March 2017

That Space X achievement

So, they’ve managed to launch, land and relaunch.

Pretty impressive really.

So, how much does this actually save? The rocket itself is really just an aluminium tube. Not notably expensive.

The engines however, hmm.

But how much is it that they manage to save off a launch cost by being able to reuse?

For I simply have no clue at all. I haven’t a scoobie about the breakdown of costs. Is it 99% for the fuel and the rocket doesn’t matter? Or 70% on he engines so this is a big deal?

Murphy comes out against the euro

In an interview for the PoliticsHome podcast to be released later today, Mr Murphy said: “If I was living in Scotland – if I had a vote – I suspect I would vote for independence.”

D’ye think we could fix it so he moves and also that they do go?

During the previous Scottish independence referendum in 2014, the SNP argued Scotland should be able to keep the pound after breaking away from the UK.

But Mr Murphy said: “If a state is to be independent it has to have its own currency. In my opinion the two are fundamentally related to each other.”

So no state which is in the euro is independent then, eh? That will make the next visit to Brussels interesting.

He said if Scotland was tied to the pound it would have no control over its own fiscal policy and would therefore lack key “levers of power” required to run its own economy.

Twat. It would have no control over its monetary policy…..


Take the pharmaceutical industry. Companies like GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer regularly unveil new drugs, yet most real medical breakthroughs are made quietly at government-subsidised labs. Private companies mostly manufacture medications that resemble what we’ve already got. They get it patented and, with a hefty dose of marketing, a legion of lawyers, and a strong lobby, can live off the profits for years. In other words, the vast revenues of the pharmaceutical industry are the result of a tiny pinch of innovation and fistfuls of rent.

And we deliberately engineer it this way too you idiot.

Depending upon who you believe it costs $800 million to $2 billion to get a new drug approved by the FDA. If there were no method of extracting a rent from having done so no one would do so. Thus we create patents in order to produce that rent.

There are other solutions of course – blowing up the FDA is one of them. But to complain about the rent when it’s deliberately engineered into the system because of the public goods problem is, well, it’s stupid, isn’t it?

Well, you know, umm, tough?

I’m an Olympic medalist but I’m worried I won’t be able to provide for my unborn twins’.

When Chris Langridge discovered shortly after the Rio Olympics that his wife, Emma, was pregnant with twins, it seemed the timing couldn’t have been more perfect.

Langridge and Marcus Ellis had won bronze in the men’s doubles, Britain’s first badminton medal in 12 years, and negotiations with potential new sponsors were well underway.

Then UK Sport pulled the rug from beneath their feet, cutting all £5.7m in funding despite Langridge and Ellis’ success. Sponsors have disappeared and, with less than three months until Langridge has two more mouths to feed, he is consumed with worry about how he is going to manage.

“After Rio we found out Emma was pregnant – surprise!” he explains. “Then we found out it was twins – big surprise. Then we found out straight after we had no funding. It has been a really stressful time.

“I have been worrying about how I am going to provide for my family. I’m an Olympic medalist but my finances are bleak as I’m in such an uncertain situation.

“As soon as your sport is told that funding is being removed a lot of sponsors look at you a different way, thinking you’re a risk and maybe they won’t invest. I think ‘I’m one of the best in the world and I can’t get sponsors – this is mad’.

“After I won that medal I thought that finally I could relax a little. Finally I can enjoy this a bit more.

You’re one of the very best in the world at doing something not many people are interested in. Thus it’s a bit difficult to make a living at it.

Well, OK, umm, shrug?

Coffee cups

A new report from Cardiff University tells us that we’d have to be blithering idiots to insist that people stop using disposable coffee cups.

The environmental cost to society of disposable coffee cups is thus £3 million a year. The benefits to the population are north of £625 million a year. The method we’ve used to get here is identical to the one used to show that we really must do something about climate change.

Which we should – just as we shouldn’t about coffee cups. Because the analysis shows that we’d give up at least £625 million of consumer utility to gain £3 million in environmental savings. Why would we want to make ourselves £622 million poorer?

Eh? How does this work?

Natasha Lamb, a managing director at investor Arjuna Capital, is using her firm’s position as a shareholder at American Express, Bank of America, Citigroup, JP Morgan, MasterCard, and Wells Fargo to pressure the firms to disclose how female employees’ pay stacks up against the men’s.
“We see gender pay equity as one of the structural barriers that’s keeping women from moving up the corporate ladder into positions of leadership,” she said.

If women are paid less then why would that limit, rather than promote, their progress up the management ladder?


What has interested me are the absurd beliefs of those people celebrating our leaving that television presenters have found to interview. Leaving the likes of Farage aside, what has been apparent is the irrationality of their emotionally based arguments. Of course, I know such interviews are not representative,

What’s not representative Spud?

I thought we had a vote about this?

This is rather the point

EU legislation has not assisted the sleepers in their battle with the planes and high-speed trains. Particularly unhelpful was 1995 Railway Directive 95/19, which required train operators to pay “track access charges” to infrastructure providers. The measure shone a harsh spotlight on loss-making services – such as the sleepers – raising the question: “Are they worth paying the charges?” The answer has frequently been: “No.”

Which is why we do such things of course. If something is making a loss it is making us all poorer. More value would be created by the same resources being used to do something else. Thus why we uncover the pricing of things, in order to work out what we should stop doing because it’s making us poorer.

Soapy Joe speaks out!

Here we are.

I’m proud to be with you. And I’m proud to have walked with you. And I’m proud to stand with you. And I’m proud to talk to you.

Because when we work together, when we share our wealth, we all prosper. When we live as a community, all our lives are better. When we stand together we are all protected.

Next week will also see the next step in our case to establish that Article 50 is just the beginning of a journey. We have new additions to a very powerful legal team. We will file our written case. We will seek a hearing date in June. Ireland has said it wants to discuss the way forward.

