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Avon

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  1. I read the book which I found very informative and entertaining! I particularly liked the discussion of how BTL-ers outbid FTBs thereby pushing up prices, how property 'empires' are built, and the part on how mainstream contribute to the madness by selective/lazy reporting (e.g. how the '500000' pension BTL-ers quickly becomes '5600'). What is it about British society and social norms that made it so open to this form of predatory, narcissistic, capitalism? Is it connected to the way denial, entitlement, and relentless pursuit of status have spread unchecked since 1990s. I suppose my question is what would have happened had these specific BTL measures not been adopted - would the HPC have occurred anyway, though a little later, and not quite as brutal?
  2. Unlikely to have been 200k, though, with a 300k valuation spread, eh? Remember, these are your figures - shared publically - to prove a point they cannot possible prove. What else could be a better sign of smugness? In this case, the decision you made in 2008 that you are now trying to make sense of retroactively through bad science could equally be seen as equivalent to putting the house on the market at 10% less to start with and taking the asking price from the sellers. Which brings me to my main point. Your model of the behavioural economics of house buying needs to include at least four actors for the standard type of transaction - (1) vendor (2) buyer (3) agent (4) mortgage provider - for it to have any explanatory power generally (or explain the 'chasing down' effect specifically). I'd also add that you need to think about the legal regime also - Scotland and England indicate that the legal background can completely transform the bidding environment. Your model gives so too much price setting power to the vendor that it makes final asking prices almost a rational choice, rather than game theoretical, problem. In so doing conjures up entirely spurious reasons for the 'chasing down' effect. But, for fun, it would be useful to know exactly what the effect is: so if anyone can give 5 hypothetical or real examples that actually indicate such an effect then that would be fun. Remember it is not enough to show bad negotiation technique (eg accepting a deal when a better one could be had, legally) but that the pure opening move in communication made that bad deal happen.
  3. Yeah, in a rising market, maybe, but in any case with this post you lost my sympathy in any case. With those figures, you are implying a 900k sale in 2008 (otherwise how could you get a 300k valuation spread) and one has to guestimate a 500k profit after repaying mortgage. Why on earth are you posting self-righteous HPC posts and self-justifying charts with that amount of wonga in the bank to an audience of, largely, squeezed out FTBers without a pot to piss in? Hubris?NEO72:
  4. The usual deep analysis from Lepista. Shouldn't this be Unis not Uni's, mate?
  5. Ouch. Apologies for that. Written in haste and debt despair. But that's poor.
  6. I've been away from HPC but what is all this about rankings, dupes and vetos? I'd be the first to vote myself as a dupe on this debt issue. But the most dangerous people are the ones who think they can't be duped. I think the numbers involved (eg with PFI) were so big and shocking that they were ripe to be ignored, like the characters in Hitch Hikers Guide ignored that space ship touching down at Lords as it was 'somebody else's problem.' Or, maybe, it's like nuclear war. You just can't but laugh it off - the consequences are too extreme. Self- and collective-delusion are friends to us all: dupe and non-dupe, I feel. All this makes me want to buy a James Bond type-attache case; fill the false compartment with gold bullion; escape through the border to northern sweden; and teach kids about the end of the British empire; and learn how to hunt elk and rheindear. Sadly, as another thread has pointed out, I am stuck here as my (funded) pension will now only inflate career breakers at 2.5 % even as CPI/RPI & IRs hit 15% in 2015 when blighty defaults...
