Johnny Foreigner

It’s making the news

The whole of the Algarve saw only 15 deaths — although 69 new cases were recently identified after an illegal party near Lagos.

Gone up to 100 now.

Worth noting that the entire – resident – population of the Algarve is perhaps 400,000 people, smaller than Bristol, to put those numbers in perspective.

My money’s on the Chechens

Police reinforcements were sent to the usually tranquil French city of Dijon yesterday after dozens of Chechens armed with baseball bats and guns gathered there for a fourth day.

A car and dustbins were set ablaze and members of the Chechen diaspora fired AK47 rifles into the air in the latest in a series of raids apparently against youths of north African origin on council estates in the city in eastern France.

Hard buggers with a refreshingly direct manner of business. I once knew – knew, not was close to – a bloke who was in a legal battle with a Chechen business partner. He won in court too – then got assassinated.

Now this is an odd result

It had the same lax restrictions as the capital of Sweden: schools remained open, residents carried on drinking in bars and cafes, and the doors of hairdressers and gyms were open throughout coronavirus.

But the Swedish coastal city of Malmö has shown a remarkably different result to Stockholm, with few fatalities and a remarkably low death rate.

Now some experts are questioning if the Malmo model proves that Sweden’s controversial move to avoid a lockdown was right all along.

Sweden has faced mounting criticism over its death rate. But Skane, the region around Malmo, had by last week registered just 17 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants due to coronavirus, slightly fewer than the 19 per 100,000 seen in the Capital Region of Denmark across the Oresund straits, even though Denmark went into heavy lockdown for two months from mid-March….

The thing being that the immigrant population of Malmo is rather large. And immigrants – perhaps because of cultural practices, genetic issues, perhaps just because of poverty and thus housing etc issues – doing worse than indigenes in most European countries.

Time’s money garcon

The tax may also limit the financial incentive to eat pre-cooked meals. An official report published last week found that the average home-cooked meal for four was €0.60 (about 54p) cheaper than its industrial equivalent. But when time spent preparing the meal was factored in at an hourly-rate equivalent to the French minimum wage, the home-cooked dish was on average €5.34 (about £4.76) more expensive.

At least they’re doing the calculation right. Time is money and time spent on domestic unpaid labour should be valued at the undifferentiated labour rate – the minimum wage.

West Virginia’s an interesting place

Fun familial arrangements among the coal minerscoal miners:

“In the area we live in, there aren’t many jobs, especially not many jobs that pay as well as the mines,” said Zach Thornberry, another miner at Redhawk Mining who lost their job due to the closure. “There are plenty of us that have young kids. I have a two-month-old son, and my partner has twins that just turned a year old, so the thought of not having health insurance is a scary thing.”

The way that’s said the twins aren’t his, but his partners, and the two month old isn’t his partner’s, but his. Still, guess it’s an advance for Appalachia, none are with his sister.

The modern world

A list of things that surprised them from people who moved from a poorer to a richer country. A lot of what we might expect, less violence, more lights, things get repaired, free loo roll in the public toilets, grocery stores. Hell, I’ve been surprised by American grocery stores let alone someone from West Siberia etc.

This one rather struck me:

Being a girl, you can live alone.

Isn’t there so much freedom, liberty and just how fucking marvellously life is better wrapped up in that little one?


Blamed For Coronavirus Outbreak, Muslims In India Come Under Attack

Well, not weird, for hard times always provide an excuse to beat up on the other. But the UK experience has been that Muslim infection rates are lower than most other groupings. Something to do with repetitive hand washing has been posited.

An interesting thought

We know, from economics, that if you are a French economist, being a Frenchman predicts your political views better than does being an economist

Well, possibly. Piketty, Saez and Zucman don’t seem to have the Anglo Saxon distrust of the State for example.

Or perhaps it is meant that they deal with stinky, garlicky models? Which isn’t that far away from the statist idea to be honest.

But if all that is true then how the hell do we explain Bastiat? Presumably by noting that he was from Aquitane and therefore really English….

Brits are as bad as Americans

You know that standard thing, Americans who believe that London is a country and that it’s a quick right hand turn away from Quetta. Which, culturally these days, it might well be of course. But it appears we can beat them at their own game.

