Archive for February, 2012

Apple wondering what to do with $97.6 billion in cash and investments

February 24, 2012

Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook, speaking today at an annual investor meeting, said Apple was continuing “active discussions” about what to do with its $97.6 billion in cash and investments, saying the cash hoard was “more than we need to run a company.”

Obviously their products are over-priced.

Still there should be some nice dividends for the shareholders, if they can avoid paying too much tax.

Wouldn’t it be nice if the people at the bottom of the pile, who made these products could share in this bonanza.

Fantasy time, eh?

Osborne must think he has a reserved lifeboat on Greek cruise ship, S.S.Eurozone

February 23, 2012

You don’t have to fool all the people all the time. You don’t even have to fool some of the people some of the time. You just have to have a two party system where both parties agree on staying in Europe in the hope that they have reserved spaces in the lifeboats.

@CPS @LFCTV this looks like an attempt at blackmail cloaked in sanctimony

February 21, 2012

I read this in The Daily Express’s Football shorts. My first thought was that apologies had already been made, as requested, and why was this columnist trying to dig the last bit of dirt out of it.

I then caught the third demand and this, for me, changed the whole tenor of the letter.

I see this as groups of people, short on funding, seeking to shakedown LFC, by proposing that they represent a section of the local community, who have been damaged by this issue.

I see no problem with demands 1,2 and 4, which I believe have already been actuated.

I see demand number 3 as being the core reason for this letter being sent, via national newspaper.

The suggestion that the money would be used to sponsor an International Conference, rather than salve their alleged local “hurt”, points to a wish to maximise the monetary compensation.

What would happen if LFC fails to comply?

I’m surprised that a National Newspaper published this letter instead of handing it straight over to the Criminal Prosecution Service.

LIVERPOOL have been accused of ‘incitement of racism’ in a fierce attack from A group of anti-racist organisations and high profile local and national black leaders.

An open letter from the collective was delivered yesterday claiming the club and manager, Kenny Dalglish had `mishandled’ the Luis Suarez , Patrice Evra row.

One of the members of the group, Gloria Hyatt, MBE, Said: “Liverpool Football Club has presided over the worst incident of racism in football seen in recent years.

“Their misguided handling of Suarez-Evra has let down all of those in the city Who worked hard to challenge racism and make Liverpool a better place to live for everyone.”

The letter outlined four demands, calling on Liverpool to (1) publicly accept the finding of the Football Association’s independent panel into the Suarez case and (2) that the club and the player publicly apologise to Evra.

(3) The club was also asked, in partnership with Liverpool and national black and ethnic minority organisations to commit to and sponsor an international conference on the issue of eradicating racism in football.

(4) Civic leaders,  in addition to Liverpool Football Club, were  also  urged to sign up to a public declaration reaffirming  their commitment to combating racism and promoting race equality through proactive actions.

 

@thegreenparty @number10gov I wish it would stop raining, so I could water the garden.

February 20, 2012

According to BBC News, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-17091256

Caroline Spelman says she’s gathering everyone together to discuss the situation, including water users. I won’t be holding my breath. She won’t care what the Demos  thinks.

Instead of holding “important” meetings, with lunch paid for at public expense, she might try casting her eyes over the conditions of sale made when the water companies were handed their franchises.

She might like to re-examine the numerous occasions, on which the Water Companies have been given the power to increase their rate of taxation significantly above the rate of inflation to cover the cost of improving the infrastructure.

When we had a nationalised water board, it cost us a (old) penny in the pound on the rates.  i.e. 0.42% of the rateable value of our properties. It is now about 1.78% in my area.

Put another way we are paying about 4.5 times what we used to pay and have been doing so since the 1980’s. Despite all that extra cash over the last three decades, they still haven’t justified privatisation, as we were assured it would.

I suggest that Caroline might like to look at the profit margins of these Companies. Money going out of the country to reward foreign investors, who recognise a captive market and a monopolistic opportunity when they see it. She might look at the old water board assets that were stripped off. E.g. the reservoirs that were sold off for housing development and which would have gone some way to alleviating the alleged drought in the densely populated South- East of  England.

Get rid of the money-grubbing private companies and treat this as a National emergency, as was done in the last World War.

It’s ridiculous that in a country, where we only need sun-block for perhaps 20 days in a year, we are being threatened with National drought orders and hose-pipe bans (only for the Demos, of course).

@ProfBrianCox Where did all the anti-matter go?

February 19, 2012

I quite like Prof. Brian Cox’s explanation of the creation of the Universe but his constant iteration of Physics being simple and beautiful is spoilt for me by an over-simplification.

It’s an aspect that is never covered in such descriptions.

All matter is created from nothingness, as in 0 = +1 plus -1, where the =1 refers to matter and the -1 refers to anti-matter.

The big problem is that there doesn’t seem to be any anti-matter Galaxies out there.

The only attempt to explain this, which I have come across, blithely states that when matter condensed out, there was an asymmetry that caused a slight excess of matter (?), with all the anti-matter being annihilated by matter.

