* Posts by I ain't Spartacus

4888 posts • joined 18 Jun 2009

Shopkeeper installs forecourt khazi to counter mystery Dublin dung dumper

I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge
Unhappy

Somone once shat upon my office building. A nice thing to find first thing - the day after Boxing day, when I wasn't exactly eager to be at work at all. The snow was pretty heavy that year. And there was a low sill round the whole building below the ground floor windows, that we used to sit on when outside smoking.

Obviously our Chrimbo Crapper was desperate, as it must have been pretty nippy whenever he did it. And he'd also not been eating too well, as it wasn't a nice consistency either. The turd had sort of run off the flat sill, and started to ooze down the wall, when it had frozen in place, about a foot above ground level.

Amazingly, the turd had frozen solid to the wall, but you could still smell it from halfway across the carpark.

Ho Ho Ho!

5
0
I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

Re: Maybe he pissed off a customer?

Lenny Henry did a routine saying that someone once wrote "Go home you fucking cone" on his door in shit.

As he said, not only racist slurs, but geometric ones too.

He then went on to wonder, did they bring the shit in advance, or did the guy's mates hold him up as he was shitting, and sort of write on the door with his arse? In which case spelling coon as cone would be entirely understandable.

4
0

If we can't fix this printer tonight, the bank's core app will stop working

I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

Re: Same thing happened to me...

On a similar note, I caught someone with our expenses spreadsheet and a calculator. Adding up all his parking receipts by hand.

Even more annoying that if he'd bothered to use the other tab (that said Calculated), it even cut out the obviously difficult business of pressing the Sum button as well...

0
0

What's Chinese and crashing in flames? No, not its economy – its crocked space station

I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

Re: I'm not that comfortable with this.

I believe the Guardian article quotes someone saying that if a 100kg engine part hit you on the head, it might hurt!

Whereas I'd argue it's unlikely to hurt at all - because you won't be alive long enough to notice. It was certainly an interesting piece of undersatement.

4
0

NASA starts countdown for Cassini probe's Saturn death dive

I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

Re: Hmm...

Didn't someone buy one of the old Soviet Lunokhod rovers from the Russians? Exactly on those terms too. It's all yours sir! Still on the Moon, and full of delicious nuclear waste.

If you try to collect it, we'll shoot you for being a terrorist...

2
0

Jeff Bezos' thrusting cylinder makes Elon Musk's look minuscule

I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

Re: Paper rocket

It must be a right bugger getting all the power / size / weight / redundency trade-offs "right" on these things. For a given value of right, as there's no correct answer. Then for all the different instrument teams to come back saying can they please just have a bit more. Then after months of back and forward with that, you go to a funding committee who tell you to change everything as you're now going on a different rocket with more/less payload. Or to build that bit in this other country/constituency. Or that they want it all painted purple and shaped like Barney the dinosaur...

OK, that last one probably hasn't ever happened.

It certainly make the kind of engineering I do look bloody easy. Which, to be fair, it is. Otherwise I wouldn't be doing it. Plus, if I do screw up, I can apologise humbly, run the calcs again, and we can send an engineer round to replace the part with the right one. Our service engineer call-outs start at about £300, less outside central London, not sure what it is once you go past the asteroid belt.

I did once try to sell a pink water storage tank for a bet, but failed. Never any purple ones.

2
0
I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

Re: Paper rocket

Any rocket designed in Powerpoint should never get out.

What about Excel?

You can do anything in Excel. You probably shouldn't, but that's another story. And the rumours that I've used it to write letters are entirely inaccurate erm.. mumble, mumble, mumble...

5
0

Double-negative tweet could be Microsoft Surface Phone hint

I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge
Happy

As for the magnetic Surface Phone, collecting your friends lost iPhone headsets, why be so unambitious? Just make the electromagnet a little stronger, turn it on, and suck them out of everyone on your tube carriage's ears, just as the doors open - then make a run for it.

If they could add an EMP device that disables all rival phones, then they'd really be cooking on gas.

5
0

US Marine Corps to fly F-35s from HMS Queen Lizzie as UK won't have enough jets

I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

Re: "...as the crash record of the Harrier showed..."

I didn't think the Harrier's record was any worse than any other military aircraft

I wondered about that. I had a brief furtle through Google, and didn't find much, other than a Wiki article with a list (probably partial) of losses - and gave up. The Wiki article had the UK losing 7 since 2000 - of which 2 were mortared on the ground by the Taleban. That I could believe, but then the UK suffering zero losses in the whole 90s seemed pretty unlikely, given the amount of low flying the RAF did back then. So I gave up.

I do recall reading/seeing on a documentary that the US Marines did suffer heavy losses of Harriers (AV8Bs) - and the reason given was that they were getting third pick of pilots, after the Navy and Airforce. But I don't recall any figures being given, so don't know if that was true/prejudice/received wisdom. I think this must have been about the F35, because it talked about how that was going to be easier to handle in VTOL mode, as it was fly-by-wire - rather than the harrier's rather complicated manual thrust-vector controls.

