Stop taxing the poor!

My friend Andy has published his Andifesto. The section on tax made me revisit the section on tax in my manifesto.


Come buy my luverly modem!

I'm getting carried away with Google Base. I've now put my unwanted TalkTalk modem up for sale (only a fiver).


Used Rover 416i for sale

I've put my car up for sale! I've used Google Base for the first time, I wonder how well it'll do. As I've said before I'm a cheapskate, so why use eBay at £13 / month, when Google Base is free.


Sinclair C5 is a straw man

On Monday I went to the excellent Bath Science Cafe, where the talk was on the science of replacing oil with biofuels in transport. The greater part of the evening is a discussion with everyone in the pub and people are encouraged to put questions to speaker. I asked, 'What's your view of electric cars as a competitor to biofuel powered cars?'. The reply was, 'I really don't see people driving around in a Sinclair C5.' This is of course the straw man fallacy.

I turned to my friend Bill and bet him that in 10 years there will be more passenger miles travelled in electric cars than travelled using biofuel powered cars. The number for electric cars doesn't include hybrids, but 5% biofuel mixes and the like do count, but for only 5% of the passenger miles, if you see what I mean. Bill is still considering accepting the bet, but I've mentioned it to several other people and I've recorded which way they've bet.

I'll wager

I hate it when people with opinions don't put their money where their mouth is. I've put up a page of bets to record my wagers. Actually they don't specify what the loser has to pay out, really it's just reputations that are on the line!

The first bet is with Toby. He writes:

Due to greater understanding of the brain damage sustained whilst heading the ball in football, you suggested that within 50 years (by 1st January 2057) this practice will be abolished in the game. I suggested this is nonsense, and even if the awareness and nature of the risks involved increased, this would not happen.


Ivy league

I previously wrote on the wiki about how it's a good idea to grow climbing plants on the walls of your house because the shade and insulation keep the house cool in summer and warm in winter. It's cheap and it's easy to install (you just plant it!). However, I made a mistake in that I chose Parthenocissus tricuspidata (Boston Ivy) which isn't an ivy at all but a member of the grape family; meaning that it's deciduous and so not good for insulation in the winter.

So next I bought a real ivy plant, a plant of the genus Hedera. The shop only had Hedera colchica, so I got that. After a while I did a bit more research, and realized it wouldn't grow tall enough to completely cover the walls of my house!

My research said I needed to buy Hedera helix (Common Ivy), which can grow up to 20-30m high. I mentioned it to my Dad, and he said he had plenty. We dug some up and I've just planted it in my garden.

I should add that family (except my Dad), friends, professionals (and friends who are professionals) all think I'm mad to grow an ugly, invasive, poisonous weed that will rapidly destroy the fabric of my house while absorbing heavy metals from the atmosphere.


Patient choice in the NHS

I listened to a government spokesman this morning talk about how they were going to improve the NHS by empowering clinicians. This is no doubt a good idea, but I believe that what increases quality is giving users choice, and therefore competition between providers.

The NHS should still be free for all at the point of use, but health services should be funded and regulated by the government but not run by them. Private companies and other organization should run hospitals (Virgin, Tesco, Hilton etc.) and the patients should be able to choose between them.


About A Boy

Just recently my friend Zoe was moving house and she had a stack of books that people could take, as she was going to throw them away. I took The Watcher and Nick Hornby's About A Boy. I saw the film ages ago and liked it. I like the book even better. The book is more complete and coherent. The film has the best ending though. It's brilliant the way the boy casts doubt on the Hugh Grant character's choice of trainers. Hugh Grant rolls his eyes saying, 'I've created a monster'.

I've lent the book out, it's one of those books you know that everyone is going to like.