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Dave Spart

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  1. I was at an E.On roadshow event last year and met Mervin Kohler of the Age UK charity. During the discussion he revealed the figure is actually 35,000.
  2. I recognize exactly what the article says. Recently, realizing how my own health was suffering, I made some changes to my lifestyle and thankfully got my mojo back.
  3. Link Actually this website hereisthecity.com looks to be a source of some potential gems.
  4. To see how breathtakingly arrogant that kind of thinking sounds (it prevailed in the media for a decade) try it with a dash of editing: Warning : The value of your investments may fall as well as fall.
  5. Following up on this week's earlier report: Deutsche Bank Gets Six-Month Ban in Korea on Derivatives
  6. As I said: "excepting an initial spike". Once the trouble in North Africa quells production will get back to normal and prices will fall back to pre-revolutionary levels, possibly even falling lower. I suspect the intention is to topple dominoes to encourage Iranians to rise up and remove the anti-Western Ahmadimejad. He knows the financial crisis has weakened the West and this will embolden him. Better to have him removed now. With the belligerent Ahmadimejad gone Middle Easten tensions abate and oil prices fall. Inflation therefore eases off and Western economies can breathe a sigh of relief.
  7. Perhaps the West's intelligence agencies have seen the simultaneous collapse of Middle Eastern regimes and a new wave of banking collapses as a useful thing. Perhaps the aim is to reduce oil prices (excepting an initial spike) to soothe domestic inflation, while getting rid of dangerous maniacs like Ahmadinejad at the same time.
  8. And I thought bankers were vulgar about their earnings . . . .
  9. Mary Midgely, moral philosopher, recently wrote an interesting article in New Scientist explaining how many of the terms from evolutionary science have been used to justifiy selfish behaviour in society. In it she also points out that Richard Dawkins was forced to admit that rather than genes being wholly selfish (which aggressive narcissists seized upon to justify their selfish behavior) genes are also cooperative and selfless too (an inconvenient truth that aggressive narcissists have wilfully overlooked). (Richard Dawkins published The Selfish Gene in 1976). The sad fact is that both John Nash's works and Dawkin's works have to varying degrees over the last 30 years, been used by vested interests to justify rapacious consumerism, dumbing down and the all out abandonment of reason and integrity. They would have you believe that all is fair in love and war and hey, every single one of us as individuals is at war, aren't we? Hence, indirectly, we have liar loans, massive personal indebtedness, disasterous HPI and a consequent global financial crisis. http://amira.amplify.com/2011/02/08/the-selfish-metaphor-conceits-of-evolution-by-mary-midgley-new-scientist/ Here is a welcome example of a reaction to how cold-hearted memes can manifest themselves (I'm not religious but I do agree with the Bishops' sentiment about the so-called game show). http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-12500275 Excerpt from Jurassic Park: Malcolm's concerns apply not only to the abuse of genetic power, but the abuse of financial power and memetic power too and I would now contend that memetic power has superceded genetic power (given how memes are transmitted by way the media, the net etc at lightning speed to mass audiences). I also contend that Richard Dawkins didn't learn the lessons of his conclusions. While he most certianly isn't solely to blame for the crisis, by failign to consider properly the consequences of taking his conclusions mainstream he unleashed a train of thought that was seized upon by the powers-that-be that has ultimately culiminated in the greatest economic catastrope in history. What is all boils down to is this: With great power comes great responsibility. Treat others how you would like other to treated you because what goes around comes around. We are all part of a symbiotic system and what we do in life echoes in eternity.
  10. Spoken like a true bankster. Have fun by all means, but remember you are part of a symbiotic system and that what you do in life echoes in eternity.
  11. I thought that said Limahl there for a second. I always thought there was more to Kajagoogoo than we were being told, but I was Too Shy to ask.
  12. Wow! What a reaction! I posted this thread and went straight to bed never expecting nearly 100 replies. What I found discomforting about the interview was the promotion of a book about the Devil- and the general lack of condemnation of evil. Why is a vicar who was a marketing executive in a previous career promoting such a book and where are the profits going?