I believe the US Navy had rules about no single engined planes allowed on carriers - which I guess the F35 breaks. Whereas the Marines have operated the Harrier from ships since at least the 80s, so you'd expect a certain amount more losses. But you would expect more losses from an aircraft relying on thrust alone to achieve lift - after all helicopters are supposed to avoid hovering whenever possible - because when you've got no aerodynamic lift, you're absolutely buggered when your engine stops. And at low levels crashing becomes certain.

4
0
I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

Re: Flags

They'll be the countries taking part in the F35 program. I can see us, Italy, Norway, Australia (who are all partner nations).

As I zoom in it goes all blurry. Is that a Chinese flag in the middle there? I mean I know they've been hacking Lockheed Martin's computers for F35 data... Well obviously it's Turkey, and I presume Canada next to them.

4
0
I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

Re: Harriers still flying

Yup, the Royal Marines still have beach-assault hovercraft with machineguns on top. I'm not sure I'd like to go into battle on an essentially unsteerable giant green bouncy-castle, but then the Marines are probably made of tougher stuff than me.

7
0
I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

Re: Sad state of affairs

Europe didn't arm-up to deal with Russia during the Cold War, why would it do so now? Germany didn't spend much more on just defending Germany than the UK did in the 70s and 80s. And the pathetic attempts of the federalists in the EU to get a common foreign and defence policy rather show up how disunited they are. Obviously that gets blamed on the UK blocking it, partly true of course, but then even those that joined showed little committment.

As to there being no Russian threat, how do you explain the invasion of the Ukraine? There was no talk of Ukraine joining NATO before it was attacked. There's silly talk of it now, but it's never going to happen. The Russians turned a neighbouring country with a few thousand mile border with them into a failed state for heaven-knows what reason, and that very unpredictability (along with their growing forces) makes them a threat.

Also, we accepted the Baltic States into NATO. Given their large, and unhappy, Russian populations left over from Soviet occupation, there is a serious threat of instability, similar to what's happened in Ukraine. And who's to say Russia might not try the same tricks again? If Putin was predictable, or we knew his objectives, then we might be less worried. But he's not, and we don't, so there's a risk. If NATO means anything, then we either have to prepare to defend them, or chuck them out and admit we don't care.

As for a threat from Russia being an "official line", the Russian intelligence services did choose to contaminate large parts of my capital city with highly radioctive Polunium. If they wanted to kill a defector, they could have just been polite and shot the guy... Their government has also publicly threatened to invade the Baltic states, which we're treaty-bound to defend, oh and threatened the use of nuclear weapons against NATO - again in a press conference. It's probably all bluster, but you have a military to deal with those times when it isn't.

Did I mention the bit about invading a neighbouring country and annexing part of its territory (ahem! Crimea), something that's not happened in Europe since WWII.

8
4
I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

The 12 aircraft thing is probably bollocks. I doubt they'll fill the carrier with aircraft on normal patrols, because the RAF and Navy are sharing one pool of F35Bs. The great thing about planes is that if you need more for a mission, you can just fly more over.

I think we've ordered 138 at the moment. But the original order was only for 48 - i.e. one air group. However you would expect any warship to be out of commission for maintenance, repairs and refit for about 20-30% of its lifetime - so most of the time we're only going to have one carrier at sea.

8
0
I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge
Devil

Re: US Marine Corps will be flying F-35Bs

President Trump is not an issue. The RAF have developed a missile that homes in on fake tan. This was a top secret MOD crash-program, that came about after the Chiefs of Staff were shown an episode of 'The Only Way is Essex'.

20
0
I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

Don't worry, Hilary's itching to rain death on Syria,

No need. Assad and Putin have that nicely covered already.

Oh sorry, all the problems in the world are created by the West aren't they. I forgot. I apologise, I'll renew my subscription to the Guardian immediately...

10
2
I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

Re: Good choice of name

tiggity,

How is an aircraft carrier not relevant to the modern age? Even if you think drones can currently replace aircraft in all roles, which would be ludicrous, you'd still need a platform to launch those drones from.

4
1
I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

Re: At least he's got a good sense of humour.

It's pretty standard. Plus a lot of UK and US personel go on multi-year secondments to each others forces - and are expected to operate within the chain-of-command as normal. That includes pilots in front-line squadrons on operations.

I seem to remember the Guardian tried to create a scandal a few years ago, because after the government lost the vote on military action in Syria there was at least one UK pilot operating there - as he was on secondment to the US airforce. I think he was flying the F15E or something and bombing ISIS in both Iraq and Syria.

3
0
I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

Re: Not why we got rid of Mil SAR

I think the article was full of essentially needless snark. Not that I don't come to El Reg for the snark of course, but in this case the story is basically NATO allies cooperating on training with new equipment.

