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Selling up

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Everything posted by Selling up

  1. Mostly good sense: However his wording regarding averages is a little odd: I paraphrase: He implies that believes the long term average multiple is 3. In the boom the multiple went up to 5. Therefore we can expect a return to 3. It is also possible we may go below 3. Well, no, if he believes that the long term average is 3, then following a boom up to 5 we mathematically must go down below 3 in the bust to maintain that average.
  2. If we're trading anecdotals: I've suffered from 3 or 4 episodes of depression. Usually I'm solitary, pessimistic, driven and passionate (not erotically, I mean passionate about things). I knew something was up the first time when I became solitary, pessimistic, lazy and apathetic. (Going to bed on returning from work at 6 for instance - ironically I was a junior psychiatrist at the time!) Prozac (fluoxetine) worked like magic for me. After 3 or 4 weeks I was driven and passionate about things once more. Disconcertingly, I also became more optimistic and sociable... started chatting up strangers etc, things I would never normally bother trying. For a few months I loved the new sociable Selling Up, particularly since I couldn't help noticing a surprising increase in the amount of sex I was being offered! (Although by a minor irony the drug also made me temporarily impotent.) But after maybe four months of this I missed "the real me"... and so I stopped the pills, and happily returned to my solitary, pessimistic, driven and passionate state. There were 3 milder episodes later following rather a similar pattern... except that the depression was mild (I could have lived through it without pills had I wanted to) and the effect of the pills less marked. In my own life (despite a few counselling sessions) I have never found any "explanation" for these episodes. They occurred out of nowhere at times I had few stresses or problems in my life. I found the pills more helpful than the counselling, which didn't really make anything any clearer for me.
  3. Can't help being sidetracked from your main point by this statement. It's easy to make statements like this but they tend to be meaningless, and I think this is no exception. If I take you literally you imply that it would be legal for an assassin to whack the Don's nephew, if he had freely made a legally binding contract to do so. Now maybe you do mean this, which has the benefit of being consistent, but I doubt you do. Or perhaps you mean to imply this: "Any trade should be legal provided it does not break any other specific criminal laws." Well that's such a big get-out-of-jail card that it invalidates your original sentence. All I have to do is posit a criminal law that says it's a crime to sell oranges below £1 an orange, and bingo: no free market in reality, despite your conditions in the paragraph above being met. Therefore it is an empty statement to say "all consenting trade should be legal". All a free-marketer can ask is that legal restrictions on trades are kept to a proportionate minimum, and to argue about where exactly the line dividing criminal from legal activity should be drawn.
  4. As I pointed out in the other thread on this, there are 5,500,000 A level papers sat each year (couldn't find how many pupils that equates to). This is funding a gap year for 500 of those pupils. Though it's an absurd, illogical, unfair and pointless policy, the amount of money involved is tiny. 500 is an insignificant proportion of A level "graduates" (can't think what the proper word is for someone who has completed their A levels) - and the cost and effect of the policy will be proportionately insignificant. So I object to the policy because it is absurd, illogical, unfair and pointless. I don't care so much about the (reasonable) complaint that it's a waste of money since such small sums are involved. Edit: Or is it a gap year after university graduation, not A levels? Same principle applies, even if the numbers are somewhat different.
  5. That's where I disagree with you. I'm 35 and I'm about to do it. (Edit: Not abroad mind you but it involves moving from Lancashire to London for a year so it's a pretty big change) If you think you missed out on a worthwhile experience, go and do it now. Edit: To put it another way: You call it "an opportunity missed". But why do think that opportunity is not still open to you? Okay, maybe mid-recession is not the time to put your job in jeopardy. But the recession will end. You can do it then.
  6. Am I the only one who thinks "gap years" for school-leavers / new graduates are a stupid idea? When I left school in 1992, they were already all the rage... but to me the idea of a year of idleness gaining some nebulous "life experience" while adding another year to my CV of parental dependence seemed an utterly pointless self-indulgence. A better goal seemed to me to become the youngest medical graduate in town. Now I'm a 35 year old GP, I'm about to take a proper "gap year" - funded out of my own savings, and with a clear purpose: A masters degree in an arts subject that is a passionate obsession of mine. However, like so many NuLab policies, this is inconsequential headline-grabbing whimsy. The BBC report on the scheme makes it clear that it will assist a maximum of 500 youngsters a year. How many pupils complete their A levels each year? I couldn't find an answer on google, but I did learn that 5.5million A level papers are sat each year. Move on, nothing to see here. Edit for typo.
  7. Seems you didn't read loginandtonic's comment above! Edit: My mistake, misread your comment.
  8. This is more like Wile-E Coyote starting to plummet then inexplicably wafting back upwards.
  9. I wouldn't be too hard on her. OK, to some of us that looks optimistic but consider: Here is a property developer prepared to go on record with a prediction of up to 2 more years of falling prices. Hardly VI spin.