  7. This is partly right. The reality is that the carbon market is changing from one phase ('commitment period') to the next; and also as new schemes (and therefore types of 'emissions allowance') are added. In the early phases of the biggest scheme (the EU ETS) allowances were allocated to firms free-of-charge. If a firm exceeded its CO2 budget, then it would have to buy allowances; if a firm undershot its budget then it could sell allowances. But later phases involve auctioning of allowances. So all firms must buy allowances to cover their emissions whatever happens. Like any scarce commodity, third parties are also interested in getting a slice of the action even if they cannot make use of the legal function performed by allowances (right now, the EU ETS only covers large firms and not individuals). There are a number of shady intermediaries who buy national allowances (under the Kyoto Emissions Trading Mechanism) from eastern Europe and then sell them a few months later for twice the price to high polluters (Canada, Spain, Japan).The article/blog is dodgy in my view as the overall size of the market (by value) has hardly changed in the last 12 months, even though the amount of carbon covered (volume) has gone up a lot. The worldwide market for carbon allowances is worth about 130 billion USD right now. And complex derivatives are so far a fairly marginal activity. Way less in value terms than the base market on which it is based. Although no one knows exactly 'cos, unlike the base market, deals do not have to be logged with the regulators. So it's ludicrous to compare climate CDOs etc with the pre-crunch global credit derivatives market, which reached something like 60 trillion USD in 2007. This has not stopped some analysts talking about 'sub prime' carbon. But it's a bit too early for this IMO. The other part of the 'bubble' argument is to seek a parallel between asset inflation, such as house prices pre-2008, and carbon (allowance) prices. But whereas the price of a 1 tonne carbon allowance has declined in the past 18 months by 50%, the price of 1 barrel of oil has doubled. So carbon trading is hardly in a current bubble. So whereas the 'sub prime' argument is unproven, the 'carbon bubble' argument goes against the available evidence.
  8. Good to se the thread has settled down and moved on from the original, and usual, extreme positions. These threads are useful as there's so much BS flying around from Govt, Russel Group, Opposition, back to Govt again. I used not to bother pointing out that the 'emperor has no clothes' but nowadays realise that you have to do it instantly, roughly, and without getting angry. As that's exactly what the wind-up merchants want. And there are plenty of wind-up merchants in universities (and outside). The degeneration of universities in the UK is complex matter and not easily explainable by one line of thought. Like the Iraq war. Or anti-fit jeans. One cause has to be the obsession with league tables, targets, and monitoring that has been inherited from public choice theorists and governments on both sides since 1987. Academics are incentivised to neglect teaching and publish journal articles and monographs. If you don't, then you can't get a job/promotion. Even if academics see the absurdity of being judged solely on one out of 3/4 basic tasks to the job, they cannot avoid the logic. So the universities pretend they care about teaching, lurching from one absurd teaching quality exercise to the other, but in reality the only variable part of their income stream is through research (either direct from government, or indirect/private through research grants). If you take this logic to its ultimate conclusion, then Unis talk more and more about being great and teaching and research but care less and less about the former - hence all the classes taken by PhD students. Added to this, there are some other basic realities about our universities than mean that no particular group has an incentive to challenge the status quo: * many students who complain about fees do not care about learning as such, because they've been incentivised to care only about the appearance of learning through their school experience. Hence, the absurdity I encounter every day of students complaining they are not taught by experts when they (i) never bothered to attend the lectures/seminars in the first place or read the core material; (ii) do as little as possible on their courses to get by; (iii) spend far more time on extra curricular CV-enhancing stuff than their academic work; and (iv) aren't that bothered, really, so long as they get a 2.1. The good news for them is that to stifle dissent, and basically to avoid confronting the student apathy/instrumentalism problem, you're pretty much guaranteed to get a 2.1 nowadays even if your work is rubbish. This last issue further demotivates the decent lecturers who, because of the point above, effectively prepare their courses/lectures/new material in their spare time. The original posters who based part of their critique of lecturers on the basis they were lazy was so wrong. There may be some lazy ones, but the lecturers I know put in many hours unpaid overtime (weekends/evenings) to correct for the lack of core provision by Universities that employ them motivated by shame. Which brings me to the lazy f***ers... * a