BurntBread

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  1. BurntBread

    Qanon: high level intel, AI or LARP?!

    I also don't get this, unless, as you say, they fear for their lives imminently. I remember wandering around Edinburgh castle a couple of decades ago, and thinking "I'd rather be a pleb now than a king back then". No matter how much you enjoy power, you must recognise that there's still a lot of progress that can be made in medicine. I don't believe "the cabal" (should it exist) has cures for cancer, dementia and whatnot that they keep secret, so even if they are doing the DDR blood transfusions thing, and following the DOSBODS anti-diabetes diet, there is a limit to what's possible in the way of life extension. In the final analysis, we all die, and it's often harrowing rather than peaceful, even for those who have lived healthily. Death is the great leveller. Why would they try to destroy the cultures which have the delicate mechanisms needed to push forward science and which could improve even the lives of the very wealthy? I suppose if they have a fanatical devotion to some wacky cult of the bloodlines (as @LC1 's interesting link from a few pages back might suggest), and are happy to prune that bloodline by euthanasia, then there might be a philosophical basis for the pursuit of power over all else ... but I'm not convinced the "Rofschild" [sic] thread (of which I only read a few pages) was in earnest, even if it might have been genuine in provenance.
  2. Would have been nicer to see this in the New York Times, and with a bit more analysis than using "Elliot Wave International" as an authority. ... but still interesting to have these views aired in the main-stream. Welcome to the forum, by the way!
  3. I mostly agree. However, a PhD shouldn't really be about learning more stuff; it's about making the transition from being good at answering (academic) questions, to being good at asking (research) questions. During a good one, you should also have gone through a hell of self-doubt, and realised how stupid you are. In industrial research, all of that can be very valuable. Outside of research, there's a tendency to forget the second half of the experience, so a doctorate is more likely to just make you over-confident.
  4. BurntBread

    UKIP release interim manifesto

    As always, it's a mixture of things I like, and things that make me angry. The IHT issue sounded like a disaster, but @wherebee has made me think again (thank you!). I believe we do need an LVT, but scapping IHT actually sounds like an interesting experiment. I hate the coal part: I think @Hopeful's analysis is correct. Overall, I like it. Abolishing the licence fee is a "feel good" policy for me, rather than being fundamental ... but boy, would it feel good, even though I don't pay it. I'm open to the suggestion that it's also a more thoughtful policy than at first sight appears, as it would weaken a propaganda channel as well as free up time and resources at county courts (and save a lot of stress for people who are dragged through them*). Compared to the other parties, this document puts them in front for me at the moment. * Disclosure: I'm licence-free completely legally, as I don't watch TV in any form, but it's annoying being hassled; so screw them.
  5. I don't have a problem with there being a safety net for basic needs: healthcare, education, food and shelter, such that any citizen can survive with dignity no matter what befalls. We have an unconditional system already for the first two, and a deeply bureaucratic and inefficient system for the last two. People (until they turn into DOSBODS-ers) are really strongly driven by relative status: people still compete for places at the best schools and pay for private education; they also pay for private health care, and there is still a pharmaceutical industry. What I'm saying is that I don't believe state provision of basic needs will destroy the motivation to work and "get ahead" - particularly for the young (and then the habit of work become ingrained and you have additional commitments and status to preserve thereafter). We can have a functioning market economy with the NHS and state schools, so I don't think the addition of food and basic shelter to that unconditional list would necessarily be a problem, if done carefully. What is a problem is removing the motivation to work. If you want to get state support in anything other than healthcare and education, you have to burn through your savings first. It would be like saying "the NHS won't treat you for cancer until you're penniless". It's a valid point of view, but it's not a society I would prefer to live in. In fact, I think there is a decent chance that a universal basic income could work, provided it were genuinely unconditional for all citizens, and was accompanied by removing the minimum wage, and dismantling the current bureaucratic system of benefits, which seems to serve as much as a trap and a means of creating a client base for the state (both the givers and the recipients) than it does as a safety net. I think there is a bigger issue at play here, though, and UBI is probably jumping from one extreme to the other. We seem once more to be seeing the multi-generational see-sawing between labour and capital. Whichever side has the upper hand demands more of the pie, and there is no gentle mechanism to indicate when they're taking the piss. When the threat of worker mobilisation (or even communism) is strong, then capital owners have to give back some of the profit, and we see the establishment of welfare states (or the iron rice bowl in China). Then, in the west, the workers ended up asking so much that there wasn't enough profit in the system for capital accumulation and the development & maintenance of industry. That started to destroy the wealth-generating mechanism of capitalism. Then capital fought back by flooding the international labour market with cheap workers from China and the former Soviet states. We're now in a position where capital is really taking the piss: as a worker you cannot afford a roof over your head, nor an education, nor a stable up-bringing for your kids, nor any spare time. You've got a choice between a shitty working life or a slightly less shitty life on benefits (that's actually a trap if you have kids, and even worse than working if you don't). It's a massive shit-show. Usually the next step is revolution. The very fact that a major political party is discussing things like UBI, and all the parties are talking about the "housing crisis" speaks to me of the first signs of a change in the balance of power in favour of labour (small ell). It's only just starting, and the powers that be aren't running scared yet, but they're starting to glance over their shoulders when they're out and about. Capital is international: it's the global companies and the global elite, and so I guess we're feeling the (as yet poorly visible) effects of changes in that balance of power in China. After Deng Xiaoping set China on the course of being a fascist capitalist state (rather than a communist state), they saw all the benefits and evils of capitalism: the generation of wealth and the funnelling of that wealth to the middle classes (and even more so, to the elites), while the lower classes became migrant workers, bereft of homes and land, losing the previous socialist guarantees from poorer times (that "iron rice bowl"), and living the life of industrial slaves (like zero hours Amazon workers here), but gaining (a little) spending power in the process. Now, however, workers in China are starting to gain a little real power; at least we can see that their wages are rapidly increasing, even if they have not (yet) demanded more political power and socialist reforms (like a healthcare service). I guess that we are just starting to feel the effects of such a change in China. However, it's all very precarious with all the financial bubbles that have been blown everywhere, so my money would still be on discontinuous change (financial collapse, revolution, war in various parts of the world) rather than a steady roll-over to better working conditions for everyone. Nevertheless, change seems to be on the way, and I'm hopeful that whether it's UBI, better terms for renters, abolition of zero hours contracts, more council houses, or whatever else, it will improve the lives of workers here at the expense of the capital class who have had it too good for too long.
  6. From the time when our species was trading Dentalium shells, up to the days of posting pictures of restaurant meals on facebook, our happiness has been largely determined by the relative amounts. Yes, but isn't the difference that at 15% rates, the time for which you are being fleeced and don't have two pennies to rub together, is a lot less?
  7. BurntBread

