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A wilding

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Posts posted by A wilding

  1. 6 hours ago, IFR said:

    The character asserts that Einstein, Dirac, et al claimed that Oppenheimer was the smartest person they knew.

    Agreed, this is nonsense. Oppenheimer was generally agreed to be an outstanding organiser, but half a step behind the very best as a physicist.

    For example on one occasion:

    Dirac: I have an exciting new theory.

    Oppenheimer: Your theory must be wrong, because it implies electrons can have a positive charge.

    Dirac: Your reasoning is correct. Interesting. I predict the positron!

    Experimental physicists 6 months later: Hey, we have found positrons!

    Next year's Nobel committee: Dirac, here is your Nobel prize.

  2. The government's latest plan for dealing with people wanting to be paid more:

    They want to coax people who have taken early retirement back into work so as to increase the labour pool and put downward pressure on wages. To do this they are going to give them "midlife MoT"s to "assess finances and opportunities for work".

    Basically they plan to say "you thought you could retire early but, now we have completely screwed up the economy, you can no longer afford to and, to stop you ending up staving in old age, you are going to have to go back to work and probably take a McJob".

  3. 2 hours ago, The Bard of Banefort said:

    I know it’s unpopular, but I’d rather he focused on Dunk and Egg and FnB instead. I think he knows how to write those through to the end.

    It is a long while since I bothered to follow what has been going on in any detail, but I had the impression that he had lost his way with Dunk and Egg as well. Hasn't The Wolves of Winterfell repeatedly been postponed?

  4. Well to say the obvious:

    It has been a rough few years for shares, but not investing in them typically means keeping your savings in cash, and historically shares have always beaten cash savings accounts by a wide margin in the long term, i.e. when investing for retirement. Of course, who knows what might happen in future ...

    But really a SIPP is no more work than an ISA to invest in. The only wrinkle is that you need to tell the taxman you are doing so to get the higher rate tax rebate from them. And if you are that wealthy you need to keep an eye on the maximum lifetime amount of pension investment you can make (about a million at present.)

  5. @BigFatCoward

    Depends a bit on whether she is a higher rate taxpayer.

    If not, I personally would forget about a pension scheme. Just pay a regular sum into a low cost ISA investing in a range of tracker funds. You can of course put up to £1666 a month into an ISA. The advantage of an ISA is that you can access it as and when you want and there is absolutely no tax to pay.

    As a higher rate tax payer you could do the same, but you might want to wrap some or all of the investment in a SIPP instead of an ISA. A SIPP is basically a type of pension. Here you are taking advantage of the SIPP higher rate tax rebate - you get your tax reduced. However there is no point in paying more into a SIPP than you get higher rate tax rebate for (i.e. at most pay in the amount of salary that you go past the higher rate threshold by). The disadvantage of a SIPP is that there are rules on how and when you can take your money, and it gets taxed when you do take it (though only at the basic rate unless you are taking out > £40K per year).

    Though as a freelancer I think that there are some additional options, particularly if she needs to set up her own company. In that case she will need an accountant, you might want to have a chat with them.

    Hargreaves Lansdown is one big company that provides cheap ISAs and SIPPs, and has a website with explainers. but there are plenty of others out there.)

    Disclaimer: I Am Not a Financial Advisor.

  6. Patel should have been sacked multiple times, and should possibly be in jail for corruption. But I certainly would not be cheering any such suggestion as you mention, and would consider it in bad taste at the very least. Nor have I ever noticed such a suggestion being made. Of course I may well move in sheltered circles (and probably do). However I am well aware of the attacks on, for example, Megan Markle which, as per my previous post, may well be something do do with some of them having been of the front page of popular newspapers.

  7. 14 hours ago, Gaston de Foix said:

    Have you made progress with the Poppy War?

    After I slammed Babel, I felt I should give the Poppy War trilogy another go so finished it this weekend.  I have thoughts! 

    Yes I read it and posted a brief comment on it:


    I thought it shallow in places and a bit rough round the edges, but again very powerfully written. However it is dark, and just gets darker. One of those books that make you wonder a bit about the author, though in this case they might be just getting catharsis after immersion in 20th century Chinese history. Though I understand that the sequels are even worse, I don't intend to read them.

    That said, I am going to give a copy as a Christmas present to a relative who likes their books dark. I will see what he thinks.

  8. 1 hour ago, The Anti-Targ said:

    Like the cunning English parking a bunch of wooden spitfires in a bunch of airfields during WWII

    Not to mention entire fake burning towns to confuse Geman night bombing. Which even, at one point, had their own anti aircraft defences, until it was discovered that this discouraged the Germans from attacking them.

