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Ted D. Bear

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Everything posted by Ted D. Bear

  1. Huge crowds in Athens too - via twitter: http://t.co/ps3sr01k This is all beginning to look significant.
  2. I imagine this was the same broadcast that featured an item on engineering companies, many with innovative products, struggling to bring products to market because (in part) because of the lack of engineering talent produced, and much of that which is goes to the City. Personally I think a lot of this comes down to the state of mathematics education in the country, hardly any primary teachers have experience of post-school mathematics and I'd wager few have more than a minimal GCSE pass. So this fundamental skill is often being taught by people who have no real understanding of it, kids get muddled instruction and are taught a seemingly unconnected set of rules to be applied and it quickly becomes the subject nobody likes. Only kids with tutors or numerate parents really stand a chance.
  3. There have been a series of posts on counterpunch and nakedcapitalism I've not seen posted here and might be of interest to some. This is the latest.
  4. Simple question really - trying to gauge how much of an impact house prices have on the competitiveness of UK busnesses
  5. The difference being that companies that do this eventually go out of business (banks excluded, of course).
  6. I am sure that the better schools will dispense with poor teachers, but they just move elsewhere - I am not aware of many teachers being 'struck off' on grounds of incompetence, which is what is needed. I agree completely that academic achievement is not sufficient to make someone a good teacher, but I do think a lower prevalence of teachers with the very highest qualifications indicates that the profession is not seen as a 'first choice' career by as many that would make good teachers, and I do point the finger at the unions as much as successive governments for this. Anecdotally, I have known several very bright people leave teaching because they were fed up with the low standards of their colleagues, and have found making any suggestions about how to improve things was seen as 'rocking the boat'. This is of course reflects problems with individual institutions, but the silence of the unions on these kind of problem schools (which seem far from rare, judging by my experiences) speaks volumes (I feel) for their real concern for levels of achievement. The government is complicit, of course, in that in allowing exam standards to slump the teaching unions are able to point to 'ever rising standards' and avoid confronting any problems within the profession.
  7. At least two reasons: 1. They defend the mediocrity that is rife in the profession - "Pay and conditions" means all are paid the same no matter how effective a teacher they are. 2. The above acts as a disincentive to the brightest joining the teaching profession - an excellent and inspiring teacher can be paid no more than an incompetent. Any attempt to introduce any kind of performance related pay is met by howls from the unions who refuse to admit there may be any problem with basic competency in the profession. Thus poor teachers are not removed or given an incentive to improve, and those who would make good teachers avoid the profession in the first place. I was fortunate that many of my teachers were PhDs and Oxbridge graduates, who joined the profession in the 50s. They are all retired now and have not been replaced by teachers of similar caliber.
  8. Mrs T.D.Bear and I have been keeping our eyes on a few areas of London with an eye to buying if the right place at the right place came up (why? non-economic reasons mainly, would like somewhere more permanant, and a bit worried about the prospects of inflation). Since spring there has been very little coming on the market in the few areas we would consider, but the last few weeks has seen a flood. One street in particular that we've had our eye on has not had anything for sale since early 2008 had two houses come on in the space of a week, and property bee is revealing a whole load of new listings in general. An EA we spoke to said they had had taken on six instructions to sell *that morning* ! Have any other market-watchers noticed this? Is this all the people who could/would not sell over the last year rushing in on the back of all the 'good news'? As there has only been a modest recovery in mortgage lending I wonder if this could usher in a new down-leg over the next few months
  9. Hmm, a washbasin had been added too, maybe that's why. Even if it is legal it's a bit nasty, but I suppose that's what we should expect from this nation's kindly LLs. The odd thing is that it's a small house, I couldn't imagine more that a couple and perhaps a small child living there, so why the need for two toilets? Especially with storage space at a premium? Seems nuts to me
  10. Thanks for the replies chaps! I'm 99% sure the LL is a "builder" - this was the second time we looked at the place and last week there was no second loo - no idea what posessed him to think it a good idea, the place is small enough without what was a useful utility room / larder being transformed into a loo. AyatollahB: What you have said about the plumbing has me wondering... the back garden was being dug up when we looked, I think to plumb in the loo. I had always thought that sewerage outlet pipes were quite deep, but the pipe exposed was only a foot or less down, a plastic pipe maye four or five inches in diameter - does that sound like a proper sewerage outlet pipe or a 'sinks and washing machines' outlet? I wouldn't have the foggiest! Thanks muchly all
  11. Hi all, I don't know if anyone out there knows about regulations around house layouts, but if someone does, I have a question! We have looked round a place that is available to rent and it is quite nice but the downstairs loo opens straight into the kitchen area which doesn't strike us as very sanitary or sane! What we wonder is if this is even legal given the potential for contamination of the kitchen area (the loo room was also lacking ventilation, I don't recall there even being a window, it clearly used to be a utility room but the LL has thought an extra loo shoehorned in next to the washing machine was a bright idea). Thanks for any insights
