environment slightly cooler than modern Greenland, and cooling from its maximum. Even at the best it was a lousy climate and the Norse only really survived because they could import materials from Norway, Iceland and (briefly) North America. Their agricultural economy was taken from their experience of Norway and Iceland - marginal pasture and hay to see their animals through the winters. As the climate cooled the growing season collapsed and they followed it into extinction.
That so many people are prepared to jump to the new iPhone suggests they're happy to keep buying Apple products.
And that's their choice, personally I dumped iPhone because they've all been mediocre phones with poor reception and call quality.
Yep, disappointed here too.
At a guess - supply of the larger Fire and the Paperwhite are going to be limited for a few months and Amazon are concentrating on their home market. Hopefully they'll get round to remembering us before long.
Judging by the prices of their netbookalikes, Sony is going to give this an insane price which will guarantee it'll disappear almost without trace.
Hopefully we won't have to wait long for Elon Musk to unveil his crime-fighting super suit.
Another vote here for a reconditioned Thinkpad as the ideal school/uni-on-a-budget machine. Best keyboard by far and it'll survive being thrown in a bag.
Finding out that Apple wants customers to think they care only deepens the mystery of why Apple Retail is run by the ex-head of Dixons.
The Thames certainly did freeze during that period and no longer does, but much of that is down to the manmade changes to the lower river. The old London bridge caused the river to pool upstream. When it was replaced, water could flow more freely and was less likely to freeze. Likewise, the construction of the two embankments confined the river to a narrower channel which prevents freezing.
This study has one shortcoming, they've chosen one river. If they can repeat the trial with another - such as the Danube or the Elbe then the results will be much more significant.
What the author of the piece hasn't told you is that will.i.am has given several million dollars to science, technology and maths education in deprived areas of the US and UK. Whether you like his music (come on someone must) or not is a lot of money going to kids who need all the help they can.
Yes it's publicity for him, but if it means some kid might get a better education I'm all for it.
A stats team from Reading have just published work on human versus natural contributions to Arctic melting. They estimate 30% of melting is down to long term natural cycles in the Arctic, 70% from human emissions. Summary, video and links to the article here:
Will this energy be available to everyone?
Say - Iran and North Korea?
Actually the biggest roadblock is economic. Making the numbers add up for fission has eluded pretty much everyone so far unless they can externalise most of the costs on to the taxpayer.
That'd be the proper boffin way to keep things warm.
Pedants refer to Martian geology as areology.
'but can anyone really infer anything about the temperature of Mars' core from that?'
It is fairly shallow, but doable. Land-based heat flow measurements here on Earth are usually done below 200-300m to screen out surface effects. Most marine heat flow measurements are taken at around 5m below the surface. The huge amount of water on top helps even out any surface effects.
Some work has been done on modelling heat flows on Mars and whilst this mission's results will be affected by seasonal changes in heat flowing from the Sun, the effects are both minor and can be factored out over a prolonged period of study. There's some detail here:
Stephen Salter, Graham Sortino and John Latham proposed fleets of specially designed ships to do just this about 5 years ago.
No fuel required.
'Yesterday Assange addressed supporters from the embassy, looking not a little like Graham Chapman in Life of Brian.'
More like late 1970s John Inman.
That's the Virgin Mary on a world tour after her highly successful appearance on an eBayed taco.
The Post Office is trialling just this approach and will be extending it nationwide real soon now. I think they will default to leaving stuff with neighbours and households will have to opt out.
Still available on eBay, so I guess they're not banning magic for lack of evidence.
Clearly John Browett is bringing the elusive Dixons shopping experience to his new masters. We can probably look forward to stories soon about massive queues and lost business because of lack of staff for the iPhone 5 launch and the run-up to Christmas.
And haven't Apple gone soft? Had his cock up over staffing happened during the reign of the turtlenecked overlord, Browett would have been out on his ear by now.
