July 2019

The Capitol One hacker

Umm…. Well:

Thompson began the tweets by saying “tomorrow I’m going to call in ahead and schedule a euthanasia for my cat.” It’s unclear what happened to the cat, named Millie.

“After this is over I’m going to go check into the mental hospital for an indefinite amount of time. I have a whole list of things that will ensure my involuntary confinement from the world. The kind that they can’t ignore or brush off onto the crisis clinic. I’m never coming back,” one tweet said.

Rightie ho

Sending women to prison, and removing them from their children and families, has long been seen as a contentious issue. Particularly given that women are predominately nonviolent offenders and tend to commit “victimless crimes” – such as theft – that are often survival based.


Gillian McNaull
Lecturer in Criminology, Queen’s University Belfast

So I’ll send some bint around to steal your car and you won’t be a victim, right?


The profit maxim is paramount and is reflected in well established economic theory of supply and demand – holding back supply when demand is high, keeps prices high.

But only a monopolist – or a cartel – can do that. In a market high prices stimulate new supply, see?

James Somerville
Emeritus Professor of Construction Management , Glasgow Caledonian University

Ah, right, another proof that the expansion of the universities wasn’t a good idea.

Quality and standards have drifted over the last 40 years with house prices rocketing despite their diminishing size. The Parker Morris space standards of the 1960s are not difficult to achieve, nor would they slow down production. Several housebuilders have tried minimalist approaches to new homes, such as “tiny homes” for solo living, but many buyers have quickly realised that these were not a long-term solution.

We can expect that we will require more flexibility from our homes in the future, as technology drives changes to how we interact and socialise. Reasonable living space such as under Parker Morris standards would be well-placed to accommodate future changes.

Similarly, quality standards are required. Consumer protection law exists to ensure consumers are treated fairly when buying goods and services, and that businesses operate within the competition law. Yet despite a new home almost certainly being the largest purchase most people will ever make, new homes are not explicity protected by the scope of the Consumer Rights Act 2015. The home buyer has little means of redress when something goes wrong.

In order to ensure the rights of homebuyers are truly protected, the Competition and Markets Authority should examine the concentration of shareholdings within the industry with a view to limiting the direct influence of a small number of large institutional investors, and to expand the remit The Consumer Rights Act to include new homes.

And maybe we could get the government to stop insisting upon 13 dwellings per hectare in order to gain those:

the Tudor Walters Report recommended that new homes were not to be cramped terraced houses packed into available space, but rather open and airy, low-density garden suburbs.

As far as I can tell it’s actually illegal to build to those post WWI standards of garden size etc.

Err, yes

So the US government ould rather profit from money laundering than take the bills out of circulation.

Which says rather a lot, I think.

That the American government is rational. For there’s only that seignorage profit if the $100 bills are used outside the US and don’t return. Meaning that the profit comes from people dodging taxes in Russia and the like. And it really is Russia etc. I recall well when the $100 bill changed. A friend ran the bank note importing company into Russia – all legal – and the US Treasury was sending billion upon billion of the new notes into the Russian system.

The US government profits from foreigners skimming their own governments. Given that the US government is supposed at least to be working for Americans this seems like an excellent deal.

My does the Senior Lecturer complain

So whilst Labour has been going round writing fiscal rules that it knows are meaningless because they could never apply and at the same time they have been rubbishing modern monetary theory when they know that it describes how the economy really works Johnson has been absorbing all this. And like the Republican glove puppet he really is he has decided to do what every GOP President has done in recent decades, which is ignore all financial constraints. That is because he knows, first of all that, he can because deficits can be covered by quantitative easing, and second that buying the electorate is the result and that’s what he wants to do.

The analysis being that Boris is now doing this MMT thing of just creating money to spend on lots of lovely hospitals etc.

Which is just what the Senior Lecturer has been telling everyone to do forever. In an entirely non-partisan manner of course. He doesn’t mind which party enacts his righteous ideas!

Of course I am annoyed with Labour. For a long time it’s been known that ‘How are you going to pay for it?’ is stupid question. The answer has always been ‘By putting people to work to do it’ and now it is the Tories who are going to exploit that fact for populist gain, with outcomes that will overall most likely be deeply prejudicial to many in the UK. But Labour has never had the courage to break the austerity narrative and now Johnson will. It’s deeply discouraging.

