* Posts by I ain't Spartacus

4345 posts • joined 18 Jun 2009

Assange™ lawyers demand Swedish prosecution files or no London interview

I ain't Spartacus
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...which has seen Assange confined to the small Ecuadorian diplomatic premises in London for years

I'd argue with the choice of language from El Reg here. He specifically has not been confined - he was out on bail, until he did a runner.

It's one of those weaselly uses of the passive. "...has seen Assange confine himself to..." works. But I think I prefer "hide", or "skulk".

...which has seen Assange hide in the small Ecuadorian diplomatic premises in London for years.

"lurk" has a nice ring to it too.

He'd made noises about settling in Sweden before the allegations, so it's not like he can now claim Sweden is this terrifying banana republic, just lining up to export him to Gitmo.

Sometimes I get the feeling that his paranoia is genuine, and that he may now believe that it's all a plot by the Swedish to send him to the US. But then he went from there to the UK, which is arguably an even worse place to avoid the long arm of the US. Given our extradition treaty with them is a fucking disgrace (thanks Tony!). Not that I'm a fan of the European Arrest Warrant system either, but at least that's reciprocal. So while he's described as paranoid by every journalist who's dealt with him, it would have to be at genuinely insane levels for Sweden to go from safe to terrifying, the instant rape allegations are raised against him, while the UK remained somehow safe.

And the only other conclusion that leaves me with is fleeing from justice. Admittedly a paranoid innocent man may be just as likely to flee justice as a paranoid guilty one - but that's just tough shit. Everyone else has to hand themselves over to the police and defend themselves as best they can. So why not him?

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HUGE Aussie asteroid impact sent TREMORS towards the EARTH'S CORE

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Re: Could be a good place to mine for diamonds?

Another use for concentrated heat and pressure is as a quicker way of cooking steak and kidney pudding. So hungry diamond miners might hope for that as well.

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Re: Devonian?

"We don't need to theorise what would have happened if dinosaurs had evolved brains, we can just look at crows"

That doesn't really work though. The evolutionary pressure was different after the extinctions.

Beforehand, there was evolutionary advantage in biggness - and being good at eating other things. So we had plenty of hugeosauruses and hungrysauruses. But was there an evolutionary niche for a brainysaurus? Someting like the Jurassic Park version of the velociraptor perhaps? Mid-sized, so needs to use other abilities to avoid getting eaten. By cooperative hunting perhaps, which might lead to the development of language and tool using. Given the right physical evolution. Just think how much better the Natural History Museum would be, if some of the dinosaurs were carrying rifles?

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Re: Looks like the mother ship is still there...

It's a rule of science fiction that anyone who drills into the earth's crust in order to do 'geothermal research', is either lying and it's actually a secret government project to cause earthquakes, or dies horribly due to alien/supernatural horrors hiding at the bottom of their shafts.

It's a bit like going to an old isolated house/castle for help after your car has broken down in the rain. Something you just shouldn't do.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Now we know...

Personally, I'm much more interested in finding a treacle mine.

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Re: Devonian?

Without the extinctions life would have been more stable and fewer new designs would have appeared. For instance the mammals got nowhere until the dinosaurs were removed.

So David Icke was almost right! We very nearly were ruled by 19 foot tall lizards...

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First figures in and it doesn't look good for new internet dot-words

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Re: Telling quote

I think a dot.biz is better than a dot.co - unless you're Colombian of course.

But, even if unfairly, I do tend to take both as a bit of a bad sign about a company.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Is it wrong?

You're going to give all your money to someone you've never heard of before just because they have a "dot bank" web site? Seriously?

What would happen if someone manages to poison Google so that a search for hsbc gives hsbc.scam, instead of hsbc.com? I'm presuming ICANN will have launced a dot.scam by now, given the high demand for it, and their high demand for cash... I doubt my Mum has her bank's website bookmarked, and so will be going through Google every time. A dot.bank domain would be useful for that.