How can you offer a guarantee not to extradite someone to the US when the US hasn't made an extradition request? Suppose the US prosecutor delivers a request containing apparently unimpeachable evidence of very serious charges.
If we want to live in a state of law then extradition requests are dealt with on the strength of the allegations. Are the Swedes and the UK authorities meant to say a blunt 'no' and ignore the evidence? How does that serve justice?
It's a real shame Ecuador isn't so concerned about the rights of its own citizens (http://www.hrw.org/americas/ecuador):
'Corruption, inefficiency, and political influence have plagued the Ecuadorian judiciary for many years. In a referendum held in 2011, President Rafael Correa obtained a popular mandate for constitutional reforms that could significantly increase government powers to constrain media and influence the appointment and dismissal of judges.
'Ecuador’s laws restrict freedom of expression, and government officials, including Correa, use these laws against his critics. Those involved in protests marred by violence may be prosecuted on inflated and inappropriate ‘terrorism’ charges.
'Impunity for police abuses is widespread and perpetrators of murders often attributed to a “settling of accounts” between criminal gangs are rarely prosecuted and convicted. '
I wonder how long Assange would have lasted were he unlucky enough to be an Ecuadoran? Or indeed, following his lucrative stint with RT, an opponent of Vladimir Putin?
But if you look at Devon and Cornwall which have the highest geothermal gradients, you could put power plants there which would satisfy a large proportion of local consumption and relieve their dependence of being at the end of a very long distribution system which is vulnerable to damage.
Also, even if you don't use geothermal for power generation, it can make for an excellent heat source for homes.
Yep, a 2km borehole into the gloriously named Ninety Fathom-Stublick Fault Zone to see if the underlying basement granite contains hot water. There is also geothermal district heating in Southampton.
The main reason is that the Icelandic power companies have previously concentrated on building power plants to service energy intensive industries such as aluminium smelting and ferro-silicon based in Iceland. This policy is going out of favour as the benefits of the factories are minimal in that they create relatively few jobs and their products are relatively low-value bulk materials whose value fluctuates wildly with changing global economics. More recently they've been exploring the potential for using hydro and geo power to power server farms which are a much higher value business.
There's also been a big public backlash against the perceived transformation of public lands into private hands. The damming of some of the most spectacular rivers in the country such as at Kárahnjúkar and the three new dams planned on the lower Þjórsá has been immensely controversial and the recent sale of geothermal reserves in Reykjanes to a Canadian company, Magma, was very, very unpopular.
The big new geothermal plant at Hellisheiði east of Reykjavik has been associated with a sharp uptick in earthquake activity around Hengill and Hveragerði. The earthquakes are being triggered by the injection of water after it has been bled of steam back into the reservoir. The largest of the quakes registers about 3.8 and they come in swarms of hundreds if not thousands spread over days or weeks. 3.8 is a noticeable jolt, but not really dangerous to anyone unless they're in a particularly fragile house - certainly not a problem in Iceland. The problem diminishes with time as the injection wells are brought up to full pressure and the rock around them becomes equally pressurised.
There have been no effects on the water table at Hellisheiði, although if you do visit the power station (and it is beautiful), you can't help but notice that geothermal has one big downside - hydrogen sulfide. But if that is the worst problem - bring it on!
The second big geothermal plant near Reykjavik at Svartsengi is also being used as a demonstration plant for methanol production. CO2 which is brought up in the well water is being separated and reacted with hydrogen to produce 5 million litres of methanol which will be added to petrol which is the country's biggest import by far.
Geothermal in Britain is more difficult as our geothermal gradient is pitiful in comparison to Iceland and large parts of the US. However, it would be good to see some imagination in putting the resources of Devon, Cornwall and the Peak District to work in generating clean electricity.
Those elsewhere which compared the rover to an iPhone. Forgetting the important point you get a better signal from a rover on Mars than an iPhone on O2.
Either that or a Zanussi washing machine with great games.