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148763.  Mon Feb 19, 2007 7:50 am Reply with quote

To live life at the same level as a millionaire from 100 years ago, today you’d need a fortune of £85.6 million, according to a study by Clerical Medical.

To put it the other way around - to live like a 2007 millionaire, in 1907 you’d have needed £11,700.

In 1957, the “millionaire” would have needed £17.2m.

What I really like is the comment from Clerical Medical: “Whilst £1m is no longer enough to fund a lavish lifestyle, it can still go a long way with careful planning.”

S: Western Daily Press, 16 Feb 07.

150468.  Thu Feb 22, 2007 3:35 pm Reply with quote

The richest non-oil country on earth is now Ireland, according to the annual Standard & Poor list. The Irish have a per capita income of $57,103.

The US is in 11th place, and the UK in 18th.

S: Daily Telegraph, 19 Jan 07.

150902.  Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:33 pm Reply with quote

There have been huge demonstrations in Mexico in the last month or so, by people angry that the price of tortillas has doubled in the last year. This huge rise in the price of the country’s staple food has rocked the political establishment in Mexico, already divided by an election (won by the US’s candidate) which many believe was stolen; the left-wing candidate in the presidential election now styles himself the legitimate president, and is seen as such by a large proportion of the population. The tortilla crisis could push this standoff towards revolution or civil war.

Why have tortilla prices rocketed? Because of a surge in the international corn price - which is in turn driven by a sudden surge of demand for ethanol biofuels in the USA, where environmentally conscious motorists are looking for alternatives to carbon fuels.

Isn't life complicated?

S: Morning Star, 2 Feb 07.

151465.  Mon Feb 26, 2007 4:54 am Reply with quote

I love the sound of a "tortilla crisis".

Perhaps that quote about "bread and circuses" should be changed to "tortillas and bull fights" (the largest bull ring in the world is in Mexico, according to my copy of Trivial Pursuit)

155006.  Thu Mar 08, 2007 10:52 am Reply with quote

The online game World of Warcraft is the most popular of the Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games ("MMORPGs" - though presumably there must be a more useable name for them). It has 7.5 million subscribers worldwide (of whom 5 million are in China), each paying $15 a month, which is a yearly take of $1.35 billion (by comparison, all of Universal's films combined grossed $800 million in 2006).

These games have their own in-game currencies, sort of Monopoly money except that you have to buy it with real money and then operate within the virtual economy of the game to build it up. Another of the MMORPGs, Second Life, has just produced its first millionaire, Anshe Chung, whose virtual property holdings are worth more than 1 million real dollars. A number of companies, including IBM, have set up virtual offices inside the game, in which they hold conference calls and meetings.

s: MoneyWeek magazine, 2/3/2007

155009.  Thu Mar 08, 2007 10:54 am Reply with quote

Can we go back to the 1970s, please? Can we just hire a coach and go back?

155011.  Thu Mar 08, 2007 10:56 am Reply with quote

Space Invaders, Asteroids, Pac-Man ...

155052.  Thu Mar 08, 2007 12:03 pm Reply with quote

Not in Somerset, we didn't!

155281.  Fri Mar 09, 2007 8:10 am Reply with quote

Possibe outro here, I wonder if anyone's heard the story about the man who turned a red paperclip into a house by trading-up on the internet.


It took Kyle exactly a year of 14 internet trades to move from the paper clip to a house on Main Street in the tiny town of Kipling in Saskatchewan province - a place he has never been to before.

Now the 26-year-old is planning to write a book about the venture which saw him trade up through a novelty doorknob, a camping stove, a snowmobile, a recording contract, and an afternoon with rock star Alice Cooper.

155294.  Fri Mar 09, 2007 8:31 am Reply with quote

I heard him being interviewed on the wireless, and although it was interesting I thought it was a slight cheat as the people who were trading with him were complicit in what he was trying to do.

157271.  Sat Mar 17, 2007 6:00 am Reply with quote

“the ethanol binge already has driven corn prices through the roof and, now [...] promises to earmark corn in the developing world for export, thus, removing land from the production of food. There are other potential problems. In Indonesia, ancient forests are being burned up to make room for oil-palm biofuel. They're already digging up the rainforests in Brazil to plant soybeans that will be used in NutriSystem microwavable food packages designed to help fat Americans lose weight. As demand for ethanol increases to be equal to current oil consumption, it is almost guarantees forests will be dug up in the Global South to plant more sugar cane, since after all that is where it grows best. How then can ethanol be called carbon neutral when it will increase deforestation, when its promoters such as BP are notorious human rights violators, when companies such as BP are under a grand jury investigation for spilling 267,000 gallons of oil in Prudhoe Bay?"

Link to Environment

157284.  Sat Mar 17, 2007 6:59 am Reply with quote

Though it's a shame when presumably well-meaning commentators like that undermine their own positions by hanging them on such sloppy non sequiturs as:

How then can ethanol be called carbon neutral ... when its promoters ... are ... human rights violators?

In the source article, Standard Schaefer seems also to castigate the US both for espousing free trade and for erecting tarlff barriers against imported biofuel, simultaneously.

I don't say that he's wrong, but he does seem to be in a muddle.

157286.  Sat Mar 17, 2007 7:03 am Reply with quote

Flash wrote:
Though it's a shame when presumably well-meaning commentators like that undermine their own positions by hanging them on such sloppy non sequiturs as:

How then can ethanol be called carbon neutral ... when its promoters ... are ... human rights violators?

My thought exactly. But non-seq'ing does seem to be almost fundamental to this field! They don't train these cadres in theory, that's the trouble with the modern world ...

157302.  Sat Mar 17, 2007 10:12 am Reply with quote

It is questionable how sustainable is the growing of corn fir biofuel. When you add the natural gas in the fertilizer to the fossil fuels it takes to make the pesticides, power the tractor and other machinery needed to dry, harvest and transport corn, every bushel of field corn needs about a quarter to a third of a gallon to grow it, around fifty gallons per acre. It therefore takes more than a calorie of fossil fuel energy to produce a calorie of food.

Summarised from The Omnivore's Dilemma, Michael Pollan, pp 45-46

157871.  Tue Mar 20, 2007 9:36 am Reply with quote



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