Again, people often find out who's giving the best savings rates by looking at the tables in the paper. Obviously if they go online, they can click directly on a link (assuming that's working properly). But otherwise they're going to be typing cahoot (or whatever other odd term) into Google. Then probably doing their usual level of checking - i.e. clicking on the first link.

Whereas if everyone knew that dot.bank was where reputable financial institutions were, and you weren't allowed to register a dot.bank unless you were regulated by a legitimate national central bank (or banking regulator), then you'd have one less bit of guessing in the dark to do. If they were really on the ball the registrar could operate a national page, with best-of tables and the like, and then get cash out of the banks in the same way people like Money Supermarket do.

I don't think it'll take off, as there are so many hurdles. But it could work. Basically you could end up with curated bits of the internet - with more or less strict controls on who's allowed to register. Dot.xxx is already a bit of a model for this, I've no idea how it's worked out though.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Is it wrong?

I have got a rather childish desire to go out and buy myself a dot.ninja domain. Just for the amusement of telling people my email address. Is that wrong?

Most of the other domains look pretty pointless. Although I think dot.london, dot.scot and the like will probably do OK.

Part of the problem is the sheer number of them. And that the Registrars don't actually know their customers. So ours have been firing emails at me every other week seemingly, offering ones for digital photographers, plumbers, etc.

The other thinig I can see working is the likes of dot.bank. If they genuinely only allow regulated banks in, have some proper standards, proper security and go through the rigmarole of getting approval from national regulators. Then they might succeed. But they'd have to have some more secure way of finding the domain your after, like a dot.bank only banking search engine. And they'd have to spend lots of money on marketing, to convince customers that for financial stuff they shouldn't search Google, but go to info.bank and go from there. That's quite a lot of hurdles to jump.

You could do the same with a sort of internet approved traders scheme with dot.plumber, dot.electrician etc. But it would have to be much more of an approved operator scheme, than just a domain registry. And that requires proper investment, serious work, and some sort of standards and appeals/ombudsman process. So it's not just a get-rich-quick scheme. I'm not sure the Registrars are up to it.

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Discreet fighting man: Battlefield Hardline

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Happy

Are you sure it's not to cash in on the success of the best film ever, Battlefield Earth?

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Ten things you always wanted to know about IP Voice

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Devil

Moving to SIP for international calls is for home users with relatives overseas; it is not for businesses.

I disagree. The call centres for my business selling anti-virus software, because Microsoft have reported that your PC has been infected, find it perfectly acceptable...

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Mature mainframe madness prints Mandlebrot fractal in TWELVE MINUTES

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Mushroom

Re: Zzzzzzzzzt!

Life was so simple back then... when multimedia was using a Walkman while in the computer room and gaming was trying to beat the mainframe at "hangman" and "tic-tac-toe"

Well you say that. But I found that life soon stopped being simple, when I eschewed the pleasures of Hangman or chess, and decided to play Global Thermonuclear War...

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Dear departed Internet Explorer, how I will miss you ... NOT

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Pint

Well done!

Have a pint, for saying this:

History proves time and time again that the perfect boss for a successful IT business is not someone with smarts and goodwill but a sociopathic college drop-out with no qualifications and a vicious streak.

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Stop

Re: IE 4. Oh gods, no...

Question: Which crashed more often, Active desktop or Winsock?

The horror, the horror, the horror.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: surely there was a reason that IE became so popular?

"Users" will do nicely. Everyone knows what you mean.

It has all the connotations of incompetence you require, without the childish nastiness.

"Sheeple" is a word used by arseholes and conspiracy nuts.

Also, non-IT people don't care about computers. They just want them to work. Technology is just the name we give stuff that doesn't work properly yet...

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Re: Wow.

You bastard!

I'd forgotten all about Active Desktop until now.

...gibber...gibber...erk...