I wonder how long it'll be before was buy some Ospreys from the US to run off the new carriers?

4
0
I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

Re: Sad state of affairs

One problem is that Labour got a bit creative with the sums. From memory we had a program of hardware orders of something like twice the next ten years hardware budget. Partly because lots of stuff was being renewed for Afghanistan and Iraq, but the budget wasn't even going up with inflation. Then of course Labour got stuck with the Typhoon program, which was massively over budget, and not really what we needed - but was what we needed when we ordered it in the 1980s - and considered too expensive to cancel by the time the Cold War ended.

To be fair they have renewed almost the entire fleet of armoured vehicles (except the tanks which were done 10-15 years ago but aren't being used much), most of the helicopters over the last ten years, bought some new planes (Typhoons) and ordered loads more (Typhoons and F35s), new subs, destroyers, fleet auxillaries and a few frigates. Plus 2 aircraft carriers - which order got botched.

One problem with military purchasing is that we always seem to try to save money at an early stage in ways that end up costing more later. A prime example being not making the carriers nuclear, with the option for catapults. But another is time. The Eurofighter contract was signed in the mid 80s - when the Cold War was still looking dangerous. We had a need for a pure air-superiority fighter. We probably don't now, a good multi-role aircraft would be better. But it's very hard to junk many years of R&D and a building programme, particularly an international one, when you still don't know what you're going to need in 15 years time.

As this trip with the US Marines shows, everything takes time. Even when you buy a so-called "off the shelf" weapons system, you'll always have specific modifications required, and then you've actually got to bring it into operational service. The more complex and capable the system, the more operational and support staff you're going to need to train to use it. As well as ironing out the bugs in the hardware, software and your procedures.

With an aircraft carrier you've got amazing complication. You've got a massively complex ship itself - which you have to build, test, repair, test, debug, maintain etc. Then you've got support ships, repiar dockyards, your defensive screen of destroyers and frigates, helicopters, planes, airborne early warning, electronic warfare... You've got to be able to use all of this separately, and then you've to integrate the whole lot.

In that light, training with the US Marines, who've had the kit longer, makes lots of sense.

I'd also add that we may be doing this in order to rebuild some NATO capacity. With the increased threat from Russia, it wouldn't surprise me if the US/UK Marines are getting back their old NATO role. One of NATO's plans in the 1980s was that the US and UK marines would quickly re-inforce Norway. One of the things you can do in a crisis, without ramping up the tension too much, is to get the marines onto ships - and position them close to an ally - those ships need aircraft for defence, hence the US marines having mini aircraft carriers - it wouldn't surprise me if that isn't the plan for rapid reinforcement of the Baltic States. Or at least one of the possible plans. Another is to pre-position US heavy equipment, and then fly the troops in during a crisis - but so far NATO don't want to permanently position bases in Eastern Europe, and make the Russians even more difficult to deal with.

14
0
I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge
Happy

Re: US Marine Corps will be flying F-35Bs

I believe that last time we set fire to it - rather than bombing it from the air - which would have been rather difficult with the available technology.

Although as I understand the US Marine Corps' relationship with the other services I'm pretty sure we could persuade them to bomb the Pentagon very easily. If the planes are painted in RAF colours so they don't take the blame, we might even find we have trouble stopping them...

28
0

Is there paper in the printer? Yes and it's so neatly wrapped!

I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

Re: No lazy stereotyping?

I work in a small company, so only do IT because nobody else can. What I can't do, I buy in. But even as an amateur I'd say those three are important reading.

Though I remember first coming across Dilbert as a student, and not finding it particularly funny. A couple of years later, and working for a large-ish multi-national - and suddenly I realised it wasn't so much comedy as a training manual.

It's a bit like watching 'The Day Today' in the 90s, and thinking it was comedy, only to see the media become more like the extreme version of it he'd created to send-up. His news jingles seemed ludicrously overblown when that came out, now you probably couldn't distinguish them from real ones...

18
0

Boffins ID bug behind London's Great Plague of 1665

I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge
Devil

Re: I thought this one was fairly clear to be "proper" plague

Now, if only we could encourage them to eat rats as well...

I think you've made a type here. I'm presuming you meant cats?

[fireproof trousers on - ready for downvotes]

2
0

Self-stocking internet fridge faces a delivery come down

I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge
Happy

Re: Sheer brilliance.

How dare you post while enthroned! I hope you've washed your hands.

And your phone...

Perhaps that's why the new Samsungs auto-combust. It's an anti-bacterial cleansing system.

23
0

UK will be 'cut off' from 'full intelligence picture' after Brexit – Europol strategy man

I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

Re: Data protection directive

You can always make stuff no longer illegal, by changing the rules. There'll have to be an amendment to the EU treaties in order for the UK to leave - plus there's plenty of time to amend or draught any laws required.