Reporters on a national newspaper no less:

Coronavirus in the US: Middle America tools up for a fight

OK, Middle America, flyover country, the heart and soul of the nation and not the effete metropoles.

Forgtmenot on Manhattan’s Lower East Side is usually one of the city’s busiest bars, popular with British expats and local scenesters. Now, though, with New York in lockdown and its usually manic streets resembling a scene from The Walking Dead, the bar has been transformed into an all-purpose deli-cum-bodega.

Pilsners are out; hand sanitiser is in. Fresh produce is on sale and customers can order takeaway cocktails.

If you think that Manhattan’s Lower East Side is Middle America then there’s something of a shock coming to you when you contemplate the next 3,000 miles of the place.

OK, sure, it’s even south of Greenwich Village and looks out over Brooklyn so it ain’t civilisation or anything but seriously, come on…..

I like this

I must say that I was surprised to read from several sources that the Finnish naval force is ranked as the 8th biggest in the world.

It must be for the number of ships and we seem to have quite a lot of them – 273 in total, even though the number varies a bit.

196 of these are landing craft.

All those little islands, you see?

The Sun knew about French soap dodgers

Decades back The Sun found out that France uses less soap per person of population than other places in Europe. Thus the jokes about soap dodgers.

The response was that they used shower gel, liquid soap, more than hard soap and that was the explanation.

Oh yeah?

A third of French people don’t wash their hands after going to the toilet and less than half before eating, while a fifth of Frenchmen change their underwear twice a week at best.

These are some of the unsavoury findings of a new study into personal hygiene in France, which researchers and Gallic doctors say leaves a lot to be desired. The findings stand to reinforce stereotypes that the French take a laissez-faire approach to cleanliness.

The survey by pollster Ifop found the French continued to display “ignorance of basic sanitary rules, despite public health messages and the current [coronavirus] context.”

No wonder the poor parts of London are to the east. Imagine the stench when the wind blows from the Continent……

The Suleimani calculation

Doubts grow over US case for Suleimani assassination as Iran urges revenge
Rockets crash close to US embassy compound in Baghdad while huge crowds mourn Iranian general

Will people die as a result of his killing?


But that’s not the correct calculation. He was killing tens of thousands anyway. The correct calculation therefore is whether fewer will die now he’s dead than would have had he lived.

Sure, there are also other relevant things like the morality of killing an enemy and all that. But the base and utilitarian working out is not how many now, but how many now minus those who won’t.

Fun numbers

When Cyril joined France’s state rail operator, the SNCF, he looked forward to stable employment until his retirement at the age of 50.

A few years ago the rules changed and he discovered that he would have to work until he is 57 to get a state pension that he reckons will be about €30,000 a year.

OK. His current pay?

The prospect is intolerable to Cyril, 46, who declined to give his last name. He got his first job at the SNCF at the age of 16 and now earns €36,000 a year as a high-speed train driver.

He wants a pension of 80% of pay for 30 years – actuarially at least?

You can see the incentive to change this, no?

Isn’t Argentina lucky?

‘We’re back’: Alberto Fernández sworn in as Argentina shifts to the left

It’s not so much the left though, is it? Peronism is rather more Latin American fascism. Certainly, it’s populist corporatism and the corporatism occupies the same economic space as fascism.

The more important point though being that it’s going to work as well this time as it did last. Not that is.

A truly weird change

What’s wrong are the regulations. Over the last several decades, through hundreds and thousands of tiny edicts, Americans have had terrible experiences in the bathroom and with water use generally imposed on them by bureaucrats who think they know things like:

A showerhead flow can’t exceed more than 2.5 gallons per minute (gpm) at a water pressure of 80 pounds per square inch (psi)

I’m old enough that one of the reasons to visit America in that dim and distant past was to enjoy a shower that actually worked, had some water in it.

It actually was a thing – “their showers are different your know” went along with the wonders of soft toilet paper as proof of the wealth of that society.

Does this mean what I think it does?

is stirring the energy world with its huge Vaca Muerta shale field

Vaca – cow. Muerta – dead.

Argentina doesn’t have a shale field called “Dead Cow” does it?

Or am I putting Portuguese meanings to Spanish words?

And if they have called it that then we need to up our game. Howabout renaming the Bowland Shale “Toasted hamster”?