Not good, not good

At least nineteen concert-goers were killed last night and 50 injured in what was being treated as a terror attack when an explosion hit the Manchester Arena at the end of a pop show.

Witnesses described hearing a huge bang shortly after 10.30pm at the entrance to the Arena as thousands of people made their way out of a concert by the American singer Ariana Grande.

Police were last night reportedly looking into the possibility a suicide bomber had carried out deadly attack, but there was no official confirmation.

Wonder who will pop up to claim this?

Erm, yes, OK

Well worth a few minutes of time to make the key point that if the government runs a surplus it is taxing more than it spends – or over-charging in other words.

And if it runs a deficit it’s spending too much then, yes?

Calling Rocco

A gay porn studio has sparked a furious backlash over a film that shows a man performing a sex act using a didgeridoo.
The explicit movie has been branded ‘racist’ and ‘incredibly disrespectful to the Australian aboriginal community’ for its portrayal of the wind instrument as a sex toy.
The adult film – titled ‘Didgeridoo Me’ – shows a sleeping man being woken up by his partner loudly playing the long pipe.

He then attempts to gets his revenge by grabbing the five-foot instrument and attempting to use it in a sex act.

Now Rolf’s out do you think he would go for the sequel?

You’re right, there is no start to his knowledge

It is, of course, appropriate to condemn those who have written the virus that has deliberately crippled the NHS and put lives at risk and I do so, unreservedly.

That said I think it wholly appropriate to ask three further questions. The first is why the NHS was at risk because so many of its units were running machines using Windows XP that has not been supported by Microsoft for years?

Second, it is fair to ask is why Microsoft can leave the world at risk by not supporting its software?

Third, it’s appropriate to ask what economic system can result in such a combination of circumstances arising?

At which point Snippa insists that the ne National Investment Bank should create an operating system to:

but in the real world where most people use IT the demands are pretty basic. Email, a word processor, maybe a spread sheet, access to the web where the demands are not that high, and the ability to run pre-programmed database operations linked to a file server. That is pretty much it.

And we’ll run the NHS on that.

All of this stemming from the initial analysis that it was Windows XP which was the problem.


Chief among the revelations: more than 97 percent of infections hit computers running Windows 7, according to attacks seen by antivirus provider Kaspersky Lab. By contrast, infected Windows XP machines were practically non-existent, and those XP PCs that were compromised were likely manually infected by their owners for testing purposes.

So not XP then:

The figures challenge the widely repeated perception that the outbreak was largely the result of end users who continued to deploy Windows XP, a Windows version Microsoft decommissioned three years ago. In fact, researchers now say, XP was largely untouched by last week’s worm because PCs crashed before WCry could take hold. Instead, it now appears, the leading contributor to the virally spreading infection were Windows 7 machines that hadn’t installed a critical security patch Microsoft issued in March

Microsoft did issue a patch, it did work, the software was all still under security update support, it’s just that the NHS systems are so crap that they didn’t install the patch.

And these are the people who should write a new operating system?

But no, we’re not going to see a walk back, are we? The view from he stump is that the Curajus State must write operating systems and that’s that.

Has Ritchie been advising Unilever?

With an obvious reference to Kraft, whose Brazilian billionaire backers at 3G have usually funded their takeovers with huge borrowings, he says: “To buy a company by overleveraging it, and having the taxpayer pay for it in deductions on income tax, doesn’t strike me as in the best interest of a country.”

The recipients of the interest do pay tax on it you know….

Not that Victoria Coren is ever going to face a gender pay gap

She is, rather annoyingly, rather too talented for that. However, here’s a decent explanation of why the gender pay gap does occur:

I’m not complaining about the time spent. That’s how I wanted to spend my time. Different people react to parenthood in different ways. Many of my closest friends, who love their children immeasurably and certainly as much as I love mine, need space from them. Quite apart from the financial imperative, they need for their own sanity to create separate professional achievements, maintain separate relationships or just have quiet days off.

That’s not how it’s been for me. To my surprise, it turned out that I find childcare infinitely interesting. It’s more rewarding than anything else I do and there’s no real peace or pleasure in being away from her. I’ve kept working a bit, but only to try and have some sort of skeleton career going for the future.

Don’t forget the gap is measured as an average. And it only requires some women to react to parenthood in this manner, more women than men do, for that gap to open up.

Finally, a decent use for 3 D printing

I’ve long been very puzzled by this enthusiasm for 3 D printing. Partly because I simply do not share the usual male joy at tinkering. I don’t program for exactly the same reason. Nor play with engines etc. Just isn’t me at all.

But I’ve also found it terribly difficult to think of things which people would both want and which would not be better/cheaper through he normal mass manufacturing routes. And now someone has worked that out:

However, having learned how far lighter limbs could be created on a 3D printer, he began to experiment in his garden shed.
He has now set up Team UnLimbited, which creates customised ‘cool’ limbs for children, featuring their choice of colour and pattern.
The father of three said: ‘We’ve done Iron Man designs, Harry Potter, Lego and Spider-Man. The key is making something the child actually wants to wear and feels is cool enough to show their friends.

Customised prosthetics. Full marks there, full marks, for the man and his shed.

So, we get to jail Alan Sugar, so we?

Corbyn, you’re fired! Former Labour peer Lord Sugar says he will vote for Theresa May in the General Election

Ah, no, sensibly, that’s not quite what he does say:

Lord Sugar has thrown his support behind Theresa May by declaring that ‘I’d vote for her’ to be Prime Minister.

‘Coz he’s a member of the House of Lords and thus doesn’t have a vote in a parliamentary election.