Whether Europol data is shared is entirely down to the political choices made in the upcoming negotiations. Actually so is the link between freedom of movement and the single market. It is a political choice that I think the rest of the EU are likely to refuse full single market access without full freedom of movement - though you can make that claim and still save face by making the costs in loss of access so small as to be meaningless. This is pure politics - not the laws of physics.

As a guide to the readiness for cooperation in this area though, the UK now holds the new post of EU Commissioner for The Security Union - which has been defined as anti-terrorism and criminal intelligence sharing. Admittedly it was the Commission who created that job, and the member states who will decide the Brexit negotiations, but I doubt Juncker's too out-of-step with what they want.

2
0
I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

Re: Don't worry

In this particular area, you couldn't be more wrong. Whatever people's feelings/thoughts on the relative balance of economic and political power, the UK are in a very strong (the strongest?) negotiating position here.

UK POolice and intelligence services apparently put in a disproportionate amount of Europol's data. I believe we may also be their heaviest user. We also have pretty good joint intelligence relationships with the other big European intelligence players. As well as stronger intel relationships with the US (and the rest of 5 eyes) than any other EU nation.

There is no barrier to continuing whatever sharing relationship the two sides want. The strong signal from the EU is that they want/need our continued cooperation - this signal is that we couldn't keep the financial services brief at the Commission (that would have been ludicrous), so were given the Commission for intelligence coordination. That strongly suggests that the political will exists.

2
0

Star Trek film theory: 50 years, 13 films, odds good, evens bad? Horta puckey!

I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

Re: Rubbish

Yeah, B5 was a real shame. I've re-watched it - bought cheap on DVD. Off-topic it has my favourite Amazon review ever. Season 4 (the best) gets only one star from a reviewer, because the box is a different shape than seasons 1-3 and 5, and therefore doesn't match on his DVD shelves!

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear...

Anyway Season 1 is OK, but has many flaws - and on re-watching it, there are whole episodes that are just sub Star Trek, some funny bumpy-headed aliens turn up and are weird. Then go away / make peace / get shot. Though it is clever how some of these are set-ups for stuff that'll happen in later seasons. I re-watched it, and basically watched about half of season one, and none of season 5.

CGI being expensive, you also notice how in Season 1 they shoot "cargo ship going into docking bay" and then re-use that shot repeatedly throughout the whole series. Intercut with other stuff. Thunderbirds did the same, to save on costs. Later series had better budgets. Despite its many flaws, it's still good fun telly. A real shame the network screwed up as described though.

The remake of Galactica was brilliant. The first season is one of the best single series of TV I've ever seen. It does so well to avoid lots of cliche, and doesn't stray into melodrama. Season 2 didn't avoid cliche or melodrama, and I got about 6 episodes into Season 3 and gave up in disgust. I don't believe I made the wrong decision, from what I've heard about how it ends.

Blakes 7 has some great ideas, and could stand a remake, with some budget.

Having been rude about Star Trek, I'm sort of re-assessing it. Watched a bunch of the originals, digitally remastered, and they're not as bad as I remember. Some are just cheap, turn-up meet bumpy headed aliens then Kirk either kisses or kill them. But a lot more than I remember have some interesting ideas. I never got on with TNG because it was too New Age-y (having a psychic/empathic counsellor on the bridge) - and too episodic. I do like a story arc. But that had good episodes too.

Although I think my "perfect" TV sci-fi episode of all time has to be 'Out of Gas' from Firefly.

3
0
I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

Re: Rubbish

Are you sure?

I went back and watched some when it was released on DVD. The special effects were shit, as I expected, but so were the scripts. Not sure the acting was up to much either, but its unfair to blame them without good dialogue. I've seen a few old Dr Who episodes as well, even the ones like 'City of Death' that are supposed to be great really just didn't work for me. Ignoring the budget, it was the dialogue.

I was listening to a radio adaptation of Blake's 7 recently (Big Finish Productions?), and it benefited from not needing a budget for visuals, but also from a decent script. Which really showed off the good ideas the show had - complicated characters with different motivations.

Is the moment to mention Servalan and the S&M costumes?

12
2

It's time for humanity to embrace SEX ROBOTS. For, uh, science, of course

I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

Mechanics of the act aside... Who caught him? How did the police get involved?

So far as I remember, our intrepid Scottish velocipedephile was in bed with his bicycle, in the privacy of his hotel room. I don't know if heavy petting was as far as he'd got, or if he'd taken the saddle or handlebars off or something, and and had his todger buried in the frame.

Anyway the cleaner appears to have burst in on him unanounced. Or she knocked, and he was distracted?

Rather than just leaving him to it, the hotel called the police, and quite outrageously he was put on the sex offenders register. Apparently no bike is safe from him!

I'm now worried to admit that my first bike was bright green and called an "Easy Rider". I never laid a finger on it!

