A very minor whinge

One of the house guests is gluten intolerant. No, really and properly.

OK. I thought about corn tortillas. Why not?

Only to find that all the ones in the shops are wheat tortillas. Where does one get corn ones from?

Childhood diabetes is about fatty lardbuckets or immigration?

Growing numbers of children and young people are developing type 2 diabetes, a disease usually seen in those aged over 40, in the latest sign of worsening childhood obesity.

The number of people aged up to 25 with the condition in England and Wales increased from 507 in 2013-14 to 715 in 2016-17 – a 41% rise.

The sharp rise has prompted concern among doctors and led to renewed calls for tougher government action to tackle the .

OK, anything is valid, worthwhile, as it’s for the kiddies!

The figures show that people from some ethnic minorities are much more likely than others to develop type 2 diabetes. Almost half of the 715 young people were black or Asian.

Banning immigration, repatriation, would seem to reduce the incidence of Type 2 diabetes in children in England.

Hmm, what’s that? You mean you didn’t actually mean do anything at all to reduce this? Ahhh, so, now we do get to the point that only some things are worthwhile, so which are they?

The terms of the Drake Equation seem to be changing

The chances of finding alien organisms have been boosted by the discovery of hundreds of “water worlds” capable of supporting life.

New analysis by Harvard University estimates that one in three “exoplanets” outside our solar system that are larger than Earth are likely to contain an abundance of water.

The scientists say the planets that are two to four times bigger than Earth that have the best chance of supporting life.

Not that this changes the basic problem with alien – or indeed time travelling – life. If such exists, then where in buggery are they?

Umm, err?

Accountancy is riddled with intangible assets. And arbitrary valuations. I’m not seeking to get too technical here. What I am referring to are four basic categories of assets. Being more specific does not help the argument.

The first such asset is goodwill. This is the excess value paid when acquiring a business over the sum that can be attributed to tangible, physical assets that can be valued in their own right.

The second group of assets are legally constructed property rights. These are things like patents and copyrights that only have value by presuming there is a future income stream.

The third are those supposedly marketable assets that apparently generate an income but for which there is no current market and to which a value is attributed on a ‘mark to market’ basis using models that might be as accurate as a forecast that it will snow in the UK today.

And finally are assets created intra-group. These are investments, loans and liabilities created in an intense web of transactions that are in themselves likely to be largely commercially meaningless but which leave a trail of interdependencies that render the accounts that include them largely incomprehensible in themselves, but which are nonetheless declared to be true and fair.

You can argue there are more or fewer such groupings. You can discuss which is more or less esoteric. I have problems with them whichever way you address the issue. The problems are, essentially, twofold.

The first is that these assets may simply not exist. Indeed, in isolation, they do not. So, goodwill is not independent of the underlying entity; intra-group debt is only of worth if the whole group might be, but not even then necessarily, and copyright only has worth as long as the property it relates to is still seen, heard or read. So the fact that someone once paid for these things is proof of nothing more than potential misjudgement at some time in the past. Too often that is now proving to be true. Not always, I stress. But too often. Which suggests that unquestioning acceptance of valuations based on pure history or models is failing accountancy.

And second? The problem is in the income statement. We recognise income from these assets in many cases (intra-group debt often excepted). But when we do we do not apparently think it appropriate to recognise that in most cases we bought that income. In other words, goodwill simply represents a purchased income stream. And an acquired copyright had a cost to buying the future income. And I think it should be mandatory that the cost in question be written off against the income. In fact, it should be written off even when there is no or little income. But accountancy is far too lax on this now, albeit it once was not.

Accounts are riddled, in my opinion, with assets that do not exist because they are at best nothing more than purchased income streams whose cost should have been written off against that revenue.

Err, don’t we depreciate intangible assets?

And why not?

Seems rather more useful anyway:

More A levels in PE than French as pupils drop European languages

PE is now more popular than French at A level, a sign of the sharp decline in European languages being studied.

Only 8,713 candidates took French, this year’s results show, down 8 per cent in a year. In 1996 French was one of the most popular A levels, taken by 22,718 students. A total of 11,307 took PE this year.

After all, we’ve always found it more useful to thrash a Frenchman than speak to him. Enjoyable too.

