Well now, fancy that!

The world’s top five technology companies are minting millionaires at an unprecedented pace, handing out stock awards that are more than 60% higher on average than the bonuses for workers in Britain’s financial services industry.

Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook and Google’s parent Alphabet doled out a combined $20bn (£15.4bn) in share payouts last year, on top of the techies’ salaries, according to an analysis of stock market filings.

The tech industry’s elite all enjoyed increases in their share prices last year, helping them to displace former stalwarts such as Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway and Exxon Mobil as the world’s most valuable public companies outside China. Apple is ranked No 1 with a market cap of about $770bn, followed by Alphabet, Microsoft and Amazon, with Facebook at No 5 on $435bn.

The $20bn bonanza equates to $29,850 for each of the quintet’s 670,000 employees. Last year Britain’s bankers and insurance workers took home £13.9bn in bonuses, an average of £13,400 per employee.

Global industry pays more in bonuses across the world than the one country sector of a global business.

Next they’ll be telling us that Google paid less in bonuses in the UK than it did worldwide.

Writer’s Guild of America strike, saving the middle class

To read the Hollywood trades, we in the Writers Guild are somehow simultaneously aristocrats and agitators, overpaid radical dandies. One thinks of Dalton Trumbo jawing about Marx as he swills cocktails by the pool.

The reality is less romantic. I schlep my kids to public school in a Subaru full of loose Legos and half-crushed Goldfish crackers, then spend the rest of my day in a constant hustle, inventing and pitching in and out of writers’ rooms and producers’ offices. I love my job and I’m lucky to have it. But even after five years, writing on great shows and making work of which I’m proud, I have to worry about every paycheck. And my story is typical.

Yup, poor little writer

But the alternative was even scarier: the permanent end of the middle-class Hollywood writer.

Jeebus.

Their old contract gave them $60,000 minimum for a 30 minute script or $5,000 a week for working as part of a team.

Middle class…..kiss my hairy arse.

Not quite how I’d describe it myself

Jimmy Choo has put itself up for sale as part of an evaluation of its future.
The British luxury brand, which specialises in shoes and accessories, said it was to conduct a review of various strategic options to “maximise value for its shareholders”, including the possibility of a sale.

Because what is being said there is “We hope we can find some other bugger who values it more than we do”

As I said, everything United does will be suspect now

An engaged couple were removed from a United Airlines flight to Costa Rica on Saturday, as the airline remained under scrutiny following outrage caused by a video last week of a passenger being forcibly removed from a flight.

Seriously, everything trivial:

The statement from a United spokeswoman said the airline offered the couple a discounted hotel rate for the night, and rebooked them on a Sunday morning flight.

But Michael Hohl and his fianc, Amber Maxwell, told KHOU they tried to pay for upgraded seating and were denied, after finding another passenger sleeping across their seats when they were the last to board.

After moving within the economy cabin a few rows up, flight crew denied their request to pay a supplement for the seats, which United sells as “economy plus”, and told them to move back to their original seats, Hohl said.

“We thought not a big deal, it’s not like we are trying to jump up into a first-class seat,” Hohl told KHOU. “We were simply in an economy row a few rows above our economy seat.”

Bastard tax dodgers at Starbucks!

Just thought I’d get this in ahead of everyone else:

Starbucks, which came under intense fire in 2012 for the low amount of tax it pays in the UK, said it shelled out £6.7 million in total taxes last year versus £8.4 million in 2015.

Turnover also fell, from £405.6 million to £379.9 million.

Will you look at that the bastards! 1.8% tax rate. Outrage!

Our task, if we should care to take it up, is to find the idiots actually making that argument…..

United Airlines employs Vetinari to allocate seats

Canadian man stung by scorpion on United Airlines flight

And Vetinari thinks of his scorpion pit.

Something else now though. Not sure whether the dam’s been breached, we’ve just the necessary bolus of attention or whatever. But absolutely anything that goes wrong with a United flight is going to make the news for the next bit. Things which are common to all airlines will be flagged up if they happen on United.

And the thing is, there’re always things going wrong in an organisation that size. Not really sure than any large organisation will survive well the sort of scrutiny United’s going to get…..

Silly people

Seeking to quell the uproar over a man being dragged off a plane, United Airlines announced on Tuesday that it would refund the tickets for all customers who were on the flight when the man was removed and that it would no longer ask police to remove passengers from full flights.

The airline said that passengers on United Express Flight 3411 on Sunday would be compensated equal to the cost of their tickets and could take the compensation in cash, travel credits or miles.

If you’d offered just a bit more cash back then this would never have happened.

And why are you compensating those who did fly?

Some grand gesture probably is needed but this almost certainly isn’t it.

Someone has been digging, haven’t they?

Revealed: US doctor who was dragged off flight was felon who traded prescription drugs for secret gay sex with a patient and needed anger management because of ‘control’ issues
Married Dr David Dao was convicted of giving a patient drugs in return for gay sex and barred from practicing in Louisville, KY. He was allowed back after anger management and other counselling – which revealed his mental state. It said that he had ‘a pattern of deception’, ‘lacked the foundation to navigate difficult situations’ a ‘need to control, avoidance, withholding information’ and ‘magical thinking’. The doctor, a 69-year-old grandfather, has received sympathy from around the world in the wake of being dragged off the United flight from Chicago to Louisville by three police officers. One has been suspended. He has yet to speak about the incident.

Bet there’s a bonus on offer to that little investigator.

Oooh, yes, lots of bonuses

Dao joined the World Series of Poker circuit in 2006 and spent the next decade at the tables, earning him $234,664.

