Thursday, 28 April 2016

That'll save their bacon.

From The Daily Mail:

Denmark is considering a tax on red meat over fears cattle flatulence was causing climate change.

A government think tank said consumers were 'ethically obliged' to change their eating habits in a bid to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

The Danish Council of Ethics said cattle accounted for around 10 per cent of the CO2 released into the atmosphere, while food production makes up around another 20 per cent.

Ho hum, the article only mentions cattle and not pigs.

As we well know (having quickly Googled it), Danish pig farmers export nearly half their output, with a value of DKK 30 billion a year (about £3 billion), so this will knock back domestic demand for "red meat" (presumably more likely to be imported) and hence boost domestic demand for pork and bacon.

Win-win for Danish pig farmers!

"The chairs are so small, it looks like a children's library..."

... says Dinero.

And he would be completely correct.


A Link for Mr DBCR (and me)

Here. (Apologies, I know it's the Torygraph - again).

This broadly confirm my opinion that the USA is as bad as the EU, maybe worse. Which would explain Obama's interventions.

Nobody move or the farm animal gets it!!

From The Guardian:

With so many loud voices clamouring to be heard in the Brexit debate, there is a risk we will fail to consider those that cannot speak at all – animals. But voting to leave the European Union could have a profound effect on their welfare. Britain has a reputation as a nation of animal lovers, but over the past decade our lawmakers have lagged behind Europe’s in protecting them from harm.

… we have become increasingly reliant on Brussels for strong regulations to protect farmed animals. We have Europe to thank for Britain getting welfare laws for farmed pigs and chickens, such as banning barren cages for battery hens in 2012 and sow stalls – which kept pigs unable to move for most of their lives – in 2013.

Another factor in this debate is what happens to the annual £2.4bn EU subsidies to British farmers in the event of Brexit, around 53% of their incomes, and what that means for farmed animals. If Britain leaves, that subsidy goes, as does farmers’ easy access to the single market. Farming minister George Eustice said in February that the government would pay a subsidy in the case of Brexit. It is unclear how he can promise this, especially as his boss, the prime minister, is still sticking to the line that he has no contingency plans for leaving the EU.

If farmers did end up getting fewer subsidies post-Brexit, the implications for animal rights are poor. Animal farmers are not monsters, and many farms just want to do the right thing – I was raised on one. But as the author Upton Sinclair once said: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”

That last sentence says it all, really. These people have no shame.

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Fascinating Thing about Ivory on BBC News

Basically, report about what happens, audio interview with the poachers who said they felt heroic for killing elephants as they destroy their farms.

Really, you can throw as much money as you like it trying to stop it. If you aren't going to pay these people to put up with elephants, they're going to kill them.

Junior doctors' strike (2)

While the debate rages on the original post, allow me to throw in my tuppence worth.

It strikes me that junior doctors are not particularly underpaid, they are just crassly overworked (starting salary £30,000 for 100 hours a week, or whatever). The reverse applies to more senior doctors.

According to the BMA, senior doctors (under whatever fancy title) are paid up to £180,000, probably for working about 20 hours a week.

My policy would be to flatten the pay scale and flatten the working hours as well, so that junior doctors start on £40,000 for 60 hours a week and the senior ones are paid £120,000 for 30 hours a week, for example. Or they all get £80,000 for 45 hours, or whatever, in line with what GPs currently get.

So instead of this being BMA vs NHS/taxpayer, the NHS can just set a total budget for doctors' and GPs' pay and let them fight it out among themselves.

New-builds blamed for blighting air quality ...

So BBC Scotland reports the findings of an interesting academic study into domestic air pollution:

Specialists at the school's Mackintosh Environmental Research Unit (MEARU) said modern homes were being built to be airtight. 

This causes a build-up of harmful chemicals and moisture if householders do not open windows or vents. 

The unit has made a series of recommendations to reduce pollutants. Prof Tim Sharpe, head of the MEARU, said: "Poor indoor air quality, particularly in bedrooms, is hard for people to detect. 

"There are clear links between poor ventilation and ill-health so people need to be aware of the build up of CO2 and other pollutants in their homes and their potential impact on health." 

The MEARU conducted a survey of 200 homes which were constructed to modern, airtight standards. It found that most householders kept trickle vents closed, and bedroom windows closed at night.

But a cursory glance at the Energy Saving Trust website suggests one man's 'ventilation' is another man's 'draught':

Unless your home is very new, you will lose some heat through draughts around doors and windows, gaps around the floor, or through the chimney. 

Professional draught-proofing of windows, doors and blocking cracks in floors and skirting boards can cost around £200, but can save up to £25 to £35 a year on energy bills. DIY draught proofing can be much cheaper. Installing a chimney draught excluder could save between £20 and £25 a year as well.

With the north winds blowing blizzards well into the back end of April this seemed quite topical.

Junior Doctors Strike

Can someone out there explain why this strike is about safety? I get that it's about pay as well, and I don't have a problem with someone saying they aren't paid enough and going on strike about it, but what's the safety thing. Anyone?

It's not "is equivalent to", it "is".

From Yahoo:

The rocketing cost of housing over the last two decades is equivalent to a 10p tax hike for a typical family, according to research. About one fifth, 21%, of income was spent on covering the cost of a home last year, up from 17% in 1995, the Resolution Foundation analysis showed.

It amounts to £1,500 a year for a typical dual-earning couple with a child and works out the same as a 10p increase in the basic rate of tax, rising to 13p tax in London and Scotland, it said. Low and middle income earners have been hit hardest, with the proportion rising from 18% to 26%, while the cost for those on higher salaries went up from 14% to 18%.

As far as I am concerned, rent and mortgage payments are a tax on tenants and home buyers. It's called "land value tax" and what's wrong is that it is being siphoned off privately because the government is too corrupt or cowardly to collect it publicly (instead of fining people and businesses tax for working and making profits via income tax etc).

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Fun Online Poll: The correct mode of attire when driving an open-topped car on British roads.

This week's Fun Online Poll.

"What is the correct mode of attire when driving an open-topped car on British roads (assuming not done satirically)?"

Choose from the list here or use the widget in the sidebar.