Saturday, 17 March 2018

Qualifications Of The World Leaders

The G20 nations represent approximately two-thirds of the world's population, 85% of global gross domestic product and over 75% of global trade.
They are also the ones who make most of the big decisions so you would expect them to have some serious qualifications so let's have a look at who from the G20 countries have the educational background to guide us through the choppy waters of the current set of global ups and downs.

MACRI (Argentina) - Civil Engineering Degree
TURNBALL (Australia) - Political Science Degree, Law Degree
TEMER (Brazil) - Law Degree
TRUDEAU (Canada) - Literature Degree, Education Degree
JINPING (China) - Law Degree, Chemical Engineering Masters Degree
MACRON (France)    - Philosophy Degree, Public Affairs Masters Degree
MERKEL (Germany) - Quantum Chemistry Masters Degree
KOVIND (India) - Commerce Degree
WIDODO (Indonesia) - Forestry Engineering Degree
MATTARELLA (Italy) - Law Degree
ABE (Japan) - Political Science Degree
NIETO (Mexico) - Law Degree
MOON (South Korea) - Law Degree
PUTIN (Russia) - Law Degree, Economics Masters Degree
Al Saud (Saudi Arabia) - no qualifications
RAMAPHOSA (South Africa) - Law Degree
ERDOGAN (Turkey) - Business Administration Degree
MAY (United Kingdom) - Geography Degree
TRUMP (United States) - Economics Degree
TUSK (EU) - History Degree

Twenty World leaders and between them they muster 2 qualification in Politics, 3 in Economics and 8 in Law. Unhelpfully we also have 1 in forestry engineering, philosophy, geography and history and 1 has no educational qualifications whatsoever.
When you see that only 10% of the G20 leaders have been educated in Politics, 15% in Economics but 40% in law, it explains a lot of things as decisions are being made by a group where the largest majority are lawyers!!

How Russians Want To Punish The Brits

It seems that the Russians people have taken umbrage at the British Government getting uppity about them using nerve gas in our country to knock off their own spies.
Their 23 diplomats told to get out of our country will passed by Brit diplomats going the other way as Russia ordered 23 of our diplomats to clear their desks in response but those Ruskies aren't content and the RT website has asked it's readers how to punish us Brits further and the response was great.
One website user said that Putin should 'abolish all organised queuing in Britain' while another wanted to hit us in the chocolate aisle by 'increasing the price of Freddos in a random and extreme fashion'.
Another wrote that Putin should 'hire an army of people to play rubbish 90s dance music through their phone speakers on all public transport', another said 'interfering with the message so that every single item in the bagging area is unexpected' while our tea obsession was evident in the comments that Russia should 'cut their supply of tea from reaching the British shores' and 'by making digestive biscuits that instantly dissolve in tea'.
Some wanted to get direct on our Brit arse and wanted to 'just nuke 'em' or give us the silent treatment by 'just ignore them'.
My favourite and a bottle of cheap vodka and a potato go to the contributor who said that Putin should 'cut off the gas supply around lunchtime on Sunday just before the British pigs are about to sit down to their revolting Sunday roast!'
The British announcement that we won't send Prince William to the World Cup in Russia must have really stung but what threatens a dangerous escalation is if they do swamp the nation with biscuits which dissolve instantly in tea, that would be taking things too far.

Friday, 16 March 2018

MacArthur Park Explained Finally

Someone left the cake out in the rain
I don't think that I can take it
Cause it took so long to bake it
And I'll never have that recipe again.

I always assumed the lyrics in MacArthur Park were some crazy reference to drugs and a 60's psychedelic hippy trip but turns out there is a rather sweet meaning to the cake which was left out in the rain.
The Sky Arts channel were talking to the lyricist Jimmy Webb who explained that everything in the song is real, MacArthur Park is in Los Angeles and his then girlfriend worked for an Insurance Company close to it and they would meet there for lunch.
There would be old men playing checkers by the trees like in the song and he would sometimes turn up with a cake that he had baked to share for her lunch. 
If it rained they would run for shelter, leaving the cake behind so when they broke up and wrote the song about the break up, the cake being left out in the rain became a metaphor for his loss, never having that recipe again representing losing his love.
Not a psychedelic hippy trip at all then, a poignant metaphor for losing a girl which is rather lovely and puts a whole new spin in my mind for the beautiful song now that it makes sense.
Now if only they can get hold of Michael Stripe to explain what the hell he was singing about in those REM songs!


