BurntBread

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  1. I don't think it works that way. If one company can increase the premium for a high-risk group, it will shuffle off that unwanted custom to other insurance companies, and so become more profitable. The invisible hand will do its work. I'd be more worried about this sort of analytics going too far, and it eventually becoming routine to have your insurance cancelled 24 hours before you have an accident.
  2. @The Masked Tulip, I didn't read any of that as an attack on you, personally, but as an attack on apathy ... and it just so happened you were waving the flag of demoralisation for once. @SillyBilly was careful to cast just the same aspersions on himself. We are living in strange times, where a majority is noticing that they are being exploited, and life is becoming increasingly strained and fraught. Historically, it is times like these which lead to societal rifts, to wars and to revolutions, and the first acts in those plays are the gradual feeling for alliances and fractures, and the need to gather support for action rather than the status quo. I have very mixed feelings on the rights and wrongs of factionalism and partisanship: it is usually the case that revolutions get subverted into worse oppression; but sometimes good comes out of destroying the old order. I'm fascinated to see those embryonic dynamics at play in our forum, but I hope we can do the work of creating political platforms - even opposing ones - without breaking the bonds of civility and good sense that I see every day here.
  3. Thank you, OnePercent - that's rather good ... and I didn't have to trawl through the Mail on the off-chance of finding a rare gem. I wonder whether the DM might undergo its own transformation into a serious newspaper (at least in part), to fill the yawning gap left by most of the others? They seem to have cracked the problem of making money on the internet, so might have a bright future. Strange times we live in.
  4. From the publicity blurb, quoted by Frank: That should be: "one third of the money goes to causes in the UK, and one third to those around the world". Is there cause for an advertising standards complaint?
  5. I think there is something more interesting here. There are a lot of women who have been looked after well by the state (housing benefit, 16h working weeks etc.), who will, rationally, be too scared to rock the boat. Fair enough. There will be a fair few men in work, with families, who are just about managing, and have a lot to lose if they kick off, for whom it will be hard to take a political stance, as the risks are too high. Fair enough, too. On the other side, there are a lot of single men, both on fairly paltry benefits (JSA), or for whom working is giving them no future. They have nothing to lose. In addition, 10% of the working age population are disabled ... but I would bet (if we compare disability stats to other countries) that the majority of those are just* demotivated, rather than physically unable to do anything. We are all men, and although we might be lazy, we all have the ability to get the bit between our teeth, and the longer we are rotting away, somewhere deep down there, the motive is growing subconsciously, to get off our arses and do something to make a mark on the world. Even those unemployed men who have a comfortable life, with wives who haven't left them, and who have played the system to perfection, must surely have a little splinter niggling away in their soul that they are wasting themselves. Now here's the big thing: Compare to previous depressions, like the 1930's, or the early 1900's. The unemployed then were on the borderline of starvation; and long-term, that saps one's resolve and energy until you care about nothing but the next meal. Today, everyone is well fed. I think the policies of Brown and his successors, to create a client state, and to make working useless for many as a means to progress in society (through driving down wages and pushing up house prices: the blame is evenly spread, politically) ... is inadvertently piling up layer after layer of kindling, ready for a conflagration. Even damp wood will burn, given enough of it, once the fire gets going. * Depression is a real thing, but self-determination may turn out to be a surprisingly effective treatment for a number of mental health problems.
  6. For those starting to learn the piano: there should be two ledger lines between the staves, not one.
  7. "Do you smoke after sex?" "I don't know: I'll have a look."
  8. Heteroskedasticity: being more (or less) variable today than yesterday. I won a beer for using that in everyday conversation.
  9. Something I saw on ToS, last time it was working, was that the University of Surrey is cutting staff. They're anticipating a shortfall in income of 15 million per annum, and want to make up 5 million through freezing recruitment and opening a voluntary redundancy scheme for all current staff. I had heard a few years ago that Surrey was one of the places getting into particularly egregious debt (that is to say, compared to the standards set by other universities), in order to fund expansion / building ... but the person who told me that was a bit cagey. I suppose it should be in the public financial statements, but I haven't looked. Apologies if this news been posted on dosbods before!
  10. That's not a data set I've ever seen before ... and it occurs to me that that happens quite often when I read bearish articles. I wonder if it's the chartists' version of p-hacking.?
  11. If you cast the net a bit broader, I could see AR and VR becoming mainstream, if the "smartphone wars" push cheap tech far enough, before everyone realises what @SillyBilly posted above. They're used quite a lot in industry, but not quite there yet for the consumer.
  12. I was listening to "More or Less" on Radio 4 a couple of weeks ago, which is one of the very few programmes still worth catching. For those who don't know the format, listeners contact the programme with real-life questions that have some bearing on statistics, and (in a novel departure for the So-Called BBC), the programme actually does some journalism. Anyway, they had one lady call in about her suspicions of dodgy marketing from the Tinder site. She reported that the site was telling her that there were over a thousand men wanting to meet her within the nearby radius she had specified. However, she said she was "average looking" (cue the wonderfully self-deprecating aside from the presenter, Tim Harford: "Average-looking, eh? Have you considered a career in Radio?"), and found this a bit unlikely. The programme then sent round a (female) investigator to dig more deeply into the statistics, and provide some sympathy if there was bad news. Of course, it turned out that Tinder was just teasing her: when they looked through the data, there were in fact barely a hundred men from her locality who had said they wanted to meet her for a date. I've not used dating sites, so I don't know how asymmetric they are ... but my immediate reactions were: (a) what the hell? and (b) why did nobody at the gender-equality-obsessed BBC look, just for curiosity, at how many dates an "average-looking" man with no other distinguishing qualities would have to pick through?
  13. From talking to various people with some connection, it seems that @spygirl has it exactly right (by the way, there's also a user here called spyguy ... which is odd). Kraft apparently used to be a decently run, but not very aggressive company: it was profitable, didn't have much ambition, and people generally enjoyed working there. The bit which was taken over by 3G capital to become part of Heinz-Kraft then became a zero-based budgeting hell-scape. To a certain extent, big old companies accumulate useless middle managers, but they also have a lot of technically experienced people who are needed to keep things running, and know what to do when something screws up. Apparently, part of the management innovation brought by 3G is to promote MBA types as fast as possible, provided they are good at sacking people, and make life shitty enough that even the useless dead-wood want to leave. The down-side being that the screws are tightened indiscriminately, so the people with desirable skills want to jump ship just as quickly ... and of course, they actually can find other jobs. The other half of the 3G genius is cost-reduction by counting items in the stationery cupboard. I'm not surprised it's starting to end badly.
  14. There was a radio play a day or two ago on the World Service (I can't really say "the So-Called World Service", much as I'd like to) which was ... a dramatization of the Mueller probe, "based on publicly available information". I suppose I should have listened, just to find out what they're thinking, but I figured it would probably ruin my sleep. Did anyone else catch it?
  15. I rarely drive, and my dad is still definitely a better driver than I am, so the question hasn't arisen yet. He's very reliant on the car, so it's important to think about it and plan for the future... Both of my grandparents that I knew drove (the other two died before I was born). My granddad drove until he was 90, and then gave up voluntarily (his aunt was once discovered by the police, push-starting her car by the side of the road, and immediately assisted by the "helpful young" men. She didn't have the heart to tell them it happened quite regularly. She was 89 at the time). My grandmother used to drive, but gave up in 1934 when they introduced the driving test. Considering her skills as a back-seat driver, this was probably a good idea.