small, but stubborn, minority of lecturers are not merely misguided into thinking their research is useful/interesting - or necessary to keep their jobs - but bone idle. I would put it at 1 in 10. These people hide behind the hard workers and just ******** their way through, cultivate ties with managers, and hide behind the complete inability of universities to implement consistent disciplinary procedures. Unfortunately, these people are often way down the culling list (because of contacts or the fact the Uni knows they will fight dirty if dismissed/made redundant). * perverse as it is, the university system is a massive industry due to its ability to entice overseas students into the UK to pay big fees, and spend money in the local economy, while they're here. Bizarrely, people will cross the world to study with fuddy duddy academics obsessed with Foucault or Derrida. Of course, the University fleeces them before they realise that they will be studying with PhD students and not Prof. Giddens. But, warped logic applies, and the university will reward them with a BA or MA grade that they certainly do not deserve, or even a PhD. We may be disgusted with this, but I know for a fact that the economy within 10 miles radius of my Uni campus would probably be blown back to the stone age without the University's input. What's better than exporting Jags to Chinese? Actually, physically import your overseas consumers so they can consume your product, spend money in the Bull Ring, recycle revenue in the Uni coffee bars, and then return to China with an inflated degree, spending money at Heathrow, and on the plane as well. Genius. People trafficking without the guns. * The average lecturer earns 40k in the UK. The average lecturer, almost by definition, must have 7-8 years HE. It's not a bad crust. But hardly comparable to the banksters, MPs, dentists etc etc. The non bone idle ones do it, though, because they enjoy ideas not the money (the bone idle ones, of course, do it because they would otherwise have to do a job fitting their abilities paying less and requiring more work). That's as it should be. It's absurd to read off even senior salaries from a few VC fat cats. Full Profs (15-20 years experience) start on 60K. That's a better basis for the mud slinging.
  9. Nice to see the occasional piece of common sense on HPC. For the others, you have completely misread the article. The main claims were:(1) there will be lots of job losses in HE (2) lots of teaching will be done on the cheap (eg by PGs). It did not say that (3) Universities will be sacking professors in order to employ young academics thereby opening up opportunities for the young at the cost of the older generation. In reality, the longer you have been in any profession the harder, and more expensive, it is to sack you. The cuts will mean that whole Departments will be axed (eg Sociology at Birmingham) and younger staff on temporary contracts will lose their jobs. Students will be taught by PhD students on hourly contracts with no guarantee that this will lead to a job at the end of it. In fact, employment law means that the University has a good reason to keep terminating even these short term contracts in order for them not to trigger more permanent arrangements. Meanwhile, the teaching load you need to undertake to make enough money to live on hourly rates will mean the PhD students will not publish anything so they can compete to get a proper job. I don't see why any of this is worth celebrating.
  10. Occams Razor only applies when something can be explained more simply without loss of explanatory power. But this clearly does not apply here as the objections never take into account the complexity of the atmosphere, which requires effort and study to understand. Anyone who did not wish to deliberately misinterpret what I said, or who had made any effort to study the natural/enhanced greenhouse effect, would have understood what I meant. I gave you a simple relationship and now you reject my more full explanation as evasion. So which is it you want - the simply view or the fuller complex view. Thus is the duplicity at the heart of the sceptical case.The hockey stick issues are well documented online. Any neutrals out there who question the consensus can read the Oreskes paper and then google further to see the subsequent debate to determine who are the real scientists and who are the real charlatans here (<http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/306/5702/1686>) Oreskes found that the ratio of peer-reviews scientific papers that accepted the basics of AGW versus those that denied the process to be roughly 1:1000 (well, 0:924, actually, but I'll give you one for free). I supplement this by personal experience that the proportion of practicing scientists in accredited research units, universities, meteorological institutes in Europe is probably somewhere between 1:100 and 1:1000. Consensus is usually defined as "an opinion or position reached by a group as a whole." There is some ambiguity here. But if you say that a very loud and media savvy group of individuals making up <0.01 of a population can turn a consensus into a non-consensus then that, for me, stretches the meaning of consensus to breaking point. As to the real issue, sometimes the <0.01 slice of a population is right. This is not one of those cases.