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Pirate Party leads Icelandic voting intentions poll

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How can the pollster say it's not a rogue poll? Margin of error on normal UK polls (using 1,000 people) is about 3%. That's 3% on both major parties, so you'll get normal variation in leads of up to 6%. i.e. if both parties are really on 30%, you'll normally get results of that, but every few polls you run will give a different figure - and every 20th (ish) poll will give you quite a big error.

Slo if one poll shows a sudden movement, it's meaningless until other polls have come along to confirm the data.

I don't know the margin of error on Icelandic polls. But the smaller the sample size, the more chance of randomness.

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Zombie SCO shuffles back into court seeking IBM Linux cash

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Flame

But would that work on the Lawyers? Cut off the head of one and two more arise...

As I recall, to kill the hydra, you needed to hit the heart. As you say, chop off a head, and more grow back. Unfortunately it's impossible to kill lawyers this way. There's no heart to drive your stake through.

Do flamethrowers work? Also Greek legend didn't mention the effect of nuclear weapons on the hydra, for some unaccountable reason...

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Devil

Re: Author

2. Bend the to his own uses.

Who says that hasn't already happened...

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I ain't Spartacus
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Devil

Well, don't say I didn't warn you (in 2010 as happens). I even got the coffee connection almost right: linky to post.

It's a shame El Reg took away the grave stone icon.

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On 50th anniversary of first spacewalk, Aurorae light up two planets

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On the first day of Christmas my true love brought to me,

A laser tank, with an RTG.

On the second day of Christmas my true love brought to me,

2 rovers roving,

And a laser tank, with an RTG.

On the third day of Christmas my true love brought to me,

3 satellites mapping,

2 rovers roving,

And a laser tank, with an RTG.

On the fourth day of Christmas my true love brought to me,

4 cameras panning,

3 satellites mapping,

2 rovers roving,

And a laser tank, with an RTG.

etc.

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Both the US and the USSR's first spacewalks nearly went horribly wrong. I believe NASA hadn't put enough handholds on the spacecraft, both of them had problems with the suits over-inflating - and so struggled to get back into the ship.

In space, no-one can hear you scream. But on the radio, everyone can hear you say, "oh shit, oh shit, oh shit, oh shit!"

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Shock development: Darkweb drug n' gun dealers are untrustworthy

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Happy

Re: Escrow?

No, it's EVE-scrow. Which is defined as the practise of giving money to someone who plays EVE Online, in the hope that they'll give it back to you in future.

Sometimes this even happens.

EVE was good training for reading about Bitcoin. Because it gives one a certain predictive ability...

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Watchdog slaps American Apparel's youthful naked arse

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Devil

This decision by the ASA was a load of arse.

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Watching porn makes men BETTER in bed, say trick-cyclists

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Devil

Surely there's some related research that needs to be done. And is far more vital to society.

Does watching lots of cookery shows on telly lead to improved cooking at home? Or is it giving people unrealistic expectations. Paricularly when they move off the basic vanilla stuff into the extreme food porn, by that filthmeister Heston Blumenthal?

Personally I've been beating away for hours with Nigella, and it's not done me any harm...

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$30 Landfill Android mobes are proof that capitalism ROCKS

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If you can do more things with use of the same resources, then you've increased production (and of course productivity). Or you may choose to still produce the same amount, in which case you're now doing it with fewer resources, so you've used the productivity gain and deployed the now freed up resources elsewhere.

El Reg (amongst other places) ran the fish story. I can't remember now if they ended up catching less fish - as they were wasting less. Or if they ended up wasting less, by landing more in the right ports, in which case more was produced from the same resources.

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Internet Explorer LIVES ON, cackle sneaky Microsoft engineers

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Also the death squads for helots is not so politically correct

There was also a quite sophisticated program of spying on the helots. Some of the most talented Spartans were introduced to the helot population at the end of their military training (in their late teens). And their job was to mark out targets for assassination.

Please insert your own joke about the NSA...

