General Confusion And Major Disaster.

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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British General Election 2015

No, today’s post is not about matters military, although the term ‘SNAFU’ would be rather appropriate.

This one is about the General Election in Britain in May 2015 that will decide who will run the country for the next five years and who will be Prime Minister. This is a crucial election for voters because there is no real front runner. One party is as bad as the other. So a few votes here and there could make a crucial difference. Sounds a bit like Florida!

It may even end up with another coalition government in Britain, although I don’t know if the Conservatives could stomach another five years of being tied to the Liberals – but what am I talking about, of course they could, if it meant clinging on to power.

The election might be even closer than it should be because millions of people may be unable to vote. The secretive Whitehall department of stupid bureaucrats responsible for – wait for the irony, “efficiency” – refused to heed warnings from its own pilot programs that showed it had major problems with data matching.

data matching

It is very similar to the way the nerds at Microsoft didn’t believe their testers when they told them Windows 8 was a pile of doo-doo.

The bureaucrats first of all created new legal requirements for voter registration requiring them to verify information that was previously taken on trust.

The only thing is, about five and a half million voters went missing from the Electoral Register. The tests they carried out told them this was likely to happen, but they didn’t listen. Bureaucrats never do until it is too late.

According to government sources, “The digital service allows anyone to register to vote online, from any device connected to the web. It’s incredibly quick and simple – it takes less than five minutes.”

They forgot to add the crucial line that – it doesn’t work.

The problems became apparent as soon as the web service went live. The Electoral Register was a lot shorter than it had been. Not only that but strange things also began to happen.

cartoon boy

For example, a five-year-old boy in Crewe had been given the vote – but he couldn’t get off the Electoral Register, because he was not able to produce his National Insurance number, which of course he didn’t have – because he was only five. Duhh!!!

In another case a woman, who had been an eligible voter on the Electoral Roll for twenty years, failed to get on to the new one because her National Insurance number was in her maiden name which did not match with her married name which the system insisted she use now.

The whole thing has turned into a government-created mess. People are now filling in the registration form thinking that means they are registered to vote, but actually they haven’t. All they have managed to do is submit an application to register to vote.

It’s bit like filling in a form so that you are eligible to fill in a form. A bureaucrat’s dream!

So it’s looking like general confusion and major disaster for the election. Just more proof that government bureaucrats and computer systems just don’t belong together.

bureaucrats and computer systems

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Never Judge A Book By It’s Movie.

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

That’s good advice in the title by the way.

Now for some good word plays or puns.

As ever….

Enjoy or endure!!

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rofl

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What do you get if you cross

a mountain and a desert?

Tired feet.

 Tired feet

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My girlfriend asked me,

“If you could have any super-power,

which one would you have?”

I said, “America.”

 super-power

 

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Education is important but

becoming a model is importanter.

 becoming a model

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The key to being funny is

to say smart things stupidly…

or was is it stupid things smartly?

Whatever,

it’s not rocket surgery.

 rocket surgery

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I used to see this girl across the road from me

but she closes her curtains now!

 closed curtains

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I often say to myself,

“I can’t believe that cloning machine worked!”

 cloning machine

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My friend and his wife are a fastidious couple.

He is fast and she is hideous.

(Or is it the other way round?)

 fastidious couple

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The instructions on my microwave meal

say ‘stir and recover’

How tiring do they think stirring actually is?

 microwave meal

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How to fall downstairs.

Step 1

Step 6

Step 8, 9, 10, 11

 fall down stairs cartoon

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And so, with a heavy heart,

I explained to the wife that I’ve

got too much iron in my blood.

 heavy heart

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Scientists now think that global warming

is the main cause of documentaries and stupid laws

 cartoon_climate_science

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I believe a lot of conflict in the Wild West

could have been avoided completely if

cowboy architects had just made their

towns big enough for everyone.

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Facts From Guppies To Genghis Khan. What More Could You Ask?

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Another random selection of facts.

Guppies and Genghis Khan are here, but so are lots of others.

Hope you find something you like.

