Saturday, February 18, 2006

Retirement age suggested: 85 years old

Retirement age 'will rise to 85'.

I would take such a suggestion as totally ridiculous. Risible. But, it would seem some people are ‘serious’. Can you imagine someone wanting to work on until 85? Or an employer wanting to employ someone of this age? Maybe arthritic. Maybe not quite so fast in thought or actions as a ‘30 something‘ individual. What sort of salary would they be getting? As inflation will continue - it always does as everyone wants more and more from you and you get more because it is always creeping up - you will be a well-off 85 year old... I doubt it. Very much doubt it.

You’d be getting miserable pay increases to fall well below inflation. Demoralised. Targets. Goals. Modernistic buzz words to go with the viscious mentality of corporate growth. Nobody is safe. Certainly not the majority who do their best. Strive to do well, but end up with criticism about not doing enough and not doing it quickly enough.

An 85 year old trying to work within today’s business methods? It is a new way to kill off the older cost burden. There’s more of the ‘get as much out of them while they’re alive, then let ‘em die’ syndrome.

And don't forget to consider this: how many years could you enjoy your pension when you do eventually retire? A year or two? Or three, perhaps? The pension (50%) would be paid to your partner for... how long? Doesn't it smell even worse of cost cutting? Take, take, take. And give virtually nothing back.

Nasty. But that's business. Ethics and everything included.

This type of report stinks of mind manipulation. Get you used to the idea by repeating it. Again and again until you begin to believe and accept it as realism.

Watch out and wake up.

You’re being f***ed again! Really BIG time.

Parkinson's escape: smoking and alcohol?

The report below outlines some interesting commentary about a possible link between smoking, alcohol and Parkinson’s disease. My additional commentary is simple: Parkinson’s Disease is generally amongst the older generation. Those who smoke AND drink (imagine a binge-drinking pensioner as the norm!) will probably have died before they get the disease. Remember the ‘cynical’ comment about cigarettes being the perfect product: take your money while you are working and paying tax upon tax, then when you die before you get ill, the State is denied the opportunity to support your ill-health. Caused by the State encouraging (or rather not discouraging) these dangerous habits. It is very cost-effective.


People who take more risks with their health (including smoking and drinking) are less likely to develop Parkinson's disease, a study suggests.
A team led by the University of London quizzed 212 people - half of whom had Parkinson's - and identified a risk-averse "Parkinsonian Personality".

Smokers and drinkers seemed to be protected - maybe because these habits denoted a risk-taking personality.

Parkinson's disease experts said the results should be treated with caution.

The study appeared in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry.

Certain personality characteristics of individuals destined to develop Parkinson's disease may make them less prone to start smoking. Parkinson's is a degenerative brain disorder which affects movement and becomes more common in older age. Its causes remain unclear, but it is often associated with a shortage of the brain chemical dopamine which controls connections between nerve cells.

Earlier studies suggest a link between smoking and caffeine intake and lower rates of Parkinson's. And it has been suggested the dopamine system is protected by nicotine and caffeine.

Professor Andrew Lees of the University of London, who led the research, said: "If you have never smoked you have double the risk of Parkinson's disease but we do not know the reasons for that. "It may be that there's something protective within cigarette smoking or it may be another factor. Certain personality characteristics of individuals destined to develop Parkinson's disease may make them less prone to start smoking."

The study found patients with Parkinson's disease had smoked less, drank less alcohol and caffeine.

They also scored lower on sensation-seeking and risk taking behaviour, and higher on anxiety and depression than the comparison group.

This prompted the authors to suggest there may be a link between low sensation-seeking behaviour and what might be termed a "Parkinsonian personality".

They draw on earlier studies which suggest Parkinson's disease patients tend to reject hedonistic behaviour, to be scrupulous, socially withdrawn and disinclined to take risks.

They suggested it may be the risk-averse nature of the Parkinsonian personality, rather than the physical effects of smoking, caffeine and alcohol on the brain that influences disease rates.

Professor Lees acknowledged that behaviour may be being affected by something going wrong in the dopamine system long before symptoms of the disease materialised.

However, he added that there was evidence that certain personality types were more likely to develop certain diseases.

Kieran Breen, research director at the Parkinson's Disease Society, said determining cause and effect in retrospective studies such as this is extremely difficult and highly unreliable.

He said: "As dopamine levels can start to fall many years before difficulties with movement become noticeable and before a diagnosis of Parkinson's disease is made, an assumption that the personality traits outlined in the study cause the condition is flawed.

"A more likely explanation would be that declining dopamine levels prior to the onset of the motor symptoms is associated with these behaviours."

He added that research which implies that people with Parkinson's have set characteristics or lifestyles must be treated with caution.

Dr Paul Wicks, research psychologist at the Institute of Psychiatry, said the theory was interesting but that it needed to be tested in a long-term study.

He added: "Needless to say for all the pleasure they bring there are a multitude of other health risks, associated with nicotine, alcohol, and caffeine.

"I hope we won't be seeing headlines suggesting everyone start binge-drinking, chain-smoking, and knocking back espressos to ward off Parkinson's disease."

This last comment seems the most sensible. The rest sounds like complete bollocks. Anyone for sponsorship by BAT or the like?

Monday, February 06, 2006

Inheritance Tax trap

I wrote about this 17th April 2005

Just now being reported.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Sniffing in stereo

I wrote this 27th April 2005 (see blog)

We can hear in stereo, or rather hear a sound image in two parts. This allows the awareness of direction. We see images in two parts allowing depth of field to be judged. Without this benefit, we could not assess distance. We have two ears and two eyes.

Do we detect odours in stereo? We have two nostrils. How does the brain interpret different smells. A chiral molecule is in essence much like the left and right hands: mirror images, but otherwise identical. Two such molecules may have a very different odour, though otherwise be identical. The olfactory organs can distinguish such a difference to a very high degree.