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Are you clever enough, and brave enough, to give a Register lecture

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Happy

Re: I was with you until..

I've got a 2 hour lecture on the Water Regulations I could do. You did say fascinating and entertaining didn't you? Well it gives a whole new meaning to the words...

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Happy

Re: Pies and beer, mmmm.

See my post above about the pies. I was ashamed of myself for the number I ate. But they delivered so many, and they were so nice. And I had a beer in the other hand. What was I supposed to do?

Sadly there's no big, fat piggy icon available.

It was the Craft Beer Co in Clerkenwell last year.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Pint

Re: Nice.

If they're doing it at the same place as last year, there will be lots of beer. Stupid amounts in fact. I asked if they had a Christmas ale of some description on draught. And they said, "Yes. We've got three." I went through lots of different pints, of which they were all very nice. Except the Christmas milk stout, which was too sweet and chocolatey for my taste. But then I only tried it because I'd never had one before. They had some nice Belgian stuff in bottles as well.

On the other hand, the beer isn't the best bit. The pork pies are. Mountains of piggy goodness. Pork and black pudding was my favourite, though the one with stilton was a close second. There was also a pickle one, a plain one - and a turkey one, for the vegetarians...

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Swedish prosecutors finally agree to London interview for Assange™

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Re: Good for him… maybe?

Police do not prosecute crimes at this level of political interference.

Not sure what that's supposed to actually mean.

As you say though, it's the CPS who decide whether a prosecution occurs. The police aren't supposed to drop an investigation without their say-so, and it's the CPS who make the call as to whether a prosecution goes to court. It has to have a realistic chance of success - and be in the public interest.

Although is skipping bail a normal criminal offence? Or does it come under contempt of court? In which case the CPS may not even get a look-in - and any decision would come down to the original judge who set it.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Good for him… maybe?

I understand your sentiment but do not understand. In Govt there must be a way for political back-peddling in a legal sense?

swampdog,

Theoretically there should have been no political involvement at any point in this case. There is no constitutional method for this to occur. The police and courts are independent of government.

Broadly the courts actually are. The police, in particular the Met, operate a lot more closely with the Home Office - and so high profile cases like this will obviously be discussed. But short of going through some very complicated legal gyrations, a Home Secretary can do nothing if a Chief Constable tells them to get stuffed. There is a mechanism to sack one, but it takes a long time, and a lot of political capital.

I think it would be embarrassing if Assange were to escape. But it would be equally bad for both police and government, so it's in both their interests not to allow it to happen. Even if it costs a bobbie or two.

But there's no deal the Foreign Office or Home Office can offer Assange, or Ecuador. The police are bound by the court-issued arrest warrant, and there's presumably one out also for contempt of court, for breach of bail conditions. Those were both issued by the courts, and can only be reversed by the courts. A Home Secretary (and why would they care?) might be able to "put the word out" to the judge about what they want. The judge is under no obligation to take any notice. The Judicial Appointments Commission is independent, and comes under the Ministry of Justice anyway. So there's not even much informal pressure that can be brought to bear, let alone the direct type.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Good for him… maybe?

It doesn't matter which government wins. They can't wash their hands of it. There is no mechanism for the Home Secretary to tell the police what to do.

Of course, in reality, this sort of affair will probably have all sorts of people consulting each other. But if the Met wanted to be bloody-minded, there's nothing that ministers can do. Dropping the skipping bail charge is down to the courts.

The government could do some sort of backroom (nod-and-a-wink) deal, where Ecuador are allowed to slip him out the back, while we're not watching. But this would be illegal - and when he got to Ecuador and went on telly, a minister or senior Met commander (depending on who agreed what / how much came out), would probably have to be sacrificed to appease the Daily Mail. A junior one that nobody likes perhaps?

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Timeout, Time Lords: ICANN says there is only one kind of doctor

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Re: Sad if they go through with it

doctor.doctor/i/feel/like/a/pair/of/curtains.php

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Happy

Re: I can foresee lawsuits against ICANN over this.