  13. I think they know what they want to achieve, they just aren't aware of how to achieve it. Seems that way to me too. If, when you got to the departure lounge, you discovered the plane you were about to board was made the same way, would you board it? Lets put it another way, using a pharmacological analogy, just suppose the entire global stock of headache pills suddenly became toxic and destroyed millions of innocent lives. That is precisely what the actually banks did, yet its carry on regardless. :angry:
  14. As promised, here are some of my experiences working at an investment bank in Singapore. I come from an acturial background and have an MBA, but for the last few years have tried to develop my IT skills as these travel far better. At the bank where I now work, near Raffles Place, I develop tactical tools (Excel spreadsheets and Access databases to you, guv). Some tools are used by Front Office traders other tools by Middle Office directors. Numerous issues struck me the day I started: The previous incumbent in the job had only been in the job four months the day he left. When I asked why he left after such a short time the response was "he has a young family and wanted the stability his new employer could offer." OK, I thought, but it turned out the guy before him was in the job six months and didn't renew his contract and the two guys before him "crashed and burned". It was noticeable within a few weeks that the bank had been saving up projects which they gave to me all in the space of a few weeks. I am currently juggiling seven IT projects all at the same time each from different internal clients, none of whom talk to each other, all of whom want their projects completed like yesterday. As a consequence the guy who acts as my manager changes my priorities daily. Drop whatever you're currently working on and pick up that one. The next day, its a whole new set of priorities and as a result I am not completing projects. My head spins. Just when I get to the point I can start developing one project I am told to drop it in favour of another. Directors have clear ideas over what tools they want developed but have no idea what it takes to make those tools. Excel and Access are fine tools but have their limitations, some times there is legitimate need to use say Visual Studio. Despite my role being described as RAD IT (Rapid Application Development) I have use of no more tools to work with than any other member of staff. I have been informed that a Visual Studio licence, which would make all the difference in the world to my work, costs about £200, but I can't have it as the bank is in cost lockdown mode. If I had Visual Studio to work with, the tools I could develop would not just be tactical but strategic. (To me tactical implies immediate short term, strategic being medium to long term). So, because the bank wants to save £200 all I can develop are crappy tactical tools. A stitch in time saves nine. In coming in to the role, I have been asked to pick up and add functionality to tools written by previous developers. First thing I did was to ask where the documentation for those tools was. Lo and behold there is none. It seems that previous developers, like me now, have been so overwhelmed by demands on their time that documenation of the programs they write is non-existent. The same goes for testing. During my actuarial career, any programs I ever developed were tested over and over again at every stage. Packs of test cases were thoughtfully developed, test harnesses created and expected versus actual results compared. No program ever got signed off until its integrity - its fitness for purpose - was proven. The last actuarial company I worked for has liabilities (with matching assets) of about $100 billion so you'll understand testing a program's integrity is essential. In actuarial world, producing an test audit-trail goes without saying, the same can't be said for the bank I work for. I can't find any proof that any previously written tools have been tested against expected results. One tool I have been asked to look at recently is used daily by Front Office; its used by the traders daily to trade in the tens of millions. Where's the proof its been tested? One other thing I have noticed is that when I get asked to produce a tool the request is often little more than verbal. Clients send me what they term BRDs (Business Requirement Documents). I've been working in IT related roles for 20 years and know full well what a proper BRD looks like but these guys send me a one sentence email with an image in it and have the cheek to call that a BRD. There is no formalistion at all. I have worked in RAD roles before but never have I seen such disregard for professional standards, with work being rushed through at breakneck speed, undocumented, untested and written using inappropriate tools. No-one here has even heard of Microsoft Visio. I have written a couple of diplomatically written emails to the my line manager offering my thoughts but these have fallen on deaf ears. Yesterday and today he attended no less than 15 meetings. If the rest of the bank is run like this a second credit crunch is almost certainly inevitable sooner rather than later. The bank I work for is trying to get blood from stones. In its attempts to recover from the global financial crisis this bank may actually be creating another.