  11. Come on, you know exactly what I meant. In the technical sense, yes, if CO2 did not exist in the concentrations it does exist then it is hard to see how the atmosphere would contain enough GHGs to keep the surface at the average temperature it is (15C). The point is that GHGs are obviously a 'good thing' in the sense that they, along with many other physical factors, keep the earth much warmer than would be the case thereby sustaining life. This is not to say that the earth is on average 15C at the surface BECAUSE CO2 exists. That would be stretching the notion of causation too far - causation must be more than merely finding necessary conditions. But the temperature-CO2 relation is obviously much more than correlation, as a poster claimed in a previous post. So, yes, I am saying that increases in the global concentration of CO2, all things being equal, will always lead to a higher temperature at the surface. The existence of the associated physical process on earth (the natural greenhouse effect) and not on the moon, is a reasonable (if incomplete) explanation of why life on earth of the kind that supports mammals and primates is sustainable and similar life on the moon is not sustainable (equally, there are planets in the solar system where there is a runaway global warming effect that makes such life unsustainable). I don't think even Lindzen, Michels or other scientist sceptics deny the existence of the natural greenhouse effect, except they would view it as a simplification and not susceptible to enhancement through additional GHGs emitted by humans.
  12. This looks like something lifted form the 'Great Global Warming Swindle.' The Hockey Stick issue, along with a number of other claims, is well dealt with by John Houghton here: <http://www.jri.org.uk/news/Critique_Channel4_Global_Warming_Swindle.pdf> and many, many other places on the web. The New Scientist, Nature, Science and other respected publications have dealt with the issue, if you're interested. Elsewhere, you might like to go to amazon.co.uk and get hold of any decent atmospheric chemistry textbook for Level I University students. Scientists should really stay away from the idea of 'catastrophic climate change', in my view, as it is quite rhetorical to say the least; and the notion of 'catastrophe' is a normative/sociological/political concept not a scentific one. I am a social scientist by training, and teach philosophy of science / social science. So, it is not for me to answer some the more technical questions you have. Houghton and others have already done this, many, many, times over. Yet the same basic misunderstandings still keep coming back, like Freddie Kruger. If I did try to respond, then any minor errors I made would be jumped on by the sceptics as evidence that AGW does not exist. But it is my firm view that any decently educated person can learn enough about climate change through an open university course, A level in physics/chemistry, or independent but directed reading programme to scrutinise the IPCC reports 1990-2007. I, for one, would have no problem debating anyone who has actually read the technical summaries from these reports and taken the effort to screen out the obvious clangers in the sceptic arsenal (the MWP; volcanoes emit more CO2 than people; IPCC scientists are all crooks etc). All scientific knowledge is based on the idea that someone tries to disprove a previous simple truth; or render more simple a previous complexity; or render more complex a previous simplicity. But science, as Monbiot pointed out the other week in his column, in conducted in writing not in soundbites on Newsnight or This Week. That's the real reason the scientists lose it when faced with sceptics on tv. Their natural inclination is to think, 'um, that's interesting, let's think of an experiment to find out and then send the results to Nature. 2 years later, the article appears in press.' BUt what do you do if the same misunderstandings get thrown at you year after year? That's no excuse for having the same media skills as Moira Hindley, but completely understandable. We train scientists to be obsessive geeks, not to be contestants on X Factor. What winds me up, as a social scientist with a heavy interest in environment and psychology of denial, is (i) that many of the claims the sceptics make have been dealt with in peer review but they keep resurfacing in an obvious attempt merely to create confusion; and (ii) the obvious and duplicitous chain of major claims adopted by the main sceptic group, which is obviously committed to the denial of AGW despite any evidence that might emerge. EG: (1) The world is not warming >>> (2) The world is warming but it's not humans (eg it's the sun directly; the sun indirectly; it's water vapour; it's natural variation) >>> (3) the world is warming, and it's only partly humans > >> (4) the world is warming, it is humans, but technology will save us >>> (5) the world is warming, it is humans, but it would be too costly to do anything about it and technology probably won't save us, but that's ok since doing anything about it would divert resources away from other more important questions. How can any decent scientist cope with being bombarded with claims from any of these angles cope? Just the jumping around within category (2) shows you there's something deeply wrong at the heart of the sceptic movement....