Whenever anyone talks about ICANN in the way you do in your first sentence, the only thing my brain processes is: ICAN HAZ CHEEZBURGER

Is that wrong?

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I ain't Spartacus
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Happy

Re: Suggestion nobody will listen to...

New gTLD suggestion: dot.itsjustfuckingwater perhaps?

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Re: Sadly the wrong answer.

Well they're going to come across the same problem with dot.bank.

As I understand it, one of the potential registrars is going to set up some sort of system where you have to be registered as a bank with a national regulartory authority. And I guess a similar system can be built up for dot.doctor.

However, once you do that, you're basically no longer dealing with a global system. So in this particular case, it might then be better off to go through the national TLDs. A dot.doctor.uk would make a lot more sense - as it can then be managed within the country's laws, and governments could even make it an offence to register a domain on there without the appropriate qualifications. Instead of, or as well as, administering the local register, by whatever local rules apply.

At least most of the useless gTLD aren't actively going to do any harm. Bank, Doctor etc., could end up going horribly wrong.

I'm just off to pay my $10 to register icann.sucks, or failing that my $150,000 to be registrar of .fuckingupthenamespace...

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Happy

Re: "legitimate medical practitioners"

But what about legitimate supervillians (many of whom hold advanced degrees) ?

The super-villain problem is easily solved. They don't want the .doctor name anyway, since Dr is usually the first part of their name. What they need is the new gTLD .evil...

There admittedly might be a touch of confusion between the two domains: DrNo.evil and DoNo.evil (as owned by Google), but I'm sure it would all come out in the wash...

The next question is a domain for superheroes. I was thinking .man. Hence you'd have super.man, ice.man, spider.man, bat.man. And robin too...

Also mannersmaketh.man and the less pleasant superhero herpes.man.

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RIP Sir Terry Pratchett: Discworld author finally gets to meet DEATH

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I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects,

No man is an island,

Entire of itself,

Every man is a piece of the continent,

A part of the main.

If a clod be washed away by the sea,

Europe is the less.

As well as if a promontory were.

As well as if a manor of thy friend's

Or of thine own were:

Any man's death diminishes me,

Because I am involved in mankind,

And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;

It tolls for thee.

I thought of this yesterday, because I was musing on the fact that Terry Pratchett's death has affected me, even though I never knew the man. And normally I wouldn't say that about someone I didn't know. It might be sad, but I rarely feel it personally. Anyway it didn't seem to quite fit, so I didn't bother.

However it's appropriate here I think.

Whereas I'm not sure your sentiments were. I didn't know Sir Terry, but after reading 40-odd books of his (maybe 8,000 pages or a couple of million words) - I think I can safely say that he wouldn't agree.

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Re: Turtles all the way down

How can any man whose writing desk had 6 monitors on it, not be relevant to an IT site?

I remember being quite impressed by that setup. Although I don't know how he ever got any actual writing done...

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Re: It's sad but also not sad

Good post. With which I whole-heartedly agree.

I'm still sad though. I'm not normally one to feel this way when someone famous dies. I didn't know them, after all. So I wouldn't normally post. But I've loved his books for years, and also really admired his programs on the Dignitas clinic and the one on possibly Alzheimers treatment.

But as you say, it cannot be counted anything but a success to die with your loved ones around you in your own bed, after a good life, having made some mark on the world and had a positive effect on many peoples' lives.

Sniff sniff... I appear to have something in my eye...

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$17,000 Apple Watch: Pointless bling, right? HA! You're WRONG

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Re: Clickbait

Tim,

Thanks for your correction. I noticed I'd typed pail, instead of pale afterwards. Oops. I used to proof-read my posts to the interwebs, but life's too short. I'm not getting paid, so I just type my screed and move on...

I didn't know UKIP had an official blazer. Is it in yellow and purple? If so, the internet demands pictures. Although maybe wait a few weeks, until we've got our special dark glasses for staring at the eclipse...