In one of his most famous songs, John Lennon asked us to imagine that there was no heaven above or hell below but the next line he asks us to imagine no countries with nothing to kill or die for and all the people living life in peace.
A world where there are no antiquated doctrines to die for, no dogma of generations long gone to blindly support, no wars fought in the name of people that we’ve never seen or met and no heaven or hell to believe that we’re working towards.
The idea of one world with no countries or borders is an old one but so are wars and most of them have been fought over either borders, doctrine or religion.
'Nothing to kill or die for' means that since the thing that would evolve into man first dragged its carcass out of the trees, there has always been something dividing people to the point that they are killing for it.
If there are no borders to fight over, no tensions between ethnic and religious groups, no invasions and occupations of each others land we could eliminate much of the pathetic things we fight over now.
If humanity stopped competing against one another, bound together in a common cause, we could accomplish spectacular things and solve problems such as global warming, disease and famines, it would be human helping humans rather than a nation only looking out for their own selfish interests.
The present set up, the world divided into nations and religions has been tried and resulted in the deaths of billions over millenia, the English, Scots, Irish and Welsh were slaughtering each other for centuries before they came together as one nation and worked together.
The EU's raison d'etre was to come together to promote greater peace and prosperity for its Member States after the ravages of centuries of European wars and that has worked out fine, no more wars.
Maybe us all coming together as one huge country and putting aside our differences is the only hope we have for the sake of the entire human race as Lennon said 'A brotherhood of man, all the people sharing all the world'.
Lennon also sadly lamented that it may be the pondering's of a dreamer but as you watch the news and hear of yet more wars and conflicts over territory and killings in the name of one persons God over another, you do wonder what have we got to lose to give it a try apart from the chance that we may just find a way to live in peace with each another?

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Sun Still Doesn't Set On The British Empire

I once had a geography teacher who would produce a large map with large swathes of the Worlds nations coloured pink and he would say: 'This bit was ours, and this bit, and this bit, and this bit, the French got this bit, not sure how that happened but we got this bit, and this bit.
Of course what he was talking about was the British Empire which spanned the globe and led to the saying that the Sun never set on it, since it was always daytime somewhere in the Empire.
To some the Empire was the good old days, to the rest of us it was the dark days when we would turn up in nations already occupied by other people, shoot many of them and then stick a flag in the ground and claim it for Britain before stealing their natural resources and shooting a few more when they got uppity.
Since the turn of the 20th Century the Empire has been dwindling and now Britain has only fourteen overseas territories but as the Sun never sets on all fourteen British territories at once, the saying is still accurate, the Sun still doesn't set on the British Empire.
My old geography teacher would be very proud.

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

A Tau In The Face Is Not The Same As A Pi

March 14th is said to be the most exciting day for Mathematicians which not only shows that Mathematicians should get out more but it gives them the chance to show their fun side by eating circular treats dressing like Albert Einstein and make humorous jokes about Sir Cumference who was the fattest knight at the round table because he ate too much pi.
Three hours i was in the hospital getting my sides sewn back together the first time i heard that one.
The reason for the Math's nerds getting overexcited today is down to Greek Archimedes who first calculated pi in 3 BC as 3.14 and although NASA have said that you only need to calculate pi to 39 digits, scientists have calculated it to over one trillion digits beyond its decimal point which seems a bit extreme.
After 2000 years of dominance though Pi has a challenger in the shape of 'Tau' which by all accounts is a number that serves much the same purpose but instead of adding on digits, doubles the previous number.
Some scientists are getting their pens in a spin over it but mainly because you can't make jokes about Tau like you can about pi but let's leave them to swing their handbags at each other and let us know when they have worked it out because for most of us the only pi we care about is the one with apple in it.

Stephen Hawking

Image result for hawkingIt's hard to write about Stephen Hawking without the focus being on the horrendous condition he had to deal with and how he rose to such magnificent heights despite it.
Quite rightly he is being lauded all over the media today for his scientific achievements but there is a great article in the Guardian Newspaper where the focus is on his brilliant sense of humour, the Time Travellers Party where he sent out the invites after the event, the appearances on The Simpson's and Big Bang Theory and the Red Nose Day sketches where actors auditioned to become his voice box and his reworking of the Monty Python Galaxy song.
'It's also important not to become angry, no matter how difficult life is, because you can lose all hope if you can't laugh at yourself and at life in general' he said but there are two quotes which should be chiseled into stone and put where everyone can see them.
'We are just an advanced breed of monkeys on a minor planet of a very average star' and 'Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet'.
A life very well lived, well done Sir and not just for selling 10 million copies of a book about
general relativity and quantum mechanics.

