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About StainlessSteelCat

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    HPC Guru

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  1. Overseas (Malaysia) friend's tale

    I too have some Malaysian connections and it is surreal to see adverts for london property over there. It's not a currency exposure I'd be keen to put myself on the hook for. I vaguely considered investing the other way a few years back as a retirement bolthole, but the price of houses compared to local salaries seemed nearly as insane as over here.
  2. Wot no thread on Prince Harry and mental health?

    Very good point, GARCH.
  3. The Telegraph has always hammered the Tories despite being pro-tory. I guess like the Guardian, they know their readers are filled with self loathing.
  4. Foreign aid budgets are a mixture of subsidies for big business and projection of soft power. Given the billions wasted on war and it's limited ability to change minds, it's probably quite good value.
  5. High unemployment is always preferred by governments as it provides a handy scapegoat, keeps wages down and keeps the work force fearful of losing their jobs so making them more compliant. Unusual for a politician to be truthful though.
  6. Wot no thread on Prince Harry and mental health?

    I think we're only beginning to understand the mind-body connection. The mind clearly tells some of the body what to do, and it's more than walk in particular direction. Increasingly, it's looking like the body also tells the mind what to think. Both of these work on a conscious and unconscious level. Some areas look utterly unexpected e.g. who'd have thought that microbes in your gut could affect your mood? To understand and fix problems in this area takes more than a simple pill, or pronouncements from those who likely have never suffered from depression. I do think there are steps you can take that will help - but not wholly - prevent depression. I've been through some pretty horrible experiences, and had some dark periods (but nothing I'd actually describe as depression although others might disagree). The things I found helped prevention wise were: Regular exercise A diet that suits me Meditaton Getting outside Some vitamin supplementation Positive self-talk Helping others Goal setting Daily gratitude practice e.g. a diary. Avoidance of alcohol, tobacco and illegal drugs. Ditto common medications. Focussing on buying experiences that you can anticipate/talk about rather than objects (especially for others) Paying it forward/doing nice things for relative strangers invisibly. Building social connections (this one not completely cracked yet). Financial security Cutting out TV news. Reduced exposure to other news. Being focussed, but not rigid about rituals around some of the above. All of these have been slowly introduced and tested.
  7. Middle Class Drinking (anecdotal)

    I know some middle class friends of mine have really taken the doctor's advice of a glass of red wine a day to heart. Trouble is said glass looks like it would contain around half a bottle of wine.
  8. OP, there's a good chance the rest of the charge are admin costs by the carrier. They usually pay it for you when it enters the country, and then try to get it back off you afterwards. With some, but not many vendors, you can opt to pay any tax in advance. do this, for example.
  9. People have to demonstrate their status somehow. Houses are out for young people, so cars it is - and hence financialisation of that. Once that's been blown up, it'll likely be bicycles next.
  10. Spouse VISA processing times (for UK)

    Many congratulations, Kurt. With your avatar though, I'd have thought they'd be traveling freight in a crate.
  11. Deluded Old Scrapper Birds On Dating Sites

    Other departments are available - if you are willing to venture outside of IT (a stretch for some IT workers I know).
  12. Opposition Says As Many As 1,300 Killed In Gas Attack Near Damascus

    Quite. Children are dying in conflicts everyday - killed by a variety of countries including the US/UK. Or are we really expected to believe that drones strikes, our fighting in Iraq etc never involved the killing of children. There does feel like something distinctly Orwellian about Syria. Either that or the West is utterly clueless with its endless flip flopping on who we're trying to encourage/feel we can work with.
  13. Hard to do if you aren't able to produce sprogs. Actually there's not. You can get caught in the too qualified/out of work too long trap. Missus returned to work a few months ago after 18 months of unsuccessful applications, interviews and even one try out. Entry level jobs are near impossible to get if you have any decent qualifications, history of serious illness and/or past a certain age. The guy from wheverstan is likely leveraging local contacts and will be employed because he will be seen as someone who can be pushed around due to ignorance of the system. Unemployment in BME is often very high so perhaps your assertion doesn't hold true.
  14. Anxiety when public speaking

    I used to hate public speaking, now I'm relatively OK with it and have got to the point where I regularly present/train people - even without notes. For me, the epiphany came when I went to a workshop with 30 other people I didn't know and we were asked to speak for two minutes on anything we liked. I was at the end of the queue and almost completely dried up in 30 seconds. The worst had happened, but it didn't matter. 1. Know your topic. You don't have to be an expert, but know a little more than the average person in the room. 2. Consider leaving obvious areas for people to ask questions about. 3. Rehearse. 2-3 times at least. Maybe the opening phrases 5+ times. I do this by mumbling it sub-vocally while cycling along. You have to speak out loud to check phrases flow. 4. Most people are admiring of those who can speak publicly at all. 5. Try to connect with a few different individuals in the audience. Just make eye contact for a 10 seconds, and then move to someone else in a different quadrant in the audience. 6. Practice. Start with small groups of supportive colleagues and grow from there. I moved from tightly scripted Powerpoint to conversational and no notes/slides through practicing as a guest lecturer at a local university. Usually there were no more than 8 students at a time. Another time we were visiting my missus' longhouse in the rainforest in Borneo- and I was asked to speak to the longhouse (remember not all of them understood English) with no notice at all. I ended up making something off the cuff about education (very important to Iban culture) and it seemed to go down well. I think I may have even referenced Blair's "Education, education, education" phrase. I don't like Blair, the Iban have a surprising amount of respect for our prime ministers so it was fine. 7. Have stock phrases you can go to if things go wrong. One of mine is "Never work with children, animals [pause] or technology - which is a kinda problem given our field" - I work in a vaguely tech field. It's a lame joke, but buys you some time and usually gets a bit of a smile. 8. Allow yourself prep time at the venue. For some reason, clickers to advance slides often don't work for me. Once I was presenting to 400 people at a conference and the clicker wouldn't work. I called out the AV technician at the back by name and asked them to advance the slides. I had introduced myself beforehand, and got to know them - and thanked them afterwards. 9. Don't try to fix everything at once. But just slowly try to improve over time. Add/fix no more than one thing each time.
  15. Credit card interest 'could be waived' for persistent debt

    QE for the people.