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A17

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Everything posted by A17

  1. It's starting to feel a bit like Trump's Downfall. Deluded in his bunker, ordering counterattacks and lawsuits with imaginary armies. Yet at the same time strangely accepting of his fate. Handing out pardons and Iron Crosses. Just wait for Pence to preside over the official results counting, followed by his dismissal by Trump for disloyalty.
  2. I think it is trait to look for the easy way out. As you say, people like to use the example of the Alan Sugar and Richard Branson types as (rightly) success stories, but it ignores the far more numerous people who leave school with nothing and achieve very little. People also seem to use the examples of Alan Sugar and Richard Branson as an excuse to do no work, ignoring those individuals drive and ideas. The easy way can lead to short term success. Earning £20k out of school puts you in a better position than your peers who go to university, but it isn't great if that is the limit of your earning potential for the rest of your life. Similarly, the example of earning £300 per day on a building site sounds great, but your work is likely to be intermittent and without benefits, and your body may give up on you by the time you are fifty. My degree was in STEM, and I graduated in 2009 in the middle of the recession. A number of my peers stayed on to do a PhD - not for any great love of the subject, but as a job that was offered to them on a plate. Their idea was that the PhD would set them apart for graduate level roles 3-4 years later once it was completed, and they would have the pick of companies to work for. In reality, the PhD was not an advantage, or could even be seen as a liability. When I did graduate recruitment some of the people with PhDs wanted us to kiss the ground they walked on, and wanted to be hired at levels far beyond their capability. Personally, I think a STEM PhD is only worth doing if you want a career in academia, or in R&D. Do not do it as for a general enhancement to your career prospects.
  3. The hospitals would be screamed at for "getting in the way of care"
  4. Cancer patient died after NHS demanded £30,000 for treatment A sad story of course, but the UK is made out to be the bad guy.
  5. True. "We'd love to do something, but our hands are tied by Brussels" was a convenient half-truth that politicians hid behind for too long. Perhaps it is another example of why the UK could never take advantage of the loopholes and workarounds in the law. A completely different population outlook, political system and government bureaucracy to the other European countries. I could run a marathon. I have two legs that work, and nothing external is stopping me. However, I am not a runner and would find it impossible. However, if I joined a social club full of sporty people they might very easily be able to run a marathon, and express surprise that I could not.
  6. Before the referendum: too difficult, not worth expanding your political capital on, get criticized in the Guardian. Why bother, when you are certain Remain is going to win? After the referendum: no senior leadership of any party of any national significance wanted to touch that. The Conservatives and Labour leadership wanted to respect the result, with the smaller parties (and individuals within Labour) wanted a second referendum/no Brexit, without any changes made.
  7. A vote to remain wasn't a vote for the status quo. The UK would have always been a step or two behind the keen countries in further integration, but would still have been pulled along as time went on. All the talk of opt-outs and vetoes were believable when it was Cameron trying to placate his back benches, but eventually another europhile PM would have been elected who would have agreed to anything and everything. It is also important to remember that if remain had won, the threat of leaving would have been removed. "After all, you had your chance to leave, what is different this time?". I believe that the threat of leaving acted as a brake on further integration. A remain vote would also have been twisted as an endorsement for complete satisfaction with the EU, and a go ahead for further integration.
  8. It's difficult to judge really. It's so distorted by the media, and trying to extrapolate biased personal anecdotes spread over a 10 year period to see effects across the country is impossible. My view - there has been no austerity if you are: Already wealthy. Government policy seems to openly be to intervene when asset prices show signs of falling, but not to interfere when asset prices rise. Not even trying to hide it anymore. Public sector mid level/elite. Despite so called pay freezes, they tend to find a way around it, with secure jobs. The already retired. defined benefit pensions and triple lock. More money coming in than going out. The benefits class. Despite the high profile wailing, and isolated stories of people falling between the cracks, living on benefits (with low paid work to get the top-ups) can still provide a good income. Basically untouchable now. It isn't a sustainable life, but no government wants to have people on the streets. Austerity has affected: The young. I graduated from university in London in 2009 with approximately £22k in debt, with approximately £12k of parental support over the four years course. The debt now would now be closer to £70k, with much higher interest. Nowadays we talk about £70k as a starter home deposit - 15 years ago it could have been a starter home! The public sector masses. Standard teachers, nurses, carers. An easy target for savings and pay freezes, and generally the people who have to deal with the public (as opposed to the public sector elite). Far fewer options to achieve pay rises through moves. The private sector middle. The squeezed middle, the "just about managing". Earning too much to receive government help, earning too little to be wealthy. Various things combining to screw them over. A decade of low wage growth and house price inflation, combined with trying to help offspring at university, with the looming care home fees for elderly parents on the horizon. When you add it all up, it makes a bad situation.
  9. Immigration is an easy way for the government to increase GDP. Everybody who comes to a country (aside from the very poorest and lowest) will need to pay for a place to live, buy food, pay for transportation and have some fun. The net immigration rate was running at about 0.5% of the population per year - that is an immediate good boost to GDP statistics for the government regardless of the actual economic reality.
  10. The headline is sensational and inaccurate. It is a rebate/deduction on stamp duty, rather than a government grant. It is applied to anybody, not just foreigners. You only get the $50,000 savings if you buy a $1.5m apartment. We can argue whether it is right or wrong, but the facts are important. "Western Australian government will take up to $50,000 less in tax when buying a home" is more accurate.