Then I graduated to a Tomahawk and after that, kept my chopper away from my Chopper.

0
0
I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

Re: Dr Kate Devlin

In the ancient Middle East you could go to the temple prostitutes.

Perhaps that CofE should look at that, to improve church attendance. Now that really would be a Sunday service...

8
0
I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge
Devil

Re: I for one welcome my new SexBot overlords!

Hey! Is that Robo-Jordan, or just R2D2 and his twin brother?

1
0
I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge
Happy

Re: The ROTM began long ago

Is that why Henry's have that painted smile on their faces?

Someone really should do a version smoking a cigarette, like the automatic pilot in Airplane.

9
0
I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

There was a man caught by the police with his john thomas shoved up the exhaust pipe of a Ford Fiesta. There's no accounting for taste.

Hope the engine had been given a decent time to cool down.

And I suppose, at least it wasn't an Escort...

11
0
I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge
Coat

Re: Dr Kate Devlin

They also found the box for that 28,000 year old one - it's recently beent translated as The Dominant Diplodocus...

3
0
I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge
Devil

Re: Humankind is still considering whether we could create sex robots

However, do they need to do more than lie down or sit up?

They need to be able to do handstands and swing from the chandeliers, surely?

How else can one achieve the lion and the cheese-grater position?

8
0
I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

I'm not sure about gateways creating a desire for the next step up the ladder 'o doom. But I'm pretty sure there is evidence for "normalisation" of behaviours leading to more of them. Quite how strong that evidence is, and whether it's going to get debunked in future is another matter. But I think there's been some evidence for the "nudge" type stuff that's so popular in government and big business at the moment. From offering you that humungous chocolate bar while you're buying someting in Smiths to the things like how you state things. So there have been some studies (though I've heard rumblings of opposition and not myself read the papers) where they got numbers of missed doctors appointments down by just changing the terminology. Signs saying, "almost 10% of people miss appointments and waste our time please stop doing this" are argued to normalise the behaviour - whereas the sign "over 95% of patients attend booked appointments please help us to improve this" apparently do get missed appointments down. This is just linked to social conditioning.

I've then seen people working with child sex offenders saying that there's a rise in people actively pursuing the behaviours. One argument is that this stuff was harder to get, but also it was harder to find like-minded people, since it's not something you can just bring up in conversation. But with the internet, you can find that you're not the only person like you. Now whether the extra access to child porn the internet gives is the cause of a rise in use, or whether it's down to a reinforcement of behaviours due to finding a "peer group" is another matter, and I don't know if the trick-cyclists have come to a conclusion on that. Or even if there's a way to experimentally validate it.

Social conditioning is a powerful influence on our behaviour.

11
0

Spinning that Brexit wheel: Regulation lotto for tech startups

I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

Re: What's next?

I like Jameson - but when I did their distillery tour and went to the shop/bar, I was unimpressed. The basic stuff is nice, but when you start laying out extra cash for the older/nicer stuff, it didn't get appreciably better, even as the cost went up.

So far I've run out of money before I've found the same to be true with my favourite Scottish distilleries.

I admit I've not seen much other Irish stuff, except Bushmills. So I'm happy to be educated.

Surely you go to Scotland for the whisky, and get the bonus of some great beers.

2
0
I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

Re: The uncertainty is the key issue

The US economy is doing great. There's certainly plenty of stuff they need to fix. Education / health / pension / national infrastructure / the tax code for the easiest wins I can think of.

But their flexibility, ease of doing business and ease of access to finance mean that they always recover from recessions quicker than European countries. They've been growing faster than the EU for the last 20 years, and I'm not sure I see that changing any time soon.

With shale oil and gas they've become energy independent, and may even start to export gas. This is allowing some US industries to shart "onshoring" jobs again.

They've got decent to excellent global positions in pharmaceuticals, electronics, (a massive global lead in) software, hardware design, architecture/engineering, financial services, chemicals, aerospace, etc. All industries with big futures.

Great top universities and a continuing ability to attract some of the top graduates and people to come and live/work there. Where's the disaster in all that?

Sure they've got lots of debt, but then people keep wanting to buy that debt. And remember that part of that is because China was unwilling to take our money as its economy grew in the last two decades, and so lent the West the money to buy its goods. This was to keep their workers poor, and their wages as low as possible, so they could keep growing the economy quickly - as the alternative was to repatriate the profits and cause inflation, and more imports of Western luxuries. That's not so true now, and China's not such the behemoth people were talking about even 5 years ago. Sure they're still growing well, but they will not be a bigger economy than the US by 2030 - and they don't have the political system to be able to manage a fully modern economy. The state sectore is fucking up the growth of the private sector, and pissing away much of China's savings on unproductive heavy industrial output that nobody in the world wants, and is depressing world prices and causing global deflation - one of the reasons the world economy is struggling to recover. So in order to keep the party bosses happy, they run this massively inneficient system that damages the very markets they need to sell their exports to - making the whole world poorer and their normal citizens less rich, so less happy, so making them more worried about revolution. I'm not sure I think a dictatorship (well maybe oligarchy) can manage to keep a fully functioning modern economy going - and growing.