And isn’t the Senior Lecturer pissed!

This is fun

Tetsu Yamauchi

With Kossoff, Kirke, Tetsu and Rabbit
Kossoff, Kirke, Tetsu and Rabbit (1972)
with Free
Heartbreaker (1973)
with the Faces
Coast to Coast: Overture and Beginners (1974)
You Can Make Me Dance, Sing or Anything (1974)

OK, so, been there, done it.

He retired from the music industry in the mid 1990s and moved to the countryside with his family to live a quiet life, refusing to speak to anyone from the press. He considers it juvenile and vain for people his age to still be performing rock and roll, and refused invitations to take part in a Faces reunion.


Nice comment from Petula Clark

Billed as “Britain’s Shirley Temple” and “the Singing Sweetheart”, Clark went on to record hundreds of songs for the forces and toured the UK by train. She recalls sleeping in the luggage racks alongside Julie Andrews, three years her senior. “Now, she could really sing,” says Clark. “We’d get off the train, do our little things, get back on and go home. It was fun – and not a lot of kids were having fun.”

If you’ve got someone like that saying you can really sing then I guess you really can sing.

Very tee hee

Eco-activists targeting fossil fuel firm barricade offices of green energy company by mistake

Sigh. But ain’t this the truth:

A worker at the company told the Evening Standard: “They’re protesting against Drax, but they don’t live here anymore. I understand [the protester’s aims] but it helps if they check the facts.”

But then if they checked all the facts then they’d not be eco protestors, would they?

What the Senior Lecturer fails to understand

Well, everything, fnarr, fnarr.


The Green New Deal requires wealth taxation

Wealth taxation is generally contraindicated in economics. Because it makes the future poorer than it need be.

Thus we think that wealth taxation is a bad thing.

Ritchie thinks that the Green New Deal is a good thing – on balance. Sure, he recognises there are costs to it as well as benefits.

At which point he fails to understand – the more contraindicated things you add to the Green New Deal then the more the costs rise as against the benefits. So, insisting that we must have wealth taxation as a part of the GND means that we get, at minimum, closer to the point that we shouldn’t have the GND.

Then there’s just stupidity:

Tax avoidance is another form of rentiersim. Remember that this activity is not things like using an ISA or paying into a pension. Tax avoidance is about exploiting loopholes in the law to not pay tax in ways that legislators never intended. The use of tax havens – that have been deliberately created in most cases to facilitate this process – is an obvious (but not the only) indication of this activity.

Legislators create tax havens. Therefore the use of them must have been intended by legislators.

Oh, and the reason why we need wealth taxes? Because rich people might get away without having to do what they’re told by the Senior Lecturer. Therefore we must have no rich people.

Economics Polly, economics

The pound fell again on the news of these turbocharging Brexit plans: how will that please people setting off on holiday – let alone a stream of closures hard on the heels of the departing Ford and Honda plants in Bridgend and Swindon?

A falling pound makes factories in the UK more worth setting up…..

Well, yes Polly

Boris Johnson’s crew will repel voters – there’s no need to fear him
Polly Toynbee

No deal isn’t the will of the people, and a hard Brexit policy will alienate moderate Tories – especially when they see the costs

The only people currently in Parliament who are complying with the stated wishes of the 52% of the voters in the referendum are – Boris and the Hard Leavers. Everyone else is Remain.

Way to repel voters, right?

You what?

Greta Thunberg to sail across Atlantic for UN climate summits


But she said she did not yet know how she was going to get there. “It’s on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean,” she said. “And there are no trains going there. And since I don’t fly, because of the enormous climate impact of aviation, it’s going to be a challenge.”

Owned by a German property developer, Gerhard Senft, based in Brittany and sponsored by the Yacht Club de Monaco, the 18-metre (60ft) yacht is a high-speed planing monohull built for the 2016-17 single-handed, non-stop round-the-world Vendée Globe race. The club said on its Facebook page it was “honoured to be able to sail Greta Thunberg emission-free over the Atlantic”.