This United dragging the passenger of the plane thing

Once the flight was boarded, passengers were told four people needed to give up their seats for stand-by United employees that needed to be in Louisville for a Monday flight and the plane wouldn’t depart until they had volunteers, Bridges said.

Because employees of the airline were flying standby a randomly selected, full fare paying, passenger was beaten up and dragged off the plane.

…and the airline’s CEO on Monday called the incident “an upsetting event to all of us here at United.”

“I apologize for having to re-accommodate these customers. Our team is moving with a sense of urgency to work with the authorities and conduct our own detailed review of what happened,” United CEO Oscar Munoz said in a statement Monday.

You know matey? Fire absolutely every one of your employees involved in this, that would be a good start. Then perhaps yourself.

Sure, we all know, you’ve got to move employees around on the network to get them to where they need to be the next day. But really, sirsly?

Fun Warren Buffett quote

When you get rid of the estate tax, you’re basically handing over command of the country’s resources to people who didn’t earn it. It’s like choosing the 2020 Olympic team by picking the children of all the winners at the 2000 Games.

The thing is, given genetics, the Olympic method would probably work quite well.

Money making not quite so much of course.

Hmm, so, did they?

New questions are emerging over Barclays’ rescue fundraising in 2008 as the Serious Fraud Office and the Financial Conduct Authority extend their inquiries into the deal.

Court documents filed in a civil case related to the £7.3bn injection from Middle Eastern investors have drawn attention to a separate transaction at around the same time.

Barclays lent £2bn to Qatar just weeks after the announcement of the role played by the Gulf state’s principal investment vehicle in the bank bailout. The debt component of Qatar Holding’s investment was for the same sum of £2bn.

Was that money just round tripped? Be fascinating to know…..

The point being that the bank needed capital. It had pots and pots of dosh, of deposits. But it needed capital.

So, lend some of the deposits which then come back as capital…..terribly naughty if that’s what they did do.

Any electrical engineers around here?

We need to do a little favour for some peeps in Russia. Which means finding a customer for their production. And we’ve not the slightest idea what this is nor who would use it:

Description
1 Charpy Impact viscosity, kJ/m2, not less 7.0
2 Bending stress at failure, MPa, not less 110
3 Martens thermal stability, C, not less 250
4 Water absorption, mg, not more 10
5 Raschig flow index, mm, not less 160
6 Specific electrical volume resistance, Om m, not less 1*109
7 Dielectric strength, MV/m, not less 19.0
8 Mass concentration of moisture and volatiles, %, not more 3.0

There’s more of this. And of course it doesn’t tell anyone what it actually is. We keep asking, well, yes, but what the hell is it?

T265 in Russian military terminology.

Or:

A phenolic glass composite thermoset plastic.

None of us has a scoobie here. Anyone got any ideas?

I seriously doubt a Dallas to Houston train set

It’s private money so why not and good luck to them. Yet still I doubt it:

Now there are only six trains per week from Houston, three headed west to Los Angeles, three east to New Orleans. The service to San Antonio leaves at 6.55pm and arrives at 12.05am: a 225-mile journey that can be made more cheaply, quickly and frequently by bus.

Yet if a private company succeeds in its bold ambition, the city famous as the hub of big oil will one day be a beacon of public transportation: connected to Dallas with Japanese-style bullet trains zipping at 205mph on new track to new stations.

Train travel is, by it’s very nature, point to point. And yet Dallas and Houston are both sprawling megapolii with no actual one point which is the city nor the centre.

Unconvinced to say the least.

Sigh

It’s a sales pitch that has yielded big profits. The North Face reported annual revenue of $2.3bn last year, with 200 stores around the world. Patagonia is smaller, but growing more rapidly. The company had sales of $800m in 2016, twice as much as in 2010, and has 29 standalone stores in the US, 23 in Japan, and others in locations such as Chamonix, the French ski resort.

Well done to The Guardian, thinking that revenues equal profits.

This is desperately sad but…..

What actually is the solution?

Amandeep Kaur, 29, a Hermes courier from Leicester, was in the back of an ambulance rushing her seriously ill son to hospital when she first felt the pressure to get back to work. It was two weeks before Christmas, one of the busiest periods for Britain’s booming parcel delivery industry, but Kaur’s six-year-old, Sukhmanjeet, had collapsed at home and she could not make her deliveries. A few hours later, with her son about to undergo surgery, she rang her manager.

“I said my son had had a cardiac arrest and I can’t come in,” she recalled. “I don’t know how long for, but he is my priority right now. [The manager’s] response was ‘Oh, it has come at a very busy time’.”

Even as her son’s condition worsened, she felt pressured to get back to work as soon as she could or risk losing her round.

Over the coming days, Kaur said she called her manager with updates about her son, but as a self-employed courier with no employment contract, she felt her job was under threat.

One one occasion, she said, after Sukhmanjeet had a leg amputated, “the response was ‘OK, I can try and help you for the next few days, but I can’t make any promises [going] forward’.

“[The manager] was saying ‘Come back in two days or there’s nothing we can do. We need to give your round up because it is a busy period’.”

Her son died on 19 December 2015.

They, the employer, need someone to do the round. She’s self employed and cannot do it.

Kaur said she went back to work 10 days after her son’s funeral, which she said was far too early.

“I was told there were conversations happening at the depot that they couldn’t keep my round for too long,” she said. “I was under pressure. I wasn’t ready.”

So, umm, actually, they did keep her job open then?