Enjoy.

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facts 03

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There are 12 imaginary languages

in the Lord of the Rings

 languages in the Lord of the Rings

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Under medieval law, animals could

be tried and sentenced for crimes,

as if they were people.

There are records of farm animals being

tried for injuring or killing people.

 Medieval animal trials

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Although John Mahoney played Kelsey Grammer’s

father in the great TV series ‘Frasier’,

he is only 15 years older than Kelsey.

 John Mahoney Martin Crane

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The Aztec capital city was called ‘Tenochtitlan’

and it was located in the middle of a lake.

At the time of its discovery by Europeans,

it was bigger than most European cities,

had its own garbage collection and

was said to be very clean.

Today the same place is known as Mexico City

and the lake is mostly drained.

 Tenochtitlan-Ruins

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Disney’s ‘Main Street’ and ‘Tomorrowland’

are set in two very special astronomical years.

Main Street is set in 1910 and

Tomorrowland is set in 1986,

these years coincide with

Haley’s Comet appearance.

 Disney's ‘Main Street’ and ‘Tomorrowland’ map

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Probably one of the world’s most widely

distributed and popular freshwater

aquarium fish species is the ‘guppy’,

sometimes also known as the

‘million fish’ or ‘rainbow fish’.

It was named in honor of

Robert John Lechmere Guppy,

a British naturalist who sent specimens

of the species from Trinidad to the

Natural History Museum in London.

 Guppy

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Some scholars believe that Genghis Khan

was responsible for up to 40 million deaths.

Some of his campaigns involved killing all

members of a society – men, women, and children,

 Genghis Khan army

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Up until the early 1930s,

if you were ‘cool’ you were feeling chilly.

However during the jazz era the word ‘cool’

became slang for fashionable in jazz circles,

tenor saxophonist Lester Young is largely

said to have popularized it.

How cool is that?

 tenor saxophonist Lester Young

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Those who suffer from type 2 diabetes

are often symptom-free,

meaning they don’t even know that they’ve got it.

This type of diabetes is normally picked up

during eye exams as it could be seen as small

haemorrhages from leaking blood vessels

at the back of the eye.

 

eye exam

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Edgar Allen Poe once wrote a book called

“The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym.”

It was about four shipwreck survivors

who were adrift on a raft for several days

before deciding to eat the cabin boy

whose name was Richard Parker.

Not long after, in 1884, a ship called the Mignonette

ended up sinking and leaving only four survivors.

They decided to eat the cabin boy. 

His name was Richard Parker.

 The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym

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If you were a

Flatulence Smell Reduction Underwear Maker

your job would be engineering underwear

that reduces the typically unpleasant post-fart odor.

 Flatulence Smell Reduction Underwear Maker

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According to an interview with George Lucas,

R2-D2 and C-3PO were originally called A-2 and C-3.

R2-D2 was designed by Ralph McQuarrie

and co-developed by John Stears

but actually built by Tony Dyson,

who ran his own studio called

The White Horse Toy Company in the UK.

R2-D2 and C-3PO

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It’s The Movie, Math And Mud Quiz!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

Welcome to this week’s quiz.

Movies, math and mud do feature, as do many other topics.

Is it easy? Is it difficult? Depends on how many answers you know.

But don’t worry, if you get stuck you can find the answers waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay down below, but please NO cheating.

Enjoy and good luck.

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quiz host

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Q.  1:  What is the official language of the United States of America?

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Q.  2:  What bird has only two toes on each foot?

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Q.  3:  On which river are the Victoria Falls to be found?

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Q.  4:  What city is known as ‘Muddy York’ ?

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Q.  5:  What type of creature is a Devil’s Coachhorse?

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Q.  6:  The Lakota call it the Battle of the Greasy Grass. What do we know it better as?

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Q.  7:  What town is also known worldwide as the “home of golf” ?

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Q.  8:  The Bennet family appear in which famous Jane Austen novel?

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Q.  9:  What is the mathematical series that starts 0,1,1,2,3,5,8,13,21 called?

