Some interesting links

I click all manner of things that people send me or that I find in forums or on Twitter.

Sometimes they stay open for days after I have read them as I think, “That’s useful/fascinating/interesting/funneh/cute – I should do something with that.”

Some of them I share again immediately on Twitter, but if everyone’s doing that it seems a bit dull. (It is interesting to see how these things track through my friends groups, though – sometimes you see a link early on in its life from one bunch of friends or colleagues, only to burst back into life a few days later from another bunch of friends.) There is certainly a temptation to use Twitter as an instant bookmark thingie for my own edification, not least since I save all my own tweets here on my blog, to the consternation of some who dislike it and the edification of some who only get to read them here (including, I believe, my hated opponent. *wave*)

Some of them are recipes, and some of the things I know I will want to return to, I whack in Delicious, and then forget about, and hope the keywords I end up using will be specific enough when inevitably in a few months’ time I think there was that page, somewhere, about something, that I now need… what was it again?

Anyway, without further ado, here is the latest crop of things that have been hanging around for days without me finding anything to do with them. Starting with a trio from the Economist:

Labour’s flat earthers demand the cuts go away

A simultaneously entertaining and depressing article about Labour’s “policy forum” in the Ice Arena in Nottingham, where it appears tens of thousands of the public were invited, and only Labour stalwarts showed up.

Ed Miliband’s bad timing

An account of the big socialist march in London from the perspective of someone who watched it on telly, and saw the words of Ed Miliband’s speech to one lot of marchers while another lot were letting off fireworks and violently breaking the place up.

Hey, Big Spenders

Bagehot draws on his experience of attending the conference above and turns it into an op-ed urging Labour to sort out what they mean on public finance.

And now for something completely different

Dr Horrible / My Little Pony mashup

Very, very strange. I have never actually watched any My Little Pony, so that part of it makes next to no sense. Who knew there were any overlaps at all between the Dr Horrible audience and the My Little Poniers?

Longitudinal cohort study of the displacement of teaspoons in an Australian research institute

From my cousin’s facebook page. Some people have too much time on their hands. But it’s reassuring that the severe problem of teaspoon entropy appears to affect a wide range of institutions.

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This entry was posted in Links.

2 comments on “Some interesting links

  1. Andy says:

    That first Economist article (I haven’t bothered reading the others, presuming they’re of a similar quality) uses the rather tired rhetorical technique of simply repeating what the delegates called for in a knowing, despairing manner, ‘it’s obvious that these people are wrong’ he’s saying. The ‘flat earther’ mention in the title is a bit of a clue.

    However, he doesn’t actually explain why they are so wrong, preferring to simply repeat the coalition/mainstream Labour mantra that the cuts are ‘necessary’ because we ‘must’ cut the deficit.

    However, there are a number of proper economists with letters after their names and titles in front who argue that, actually, the cuts are not as necessary as the right argue and that the national debt is nowhere near as bad as is claimed.

    Things like the nature of the UK’s debt being different to that of Ireland, Greece and Portugal, thus trashing idiot-boy Gideon’s recent nonsensical claims. The fact that there are many countries whose debt as a proportion of GDP is way higher than the UK’s eg Japan, and the fact that our interest payments on our debt as a proportion of GDP are considerably lower than they were in 1997.

    Some even argue that savage cuts cuts just as we are leaving recession will simply send us straight back down again, ‘double-dip’ stylee. They go on to suggest that what we really need is public investment to grow the economy and increase tax receipts. Instead of course the coalition is cutting tax for its big business and higher earner mates.

    A better article would have explained why these arguments are wrong and I can only assume that, as he didn’t bother, preferring to just point and stare, he perhaps hasn’t really got any.

    What worries me is how much money is being currently paid out in PFI fees as a proportion of GDP. You actually hear very little about this but it would be adding to the budget deficit just as much as debt interest payments do. The coalition has been suspiciously quiet about Labour’s obsession with PFI, I wonder why?

    And a Robin Hood Tax is actually a pretty good idea.

  2. niles says:

    See, this is partly why I sat on the links for weeks before doing anything with them, I knew it would set off a bit of a debate I’m not really equipped to deal with. FWIW, I don’t fully agree with everything in the article, and parts of it seem mean-spirited, but it’s the only report I’ve read of the huge Labour bunfight in Nottingham, and it was interesting for that.

    But in reverse order…

    Robin Hood Tax could only work if everyone did it. I might be a unilateralist when it comes to nuclear weapons, but I don’t think it would be sensible to cripple your own financial institutions if no-one else is playing ball. It’s been a pretty good idea since the 70s back when it was still called Tobin Tax.

    PFI, yes, is worrying – you’re an Eye reader too, aren’t you? Scary details of debt, poor contracting, inflexible, long lasting deals. And the off balance sheet problem applies to unfunded pensions, too.

    Do you listen to More or Less?

    I don’t regularly read the Economist, but I presume the magazine has an editorial line on its economics policy.

    Is Japan’s economy a model for anyone? I thought it had flat-lined for a decade? Assuming that growth is sill the right way forward, after all, indefinite growth on a planet with finite resources is going to trip up at some point.

    The debt isn’t specially bad at the moment, but the deficit is eye watering, and the longer the deficit continues, the worse the debt gets. No-one’s doing anything about the debt and all this pain doesn’t actually reduce government expenditure, which is still growing, just not as fast. It really isn’t sustainable to spend the next decade spending more than we earn, so you’ve got to close the deficit somehow. No letters after my name, so I’m not going to go arguing with economists.

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