  12. It (infamously and intentionally) doesn't. Had it done so we might not be where we are now.
  13. Are these 'four buyers' four unique 'buyers' or is it a case of: 10 agents each with 10 houses + The same 40 buyers registered with all 10 agents. = Headline of 'agents report four buyers per home' Where the truth is 0.4 buyers per home.
  14. I didn't see this article appear on here, which might be of interest to some. We have created a monster … banks with access to public funds
  15. Try Paintwork for one of their more rambling outings...
  16. There are, to my knowledge, no punishments for not donating blood, but people still do it. And I suppose these people are wasting their time?
  17. Of course you own yourself. But theft is not the only means by which 'your' property may be transferred to another. You may give it of your own volition: redistibution can, in principle, come about without coercion.
  18. Unrefutably true, but nothing to do with my point. Donations are not stolen goods. Their validity holds in certain contexts.
  19. It's only stealing if the 'productive' deem themselves to have been stolen from. Of course, this whole meme that any kind of taxation or redistribution being theft presupposes that private property rights are valid in the first place.
  20. Swap 'free trade' for 'cooperation' and you have socialism in a nutshell. This 'cell' analogy to capitalism is a terrible one. There is no free agency at the cellular level and so any attempt to characterise interactions between cells or organs as 'free' is absurd.
  21. So, we owe several more trillion than before. I don't know if this makes sense, but does anyone know what proportion of these debts are payable in other currencies? In particular those currencies the pound has fallen sharply against? I think this is the same as asking what our external debt is but finance-ese is very much my third language. If I understand it, it was Iceland's external debts that sunk it... are we heading the same way?
  22. Maybe there aren't enough details out there about Broon's debt underwriting plan to answer this, but if there's anyone here whose looking at the small print can they reassure me that the following can't happen: 1. Say the Treasury underwriting plan will return 75% the value of a bad debt in event of default. 2. Say a US (for sake of argument) bank has a bad debt for (say) $100million that it expects to be completely written off. 3. A UK bank buys the bad debt for (say) 10million - the US bank gets $10 million it wasn't expecting, bonuses all round etc. 4. UK bank insures the debt with the Treasury 5. The loan defaults 6. Treasury coughs up $75 million 7. UK bank pockets the net $60 million 8. Taxpayer on the hook for $75 million In short, has the Treasury just agreed to underwrite any and all dodgy loans in the world?
  23. That's a nice chart - thanks. So, the powers that be will panic and let M4 supply rip, while velocity remains low in the short term meaning the increased supply has little effect. Then at some point velocity picks up and inflation goes to the moon... sounds about right to me.
  24. Quite - as The Daily Mash has it "Chancellor Alistair has a secret plan to keep buggering about with the British economy until he finds something that works, it was revealed last night.". I do think that if one has time to read just one news website, the Mash is probably the one to go for.
  25. Indeed. Brown's selling of Westinghouse (the reactor design and construction arm of BNFL, most nuclear power stations in the world are based on their designs) to Hitachi (or was it Toshiba?) a few years ago would indicate he's not got the best judgement as to what companies and industries might be worth holding on to.
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