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Responding To Russia

The clock is ticking around to the midnight deadline and Britain's 'response' if Russia doesn't admit to the killing of  Sertgei Skripal with military grade weapons on UK soil.
Theresa May must be looking at her phone to check if she has any missed calls with a Moscow dialling code but what if Putin hasn't called by midnight, what can May actually do about it?
As she has called it 'an unlawful use of force by the Russian state against the United Kingdom' this would enable her to invoke Article 51 of the United Nations charter and all of NATO could tilt their nuclear weapons eastwards but as Russia as many more nuclear weapons than us, they would just tilt theirs westwards so that won't happen.  
As it stands, the only threat we have made is to withhold Prince William from going to the World Cup in June but it is being rumoured that they may request that England refuse to go.
Far better would be to go but play really badly and get knocked out at the first stage but denying the Russians the sight of Dele Alli shanking the ball off the pitch and falling over like he has been shot by a cannon in the box is so far our only plan.
We could go for expelling Russian Diplomats like we did after the last Russian murdered here, Alexander Litvinenko, or banning or expelling Putin's pals which include Chelsea's owner Roman Abramovich and Arsenal's Alisher Usmanov.
Relegating Chelsea is a plan i can get behind, at least docking them points but some would call for the same to Arsenal so we won't do that.
Russia Today (RT) is likely to get the hook with Ofcom sniffing around especially as it recently yanked Fox off the British airwaves for being not as fair and balanced as it stated.
Other media outlets owned by Russians and another pal of Putin's include the Independent, i and Evening Standard all owned by Evgeny Lebedev which would leave a large hole if they were pulled, especially the i which has become an above average newspaper.
Seems we are stuck with playing badly at the World Cup and not letting the Royals watch us doing it but May decides to dock Chelsea points or make them play Alvaro Morata in attack and David Luiz in defence every game as punishment, then i can support that.

Don't Say We Didn't Warn You Mr Putin

All the evidence points to the fingerprints of Russia all over the assassination attempt of Sergei Skirpal and the Prime Minister is under pressure to come out and condemn Russia and not just spout more of the carefully scripted words like 'it appears' and 'it seems highly likely that the Russian state was responsible for the attacks'. 
If all the evidence leads straight to the Kremlin's door, why is the Prime Minister not coming out and pointing the finger?
As usual, it's prudent to follow the money as Theresa May's Government has received millions in Russian donations since they came to power, the friends of President Putin donating an estimated £3 million into Conservative Party coffers.
The Electoral Commission initially declared many of the donations as 'impermissible' before subsequently backing down and allowing them.
Attempts to introduce legislation to prevent certain Russian individuals entering Britain or block their assets were blocked by the Tories for 'technical reasons which were never explained.
The Russians, all friends of Putin, are not donating out of the kindest of their hearts because they like Theresa May and her cabinet,they expect something for the Rubles they shove her way and what they are getting is a weak Prime Minister who has demanded a response from Moscow to the accusation that they were behind the release of military grade nerve agent on the British mainland by
the end of today otherwise we will respond. 
Our response? Not sending Prince William to the World Cup in June. They will rue the day they messed with Britain when the heir to the British Throne doesn't go watch a football match in Russia.
Then, when it all cools down and things have moved onto the latest stupid thing Donald Trump has said, we can all be friends again and Russian Cheque's will be gratefully received by Mrs May and her bunch once again.

Hammond's Debt Spin

Chancellor Philip Hammond has just been talking a lot about debt falling in his Spring Statement, referring to the predictions from the Office for Budget Responsibility, saying: 'it forecasts a shrinking debt'.
As politicians are as slippery as a greased eel, you shouldn't take the Chancellor's words at face value because as usual he has spun the figures like a child's toy.
The figure for debt that he is using is the total amount the government owes divided by GDP, so his charts show debt falling from 85.6% to 77.9% and it's all rainbows and fairycakes and three cheers for the Conservatives.
Problem is, the real unspun figures show the nations debt rising from £1,783bn to £1,893bn so although it isn't technically wrong to say that debt as a proportion of GDP is expected to fall, the actual amount of debt has risen.
If you listening carefully the phrase 'debt as a proportion of GDP has fallen under this Government' will quickly change to debt has fallen under this Government' at which point we can politely point out that actually Phil, despite all your austerity cuts, the debt has risen by 1 hundred billion.
I'm sure he would appreciate the help because he seems a bit confused.