This report appeared 5th February 2006

Rat brain 'can smell in stereo'

Rats could locate the source of a smell with one or two sniffs. Rats can home in on smells using a method similar to the stereo processing of sounds, scientists say. Indian experts found 90% of neurons in the olfactory bulb of the rodent's brain respond differently to smells coming from the left and right. Details of the study appear in the latest issue of the journal Science.

The rats needed only one or two sniffs to accurately locate the source of an odour, the University of Agricultural Science, Bangalore, team reports. For rats, "each sniff is a perceptually complete snapshot of the olfactory world, including both odour identity and stereo-based location," Raghav Rajan and colleagues write in Science. The researchers got lab rats to stick their noses in holes in their cages to pick up odours sprayed from either the left or the right. If the smell came from the left, the rats would receive a water reward by licking the spout on the left. The same would apply if the smell came from the right. The rats were able to accurately determine which direction the odour came from in as little as 50 milliseconds.

The researchers say the rat's stereo sense of smell gives it an evolutionary advantage: allowing it to locate food or predators more quickly and precisely.

This could be the answer to my question.

Lisa Taylor

Look into the eyes of a happy and proud young woman. Everything it would appear to live for. Sadly, this was not to happen.

I won’t sully Lisa’s picture by adding anything here.

See Barclay’s and Blair. Pariahs

Barclay’s and Blair. Pariahs

Barclay’s and other banks advertising is typical and it runs something like this:

Borrow money from us - it’s so easy.

What they never say is:

... so we can make lots and lots of lovely money out of you.

Of course, nobody needs to borrow money, do they. Ever increasing taxes (Council Tax, petrol tax, etc, etc,etc). Wait for that day when the oil runs out. The flood of easy revenue will stop. Instantly. It'll make the Wall Street crash look like a minor interlude. The greed that runs the world will stop because life will stop. At the worst, we’ll all be dead. At the best it will be a true Mad Max scenario.

Not everybody has this penchant for the filthy lucre and that's what it is: filthy. It’s dirty. Imagine washing in oil. Greedy people never have enough financial support. So consumed by greed. Enough just to be comfortable isn't enough. Enough to drown in isn't enough. Enough is never enough. So short-sighted, but there's none so blind as those that will not see. King Midas couldn’t live on gold. Paradoxically, oil came from life and this black life-blood has indirectly sustained life, but it will ultimately be the downfall of life. We’ll become the oil of the future.

Lending money apparently without any real checks as to whether someone is able to afford to repay it. An assumption, perhaps. WITH INTEREST, of course. It’s business. The more that is lent then the more that theoretically becomes payable. By someone. It’s quite disgusting. Immoral, but it’s within the framework of business ethics.

As I understand this, the government would have us believe that a loan taken out to support being at University becomes payable only when a certain amount of salary is earned when in full-time employment. A reward for the hard effort of gaining a degree. Actually, the interest is accrued right from the start. It only becomes part of the contract to start paying it back later. But, the interest is continuously added right from the start. A low interest loan operated in this way is much the same as paying the minimum necessary on a credit card. The interest accrues at an alarming rate. Over 3 years much needed funds (University fees, basic needs for living costs) becomes a large amount.

Is this carefully explained or just encouraged to borrow more? I will monitor this one closely.

Students who undertake courses going nowhere are ill-advised from the beginning. Perhaps these courses should not be supported through taxation. Those courses that are the future - the science based courses - should be more generously subsidised. Scientists are becoming a rarity. The easy option courses are wasting everyone’s time. The students and their finances. But it keeps the Universities solvent. Government must not be allowed to absolve itself from responsibility. It has become simply a cost cutting exercise. There are victims of despair. I cannot imagine someone so filled with hopelessness that they would do to themselves the ultimate damage.

So, how is it that Barclay’s sent out a demand for the full amount of loan arrears? Allegedly.

Blair’s government cannot escape this. Blair cannot escape this. The prime minister, like the managing director of a company, along with all other directors (ministers), they are all responsible for the manner in which their company (government) operates. The corporate responsibility ethic. Nice idea, but "not me guv". By sharing out the "responsibility" so much, it has become so diluted there is no blame left to apportion. They must share an equal blame - if not more. No controls over the banks. Actually, not bothered. Probably encourage it as it's big business and there's lots and lots of money at stake. For the bank, of course. Blair always plays the sycophant. It's always towards big business and never, ever in favour of citizen-UK's interest. It's sickening.

The amount of £14,000 is not a lot! these days. Loan liabilites can be much higher. Ridiculously high. But the loan is needed to live on and educate oneself.

Pushing it out into the private sector. Second houses being "let out". Even University staff seem to be cashing in with their second homes.

Students (undergraduates) are the future of the country and they have to pay for it themselves. It's a disgrace. A national sham(e).

"Tony" has become the twin of Thatcher. It’s a horrible thought. Divest all responsibility from government and push it onto the people. We should privatise government, perhaps. Blair would be debarred from having shares. Goes without saying? It's enough to make a parasite sound decent. Blair’s epitaph (if anybody feels like adding one) should be:

"I'm proud to have been responsible for the misery and despair of millions. Hitler and Stalin did it crudely, but I'm so smart nobody noticed".

Friday, February 03, 2006

Shell oil and UK taxation

So, Shell and other companies continue to own a natural resource. The UK government would have absolutely no inclination to force these obscene profits to be curtailed. Why? Simply the revenue that the UK government ‘earns’. The corporation (?) tax is collosal then on top of that the revenue raised through petrol taxation is huge. Two bites of the cherry! Not bad for a waste product like petrol. Can only be burned. It has absolutely no other use.

See blog entry:

Potatoes, tobacco, petrol and tax