This incident is an ongoing issue with the Police.
The sheer uselessness of the police never ceases to amaze. First they couldn't find an incident I reported just 3 days ago, because they'd "just yesterday changed the process by which they organise incidents" and couldn't find anything on their system.
Second the "process and collisions department", staffed by useless civilian pond-life have made it absolutely clear that "dangerous/careless driving" requires one to be actually hit before they will take action (but only when the complainant is a cyclist...) and that high-definition video doesn't constitute "evidence". I asked specifically that this incident not be referred to them, because I have absolutely no faith in their ability or desire to secure prosecutions in incidents which don't result in a collision.
The call handler simply ignored my requests.
And they wonder why people have no faith in them any more.
Update. Two traffic cops came round to discuss this. They were clear. If THEY had seen this incident, it would be clearly a case of careless driving and there would be a prosecution. Had the cyclist been a police officer, there would have been a prosecution. However current policies mean that helmet camera evidence isn't "evidence" according to Hertfordshire police's process and collisions department, nor can members of the public generate evidence. Which is ridiculous.
Both officers thought this was an appalling piece of driving, but like the white van thug who beat up a cyclist, their hands are tied by process. Thanks to the Government, now there's someone who can sort this out: the local Police and Crime Commissioner. I will also be writing to my MP and the Chief Constable.
Ultimately Roadsafe or something like it needs to be rolled out nationally. There needs to be a formal way of reporting unsafe driving. This will benefit everyone. Because the kind of ignorant turd who drives that fast and close to a cyclist is almost certainly the kind of ignorant turd who drives six-inches from your bumper on the motorway or thinks speeding in build-up areas is acceptable. He needs a stern word from dibble BEFORE he kills someone.
Thursday, 25 April 2013
This incident is an ongoing issue with the Police.
Wednesday, 24 April 2013
Yesterday, some jolly trickster hacked into the Associated Press's twitter account (@AP) and tweeted
"Breaking: Two explosions in the White House and Barak Obama is injured"Predictably the market collapsed 0.8%, before rallying on the news that it's a hoax.
It would be so easy to earn serious money, with almost no chance of getting caught. You need the password. You need to open a trading account for CFDs or Spread-Betting. You need to establish a pattern of trading. You need to have a situation where a $100 a tick position would be entirely normal. You need to open just such a position, shortly before your associate, working from an internet cafe elsewhere, logs into AP's Twitter and tweets the bogus bomb story.
The fact this happened shortly before the market close suggests the plan was to go long in the final seconds of trading, ensuring another big profit, when the markets open up today on news of the hoax getting around.
As it happened, the hoax was spotted quickly, and the Markets recovered before the close of play. Still, it would be quite possible to make hundreds of thousands of Dollars in a couple of minutes work. This post is of course, an elaborate double bluff.
"Of course I'd do no such thing. Look, I've written about it, yer 'onner."Can anyone get me Reuters' twitter password?
Thursday, 18 April 2013
Some of you may have heard me witter on about oil on Radio 3counties, 4 or most recently 5-live. On Tuesday morning, I managed imperfectly to explain how prices prevent shortages. Oil is actually a pretty good example.
I remember Oil at $14 a barrel back in the early noughties. The conversations I was having then were about the roof in the price due to Canadian tar sands, the world's largest hydrocarbon repository, which became economic to exploit at $40. The Oil Price, in response to shortages, and anticipated shortages caused by rapid Chinese growth, rose rapidly from 2002 or so. In the short run, the supply of oil is fixed. So, for a decade or so ever cheaper money was chasing a short-run fixed supply of oil. One of the effects of the "Greenspan put" was to raise oil prices. The Oil Price spiked in response to the financial crisis in 2008 to its high and has remained persistently over $100 since. Just as it seemed logical back in the 90's, following two decades of sub-$40 oil that this was indeed a ceiling through which Oil prices would not go; people though $100 looked like a floor below which the price wouldn't fall. In markets, the consensus is usually wrong.
This high price led to talk of the "end of the Oil economy". High prices became built in to people's thinking, just as low prices had for the decades before that. Soon, Oil executives started to give the go-ahead to projects in deep water or held in deep rocks which are costly and difficult to reach based on higher returns. The result of this is an increase in supply. North Dakota for example is benefiting from an Oil Boom due to rock-fracturing technology, better known for disrupting the Gas market. New technology was developed to extract oil cheaper and more efficiently from where it had been un-economic to extract previously.
This extra capacity in the Oil industry was matched by a focus by the consumer on demand. People started insulating their homes to use less heating fuel. Cars and Air-conditioners became more efficient. People are driving slower, as cars now show the point fuel consumption and people see how much more fuel they use at 85mph compared to 70mph. Remember how cars on motorways used to drive at 80-90mph in the fast lane, and now there are few people breaking the 70mph limit? Accidents have fallen. In the UK, petrol sales have fallen by over 20% from their peak in 2008 thanks to these effects.
So supply has risen in response to high prices, and use has fallen. What's going to happen to the price? You've got bankrupt oil states who are no longer beholden to OPEC, like Venezuela who will need to sell every drop they can produce if their economy isn't to collapse. So the fall in price may, in the short run lead to MORE production, as desperate producers try to meet forecasts based on higher prices creating a rapid fall in the price, even from here.
Industrial metals are showing the same story. There are no primary smelters of Iron in Europe because we've got all the Iron we need, and simply recycle existing metal. China will develop its car economy based on Aluminium chassis, not steel and will demand less steel than did Europe at the equivalent stage of development. Yet there are vast open-pit Iron-ore mines in Australia with robotic 400-ton trucks pulling ore that few will need. The price of Iron and steel are falling.
The writing was on the wall. The top of the market indicator for Metals is AIM-listed start-ups going after "rare-earth" elements in slag heaps. We had plenty of those. Obvious, really, in hindsight.
The point is that a price mechanism in a free market has worked to ensure that there was never a shortage of Oil or industrial metals. The price rose, capacity rose to take advantage of the high price, supply rose, consumption fell and eventually the price collapses. This is also why free-market systems don't have famines, as the same thing happens with food. And do you know who prevents famine? The speculator, and most especially the hoarder. As it's his store that keeps everyone alive. And also why anything a government provides, (Schools, Hospital beds, building permission for houses etc..) we will always be short of, because there is no demand/supply mechanism to allocate resources. There's no signal saying "invest here, not there" in a planned system.
So. Are the prices of Oil and Metals going to continue to fall? Yes. Probably. But the confidence interval on that statement is no more than 51%. Are we ever going to run out? No. Of that I am certain. Don't get me started on Gold-Bugs except to say
"Bwahahahahaha. Told you so"having been wrong for, um, about a decade.
Friday, 12 April 2013
What's to blame for "the crisis"?
Wednesday, 10 April 2013
I don't like tax, but if we absolutely have to raise some taxes, it's better if it's raised in ways that have other benefits.
Fuel taxes reduce pollution and congestion. Tobacco taxation reduces smoking and so forth. Land value taxes increase the assortiveness of the property market. The added benefit is these taxes are extremely unpopular, which limits the amount Government can raise. Now... all we need to do is ban PAYE. Once everyone has to write a cheque for income tax and national insurance, it will be at least as unpopular as fuel duty.
Tuesday, 9 April 2013
I am a stockbroker. Many of my clients are plumbers and builders. Many "working class" (and proudly so) people earn far more than the "professionals" who serve them. Those who lack the wit to buy their own tools, van and hire a mate, and instead spend their wages in the pub or the bookies, have only themselves to blame. Before Thatcher, someone like me would only have seen a plumber when a pipe burst. Now, they're my clients.