The yacht is fitted with solar panels and underwater turbines to generate zero-carbon electricity. Greta will be accompanied on the voyage by Malizia II’s skipper Boris Hermann, her father Svante, Pierre Casiraghi, the grandson of Monaco’s late Prince Rainier III and the actor Grace Kelly, and a film-maker.

Greta told the Associated Press before the announcement that she had not wanted to travel to the US by cruise ship because of their notoriously high emissions, while the Atlantic could be dangerous for sailing boats in August because of the high risk of hurricanes.

Anyone want to try proving that taking a 60 ft yacht across the ocean for two weeks is going to have lower emissions than a seat on a plane or boat that’s already going there?

Baron Cohen is right, again

Professor Simon Baron-Cohen, Director of the Autism Research Centre at Cambridge, who led the study: “We are interested in understanding autism, not preventing it.

“This new finding supports the idea that increased prenatal sex steroid hormones are one of the potential causes for the condition.

“Genetics is well established as another, and these hormones likely interact with genetic factors to affect the developing foetal brain.”

Surge of hormones in the womb he’s been musing on this as the (or a, perhaps the trigger) cause for at last a decade and a half now.

There’s a reason she’s a guest editor

For some, the sound of the monthly copy of Vogue through the letterbox signals some much-needed escapism into a world of glamour and beauty. For others, it is the fashion bible which will inspire their wardrobe for the season to come.

Next month’s edition of Vogue, however, may be a little different.

The Duchess of Sussex has laid out her plans for a new era of women’s magazines to swap the “superficial” focus of the fashion industry into pages of “positivity, kindness, humour and inclusivity”.

Her September edition of Vogue will see a beauty section “that puts its energy towards internal beauty”, and workouts to “use the heart” instead of sculpting the body.

The “power of breathing and mindfulness” will be celebrated, along with “ethical and sustainable brands” and interviews with fashion designers that focus not on clothes but “heritage, history and heirloom”.

Magazines, as we all know, chase the prejudices and desires of their readers, not shape them.

Defining choice

Research shows that eating habits people pick up in their youth tend to track into adulthood, which makes the teenage years an important stage to start forming healthy habits. So rather than placing the full responsibility of food choice onto teens, more needs to be done to enable young people to make healthier choices.

This can include consulting with pupils to engage them in making decisions about the dining room environment and better food education. Reducing choices and streamlining menus has also been shown to improve healthier food choices.

Reducing choice” “enables young people to make healthier choices”.

After all, if all you’re offered is gruel then all you’ll eat is gruel.

As the Senior Lecturer points out, capitalism is efficient

This isn’t what he thinks he’s saying, isn’t what he means to say and isn’t something he understands. But it is so:

The consequence is real. As a matter of fact I think Brexit will lay waste to large numbers of British businesses. Most are marginally capitalised at best, meaning that they have access to relatively limited resources to deal with a period of significant disruption on their supply chains.

That is also the statement that British business is economical with capital, is efficient in its use of it.

Neoliberal capitalism is efficient – your lesson for the day from the Senior Lecturer.

I think I can guess why this

Medical trials
Women have historically been excluded from medical trials, resulting in drugs that are less safe or effective for them. In the US, eight drugs that had unacceptable risks for women were withdrawn by the Food and Drug Administration between 1997 and 2001. Even today, representation in medical trials is still skewed towards men, and not all drug research takes gender into account when analysing results.

Given falling fertility rates perhaps less so now than back then but there is always that difficulty that a trial of a drug would end up treating two people instead of just the one…..


Boris Johnson proposes a Worstall policy:

Increasing the starting point for national insurance contributions to £12,500
Cost: £11bn. At present people pay NICs when they earn £166 a week and income tax when they earn £12,500 a year. Johnson wants to gradually align the two systems by raising the NICs ceiling to an annual £12,500. Doing this in one go would cost £11bn a year and take 2.4 million people out of paying NICs altogether, but would still offer most benefits to those on higher earnings.

Huzzah and Gloria etc.

And how do I know it’s a Worstall policy? Because of the £12,500. That’s what the full year, full time, minimum wage was when I made the proposal. Which was my proposal – income tax and NIC should be aligned with the full year, full time, minimum wage.

Sure, inflation and minimum wage changes have moved the number on, but the policy is still living in that old form.