The Claimants – me along with three very brave politicians from the Green Party who came forward when no one else would – are bringing this action to give the people of this country a choice. A choice they must have. A democratic choice. To remain if they want to remain.

Whut? A referendum and an Act of Parliament are not democracy? As Ironman points out.

Tee Hee

Dear President Tusk
On 23 June last year, the people of the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union. As I have said before, that decision was no rejection of the values we share as fellow Europeans. Nor was it an attempt to do harm to the European Union or any of the remaining member states. On the contrary, the United Kingdom wants the European Union to succeed and prosper. Instead, the referendum was a vote to restore, as we see it, our national self-determination. We are leaving the European Union, but we are not leaving Europe – and we want to remain committed partners and allies to our friends across the continent.
Earlier this month, the United Kingdom Parliament confirmed the result of the referendum by voting with clear and convincing majorities in both of its Houses for the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill. The Bill was passed by Parliament on 13 March and it received Royal Assent from Her Majesty The Queen and became an Act of Parliament on 16 March.
Today, therefore, I am writing to give effect to the democratic decision of the people of the United Kingdom. I hereby notify the European Council in accordance with Article 50(2) of the Treaty on European Union of the United Kingdom’s intention to withdraw from the European Union. In addition, in accordance with the same Article 50(2) as applied by Article 106a of the Treaty Establishing the European Atomic Energy Community, I hereby notify the European Council of the United Kingdom’s intention to withdraw from the European Atomic Energy Community. References in this letter to the European Union should therefore be taken to include a reference to the European Atomic Energy Community.

Millennial porn again

O’Actually is a website dedicated to educating and enhancing female sexual pleasure. The site’s content ranges from podcasts, to stimulation guides, to products to encourage women to explore their sexual experiences more. . . er, deeply. One method is through a program called the Pleasure Pledge designed to help women take charge of their sex lives by committing to achieving one orgasm per day.

To participate in the pledge, women are asked to commit to their personal pleasure by vowing to have an orgasm a day via her preferred method. This program is believed to be successful and help women get more in touch with their bodies.


Yesterday the Telegraph told its staff they were planning to lay-off 20 sub-editors and farms out their work to Press Association.

Did the Telegraph have 20 subs left?

And yes, isn’t that a gorgeous corollary to Muphry’s Law there from Guido.

I would never have guessed this at all

Children are healthier and more likely to grow up with a good education and get a good job if their biological father lives with them, research reveals.
But when a stepfather moves into a family home there are no benefits for the children, the pioneering study of British families found.

There is absolutely nothing at all in the behaviour of other animals, nor in any theory of genetics, inheritance or anything else which can explain this shocking result.

Is there?

Brings tears to my eyes Polly, tears to my eyes

Off we go, headlong downhill, off piste, our Eddie the Eagle Brexit negotiators tumbling down towards a great crevasse. Far from “taking back control”, as Theresa May sends off our suicide letter on Wednesday, we will abandon all control as we place ourselves at the mercy of the goodwill or otherwise of each of the EU 27.

“We won, job done,” declared Douglas Carswell, and he’s right. The most extreme Brexiteers have so far won the day, light years distant from the softly reassuring arguments Vote Leave made before the referendum. Their promises are all broken already, as the Ukip wing of the Conservative party has captured the prime minister.

…..of joy, of course.

Owen doesn’t exactly challenge stereotypes, does he?

The stereotype of the gay man as over excited drama queen isn’t exactly unusual:

Perhaps the Daily Mail should be sued for damaging people’s health? Across the nation, millions have cringed so hard at its audaciously sexist front page that they’ve strained their face muscles, or given themselves a migraine from slamming their heads repeatedly against the nearest wall.

It comes to something when this open sewer is still capable of shocking us with its stench. The newspaper’s decision to objectify the legs of the country’s most prominent female politicians – focusing on what they look like rather than what they stand for – represents one of its many lows. But while it should be mocked, parodied, ridiculed, it should terrify us: because it is indicative of what is happening in Brexit Britain.

This is about the front page of a majority female readership paper note:

For the rightwing Brexiters, this is a great national awakening, the resurrection of mighty Britannia. In truth, they want to turn this country into the drunk man at closing time, stumbling around yelling obscenities at everyone, leering at women and shouting racist abuse. Both the Brexiters and the Trumpists believe that their respective nations can be freed from the oppressive yoke of minority rights and feminism. So yes, mock and ridicule that front page. But above all else, be prepared to fight back – because the bigots are winning the battle for the country’s future, and that should terrify us all.

No, Owen’s not managing to fight the stereotype all that much, is he?

Nick Herbert doesn’t get it

The British trajectory towards certain departure was sealed by a Conservative party leadership contest that demanded its victor signed up to full-blooded Brexit. But the failure was Europe’s too. At first reacting in disbelief, Europe then behaved as a partner scorned. Well, then – go, it said. But you can’t expect to keep the house and the car, and there’ll be a price for this selfish separation.

Just as Europe’s unwillingness to compromise had denied David Cameron the extent of renegotiation he needed, so costing him the referendum, it would deny the possibility of change after the vote. The smart move by Brussels after the result last June would have been to propose continuing membership for Britain while allowing us to check free movement. After all, we will now control our borders anyway. Better to do so inside the club than outside.

A different prime minister – perhaps Boris Johnson – with a different leader in Europe – Nicolas Sarkozy, perhaps – might have renegotiated after the referendum. Britain, already with the special status of being outside the eurozone, could perfectly well also have been apart from free movement too – able to control migration but otherwise a full member of the EU. The British people would have got what most of them wanted: to be in the market but in control of our borders.

If they’re idiots who cannot do the sensible thing then we should leave, right?