I don’t think Polly understands trains

Trains do signify the fitness of a government. If an incoming Labour government concentrates hard on making trains run on time at fair fares, that would be a potent signal of all-round efficiency worth investing in heavily. But what perplexes me is the passivity of train-travelling commuters, among the most well-heeled, empowered of citizens. Yet apart from a minor kicking down of a gate in St Albans during the worst of the timetabling disaster, they fail to rebel. Along Southern’s lines, passing through nothing but top Tory MPs’ constituencies, passengers tolerate years of strikes and disruption, with more to come. Why aren’t they taking direct action, voting out their MPs and super-gluing ticket barriers? Ah, I forgot. The private companies get paid regardless of ticket income: only the state loses if people refuse to pay, another brilliant bit of contracting in these failed franchises.

Err, no. The Southtern line the operator gets paid because it’s not a franchise, it’s a contract to operate. On franchises no ticket revenue means no revenue.

Well, yes, obviously

Areeba Hamid, of Greenpeace’s clean air campaign, said: “Limiting the use of wood-burning stoves will help reduce harmful particulate pollution but it is only one part of solving the air pollution crisis.

“Transport, in particular diesel vehicles, is responsible for the majority of air pollution on our streets and unless they are tackled as a priority, we cannot expect dramatic improvements in the UK’s air quality.”

She called for the introduction of clean air zones across the country and the phasing out of the internal combustion engine by 2030.

Instead of minor changes to wood stoves, a minority occupation, we should ban the major form of transport in the country. Much less disruptive, obviously.

My word, my word

It should come as no surprise to anyone that UK chief excutive pay has risen by 11% in the last year. This, of course, vastly outstrips the rate of increase for almost anyone else. It is also wholly unrelated to any real-world performance, except growth in share prices.

The company is run for the benefit of the shareholders. This seems like a reasonable connection for pay to make therefore.

But let’s be clear. Many of these chief executives help rig share prices through their share buyback schemes that are intended to keep shares in short supply, and so prices high. This makes the CEOs look good. And it increases the value of the CEO’s share options. They have every incentive to play this game.

Bit behind the times there, CEOs tend not to get paid in share options but in restricted stock. Nothing like being up to date, is there?

And despite protests, there is no reason for them not to do so. Shareholders still cannot constrain pay. There is no maximum pay law. Whatever is paid to a CEO is considered a legitimate tax-deductible expense in the accounts of the company that pays it. And the pension industry – stacked full, as it is, by sycophants who want to ‘make it in the City’ – by and large never says boo to a goose.

So what is happening? Rent extraction is happening. These CEOs do not earn their reward. Nothing says they are worth the sums paid. They are paid this much because they can take this much. And this is what economuc rent is. It is the amount paid for a resource in excess of that needed to secure its use in a process.

All of which rather fails. Private equity doesn’t suffer from any of those power or institutional problems. And yet they pay CEOs more than public companies do.

And yes, that makes me angry.

Ignorance should make us all angry, no?

The Curajus State And CO2 Emissions

Is China showing us the way to go green?



It is only fair to add that Larry and I are both members of the Green New Deal group, but this, as far as I know, has no influence on what he is writing here.

What he is saying is pretty fundamental. It’s not just that the model of capitalism we have is bust. We all know that. But he is suggesting there is a compelling reason for changing it.

People can, and do, live with bust relationships for years. We are with Anglo Saxon capitalism. People do that because they cannot think of anything better. So they live with least worst.

But Larry is saying there may be something better. I am not wholly convinced China has all the answers. I very much doubt Larry does either. But the point is that there has to be something a lot better than what we have now. And climate change gives us every reason to change.

So, how would we test this? CO2 emissions by country.

1995 2000 2005 2010 2013 2014 2015

China 3303544.09 3631896.98 6174716.60 8986614.44 10503137.04 10711036.75 10641788.99
USA 5294648.43 5873867.33 5886317.61 5519483.81 5255530.16 5312226.27 5172337.73

Oh, maybe that Anglo Saxon free market capitalism stuff does work then? Looks like the supporters of the Curajus State will just have to fin another reason for fascism then.

Does this mean what I think it does?

That’s without considering the impact of disadvantage on pupils who find learning harder

Thick kids are disadvantaged because they find learning harder?

She also thinks we’re thick as mince:

Conservative 2017 manifesto to force independent schools to sponsor a state school or risk losing their tax breaks (she later quietly dropped it). These are not insignificant sums. Between 2017-22, private schools will get tax rebates totalling £522m as a result of their status as charities.