  13. That's just bull*** mate. No chance at all that someone who misrepresents the facts like this will change their mind. So I say this for neutrals who may be reading this and thinking that HPC has become a wing of the climate denial movement. 99 percent = 99/100. If you discount social scientists and humanities people, I challenge you to find more than 1 per cent of scientists based in UK universities who hold that (i) humans are not responsible for the vast majority of the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere from 1750-2100; (ii) that levels of CO2 in the atmosphere are not higher than they have been for 100,000 years; (iii) that this increase is not responsible for most of the warming witnessed since 1850 and will go on to have a significant warming effect in the period 2010-2100. 1 per cent. There's no evidence whatsoever that the changes in the amount of water vapour in the atmosphere can be other than a minor influence on the climate in the 1750-2100. If there is and you've found it, cite the peer-reviewed paper. I don't 'think' I'm being scientific. I don't believe in the case for AGW because I want to or because it chimes with my world view. And I don't bend the rules of science to fit my beliefs, self-interest or unwillingness to accept that human activity can have unintended consequences for the environment. That's true delusion.
  14. White coats and test tubes. Bit of a simplification of me, but yeah, that's basically it. There's a common scientific method underpinning all of the disciplines relevant to climate science: biology, physics, chemistry being the main ones. I'm not saying that it's ok to be a crook. But that, because there are documented cases of skulduggery on both sides, the UEA incident does not create any more doubt than existed before it was uncovered. And there wasn't much doubt before it was uncovered. UEA is a small part of a global scientific consensus, and, yes, it is a consensus if 99 per cent of practicing scientists support the theory. Technically, it is true that the AGW theory is impossible to prove as such given that the lab is the earth itself. Like evolution, it is unclear how many supporting bits of data are needed before it can be treated like a fact with same degree of confidence as evolution. Probably when the world is under water and we've long switched to eating synthetic meat will it be declared a 'fact.' Also, there are many things to argue about, eg whether the 2C threshold the policymakers are so keen on is a real threshold. To your other point. I am interested in the mechanism of contestation. Some of the denialists are saps and some are crooks. But then believing in AGW for the wrong reasons (because it pushes your own political agenda; or simply that you like to demonstrate) can make you a sap. And there may be some crooks amongst the 1000s of climate scientists as well (statistics would suggest that at least some of them are unfaithful to their wives, others fiddle their expenses, so there's bound to be a few crooks amongst them). But none of this affects the overwhelming evidence for AGW. If you get hold of a CO2 measuring device and go to any hill top anywhere in the world you will see a reading of 385 ppm. Not even the sceptics deny that. They also do not deny that the concentration was 280 or thereabouts in 1750. Anyone who denies this is either a fool or a crook. The implications of these figures is what is at stake. There is a documented mechanism for how CO2 traps heat in the atmosphere that you will be taught in any GCE class worldwide - I wager even in North Korea or Iran. This is good news, otherwise we would experience a rather chilly moon-like -18C. I choose to believe that it is this documented effect that explains why increasing CO2 through industrialisation will have, and is probably already having, an impact on the earth's climate. I don't mind that you believe the opposite. But it does bother me that you call it science.
  15. A balance of probabilities analysis that ended up 50/50 would be anyones guess. And, yet, people stop smoking when their doctors tell them there's a 25% chance that they will die of lung cancer if they don't. Uncertainty about an outcomes does not mean there are no reasons for action to avoid an unpleasant outcome But, granted, you can't just magic risks out of the air like WMD in Iraq or dirty bomb attack on London to justify war on another country or domestic population. Time and time again large numbers of people have been saved by a precautionary approach (cholera in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, eg) where the balance of probabilities was in favour of action but where the science was some way from complete settlement. In this case, much more is understood about the process. I talk not of human folly and hypocrisy, there's enough of that for all, but the science is overwhelming. It is no conspiracy. Get over it.
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