Long term predictions are little better than guesswork. But I saw some interesting projections that had the UK as the 3rd biggest economy in the world by 2040. It assumed continuing high levels of immigration and population rising to 85 million - Japan not taking any, so their population continuing to fall, as with Germany's (this was before they took a million refugees and another million migrants in 1 year!). So the UK would have the largest population in the EU. Oops! Brazil and Russia aren't the glowing heroes of BRICS days, and are in economic trouble. Was a bit silent on India though, which is growing fast - and ought to overtake us - but I guess they assumed that would all fall apart in bureaucracy, protectionism and corruption, as so often before.

3
0
I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

Re: The uncertainty is the key issue

I think in all likelihood the EU and the Euro will simply plod along and keep going without much in the way of major meltdowns. It tends to just continuously fumble its way out of crisis and keep going somehow.

Eventually that will just stop happening. I specifically refer to the Euro here. The Euro cannot work in its current form. This is basic economics. It doesn't matter how hard people try to wish it away, the system cannot work as designed.

There are ways to fix the problems, but they require massive political changes - that so far the electorates hate. There's only so long you can continue to stumble from crisis to crisis, before something gives.

I was living in Belgium in 2001, and there was lots of discussion about the Euro, and its future. And much of that concentrated on these problems. The UK and US types tended to talk about how the system would fail - William Hague famously described it as like a burning building with no exits (see Greece for details). But I remember reading many pro-Euro commentators and politicians too, and they admitted the Euro had flaws, and that there would be crises, and those flaws would get fixed. I think that they couldn't imagine a future in which they wouldn't be running the EU, and most of the governments, with quite a lot of popular support. But that generation of politicians retired. And the public mood changed. And now the solutions are not politically possible.

Greece's problems are Greece's fault. But the only solutions to Greece's problems involve them leaving the Euro, or being given debt forgiveness. As they can't pay the debt, forgiveness was the only option, but the other politicians and electorates are simply sticking their fingers in their ears, and hoping the problem will go away. They'll never get paid back. Greece cannot.

But Ireland and Spain were running large budget surpluses into the crisis. They still had inflation and property booms, because Eurozone interest rates were too low for them, to help the ailing German economy, so they had property booms and debt crises.

Finland had no property boom, or debt crises, or government overspending, but changes in their export markets mean the've been in recession for ten years - the solution is devaluation. But they can't, they're stuck in the Euro.

Italy has a competitiveness problem, and is trying to solve it by repressing wages. But with negative inflation this has had a disastrous effect on their government detb levels. If Germany encouranged 3% inflation in the Eurozone core (impossible now, might have worked in 20010), then these countries could deflate without the huge problems of negative inflation rates. Now they can't. And so the only solution to their crisis is years of misery, and the hope that they might scrape by without their banking systems collapsing, and only 20% youth unemployment. And growth might save them in ten years.

The Euro is the disease, not the cure. The Euro will inevitably kill the patient, unless they're willing to do like the US or UK and pay government money around the system in order to counteract the effects of different areas being at the wrong interest and exchange rates. If that happens you've got a United States of Europe. Seeing as nobody will vote for that, the only other solution is the get rid of the Euro.

8
0
I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

Re: One day we will revisit this with hindsight

Warm Braw,

There's a problem. There are many things I think the EU should reform (CAP for one big example), but they're not that important. I believe that many of the EU's rules reduce growth, but not catastrophically so - and those costs of staying in are probably worth the gains of the single market.

The EU has a huge problem. The Euro. But I don't believe the EU can solve this problem. Which is catastrophic. There are two solutions, kill the Euro, or fix the Euro. Killing it, is politically unaccepable. It's really hard, it's really scary, there's not the public appetite as yet and those few remaining federalists will fight for it with everything they've got.

Sadly option two is to fix the Euro. But that basically requires a common banking regulatory and bail-out system, a common Eurozone budget of 10%-20% of GDP (the current EU budget is only 1% of GDP) and at the moment for German taxpayers to pay Greek pensions. Which isn't going to happen.

Impasse. And still no solution in sight. And no-body even knows how to get to one. The Italian banking system could limp on for decades, or implode spectacularly tomorrow, but the Eurozone don't currently have the tools to save it without destroying the Italian economy. They may just ignore the new banking resolution laws (the only sensible option), but what if they don't? They didn't take the sensible option with Greece...

Greece has experienced an economic collapse both longer and worse than either the US or Germany during the Great Depression. The IMF is predicting a return to growth in 2022 and unemployment to drop below 10% in... 2040!

Read that again. 2040! The Eurogroup, Commission and IMF run the Greek economy now, and have for the last 4 years (since the third bail-out). this is now their fault.