    UKIP and Tommy?

    Likewise William Golding: lucidly compelling in conjuring up a moment in time, but nothing actually to say (that might be a bit harsh as I've only read a few). Perhaps we should have a thread for the most over-rated Nobel prize-winners?
  8. Thank you SP. That's a particularly interesting throw-away remark. I'm sure almost everyone here is informed on this subject anyway, but for the few like me, here (if I have the right link) is the unremarkable strategy of the BoE pension fund: "To acquire low risk, government-guaranteed assets or high quality supra-national assets that will on an on-going basis provide as close a hedge to the cash flows of the Fund's accrued liabilities as is practicable, having regard to transaction costs. To limit the risk of assets failing to meet the liabilities over the long term." Here are their allocations: It looks like they have a small incentive not to burn the pound, and a somewhat larger incentive for the index-linking to actually reflect inflation; both of which are hard to do in an inflationary environment (I would guess). So, it seems like they are not completely insulated from the consequences of their policies. Oddly, they seem to be moving slightly towards UK fixed-interest.
  9. BurntBread

    Billy Two Sheds

    "Yes" men.
  10. BurntBread

    Am I being unreasonable? (Renting related)

    Whether it's relevant or not, this whole thread on ToS is a very interesting read.
  11. BurntBread

    Qanon: high level intel, AI or LARP?!

    My impression (entirely from outside of academia) is that usually a professorship is a managerial role. Also: "suitability for a professorship" is measured in terms of the amount of money that he/she will bring into the department.
  12. BurntBread

    Pigeon fanciers

    I understand that in early medieval England, when the population was low, and before anyone here had heard of jungle fowl, it was common to keep pigeons for their eggs. I don't know how productive they would be, but it might be a nice side-benefit I also had in mind the @Carl Fimble dovecot, but I've visited at least one historic site which has such a thing, and my abiding memory is of the overpowering smell of ammonia coming from it. I don't know if that's a problem in small dovecots, but it's something I'd want to find out first.
  13. BurntBread

    Facebook falling

    What about the various federated things, like Diaspora (instead of Facebook), and Mastodon (instead of twitter)?
  14. One among a number of good points in that post, Libspero! This one does raise the question in my mind about whether UKIP will be able to carry through any policy about abolishing the license fee? It would seem to follow from your logic that the fee would have to stand in order for its removal (or reduction) to remain a viable threat, keeping the organization in line. Of course, once viewer numbers have dwindled into insignificance it would be a less interesting tool for the intelligence services anyway. With all the sprawling crappy internet content, maybe the plan is to turn the So-Called BBC into Geocities or AOL or something.