£100 million a year in tax breaks. The education budget is some £90 billion. Yes, b. It’s not even a rounding error, is it?

The private schools also save the state the cost of educating 7% of children. At a very rough guess that’s a saving of £6 billion a year, isn’t it?

But then we all do think that Frances Ryan is thick as mince, don’t we?

Err, who cares?

The festival defined noughties pop-punk and united America’s outcasts – but as it shuts for ever, we ask: did it fail to champion diversity?

What would be a diverse music festival? One that had the Boston Pops, Stormzy and The Ramones?

Or are we talking about the unimportant kind of diversity, the skin colour and genital arrangements of those on the stage?

Well, there’s another way to read this

No idea whether this is the right way to read it but it’s possible all the same:

Russian women suffering domestic violence are being deterred from going to the police since its partial decriminalisation last year, campaigners have claimed after a dramatic fall in reported incidents.

The state statistics, released in July, reveal that the number of cases of domestic violence reported to the police in 2017 almost halved since physical abuse became punishable by a fine rather than time in prison.

Controversial amendments to Russian law decriminalised some forms of domestic violence in February 2017. The changes mean violence against a spouse or children that results in bruising or bleeding but not broken bones is punishable by 15 days in prison or a fine of 30,000 roubles (£380) if they do not happen more than once a year. Previously, these offences carried a maximum jail sentence of two years.

A substantial number of such reports were punishment of the male because he’d pissed her off. Now the sentence is much less there’s no point in falsely reporting to inflict said punishment.

No, don’t think even I agree with that but it is still a possible explanation of events.

What wondrous joy

Dr Akiria Fukutomi, lead researcher, from Vincent Square Eating Disorder Service, run by Central and North West London Foundation trust, said: “The single-sex system disadvantages males as the majority of the patients are female.

“The fact that both professionals and patients believe eating disorder wards should be open to males, should spur units to accept males if they do not currently do so.

The researcher said the Government guidelines have been amended following the study, to allow mixed sex wards under particular conditions -such as keeping sleeping areas and bathrooms separate.

Bathrooms should be separate in hospital and not at the Department for Education.

Anyone care to justify both?

Can you see how this will go?

A tiny wormhole in space has enabled us to read a pitch for a Guardian comment piece from November 2018.

Hoarding has been classified as a medical disorder for the first time by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in a move that experts say could benefit thousands of people.

Psychiatrists said the “extremely ­significant” decision would help ­doctors and the NHS identify people struggling with hoarding and improve treatment for a condition campaigners say affects up to 5 per cent of the ­population.

According to the WHO, hoarding disorder is characterised by an “accumulation of possessions due to excessive acquisition of or difficulty discarding possessions, regardless of their actual value”.

The rich hoard wealth for no good reason, right, except they’re mentally ill, WHO says so. So we should tax them all 100% for their own mental health!

Here’s the basic problem – again

Female Home Office employees are refusing to use new £36,000 gender-neutral toilets because they feel ‘distressed’ by their male colleagues leaving the cubicle doors open

Sure, perhaps it shouldn’t matter. Equality, the needs of the trans, mean it shouldn’t matter perhaps.

But, you know, actual human beings seem to think it does matter. Therefore, in a world with actual human beings, it does matter.

New Soviet Man didn’t turn up to enjoy socialism and that’s the problem with too many of these progressive plans, they require something other than people to staff them, populate them.

My own view is that any designing should be done around the people we’ve got, not a hope of electing a new one. But then I am an old fuddy duddy.

Anyone want to pick the sexually gratifying content out of this?

From Google.

Ads suspended on this page because of porno images, videos, games, sexually gratifying text, a page the rives traffic to such content.

This page here.

If Straights Can’t Play Gays, Does That Mean Gays Can’t Play Straights?

Something odd is going on over in the world of make believe. There’s seems to be considerable confusion over what acting is all about – pretending. That being the job of an actor, to pretend. There are very few Danish princes treading the boards but someone has to play Hamlet. Oddly enough those shot, blown up and stabbed on screen don’t in fact die, they get up again and still do panto at Christmas. Not all the people playing the good guys really do rescue kittens as a hobby even though it is of course true that all the bad guys really do eat babies for breakfast.

I assume it’s someone whining about the point being made rather than the page itself.