Quite apart from “0 = +1 plus -1 “becoming “0 = +(1 + a little bit) plus -1 ” , there’s a lot of energy there that we aren’t seeing. Is it this energy which is driving the expansion of The Universe?

I’d like to see a clearer explanation of what’s going on.

Just to compound matters. Prof. Brian Cox says that when you stick two protons together, one becomes a neutron, making Deuterium.

O.K. I know he’s dumbing down but when a proton becomes a neutron, it must be by releasing a positron. I.e. the anti-matter version of an electron.

In the Universe there are equal numbers of protons and electrons (unless someone knows better) and 1 to 3 neutrons for every proton.

So where have all those positrons gone?

If they’ve been annihilated by electrons, there must have been a lot of electrons to start with. More interestingly, each annihilation would have been accompanied by the production of a pair of 1.4MeV Gamma Rays.

There would be enough of these to make a noticeable blip in the background radiation but I’ve not read of any.

I’m not a Cosmologist and I don’t have the Math to follow these stories, so it would be nice if someone, somewhere did a little piece to clarify these issues for me.

 

 

#occupy changing laws on corporate responsibility and land ownership.

February 19, 2012

Occupy LSX invited comments (http://occupylsx.org/?p=3617 ) on the following;

If more and more of the world is being moved from common ownership to private, what does the law have to say? Are there any laws in England and Wales that are there because they’ve been bought? Should nuisances be treated differently if they occur in the context of peaceful protest?  And if corporatocracy exists as a modern phenomenon, how does it relate to the judiciary and who wears the pants?

I, of course, responded with my two penn’orth of opinion, although it might not be a direct response to the actual statement, I still felt like making it :

Inasmuch as I believe that the Enclosure’s Act was a crime against the people of this country, I believe that it would be some redress if all land that was not enclosed and maintained as such (for the major part of each year), were to revert to public land.

As such, The Public would be free to use such land in a manner that did not deprive other’s of their right to do the same, on a permanent basis.

This would apply to all properties, including shops and unoccupied premises. (based on limited night-time access etc. this would limit shops opening hours and bar squatting in homes, where people are merely on holiday/in hospital).

Protestors would be free to demonstrate on such land.

This would mean that protestors could march on the highway but would have to let vehicles etc. pass and vice versa.

If a company commits a crime then the Board should be held responsible. In the case of the recent judgment on a level crossing death, where it was found that middle management had reported the likelihood of deaths, the Board should have faced charges of Manslaughter.

The same should be applicable to Hospital Trusts, who can be proven, through their system of management, to have indirectly, or directly caused death. The only mitigation being for those who are recorded as having opposed a particular course of action.

I would like the same logic to apply to cabinet decisions, particularly where a senior member has imposed his will on the others, or has lied to them, such as Tony Blair’s actions in committing this country to war against Iraq.

#occupy by customer choice of fuel supplier etc.

February 19, 2012

I frequently switch fuel suppliers etc. but I don’t really know if I’m getting a better deal, except as USwitch says I am. Part of the reason is that my current supplier rarely gives me usage info in a form that is asked for by the the comparison website.

It occurs to me that as someone, who is concerned about the 1% and the bonus controversies that a better basis for switching might be how much the companies gouge their customers.

It would be useful if someone could dig out, for each Company, facts such as p/e ratio’s, Top 10% (of total turnover) salaries, Boardroom execs. names and salaries. It would even be better if they were trusted to make a recommendation.

Just a small number of customers switching supplier, based on this info, could affect corporate policies quite significantly and possibly encourage the self-selection of more socially conscious “Top People”.

It might even be a key to the general public being able to modify the ethics of their Petrol/Diesel/Gasoline suppliers, where difference in customer pricing is marginal, anyway.

The criteria might vary in each country, for each commodity, but democracy through purchasing power could be a useful tool for reform.

Euro-crisis is successfully pauperising European citizens. #Occupy #NHS #Unions

February 10, 2012

Fullermoney reported that the CEB had sold a load of Eurobonds ( Gov’t speak for IOU’s) at 0% to SIG (Spain Italy and Greece).

These immediately sold their own bonds at ~6% to the banks (e.g. Goldman-Sachs).

So banks were effectively getting German backed IOU’s with SIG paying them interest at a high rate.

The only beneficiaries were the banks (e.g. Goldman-Sachs).

The losers (beside the German workers) were  the SIG electorate, who had to lose State assets, their own pension rights and chunks of state backed services, such as Health and Education, just to pay the interest on these loans.

Now the B.o.E. has announced £50 billion of Quantitative Easing (total now £325 billion), which essentially means that the Government has devalued the Pound again.

This acts against the UK people in three ways.

First their spending power is reduced, as the pound buys less.

Second the bank  interest rate is kept low, so pension funds actually lose value.

This occurs because the banks (e.g. Goldman-Sachs) hold the pension funds and charge a service fee for doing so.