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Re: Clickbait

Charlie Clark,

Thanks for your reply. I don't know what your complaint is about El Reg though. If you don't like Worstall, don't click on his articles. It's an IT site, so I don't know how he persuaded the editor to let him write about economics on here, but then he gets comments (and interesting discussions in them), so he obviously attracts readers. But were El Reg a newspaper, little of his stuff would appear in the news pages, as it's often comment, rather than news reporting.

However, I wouldn't call this an Op Ed piece. He's just talking about economics and stupidly expensive Apple watches. Saying that it's a Veblen good isn't "off economics", it's just economics. Like Giffen goods, it's one of those areas where price and demand don't relate in the normal way - but it's someting that's continually observed, so I guess someone wrote a paper, and got the credit for the "discovery". I don't see what's not to like about this piece. Or even what's controversial. More it's a look at this new thing, here's how it's seen in economic terms.

Anyway he works for the Adam Smith Institute. Which gives him some credibility, even if it suggests quite a lot about his economics and politics. He's also a kipper. But that's no reason not to take his economics seriously. It's a long time since I studied it, but I've not seen him make a mistake on El Reg, and he's made me think quite a lot. Obvoiusly there's an ongoing academic debate in economics, but he's quite good at telling you which view he's going with, who disagrees, what the mainstream view is (if there is one). And he's also unusually good at saying when he's giving his own opinion, and when he's using standard economics to make a point.

FWIW UKIP is not just about being anti-Euro and anti-EU. Those are handy fig leaves for some fairly reactionary ideas which Worstal's articles typify. A pox on all populists. And a pox on the mainstream for giving them air to breathe.

This however is unacceptable. I agree with you about a pox on populists. But giving them air to breath is a fundamental freedom of our political system. It's a fundamental right too. I would argue that it was the lack of space allowed for discussion on Europe that directly caused the rise of UKIP. And allowed them to continue in the unhealth 'anti-politics' platform they now use. The closing down of debate on immigration, the euro and the like damaged our political discourse, and led more people to look to to the extremes, as the mainstream media (and some politicians) shouted them down.

Look at the eurozone debate in Southern europe. Because there's a media and political consensus on staying in, no matter the damage it's inflicting, voters are starting to move to the extremes. So you get Syriza and Podemos, who can play the populist card, because they've never had to make the comopromised required to govern. And look how well it's worked out so-far for Syriza, as they've run their impossible election pledges into the brick wall of reality. To be fair, I think Syriza may have been willing to make a reasonable compromise, but it looks like the rest of the eurozone aren't. And also, Syriza didn't tell it how it really is to the voters.

UKIP is a mess. According to the polls there are quite a few ex Lib Dem supporters who now say they'll vote UKIP! So they've moved from a pro-EU, pro-Euro socially liberal party, to one that isn't. They're probably the flipside of the coin to the voters who say they're going Green, as Labour aren't left enough. But I guess that's as much an anti-politics, "bollocks to the lot of you", vote.

Obviously UKIP started as a single-issue party. But they've gained support and members from everywhere, which makes it very hard for them to come to a consensus. How to you make a manifesto to please a libertarian free-marketeer like Worstall and an ex-Labour northern working class lefty/protectionist? Let alone the ex BNP lot, the older worried-about-social-change voters etc.

AfD in Germany are having the same problem. A pro-EU but anti euro party, founded by economics professors and business people as a reaction to the seemingly insoluable euro-crisis. Suddenly they started getting popular, so they've now been joined by lots of people who don't like the euro or the EU, and quite a lot of them because of the large growth of immigration in Germany and/or the drop in wages for lower skilled workers. So they're now having the same fight as to who dominates the party agenda. I think Syriza are a bit of mirror of this problem, from the left.