  10. I have 20% gold, 80% NS&I, 10% other sterling deposits. The 20% is partly a hedge against high inflation, partly a little speculative gamble.
  11. Heard the one about the rabbi, the imam and the priest... From the Guardian:
  12. This is as nothing compared to the fact that - as far as I can see - all proposals for radical reform of the banking system have been quietly dropped. "We will continue with the same system as before. Oh, I know it failed once, but things have changed. After all, bailing out all the reckless players will have shown them that they have to change their ways".
  13. Interesting comment about the nursing degree. To add an "off topic" personal anecdote: I was always amazed how little my fellow medical students objected to the fact that the theoretical (pre-clinical) side of the medical degree was utterly useless. To this day it annoys me to remember the hours I wasted learning the names of EG the small muscles of the hand, or the chemical pathways by which glucose is oxidised. I hated the degree because: 1) It consisted entirely of learning facts. I am more a concepts and arguments thinker. 2) I was sure that I would never again need to recall 99% of what I was learning. And... surprise, surprise, time has proved me right. I went from academic overachiever (Grade A in "O" level Maths at 12 etc) to demoralised average-student, barely scraping through the degree. Only a small fraction of what I learned proved useful to the job, and huge vital areas were ignored. (Fluid management in hospital patients was the first example. Day one on the ward: Write up the drip fluids for these patients. What? We never covered that at medical school. So it went on...) This was 1992-7. I think a lot has changed since then, and maybe for the better. But the docility of my fellow students in going along with this stupefying uncritical ingestion of facts was remarkable. Then when I did my GP training, which I loved, we were once more encouraged to think critically and accept no more blind authority. How I wished the medical degree had been like that.
  14. That implies that you think it realistic to expect an education system (what is it currently? 6 hours a day, 195 days a year?) to entirely counterbalance the cultural / family / peer group influences operating the other 86% of the time. I don't. There is a brilliant study done in the US on the effect of the summer holiday on reading skills, comparing working-class and middle-class children. Interestingly, from September to June, each group improved by more or less the same number of points on their reading skills test. The school was doing equally well with pupils from all classes. During the long summer holiday, however, the middle class children's reading scores continued to improve until the next September. The working class children's scores, however, declined over the summer holiday. Family environment is everything. No school can be expected to compensate for the disadvantage of having parents who aren't focused on academic achievement, households with no books and no habit of reading etc.
  15. Absolutely. This is why the "debate" I heard on the radio today was utterly surreal. Various talking heads were debating the "narrow culture of professions", whatever the fvck that means. One was calling for various prestigious institutions to "look beyond narrow past academic success" to in their recruiting to consider "broader factors of suitability". Which completely misses the point. Select any application criterion you like: Exam results. A history of volunteer work / unpaid work. Extracurricular activities. Performing fluently and charmingly at interview... The child of aspirational (read middle-class) parents will win. It's a truism. If they decide to choose candidates based on hair colour, it is the aspirational parents who will be buying the dye. Nothing in this pathetic excuse of a "debate" addresses that.
  16. Hypothesis from my work as a GP: There is a statistical correlation between a patient being "middle class" (however one defines that) and having a collaborative (assertive in the positive sense) approach to authority: EG "What can we do about my mother's Alzheimers?" as opposed to submissive "Whatever you say, doc" or aggressive "I'm not leaving until you give me a prescription". Now this correlation may be simply a reflection of my own prejudices, I accept that. But it could also suggest something very significant. That middle class children are likely to be brought up with a collaborative attitude to authority which serves them extremely well at interviews etc. If true then solving that source of inequality seems rather difficult to me.
  17. I have wondered this too. I guess a huge fall in population might change things. Aaaaa.... choo! (Oink)
  18. Very interesting way of looking at the situation. Also rather cheering for us cash-rich types who have no intention of buying houses in the near future.
  19. Is getting vitamin D free? Maybe in theory but I bet 99% of people who decide to up their vitamin D intake will do so by buying manufactured supplements (usually made by the same companies as prescription drugs, for just as much profit, but less rigorously tested). Read Ben Goldacre's Bad Science - he is an equal opportunities sceptic, who trashes the vitamin supplement and nutritionist industries no more nor less than he trashes Big Pharma.
  20. I'm glad the mods left this thread all day on the main page... and delighted to read the broad consensus of comments here against the scheme. As you can tell, I feel very strongly about potentially being required to prove my safety to have "contact" with children and I'm glad that many of you feel the same. If I do get asked to provide evidence of being safe around children, I'll report back.
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