  9. 2 hours ago, Gaston de Foix said:

    [Babel] really bothered me

    That does sum it up! I agree with your conclusions. And while as a British person I didn't want to make a point of it, of course the apparent implication in the book that all British opposition to slavery was purely on economic grounds is not true.

    I have now read The Poppy War. I thought it shallow in places and a bit rough round the edges, but again very powerfully written. However it is dark, and just gets darker. One of those books that make you wonder a bit about the author, though in this case they might be just getting catharsis after immersion in 20th century Chinese history. Though I understand that the sequels are even worse, I don't intend to read them.

  10. 2 hours ago, Gaston de Foix said:

    Interesting.  I just picked it up.  I abandoned the Poppy War halfway through because it was quite slow, and quite depressing. It was well-written though. 

    You can accuse the English of many vices (and I do), but inarticulacy is not one of them.  So I'll read that charge with interest.  

    I am now going to be starting on the Poppy War soon, so I can report my impressions of that.

    On the inarticulacy thing, I think it is probably just the American/English cultural divide. The old stereotype where the English think Americans incontinently express private emotions too much, and do so largely for effect rather than genuinely feeling them, while the Americans consider the English to be unemotional and repressed.

  11. 13 minutes ago, DaveSumm said:

    BBC story says “Here is the full conversation, as recounted by Ms Fulani:” before it, unless there’s a different version.

    I was just checking and you are right. The bystander, one Mandu Reid, merely agreed that the transcript matched her recollection, and it had been racist and offensive. She was also quoted to this effect by the BBC.

    Edit and an interesting take from Mandu Reid here: basically she did not want Lady Hussey to resign, she would prefer some institutional change, rather than just sacrificing a scapegoat who was only a symptom of the problem.


  12. Been reading the latest book by R F Kuang (author of The Poppy War): Babel, or the Necessity of Violence.

    This is about the most autobiographic fantasy I have ever read. The author was obviously a driven first class linguistics student at Oxford with a serious love/hate attitude towards privileged Oxford academic life. They also appear to have faced racism, sexism and class snobbery (last time I noticed Oxford was indeed still infested with Boris Johnson's spiritual kin). And they apparently decided that most English are inarticulate, repressed, and unable to express their personal feelings.

    All this is in the book, transposed to an alternative 19th century and dialled up to the max. (Ritual public humiliation of students who fail their exams!) It is also an evisceration of British colonialism. The characterisation and evocation of a milieu are impressive and hooked me in, but the plot was a little weak. It is all powerfully written but felt like a polemic to me - I started skimming towards the end of the book. So mixed good and bad, but I would recommend it as worth a try.

  13. 1 hour ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

    If the EU blocks twitter… how big a hit is that to twitter?

    My guess: by the time the EU gets around to it (or alternatively to hit Twitter with a heavy fine), there won't be a Twitter left to ban, or at least not a Twitter with any significant presence in the EU. But if it had happened last month, they would have lost a significant number of users and advertising revenue.

  14. UK police are going to text 70000 victims of fraud and ask them to take some action to protect themselves that will be specified in the text. Apparently people will know that the texts are genuine because they will all be sent tomorrow and they will contain links to the Action Fraud website.

    I understand that they are communicating in this way because in many cases all they have is the phone numbers of the victims, but they really have not thought it through have they?


  15. Corrupt Eurosceptic Brexiteer ex MP, on the record for demanding that the UK scrap its adherence to European Human Rights legislation, is suing the UK government in the European Court of Human Rights for "damaging his good reputation", by not scrapping the Standards Commission when they caught him out in his corruption and recommended his suspension as an MP.


    Epic trolling!

  16. Just read Ian McDonald's Luna trilogy, Luna: New Moon, Luna Wolf Moon, and Luna: Moon Rising.

    As many have said, the strapline for this is "an SF ASoIaF set on the moon". Though there is something of The Godfather in there too. But there are also some interesting sidelights giving depth, for example Luna sports (mostly co-operative), Luna sexual mores, the technologies (never described in detail, but obviously carefully thought through by the author), and a form of lycanthropy driven by the phases of the Earth. And the books do a good job of hammering home just how hostile the Luna environment is, with a frequent refrain of it having "a thousand ways to kill you".

    Ultimately though I was not able to really believe in the society depicted, nor in some aspects of the plot, and the last book felt somewhat weaker, with the story rather petering out. But nonetheless these were page turners, and I enjoyed reading them.

  17. In the IT industry people just move on to somewhere else. Once a company starts going downhill like Twitter obviously is then there is no point in trying to stay on and fix it. Except just possibly if Musk walks away (or is pushed) in the very near future.

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