Anyway, I believe in politics. It works better than the alternatives. And that means open debate, and not dismissing someone just because they disagree with you. But trying to find some common ground. I don't think terms like reactionary help. If you think he's wrong, argue your case.

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WTF?

Re: Clickbait

from the Register's own Kipper not marked as such.

Charlie Clark,

What the fuck's wrong with you?

So the man supports UKIP. So fucking what?

If he was subtly making Ukippy points and propaganda in his articles, then you might have a point. But this article doesn't even relate to that. It's a discussion point about the new Apple watch and luxury goods from the standpoint of economics. i.e., it's not about the money, it's about the sex. Or as that song a few years ago said, "Girls don't like boys. Girls like cars and money."

There's nothing wrong with supporting UKIP anyway. Not that I'm a fan, I don't like one-policy parties, and I like even less one-policy parties that succumb to delusions of adequacy and start to pretend to having a proper manifesto and makking stuff up on the hoof. But they address a genuine constitutional issue, of serious democractic importance. And that can only be a good thing. That's democracy.

Trying to treat UKIP as somehow beyond the pail is the whole reason for the success of UKIP in the first place! I remember the good old days, when if you opposed the Euro you were some kind of little-Englander, swivel-eyed loon, to be subtly insulted and patronised by our betters at the Guardian, BBC, Times and FT.

Now it turns out that the euro is economically unworkable without unaccepable political integration. Oops. That kind of sneering nastiness is what causes the growth of anti-politics. And despite its fault politics is what gets stuff done. The alternative to working politics is Russia or Greece. Neither of which are good options.

Oops. Rant over. Apologies to everyone other than the OP. And breathe...

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There's nothing wrong with blowing your cash on whatever takes your fancy. It's just that this Apple watch seems such bad value. At least you can justify a Swiss watch by saying that lots of lab-coated craftsmen have hand-built it, while smoking their pipes and yodelling. And that it'll still be useful in 2 years, and working in 10.

None of that's true of the Apple watch, which is just $350 of mass-produced mechanism shoved in $1,000 of gold.

For $17k, I could pay a special assistant to follow me round holding my phone within my eyeline - or maybe walk just in front of me with it taped to their back. Financially that makes just as much sense, as I can then do the same next year - rather than paying for the upgrade from Apple. And that's showing off even more.

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Re: The difference is …

The longevity of a Rolex compared to an iWatch is completely irrelevant for the very reasons the article discussed. Wasting resources proves that you have resources - Hence the old Rolls Royce in a swimming pool antics.

Dave 126,

Doesn't this depend on motivation though? I've heard guys talking about buying cars because, "they're a babe-magnet." I don't recall talking to anyone who's bought a stupidly expensive watch saying that though.

The way they've sold the purchase to themselves is often because they're into nicely engineered things, they like the idea of it, and they can justify this because they're going to have the watch forever, and pass it to their kids. Or even sell it for a profit. There's also an element of "rewarding myself for working hard - now I can afford it".

There are some who buy it as an addition to their wardrobe, and I guess that pretty much is about sexual display.

But it strikes me that people do need to justify a purchase in their own minds. And quality and longevity is the big thing for the posh watch industry. But Apple are selling a $350 watch covered in gold, but not in a gold case, so therefore it's going to be worthless after 2 years. Do people with this much cash use Cash-4-Gold?

Obviously, once you've got a few tens of millions, the cost is irrelevant. And this is just another impulse purchase. But the watch comopanies do so well, because they're selling watches for £5k to people who only earn £30-£40k a year - and there's an awful lot more of them than there are millionaires.

Then again maybe Apple only want the millionaires? There's still enough of them, and it's not like these watches are costing much to make, as that's covered by the mass market production line, it's just the easy job of making the gold cases.

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Sir Terry remembered: Dickens' fire, Tolkien's imagination, and the wit of Wodehouse

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Re: He'll be missed in my house

I don't know. Should you raise a pint to him? Or should it be a glass of something blue or green and sticky, that's been lurking in a crusty bottle at the back of the bar since a holiday about 20 years ago?