Meantime, a doubling of iniquity, they are using those funds to buy bonds etc., knowing that if the bonds (remember they are actually I.O.U’s) aren’t honoured. then it’s not their money that is lost, it’s the pensioners money.

Third, The banks (e.g. Goldman-Sachs) hand over assets to cover this gift.

As these assets are undoubtedly SIG bonds, which could default, the Gov’t has effectively bought the equivalent of “sub-prime mortgages” with our money, which is based on our own bonds, for which we have had wholesale cuts in State assets, our own pension rights and chunks of state backed services, such as Health and Education.

All those who have been sacked from such services, can take comfort that they have enriched bankers.

In short, it seems that the Euro crisis is designed to provide a money-go-round, which at each stage is used as a mechanism to pauperise European citizens for the benefit of the Capitalists, who back the banks.

That’s presumably why they need such big bonuses for their troops. It’s to ease the consciences of those who understand what they are doing.

 

 

plastic extrusion filters for recycling

February 9, 2012

At present, plastic for recycling has to be sorted, chewed up and then extruded as pellets.

This inevitably means that bits of metal and paper must get in the melt and clog up the extruders.

It seems that, if it hasn’t already been done, that a set of extrusion moulds, set up on the lines of the revolver chamber, in a colt 45, could be used.

Such a mechanism could be hydraulically operated in terms of opening up the extruder barrel, rotating the chamber and clamping the barrel closed again.

This could be done quickly enough that a temporary halting of the screw wouldn’t lead to the melt having time to solidify.

The moulds could be taken out and replaced like a used shell; the cleaning operation taking place, at leisure, at a remote station.

It might even be useful, where there is a need for different sized pelletising, or different extrusion shapes.

@occupy @theGreenparty Fracking may transform next decade

February 9, 2012

This piece from Fullermoney raises some interesting points for debate.

Basically it’s about the U.S.A. becoming energy self-reliant.

The first aspect is that there would be no need for them to worry about the Middle East or S.American oil supplies.

Second point is that there are probably huge fracking fields around the Globe.

We in Britain could be kept afloat by our resources, as could many other countries.

Would Argentina be so hot and bothered about The Falklands, if they found reserves in their vast hinterland?

A really good one was the report, some time back, that Israel has undersea resources equivalent to Saudi Arabia’s oil fields and that’s 60% of the World’s known resources. This could heighten tensions in The Middle East, as the price of oil would plummet worldwide.

This drop in the price of oil would be more significant as the awakening giant of China is busily pursuing Fracking possibilities in its own territories and would need less imported oil (the main reason for recent fuel price rises)

It could well mean the end of the Global warming fanatics. My personal view is the Anthropocentric Global Warming Scare grew out of a political necessity to conserve our supplies of fossil fuel (this scare did not exist until the Early 90′s, when we stopped teaching about The Energy Crisis in schools and Green Issues jumped into the Science syllabus).

Suddenly, there was a lot of financial support for these groups. This may now dry up for those supporting Carbon Footprint preaching.

The U.S. is the closest it has been in almost 20 years to achieving energy self-sufficiency, a goal the nation has been pursuing since the 1973 Arab oil embargo triggered a recession and led to lines at gasoline stations.

Domestic oil output is the highest in eight years. The U.S. is producing so much natural gas that, where the government warned four years ago of a critical need to boost imports, it now may approve an export terminal. Methanex Corp., the world’s biggest methanol maker, said it will dismantle a factory in Chile and reassemble it in Louisiana to take advantage of low natural gas prices. And higher mileage standards and federally mandated ethanol use, along with slow economic growth, have curbed demand.

The result: The U.S. has reversed a two-decade-long decline in energy independence, increasing the proportion of demand met from domestic sources over the last six years to an estimated 81 percent through the first 10 months of 2011, according to data compiled by Bloomberg from the U.S. Department of Energy. That would be the highest level since 1992.

“For 40 years, only politicians and the occasional author in Popular Mechanics magazine talked about achieving energy independence,” said Adam Sieminski, who has been nominated by President Barack Obama to head the U.S. Energy Information Administration. “Now it doesn’t seem such an outlandish idea.”

The transformation, which could see the country become the world’s top energy producer by 2020, has implications for the economy and national security — boosting household incomes, jobs and government revenue; cutting the trade deficit; enhancing manufacturers’ competitiveness; and allowing greater flexibility in dealing with unrest in the Middle East.

My view – Once George P Mitchell pioneered the fracking method for extracting shale gas at a very commercial rate in the late 1990s, the seemingly unobtainable ‘holy grail’ of energy independence for the USA became a practical possibility. When this game-changing technology was adapted for the successful extraction of shale oil, the previously unthinkable prospect of the USA as the world’s largest producer of energy became a probably for the next decade.

This will require none of the expensive subsidies thrown at ethanol and various inefficient renewable technologies. The USA is blessed with the world’s largest known reserves of shale oil and the second largest known reserves of shale gas. Moreover, American innovation created the means for extracting this vital resource – a technological breakthrough that other countries are now scrambling to achieve.


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