Thursday, December 22, 2016

Pontevedra Pensées: 22.12.16

It's reported that €2.3billion euros was wagered this year on El Gordo, 'The Fat One' - the government's Xmas lottery. Here in Galicia - one of Spain's poorest regions - the average outlay was €61 per wishful thinker. Astonishing. Guess who's the biggest winner, even before the results are announced.

Which reminds me . . . HT to Lenox of Business Over Tapas for the news that Tax Office (La Hacienda) has advised(admitted?) that 84% of taxpayers earn less than €30,000 a year.

Another astonishing fact noted yesterday is that 64% of news is now accessed via the less-than-trustworthy social media. Even worse was the report that the 4 week-old baby of some Kardashian kouple has 760,000 followers on Instagram. Probably a million by the time you read it. Never underestimate the stupidity of the public, someone once said. I thought Mr Barnum but it turns out to have been H L Mencken.

Here in Spain, disagreements between the main parties appear to have stymied 'plans' to have a special parliamentary commission investigating corruption and the solutions to it. Anyone surprised?

Here in Galicia, El Tráfico is going to put sensors at the entrances to our autovias, to ensure they're immediately warned that a kamikaze driver is going the wrong way. Will our insurance premiums now fall? I rather doubt it.

Which reminds me . . . Vast sums of money are now being spent to deal with the consequences of frequent fog banks on our A8 near Mondoñedo. Where the highway rises above the countryside on a spectacular viaduct. Totally predictable, of course.

The AVE news is that more than 70% of the track between Olmedo and Ourense will be only single-track. Asking for trouble? By the way, people here are already betting on delays until 2021 or 2022 for completion, if current plans are maintained. I say 'plans' but is this the right word for something that might never happen?

Among the musicians on our streets this Xmas - nearly all of whom are very welcome - there are 3 from a major Moscow orchestra. They've exiled themselves after their wages fell to €100 a month there. Blimey, even cleaners in 5-star hotels here get a bit more than that.

It's never happened to me before but, watching news of a bionic eye which will restore some sight to the blind, I welled up instinctively. But, not to worry, one of those nauseatingly sentimental Xmas ads – from Apple – soon had me on the verge of vomiting.

Ever wondered what an ouroboros is? Well, wonder no more. For here's the gen on this word I stumbled on yesterday. Essentially, a dragon eating its own tail.

Finally . . .  Yesterday, I received very-genuine-looking emails from Virgin Media, telling me they'd opened my account, etc., etc. Phishing, of course. Be warned.

Today's cartoon . . .


Alfred B. Mittington said...

Perhaps this is a stupid question, but did Barnum/Mencken really say 'underestimate'? That would kind of take the pique out of what I guess was intended to be a joke…?


Colin Davies said...

I modified it a bit . . . Imperfect memory.

Alfred B. Mittington said...

Sorry, but what you made of it means the opposite of what the gentleman meant (If you wish to make money, go ahead and underestimate their intelligence)


Colin Davies said...

Ta. changed it.

Thank God for your existence.

Perry said...

The on-line Daily Mail is social media, innit?

I choose to obtain my information thusly:

This is an explanation about Man Made Global Warming, as promoted by the IPCC. It's by Brendan Godwin & the best that I have read, so far!

Short Extract:

At one of our recent ANARE Midwinter Dinner MWD reunions I caught up with and spoke to a colleague who spent many years working at the (Australian) Bureau Of Meterology BOM as a weather observer and forecaster both in Antarctica and Australia. This person is outside of the realm of politics and wishes to remain anonymous. The person’s last job was working on these temperature adjustments. The job of this person’s team was to adjust the temperatures upwards so has been working on adjustments from 1990 until the present.

I asked, why was BOM making these adjustments and it was explained to me this way.

When there are temperature observational points located in the Central Business District area of large cities where there are tall buildings, it has been well known to the BOM and generally, that these temperatures would be half to one and a half degrees C cooler if the tall building and the city wasn’t there. It is a phenomenon known as “the Heat Island Effect”. It is the same as when, on a cold day, the hairs on your arm stand up and that insulates a warm layer of air close to the skin. Tall buildings do the same thing. Additionally, these tall buildings are heated and air conditioned and every time people walk in and out of the building, hot or cold air blows out altering the ambient street temperatures.

But the anomaly in what this person is saying here, is that this person’s team is adjusting country temperatures upwards by half to one and a half degrees C so that they match the city temperatures. That’s creating about a degree C of warming whereas if they had adjusted the city temperatures down half to one and a half degrees C, they’d be creating approximately a half a degree of cooling.

& that gentle readers, is how it's done. The IPCC is political & not concerned with reality.

Perry said...

I'll see your ouroboros & raise you one oohmegooly bird.

It has balls of brass & when it flies, they clang together & the bird cries "oohmegoolies".
It flies around in ever decreasing circles, until it disappears up its own fundament.

Alfred B. Mittington said...

Thank God for my existence….????

Oh dear… That an old worn-out fellow, burdened by the impression he was not appreciated by anyone in the world, was allowed the rare chance of reading such a thing written about his poor suffering self…!!!


Sierra said...

Europe at the end of 2016 - needed some additional computer memory. 8gb ram for notebook - same brand and specification:

Amazon UK - €63.55 (£53.90) - 20% vat incl.
Amazon DE - €49.89 - 19% vat incl.
Amazon FR - €54.90 - 20% vat incl.
Amazon ES - €57.59 - 21% vat incl.
Amazon IT - €43.00 - 22% vat incl.

So UK "taking back control", but not realising the price they are paying; Italy in desperate trouble and trying deflation

Perry said...

Yep, we British are richer than everyone else & we love the anticipation of regaining control of our way of life. The labourer is worthy of his hire. My youngest son is 25 & has been earning £200 per day on the trowel plus private work on the Saturday (& Sunday, if he wants it) for the last two years. If La Hacienda is to be believed, the 84% of taxpayers who earn only €30,000 per year have extraordinary accountants.

However, British building sites are not for the faint of heart & income tax, National Insurance & the cost of rented accommodation would soon erase that differential. In addition, the unhappiness of separation from family & friends is not to be ignored.

Travel broadens the mind, but only if one can afford it & one should remember: "When in Rome, do as the Romans do". Birmingham is unintelligibly foreign territory & I am led to believe that woad is de rigueur in Gwynedd, so it's very necessary to behave accordingly in order to fit in.

Colin Davies said...

@Sierra. Can't help noticing the cheapest price is in Germany. For whom the EU have been an overwhelming success, of course. Largely because of its very undervalued currency, the euro. But it's all come at heavy price - political leadership of Europe which it didn't want. But, hey, export success and low inflation are worth it. And they probably enjoy seeing the French nose put out of joint.