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Happy

In my opinion he started off with one style 'Colour of Magic' and 'Light Fantastic', and then spent the next few books tweaking things*, and changing his writing styles and techniques. In my opinion Sourcery and Pyramids were some of his weaker books because of this. I still enjoyed them, but didn't feel much desire to re-read them. Admittedly they've been in a box for the last 15 years, and I've only just dug them out after several moves, and some time in storage - perhaps they're due another read?

Anyway, I think he'd really got himself going again with Wyrd Sisters. Which I very much like (and have re-read). And might be a good starting point. I love the way he can be doing a multi-page literary parody, sometimes within a book that is already a literary parody (Wyrd Sisters / Macbeth for example) - and then he'll put in a proper groan-inducing pun and suddenly there'll be a knob gag, or he'll drop in a stupid footnote for the hell of it. His writing style plays on so many different levels that you can appreciate the books in different ways, depending on your mood, and that makes them worth re-reading too. So Wyrd Sisters then Witches Abroad (where I loved the short Hemingway parody) then hooked.

Or you could go for for Guards! Guards!, and read along with the Watch, as someone else also suggested. There's also the Death novels. But I didn't think Mort was one of his strongest books, so I wouldn't start with it, just like I think Equal Rites (the first witches one) isn't even in the same style as his later stuff. Everyone likes different things though. And I do fear recommending books / music that I love to people, because so much of it is personal. And then when they don't like it, they've stabbed me in the back. The bastards!

You've got a whole load of books to look forward to. Assuming you liked the first couple you read. Happy days. There's a bunch of kids/young adult books in the Discworld series as well, but I just ignored that and read them anyway. I really enjoyed the Tiffany Aching books (Wee Free Men, Hat Full of Sky and Wintersmith). More witches.

He then did a bunch of other stuff. I remember not particularly liking Strata and Dark Side of the Sun - but that's all I remember, I read those sometime in the early 90s I think. There was Truckers, Diggers and something else, which I've never read, and I seem to recall the name 'The Carpet People'. All kids books I think.

Then finally, Good Omens (with Neil Gaiman). Radio 4's recent adaptation was excellent. The book is even better. Hopefully, happy reading to you. Oh and the ones with Stephen Baxter, that I haven't read, the first one's on my bedside book pile.

* I just had a major fat-finger issue and typed twerking1 (should I have left that in?).

1 I put this comment in brackets, then realised that in honour of the Master himself, it should obviously be done as a footnote2. I also particuarly liked his footnotes inside footnotes gags.

2I should probably have stopped after 2...

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The voters hate Google. Heeeeyyyy... how about a 'Google Tax'?

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Amazon don't make profits. They re-invest their profits into expanding the business, and growing into new areas like Cloud Computing and phones/tablets. Thus it doesn't matter what jurisdiction they're in, they still wouldn't be paying corporation tax.

Google, MS and Apple are a different matter.

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Re: Who benefits?

VAT isn't a tax on turnover. It's a tax on consumption.

The reason for this is that any organisation that's VAT registered gets to claim back any VAT it pays. So any company that sells business-to-business is almost totally unaffected by VAT. You charge it, pay it on the stuff you buy from other businesses, then hand over the difference to HMRC. But becasue the companies you sell to are businesses, they claim back the VAT you charged them as well.

It's only when that final invoice in the chain hits a consumer, or a company too small to be VAT registered, that someone finally has to swallow the VAT element.

Until then, all VAT has done is create lots of paperwork and sometimes cashflow problems. Also it means you're reporting quarterly sales and costs to HMRC, which really helps with working out the state of the economy.

As you say though, corporation tax is a tax on profits. Not turnover. Hence all the arguments about Amazon seem ridiculous, given they don't make much profit. The problem with Amazon is the distortion they create with the Single Market VAT system, helping them to out-compete local companies on price.

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