This economic clusterfuck is why UK exports to the EU were sitting more-or-less steady at 60% of our exports for thirty years until 2008 - but are now at 43% and plummeting.

Solve the Eurocrisis, save the EU. Fail, and the EU probably collapses.

4
0
I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

Re: What's next?

Version 1.0,

Not Scotland. Sadly the EU aren't flexible enough to just let them in (stay in) as the R-UK leaves - even if Scotland did vote for independence (which current polling isn't suggesting they will). And that's ignoring the problems of the Euro.

Also did someone say Irish beer was good? Are you sure? I thought Ireland was still the land of the choice between Guiness and Carlsberg? I'm sure there are micro-breweries - but I thought they were still pretty micro. I'm amazed that even the worst pub in my South East England market town now has one tap dedicated to the local (now no longer micro) brewery, Rebellion. And a few pubs have many more choices.

I still miss living in Brussels though. The business environment sucked (and mostly so did the customer service). But once you've got your beer, steak and frites, who cares?

2
0
I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

Re: Your Spanish mate

I think one of the points the Spanish guy was making is that the EU is as susceptible to lobbying as any government (if not more - due to even less press and public scrutiny) - but it's being lobbied by people with even fewer interests in common with you, if say you're in Malta. Or perhaps Spain. The bigger multi-national companies are likely to do better.

Worse, most businesses in most countries aren't exporters. So all this harmonisation is imposing costs on them, but they're not getting the full benefits. They obviously do benefit from the single market when they buy stuff - but not so much when they sell.

International start-ups are even rarer. Not that I'm saying we shouldn't encourage them, just that they're much more of a niche case than your average start-up - which is probably in its local service industry.

As you say, the UK wants to trade with the single market, so we're going to have to meet its rules - and probably have little say in them. Though we do regain our seat at international standards agencies, which may or may not be helpful (I'm not qualified to judge). However these can now become export regulations (where we want them to) and so not a burden on domestic-only companies. This will take years/decades to sort out of course, but can save the UK some costs.

We benefit from the single market, even if we're not in it. Just because there's one big market, with common standards. Being in it increases that benefit obviously. The question is what will the bill be? The obvious solution is limited freedom of movement in exchange for single market access with the UK paying a reduced amount into the EU budget and staying in some of the joint programmes, like space, science, higher education etc. Everyone gets the maximum of what they want, with the minimum of things they don't want. But I don't see this as politically likely at the moment. So I suspect a transitional arrangement, moving maybe to a set of complex interlocking deals like the Swiss have. Not ideal for anyone, but maybe politically easier to sell.

2
0
I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

Re: The uncertainty is the key issue

to set up an extra office elsewhere in the EU like Netherlands, Belgium or Germany

Not Belgium. Having worked there for the European HQ of a German multi-national, I wouldn't recommend it. Loved living there, but we opened our head office with the plan of openining a bunch of stores there - 3 years later the first one was still in the planning and permits stage, and the Belgian subsidiary was still not off the ground.

Germany has some complex and annoying labour laws, but it's nothing on Belgium. I'd suggest the Netherlands, except, can you really be certain they'll still be in the EU in ten years time? I think it's a high probability that they will, but it would be a brave man who called it a certainty.

If the UK market is important, Ireland has got to look attractive. Low taxes, easy to start companies. If there's space. They'll do well out of Brexit, unless it goes wrong, in which case they could suffer badly.

At the moment serious European politicians are talking about giving Britain a "worse" deal simply because they don't want to make leaving the EU look attractive. And they're saying this out loud, in public and deliberately! What the hell does that say about the EU and how it's viewed? Voters will not put up with that kind of shit forever.

For me, the Eurocrisis is the central issue. Until that can be solved, the EU has no long-term certainty itself. It could implode tomorrow, it could limp along in a disastrous economic slump for another ten years, or the problems might magically go away. But that last seems unlikely, as the solutions are breaking up the Euro (currently unacceptable), or closer union (also currently unacceptable). I wouldn't have voted for Brexit without it (the treatment of Greece was the final straw for me) - and I suspect the referendum would have been won without it. Italy's banking system could implode tomorrow and take the Euro with it. Or not. Greece is economically unimportant, but politically makes the Eurozone look awful - incomptenent, indecisive and cruel. As well as being a moral stain for which many politicians will need to atone.

Unfortunately because nobody agrees what to do, and there's so many competing interests, it's really hard to change the EU. But I think almost everyone now agrees that urgent change is needed. That creates its own uncertainty.

5
0

QANTAS' air safety spiel warns not to try finding lost phones

I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

(2) After extinguishing the fire, douse the device with water or other non-alcoholic liquids to cool the device and prevent additional battery cells from reaching thermal runaway.

(3) After dousing the device in non-alcoholic liquids - drink all available alcoholic liquids.

