Timmy’s recolonisation effort

As regulars around here will know I picked up a little column in a Bangladeshi newspaper while I was out there. The payment for which is at Bangladeshi rates and thus not significant. It’s also damn near impossible to get money out of the country anyway. Thus the fee, on that minimal but weekly basis, just gets passed on to the lad who was my minder when I was out there. You know the sort of thing that happens in a less than developed country, someone local to make sure you turn up on time, that the local police don’t shake the Westerner down, all that good stuff.

That lad then having spent the money upon:

And as you know this is the holy month for all the Muslim across the globe, as we fast throughout the month. Adding your contribution with ours we have organized a small lunch program for the underprivileged children, orphans and old people who was fasting and works hard on the road all day long.

Children and the elderly are not covered by the injunction to fast during Ramadan and the general injunction for the month is to be more charitable, as well as that obligation to fast for everyone else.

Looks like a damn good way to spend £80 a month to me. Although there is this ever so slightly disturbing worry that I might be feeding more poor children than the entirety of DfID.

Difficult to take this seriously really, isn’t it?

So, I said the economically obvious thing, India needs fewer people doing peasant agriculture and more doing manufacturing and services. That’s just how a country develops.

I am criticised with a concatenation of non sequiturs. Perhaps the best of which is this:

A cursory look at the global economic scenario will make it amply clear that Worstall’s advice is totally misguided. The world economy is stagnant or contracting. Real wages have been stagnant for decades. Consumption is at an all-time low.

Are these people even phoning this in from our own universe?

There’s the added joy that they seem to think I support EU and US farm subsidies. And they make that wondrous mistake about farm productivity. Which is to insist that low input farming is more productive per acre. Sure it is, or at least it can be. But it’s much less productive per hour of human labour, which is what determines the living standards of the farmers.

Sheesh, I mean really, sheesh.


So, was off on a 6 am flight. Up at 2.30 am to make it. Check email.

Cancellation. Now flying at 2 pm. Grr.


Am up, no point in going back to beddy byes. Grr.

Apparently lots of flights cancelled out of Munich yesterday over weather, meaning no plane here to do the first morning trip. Sigh.

Still, will give the Krauts something for efficiency. While I was on the phone talking to them about rebooking their computer sent me an email with the automatic rebooking that it had done. Not perfect, of course, but pretty good all the same.


What? No, don’t bother scrubbing her, leave my tent unsullied

When Eleanor Tomlinson made her first red carpet appearance at the Deauville Film Festival in 2006, she was 14 years old and looked every inch the gawky schoolgirl, with her hair its natural dirty blonde and her teeth in traintrack braces.
A decade on, at this weekend’s Baftas, she’s been transformed into a veritable goddess. Her hair is now flaming red — dyed for her role as Demelza in the BBC’s Poldark — while her striking red-carpet look is the work of stylist Nisha Grewal.

Whatever the perkiness of those norks not a natural redhead kills the deal I’m afraid. She’ll have to go find some other sugar daddy.

I didn’t have to give evidence in this trial after all

Four precious metals investment scammers have been jailed for a total of 29 years after duping hundreds of customers out of £7.75million in savings and pensions in exchange for ‘worthless barrels of junk’.
Using a misleading website and inaccurate glossy brochure they either cold-called victims with scripted patter or placed adverts offering the opportunity to purchase supposedly lucrative metals vital to 80 per cent of the world’s industry.
Ringleaders Christopher Sabin, 44, of Sevenoaks, Kent, and Tobias Ridpath, 52, from Hastings, East Sussex, were both jailed for nine years.

Prolific salesman Nicholas Start, 35, of Tadley, Hampshire, who pocketed at least £132,000 in commission over a few months, was handed a seven-year sentence.
William Berkeley, 52, of Horsham, West Sussex, joined the scam near its conclusion and was sent to prison for four years.
The group were convicted by a jury at Blackfriars Crown Court of conspiring to defraud investors by making false representations. A Proceeds of Crime Act hearing will follow to confiscate their profits.

Prosecutor David Durose told jurors Denver Trading – started by Sabin and Ridpath – was run from a short-term £860 per month office in the City.
The court was told Start headed a ‘prolific’ brokerage – London Commodity Markets – and Berkeley took over the Swiss branch of the business after the original director quit, claiming the business ‘stank horribly.’
One typical investor, Cecil McMurray, invested £243,000 and ‘lost a vast amount of money’.
Another client bought 100 kilos of rare metals in September 2012 for £39,000. Two-and-a-half years later that investment was worth £285.