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Q. 10:  ‘Alopecia’ is a condition causing the loss of what from the body?

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Q. 11:  What is the device, used mainly nowadays on small engines like those found on lawnmowers, that blends air and fuel for an internal combustion engine called?

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Q. 12:  What is the usual color of copper sulphate?

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Q. 13:  Which form of cloud has an anvil shape and is associated with heavy showers and storms?

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Q. 14:  What is defined as “Any rock or soil material that has remained below 0°C continuously for two or more years” ?

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Q. 15:  Which insect found in Africa is the host for the parasitic organism that causes sleeping sickness?

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Q. 16:  An Astronomical Unit is the mean distance between which two bodies?

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Q. 17:  How is the fossilized resin of coniferous trees from the Middle Tertiary period better known?

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Q. 18:  Which son of a weaver was a major benefactor of public libraries throughout the UK and US?

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Q. 19:  Where would you be in if you were at the Cresta Run? (A point each for correctly naming the town and the country.)

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Q. 20:  In which movie did Humphrey Bogart say, “We’ll always have Paris”

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ANSWERS

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Q.  1:  What is the official language of the United States of America?

A.  1:  A bit of a trick question to start with, the United States has no official language.

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Q.  2:  What bird has only two toes on each foot?

A.  2:  An Ostrich.

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Q.  3:  On which river are the Victoria Falls to be found?

A.  3:  The Zambezi.

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Q.  4:  What city is known as ‘Muddy York’ ?

A.  4:  Toronto.

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Q.  5:  What type of creature is a Devil’s Coachhorse?

A.  5:  It is a Beetle.

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Q.  6:  The Lakota call it the Battle of the Greasy Grass. What do we know it better as?

A.  6:  We know it better as the Battle of Little Big Horn.

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Q.  7:  What town is also known worldwide as the “home of golf” ?

A.  7:  St. Andrews, Scotland.

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Q.  8:  The Bennet family appear in which famous Jane Austen novel?

A.  8:  Pride & Prejudice.

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Q.  9:  What is the mathematical series that starts 0,1,1,2,3,5,8,13,21 called?

A.  9:  A Fibonacci Series.

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Q. 10:  ‘Alopecia’ is a condition causing the loss of what from the body?

A. 10:  Hair.

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Q. 11:  What is the device, used mainly nowadays on small engines like those found on lawnmowers, that blends air and fuel for an internal combustion engine called?

A. 11:  A carburetor, or carburetor.

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Q. 12:  What is the usual color of copper sulphate?

A. 12:  Blue.

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Q. 13:  Which form of cloud has an anvil shape and is associated with heavy showers and storms?

A. 13:  Cumulonimbus.

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Q. 14:  What is defined as “Any rock or soil material that has remained below 0°C continuously for two or more years” ?

A. 14:  Permafrost.

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Q. 15:  Which insect found in Africa is the host for the parasitic organism that causes sleeping sickness?

A. 15:  The Tsetse fly.

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Q. 16:  An Astronomical Unit is the mean distance between which two bodies?

A. 16:  The earth and the sun.

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Q. 17:  How is the fossilised resin of coniferous trees from the Middle Tertiary period better known?

A. 17:  Amber.

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Q. 18:  Which son of a weaver was a major benefactor of public libraries throughout the UK and US?

A. 18:  Andrew Carnegie.

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Q. 19:  Where would you be in if you were at the Cresta Run? (A point each for correctly naming the town and the country.)

A. 19:  You would be in the winter sports town of St. Moritz, Switzerland.

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Q. 20:  In which movie did Humphrey Bogart say, “We’ll always have Paris”? 

A. 20:  The line is from the fantastic movie ‘Casablanca’.

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The High Flying Profiteers And Suckers Like Me!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

airfares

Yesterday I wrote a short post about the over-supply in the oil market and how the price has fallen and likely to remain at lower levels for a while – major global catastrophes excepted of course.