Not that the election does vote for her to be PM but…

Abedin learns from the Clintons

This is a good little example of why I just don’t. Don’t like, don’t support etc.

So Anthony Weiner is up before the beak for sexting to a 15 year old. Huma Abedin is both his wife and a long time Clinton aide.

Hey, tough times, he’s a shit certainly. And wouldn’t blame her for divorce at all. And she has divorced him, or at least filed to.

All fine.

And one report (not sure, maybe NYT?) points out that while they’re married she cannot be called to give evidence against him. So, he pleads guilty, so that’s all over. She divorces him, or files to, within hours.

And, you know, OK, sensible maybe, within the rules even. Or maybe the other way around, within the rules and even sensible.

And yet, umm, bleargh. Just……

And that’s the thing that’s always got me about the Clintons. Just too, well, calculating, I guess.

The argument against regional government

We’ve all, I think, noted that the Labour front bench these days is not exactly top notch?

Sure, OK, they’re the B team, the B Ark even, but it does show how thin the talent is in politics.

And we’re going to try and find enough people to fill 6 or 8 regional administrations given this dearth?

Do note that I wouldn’t be insistent that the Tory benches B Ark would be any better.

Spudder, Spudder

The Conservative Party manifesto contains the following chilling paragraph:

The British public deserves to have confidence in our democracy. We will legislate to ensure that a form of identification must be presented before voting, to reform postal voting and to improve other aspects of the elections process to ensure that our elections are the most secure in the world. We will retain the traditional method of voting by pencil and paper, and tackle every aspect of electoral fraud.

Three things. First there are only two forms of photo ID in the UK. They are passports and driving licences.

The Death Of Democracy!

Philip Strauss says:
May 19 2017 at 10:40 am
It doesn’t say photo ID, it just says identification.

Richard Murphy says:
May 19 2017 at 10:45 am
That’s not how anyone has interpreted it


Myself I think it’s more likely to be yet another attempt to run out ID cards at which point they can fuck right off of course.

Horrors, eh, just horrors

An oil well off Australia leaked for weeks last year. We just found out about it.


The leak began in April 2016 and lasted about two months. All told, it spilled nearly 2,800 gallons of oil into the ocean.

50 gallons a day. Into the ocean. Which is filled with bugs that eat oil.

Just, the horror……

Well, there’s an element of simplicity to it, certainly

Then an American official raised the idea of the Saudis’ buying a sophisticated radar system designed to shoot down ballistic missiles.

Sensing that the cost might be a problem, several administration officials said, Mr. Kushner picked up the phone and called Marillyn A. Hewson — the chief executive of Lockheed Martin, which makes the radar system — and asked her whether she could cut the price. As his guests watched slack-jawed, Ms. Hewson told him she would look into it, officials said.

Why not phone up and ask for money off?

Rare to see it said so explicitly

Experts welcomed the comments but were sceptical about what could be achieved. Tony Jaffa, a partner at Foot Anstey solicitors, said: “It’s a very laudable aim for Britain to lead the world in policing these companies but I’m not sure how achievable it is. It’s obvious that US tech companies are dominant, and the Americans have a conception of freedom of expression that’s quite different to ours, coming from their ideas about the first amendment.

“These companies claim they’re tech companies and not publishers while we on this side of the Atlantic believe that’s exactly what they are. It’s not only the companies that don’t accept those responsibilities but US lawmakers too.”

How dare the damn colonials just let people say whatever they want?

Mark Skilton, professor of practice at Warwick University, said: “The idea of an expert data-use and ethics commission is a good one, given the monopolisation of yours and my data by Google, Facebook and others for advertising and personal services . . .

Another professor of practice who is an idiot. T%he “and others” rather refutes the idea of monopoly, doesn’t it?

Err, yes, you’re right

English football’s axis of power has shifted south – where the wealth is
Anthony Clavane
The relegation of Hull, Middlesbrough and Sunderland, teams from former industrial powerhouse cities, reflects the country’s growing economic divide

And the reason the North was the centre of football (well, plus the Midlands and London) is because that’s where all the wealth was when it became a popular and organised sport.

It’s entirely correct to say that there’s been a regional divide these past 300 years in England (at least). But for the first 150 years the South, especially the South West, was on the wrong end of it.

One example – forgotten the decade as it was some time ago I read about it but probably 1830s, 1840s ish – farm labourer wages were 25 shillings a week up North, no rent to pay on the veg patch and potato field etc. Same time, rent to be paid and 8 shillings a week in Dorset. The North had to compete with the alternative jobs in the factories, Dorset was, even by the standards of the time, grossly poor.

Action brings reaction – I’m sure Marx said something about this

The maker of Marlboro cigarettes has been accused of trying to sidestep new UK laws on plain packaging by rolling out durable tins that look just like ordinary cigarette packets.

Philip Morris, one of the world’s largest tobacco companies, came under fire from MPs and anti-smoking campaigners on the eve of the biggest change in tobacco regulation since the smoking ban.

From Saturday, retailers will no longer be able to sell branded cigarette packets, as a 12-month grace period to allow tobacco firms to phase out old cartons comes to an end.

Instead, retailers will only stock plain packets featuring graphic pictures designed to deter smokers. They will also no longer be allowed to stock packets of 10 cigarettes or smaller sizes of rolling tobacco, as part of a package of measures designed to limit the appeal of smoking.

In the run-up to the change, Philip Morris has distributed tin containers, the same size as a 10-pack of cigarettes, to convenience stores around the country. The tins, which were available at chains including Sainsbury’s, Londis and Budgens, are printed with Marlboro branding, and feature deterrent pictures and the message “Smoking kills”.

It’s always, but always, second and third order effects which trip these people up, isn’t it?