Yet another serious “derivatives” threat

Prospect Magazine, October 2018 edition, runs an article by Jay Elwes entitled “The Brexit Crunch”, and it is very important indeed. A precis of the article follows. Long-ish, but bear with me: In 2008 the total value of all CDOs (Collateralised Debt Obligations) and Credit Default Swaps, both types of derivatives, was $458 trillion. One …

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Quotations from Albert Einstein

“The most aggravating thing about the younger generation is that I no longer belong to it.” “Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything one learned at school. “You teach me baseball and I’ll teach you relativity…..No, perhaps we shouldn’t…..You will learn relativity faster than I learn baseball. “Anyone who has never made a …

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Sexual abuse in the Catholic church

A new manual designed to help prevent clerical sexual abuse in Chile has triggered further outrage by listing a host of instructions that critics say should be self-evident. Among other things, the manual – which was published on the website of the Archbishop of Santiago, but which has since been withdrawn – advised priests not …

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The U.S. Mail should not be for sale!

Postal workers and their allies are demanding that the country’s mail service stay in the hands of the public. This comes amid increasing threats to privatize the postal service, including a proposal from President Trump this summer to examine selling U.S. Mail off to the highest bidder. Many may think that in the internet age, …

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Coping with loneliness : follow- on from a recent post

1. Distracting yourself by dedicating time to work, study or hobbies. Drawing or painting is particularly absorbing. It doesn’t matter if the result is lousy. Singing in an amateur choir can be fun, and it doesn’t matter if your voice is a bit weak or you can’t read music. 2. Joining a social club, but …

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Loneliness. ( an attempt at a deliberate distraction from the news!)

In February 2018 The BBC Loneliness Experiment was launched on BBC Radio 4 in collaboration with the Wellcome Foundation. People from 237 different countries, islands and territories took part in the survey. A summary of the main findings: Loneliness is said to mainly strike older, isolated people – and of course it can, and does. …

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Brexit – a perspective from Brussels

“In Brussels, EU ambassadors were sufficiently worried to convene an ‘emergency’ no deal meeting at the European Commission, with a rejection by British MPs of any Brexit deal being openly discussed for the first time. There is also a nagging fear that the European Parliament, always eager to muscle into the political arena in Brussels, …

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Kavanaugh and the politics will pass; Epicureanism will not

While thinking of a theme for today my first inclination was to join just about every news and media outlet (possibly) in the world, and comment on the Kavanaugh hearings. Then I read the Washington Post and realized that practically all the journalists on that paper had commented, and that about 95% of the edition …

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Something other than judicial coups and politics

Epicureanism was the world’s first ‘green’ philosophy. When people turn to the ancient therapeutic philosophies, or arts of life, they tend to look to resolute Stoicism for succor. But Epicureanism, which insists that we learn to be happy with less, is a better fit with the anxieties du jour. The reason Epicureanism is not often mentioned …

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Epicureanism and how to treat others

A propos my comments on Judge Kavanagh and how a gentleman could have replied to the sexual allegations, I fear drop-dead insensitivity seems to have spread from small, powerful groups of badly brought-up human beings to other parts of the population. Yesterday, I received a phone call asking me to spend 15 minutes on a …

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Ave Epicurus ( a short run-down on Epicureanism)

Dear Editor: Brian Dougall’s article ‘Epicureanism: The Hobo Test’ in Issue 98 is more a caricature than accurately characterizing Epicurus and his philosophy. Dougall concludes that anyone trying to live a pain-free, pleasurable existence would end up a hobo, the implication being such an ambition is not realistic or even possible in today’s world. However, …

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The sorry state of British education, part 1, GCSEs

The first in a three-part series on the sorry state of British education. Hope you enjoy these multi-part blogs.  I started secondary school in 2008. Then, British secondary education was in a terrible mess; the Labour Education Secretary Ed Balls was presiding over a period of serious grade inflation. GCSEs, the qualification achieved by British …

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