The strange thing is – a little bit of sarcasm there, it’s not really strange at all – is that the substantial fall in oil prices has not led to the consumer paying less for their air fares. Gas prices for your car have come down, but the cost of your ticket on the airlines hasn’t. In other words air travelers – suckers like me – are paying the same for a ticket as we were before the oil slump.

I smell a bit of profiteering going on. More than a bit actually. Not to mention collusion between the bigger airlines to keep their ticket prices inflated.

rising airfare

Of course the big airlines counter with arguments like they have to buy their fuel well in advance and therefore they bought at the older, higher price. That may well be true but they are also buying right now at the much lower price which should more than compensate and mean a drop in ticket prices.

Yes – but I mean, no – don’t be silly, the poor airlines have had to invest a lot of money to upgrade their services, fleets and infrastructures.

I would believe that more if I weren’t still traveling on the same clapped out airplanes with wonky seats squashed up against each other in the sardine like manner we have come to hate but endure. On top of that we, the customers, now have to do most of the work for the airline staff like checking ourselves in, printing our own luggage tags, and so forth.

self check in

It is remarkable that not only does a significant drop in fuel costs lead to the same or higher airfares, but the much heralded mergers that we are told will increase efficiency and decrease costs also mean the same or higher air fares too.

What these consolidations, or mergers, really do is to reduce competition – there are only four major US airlines American-US Airways, Delta, Southwest and United – and allow airlines to set prices with little fear of being undersold. And in any case, what most of the public do not know is that airlines don’t price their flights based on their cost, they price it based on demand and demand does not seem to be very price sensitive.

It’s one of those heads they win tales we lose scenarios. So don’t hold your breath for anything more than a token drop in airfares in the near future.

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Time For Some Crude Talk.

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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$200 per barrel oil

It’s not so long ago that I was getting bombarded with emails about how great an investment oil would be.

At that time the predictions by those in the ‘know’, who really know nothing, was that oil would hit $200 per barrel – maybe much, much more!

Well, they almost got the number correct, except that oil actually hit $20 per barrel, not $200. As these things go it was a pretty good guess!!!

declining oil price

So why has the oil price declined and, although it has recovered a bit, why are the predictions for today’s low prices to hold long term?

The simple layman’s answer of course is that the oil price has declined because supply is greater than demand. When there is a surplus of a commodity the price falls and when it is scarce the price rises.

The supply of oil has increased relative to demand for a number of reasons.

The most obvious one is the vast reserves of oil found and now being recovered in the massive shale-oil fields in the United States of America and the tar-sands in Canada that have added more than 5 million barrels per day to domestic oil production since 2008. Able to produce more at home, North America has been able to reduce its demand for imported oil.

OPEC

The effect of this, of course, is that the OPEC countries have seen their annual revenues fall sharply during the same period. To try to rectify this fall in income, which they need to provide for their own citizens, they have been trying to replace lost revenue from North America by increasing production of their own oil supplies.

In other words, they have created even more over supply in the market, which helps to keep the oil price down.

Then there was the ISIS or ISIL terrorists in Iraq who had taken control of most of the oil fields and were dumping oil on the black market as fast as they could to help finance their war. Recently they’ve lost control of a lot of those oil fields so that part of the equation may no longer be in play to the same extent.

However, if there is a deal ever done with the Iranians and they are able to trade without restriction again, no doubt they will be adding their oil to the market glut which will also help to keep the market over-supplied and the price suppressed.

burning off gas at oil well

Then there is the increasing use of compressed natural gas or CNG. This is the natural gas that used to be burned off at the oil wells, but that is now collected, compressed into tanks and used to power vehicles and in drilling equipment, meaning less diesel is purchased.

Despite all these over-supply pressures, the thing that is keeping the oil price from collapsing completely is the continued demand from China. This is a good thing because a long-term collapse in the oil price, whilst it may make life a bit easier financially for many with decreased heating and fuel bills, also has detrimental secondary effects on some parts of the country where the oil industry provides a living for a great many people.

I haven’t had an email about investing in oil for a long time and I don’t expect them to start again soon. Now you know why.

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