I was booked to do so but then they decided I wasn’t needed. As to why I was booked to give evidence:

Investors were wooed with promises of returns on investments in Rare Earth Metals and Rare Earth Elements, which were vital in engineering and manufacturing.
The court heard father-of-three Sabin and father-of-two Ridpath founded the company in the Seychelles on February 23, 2013 and quickly gave it the trappings of a successful business.

I think that’s slightly wrong, they started in 2012.

I called it almost immediately:

Investing in Rare Earth Metals: Don’t Do It!

As my written evidence pointed out:

He added: ‘There is no resale market for these metals. They were almost useless as an investment.’

Dib Dib Dib I guess.

On community and being local

A quick trip down to the throbbing metropolis of this part of rural Portugal reminded me of what it is to be local. The florist sports a remarkably dreadful strawberry blonde, mullet, toupee. No one has quite pointed out that he needs, after these passing years, to be dying the grey out of his sideburns and moustache to make it even slightly believable.

And yet if someone were to come up from the Big City, all 15,000 people of it and fully 20 km away, and make fun of the remarkably dreadful strawberry blonde, mullet, toupee all of us locals would be rather put out by that. Because it’s our remarkably dreadful, strawberry blonde, mullet, toupee.

I’m sure great philosophers have tried to delineate, define, quantify even, community and what it is to be local but I can’t help feeling that I’ve grasped the nub of it right there.

So, who uses what dictation software?

I know I’ve asked this before but let’s try again.

Is there anything which really produces a good experience? So that you end up typing at speaking speed or close to it? 100, 150 wpm sort of speed?

i know of Dragon and have experimented with it but that was some time ago and perhaps it has got better since then. I assume there’s a google product out there as there is one for Android but is there a web version and how good is it?

And for anyone who does use dictation software how the hell does it deal with punctuation? Do you end up speaking like Victor Borge?

Anyone out there know Hugo?

I want to do some experimentation in building a site using static, not dynamic, pages. Yes, I’ve got programmers here but this is number 17 on the list and has been for months. So, is there anyone out there who already knows this language/system?

Essentially, I want to use it like WordPress. There are already designs for the site out there which can be downloaded, just as with WordPress. But of course with my technical skills–lack of them–I’m never going to be able to get a site up and running.

So, the question is, anyone already got those skills? Set me up with a Hugo site with a design to be nominated, an editor that I’m actually able to use etc? Got my URL already…..

I’ve got a little business based upon this

Talent shortage is acute in the IT and data science ecosystem in India with a survey claiming that 95% of engineers in the country are not fit to take up software development jobs.

According to a study by employability assessment company Aspiring Minds, only 4.77% candidates can write the correct logic for a programme — a minimum requirement for any programming job. Over 36,000 engineering students form IT related branches of over 500 colleges took Automata — a machine learning-based assessment of software development skills — and over two-thirds could not even write code that compiles.

The study further noted that while more than 60% candidates cannot even write code that compiles, only 1.4% can write functionally correct and efficient code.

We’ve been wading through piles of India written code and sorting it out into something efficient and functional.

One little story. One program brings up images of events onto the screen. Perhaps 50 images might come up on one screen. The original code brought all images up in full size and people then wondered about system performance. While we were doing something else we just added a bit here. Full sized image goes into storage, a medium sized copy too, main screen just brings up thumbnails. Click on one to get to medium, again to full.

Just an obvious thing to do.

Get call from client. Umm, why is this running really fast now? Have you finished all your work?

Nope, but while we were doing other problems we did the above.

Wait, what? You mean you are actually thinking about how this should work and making it so?

Err, yes….

We didn’t know that it was possible to find a contractor who does that…..

How long I wonder, how long?

In The Guardian:

Economics blogger Tim Worstall has a good take on the German factory orders decline, on Forbes.

Yes, OK, but I started blogging about economics 13 years ago. Am I still a “blogger” after near a decade of making my living writing about economics all around the place, including The Guardian? Do I ever get upgraded to “freelance” or “journalist”?

Or is it like the courtesan who marries well, since she started out doing the knee tremblers behind the bike shed she is forever known as the knee trembler?

Complaint from a reader

Here is your message from anonymous:

Maybe you don’t care, but you use a lot of comma splices in your articles. I even saw one in a title (“It’s Not Greece The Eurozone Needs To Worry About, It’s Italy Defaulting That Would Be a Problem”). I enjoy reading your work, but this bugs the hell out of me. Please think before you comma.

You can respond the reader directly using the email address below (if available).

Name (optional): anonymous

Email (optional): fake@fake.notreal

Err, what in buggery is a comma splice?

Update, thanks to those who pointed to Wikipedia. So, it violates White and Strunk does it? Good, must do it some more. If I understood what it was of course. My command of grammar isa too slight to understand the explanation.