2
0

Hollywood offers Daniel Craig $150m to (slash wrists) play James Bond

I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge
Happy

You've all got it wrong. The answer is obvious. It's staring us in the face! What a shame there's no html markup for accents.

So please engage your internal soft Yorkshire accent mode now.

The name's Bennett. Alan Bennett. Licensed to offer macaroons...

10
0

It's OK to fine someone for repeating a historical fact, says Russian Supreme Court

I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

There was no "Western backed coup" in Ukraine. There was no coup. I'm not even sure you could call it an uprising, given that the President ran away before any of that could happen. Presumably worried that people might string them up, after ordering snipers to shoot demonstrators (most, but not all, of whom were peaceful).

France annexing Alsace was totally different. This was part of France seized by Prussia/Germany in 1870 in the previous war - which France took back. You might call it victor's justice - but it wasn't a naked territorial land-grab.

Crimea is much more complicated, its cession to Ukraine was peaceful, and signed up to again by Russia as part of the agreements that dissolved the USSR. There was a referendum on Ukrainian independence that showed Crimea was, just, in favour of it linky only Wiki I'm afraid.

It is of course possible that 54% support for being part of Ukraine could collapse to under 10% - and that the polliing taking place under Russian army guns had no effect - or it's possible that this isn't true. Seeing as the vote wasn't even close to free and fair, we'll never know.

I suspect who started the trouble in Ukraine were the people And various crap and corrupt governments. But Russia certainly did annex Crimea, and certainly did invade Ukraine with regular troops (and deny then admit that fact), as well as supporting an armed civil war - out of what seems to me a fit of pique. Putin even admitted in an interview that the plans to sieze Ukraine were only decided on 2 days before, and not something he'd long planned. This could of course be a lie, but why lie when he could just not say anything? Also formenting a civil war in a neigbouring country with a couple of thousand mile long porous border with your own seems like madness. Not to mention the economic consequences of sanctions, that were pretty much inevitable. And of course the beefing up of NATO defences in Eastern Europe, that were also pretty likely, something that Russia has been saying it doesn't want to happen for years.

Putin seems to think tactically, rather than strategically. He's willing to break the rules, which gives him an advantage. But on the other hand, his very unpredictability works against him. Russia's economy was in trouble before the crisis, because there's no rule of law - so nobody trusts the place enough to invest or keep their money there. Except to take a risk against the hope of huge profits. Hence most of the Russian elites keep their money abroad, starving the economy of investment. Europeans, who were happy to buy gas from Russia, and thus make Russia a lot of money, are now afraid to rely on them, in case they get cut off in the middle of winter. And so Russia is losing massive market share in a market it could have dominated - to great profit. And are having to ship gas to China at less favourable terms, and build lots of expensive infrastructure to do so.

Putin is neither innocent, or particularly competent.

5
0

Lenovo's tablet with a real pen, Acer's monster laptop, Samsung Galaxy S3 watch

I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge
Happy

Re: 8 kg laptop … five fans to keep it from melting.

We've got flight sims and driving sims, so as nobody has seen fit to write a hovercraft driving sim, I feel this laptophovercraft is an excellent new innovation. Yet again, the hardware manufacturers are forced to compensate for the failure of software industry to address vital problems...

0
0

A plumber with a blowtorch is the enemy of the data centre

I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

Re: It's not just data centres that suffer from plumbers

Just so long as he got his really hot cup of tea...

8
0
I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

Re: DC Deluge

This has been frequently cited to me by fire brigades and various civil engineers as an outstanding reason why water points should always be under a pavement access plate.

Of course if one was to do this in the USA, dog bladders would explode.

Not just that, Think of all the Hollywood car chases that would be ruined!

With any change, one must assess the all-important unintended consequences.

We once dealt with a flood where the period of the waves in a 200,000 litre water tank managed to exactly line up, so that enough water would disappear down the other end to cause the float-valve to open - and that slug of incoming water nicely added to the returning wave in a lovely feedback loop. All until the many tonnes of water hit the end of the tank so hard it simply flew off across the room. The basement suddenly became a very wet place indeed...

17
0

You shrunk the database into a .gz and the app won't work? Sigh

I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge
Happy

Re: Backup tapes...

I had a safe by my desk in a previous job. It used to be the finance manager's office - but he'd changed. Turns out the reason is that the safe door broke, so rather than remove the safe, he simply ordered a new one to be delieved to a different office, and swapped...

8
0

My headset is reading my mind and talking behind my back

I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge
Happy

Re: sunnies after dark ?

Surely the solution to the nighttime oncoming beams of Hades - or BMW Laser Lights [TM], as I believe they're better known - is obvious.

Just get yourself a pair of Joo Janta peril sensitive sunglasses. You too can look as cool as President Zaphod Beeblebrox - and will also be spared the retina-burning sight of your impending death by Beemer.

20
0

Forums