  11. From a purely natural selection evolutionary viewpoint, what traits are beneficial for a virus? Milder symptoms - infected people can still go about their everyday life, rather than resting and isolating at home. Longer incubation period - infected people continue to spread the virus before they show symptoms Resilience - can last longer on surfaces, increasing chances of infecting through this way Transmission route - a virus that can be spread via the air (coughing and sneezing) compared to a bloodborne disease which is far harder to infect others Viral load - how much virus do you need to infect somebody - one virion, or thousands? One of the reasons the Spanish Flu was so devastating is that harsher symptoms were more likely to spread. If you were moderately sick, you stayed put in the trenches and didn't spread the disease. If you were severely sick, you were transported on packed medical trains with war wounded to central field hospitals, many miles away. Could this be similar to COVID? Do the lockdowns and social distancing mean that minor sufferers stayed at home (and didn't spread), whilst the more extreme forms of the virus were carried into the hospitals, spreading from there? With the milder strains dying out in April/May?
  12. Does anybody here know anybody personally who has been on the furlough scheme continuously since March, and in theory still has their job to go back to? I'm not talking about people who have been back and forth to work with intermittent lockdowns (shop staff, restaurant staff etc) - I'm asking about people who have not worked since March but are still collecting furlough money.
  13. Not so much renting. If people are forced to move, they tend to move to a cheaper state (which more often than not has better weather) - hence the cliche of old people moving to Florida. As an anecdote, the property tax for my apartment in Chicago is 25% of the rent. High property taxes only really affect a few parts of the country in retirement though. In most places it is only a few thousand dollars a year.
  14. I have a bit of a phobia of wooden steep "overlapping" stairs. They are very slippery. Going up is a bit better as your toes can go under the next step, but going down this can't be done.
  15. I live in Illinois - a very high property tax state. The high property taxes act as a check on the property values; we are reaching the stage where property taxes can quite easily be the same as your mortgage payments. High council tax in the UK is still at the "annoyance" stage rather than a major consideration in house buying. The high taxes do force people to sell their homes, either when they retire, or when the area gentrifies increasing the property values and hence the taxes. Regular revaluation sounds good in practice, but in reality it is another cost to pay. The municipalities have to hire people to revalue, homeowners hire somebody to revalue at a lower price, it passes through the government bureaucracy. All of this costs money.
  16. If those death trap stairs were going from the ground floor to the first floor, if you slipped and hurt yourself you would fall to ground level and could be stretchered out easily. If regular stairs were going from the ground floor to basement, you could still be relatively easily stretchered out. If you slipped and fell down the death trap stairs to the basement (as in that house) and you fell, it would be very difficult for the paramedics to maneuver and stretcher you out. It reminds me of a pit trap.
  17. Perhaps Trump will end up as a president in exile? Running a pseudo shadow government in exile from a hotel suite in Moscow/Riyadh, whilst claiming jurisdiction over the United States? Or perhaps a private golf course island in the Caribbean, with it's own congress with representatives from ever US state?
  18. I would imagine that most of the London wealthy (not super rich) have most of their money in the UK, with some smaller percentages overseas. The UK has not had the shadow of China hanging over it, so there was no real advantage of having your wealth overseas. Again, I'm talking about the moderately wealthy, rather than the super rich. The more attractive cities to Hong Kongers (particularly Vancouver) already have large HK (and other Chinese) populations compared to the UK. I think only people born before the handover are entitled to British National (Overseas) status, so the younger generation would not be allowed to come to the UK (although this may be changed). The Chinese government could stop them. If you hold a BNO passport, and leave Hong Kong for more than a year you have been deemed to have forfeited your Hong Kong residence rights - something like that. It would certainly make people think again about leaving. I agree that permanent residence in a country is the way to go though. I think a huge problem is how people can easily maintain "a foot in both camps" for many years (even indefinitely!) now. It means you never really assimilate in either place.
  19. Anybody wealthy in Hong Kong already has the bulk of their wealth overseas. There isn't a huge untapped well of money there, that the Tories were expecting to flood into the UK housing market. Similarly, the truly rich in Hong Kong already have their boltholes ready to go in far nice places, such as Auckland or Vancouver. Hong Kong changed sovereignty in 1997. You would have to be 23 to have lived in British Hong Kong, ~33 to remember anything beyond your immediate personal life, and in your 40s to have worked. People always say they are going to move overseas, a far smaller number actually do. The other point to consider is this isn't the opening up of the EU to Eastern Europe. You can't get a £39 flight back to your hometown from Stansted a couple of weekends a year if you are from Hong Kong. You probably will not be allowed to return to Hong Kong at all, if the Chinese government has its way (as what tends to happen), so there will be no option to "try the UK for a few years". Once you leave, it will be permanent.
  20. Looks like it would cause a badly broken ankle if you aren't careful! And the stairs lead DOWN into the basement bedroom, so it would be very difficult for the ambulance to get you out if you slipped.
  21. I've tried to find the data, but no luck. There are basically four outcomes if you are infected. We'd need to find the percentage of COVID sufferers who: Didn't go to hospital and recovered Didn't go to hospital and died Went to hospital and recovered Went to hospital and died. Group number 3 is the key one. If the hospitals were full, they would either end up being group 1 or group 2. How would the split be? What percentage of people with COVID in hospital are being "monitored as a precaution", and what percentage are in the ICU?
  22. The rather inappropriately named NICE gives a value of £20k-£30k for a quality-adjusted-life-year. Maybe that should be a starting point for assessing the costs vs benefits of lockdown?
  23. Japan and Taiwan are both islands, and South Korea is a peninsula with one of the most fortified borders in the world with its neighbor. Japan and Taiwan both closed their borders to foreigners when the shit hit the fan, and South Korea has also heavily restricted entry. Also see Australia and New Zealand. The UK still has an open border, with half-arsed quarantine rules introduced way too late to make a difference. Bearing in mind in early March the general consensus in vocal parts of the media was that closing borders was racist/medieval/ineffective, and this was barely a month after leaving the EU. Boris Johnson would have been torn to shreds if he had suggested closing borders to stop the virus.
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