  15. For anyone who ever pondered if the dumbing down of our society and the rise of the aggressive narcissist were symptoms of Satanism becoming mainstream by stealth click the following link. http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_9397000/9397996.stm When evil is treated is nothing more than the subject of a few chummy jokes, its time to make a sharp exit.
  16. I started working for a well known European Investment Bank in Singapore in late November, on a fixed term contract - so I am not actually a member of staff. Previously I used to work in the actuarial profession in the UK. I've been here nearly three months and later today I will be disclosing some nuggets to give non-investment bank HPCers a little inside knowledge as to how things work. Can't write now, too busy, but its enough to say that many of the problems I've noticed don't stem from greed, they stem from other issues and I'll shed some light on what I've learnt later today.
  17. HPCers with long memories might recall an anecdote regarding women and group behaviour. A TV show highlighted a key difference between men and women when they first placed a group of unwitting men on a rollercoaster and induced them to scream as the coaster tipped down the first slope. The men didn't; they remained silent. They then repeated the experiment but replaced the men with a group of equally unwitting women. Lo and behold, when induced to scream all the women merrily obliged. The aim of the experiment was to show that women tend to act in sympathy whereas men tend to act individualistically. This partly explains why women were targetted during the boom; once you got one woman spending her peers were likely to join in ("Because Your Worth It", Sex In The City and the Self Entitled culture, etc). Generally speaking, the same isn't so for men. This is no criticism of women, but shows just how cynically planned the whole catastrophe was.
  18. Recently someone posted a thread about the Meritocracy Party. I have written here at HPC numerous times regarding some easy-to-grasp, easy-to-implement ways to make democracy function better - reducing if not removing the importance of parties (Tory, Labour, Liberal even Meritocracy) altogether. Didn't see any of my ideas mentioned so - Meritocracy Party - you might like to give 'em a whirl*). Money talks but good sense walks. The means by which our national and local affairs are run (candidates from politicial power blocks, first past the post, etc) was not and is not determined by the proactive, enthusiastic adoption of fairer and smarter ideas, it was and remains to be determined by a peculiarly British form of corruption stemming from violent mediaeval land monopolisation, designed to sedate and discourage the average Joe. Our political system has settled into a steady state of only two electable parties. Until the vested interests whom this cosy situation serves are done away with (yeah right) that's going to be your lot. Look at the way Mubarak used plain clothes police to beat up protestors in Tahrir Square. You think the UK Govt is beyond that? *Implementing such ideas would make political parties redundant, so if the Meritocracy Party was ever in a position to implement them would be a test of their true colours.
  19. One way to achieve innovation in an economy is for an every-man-for-himself approach, but then, like so many academic models, it ignores real world truths. Most human beings are social animals with their own dreams and fears and concerns for their friends and families; by default they are not willing drones to be chained likes slaves to the giant freedom machine, generating economic growth. Unions offer a way for relatively powerless individuals in the work place to combine to achieve collective aims. For sure, they have been to blame for some riduclous economic acts in the past, but then if union members were empowered as individuals rather than being subjected to humiliation from the priviliged there would be no need for unions in the first place - after all how many multi-millionaires feel the need to seek protection by joining a trades union? At the opposite end of the spectrum, bankers who enjoy no shortage of privilege, are responsible for the most riduclous economic act of all time - which may still yet destroy the world's economy. I wasn't happy with the Tories winning the lion's share of power last year. Long before the election as well as now I believe the entire system of democracy and administration of national affairs in the UK needs reform from tip to toe (in ways you never see discuseed ever in the mainstream). Reform is needed to sweep away the corruption and prejudice that sees the country lurch periodically from one end of the political spectrum to the other. It's a failed antiquated system; morse code in the era of smart phones. Now that the Tories are back in power it comes as no surprise to find them projectile vomiting in the direction of their traditional nemesis - the working man - instead of those who most deserve it. Beating up on those least able to defend themselves is a mean trick (its not just the Tories) and belongs in the same class of visceral sadism as the pimp that beats up his bitch. If they want to pick on someone their own size who justly deserves it, try looking in the City. Then I'll be impressed.
  20. Crikey, I thought you made those quotes up for comedic effect! I wonder what Private Frazer would say? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c7nMY_zBvVY
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