Taking money from the poor

In his article on micro-credit, the Undercover Economist Tim Harford asks “Does no-one want to take money from the poor?”

An interesting quote:

The trouble with living on two dollars a day is that you donÒ€ℒt actually get two dollars a day. One day you might get five, then nothing for the next three days. Income is unpredictable. Outgoings, too, are irregular. Emergencies crop up. Under the circumstances, the most basic financial product, such as an easy-access savings account, would be invaluable.

Obvious perhaps, but something I had never given thought to.

Who you callin’ fat?

According to Science, Medicine and Bioelectrical Impedence Analysis (a coin-operated machine in ASDA) I have a Fat Index of 23.1%.

This means of the 89 kilogrammes of mass I’m lugging around, 20.5 kilogrammes is pure fat. In old money that’s 3 stone 3 pounds of quivering, translucent jelly.

At a density of around 0.9 grams per mil, the volume of this fat: Volume = Mass / Density = 20500 / 0.9 = 22777 ml is equivalent to a 22 litre bag. For comparison see the excellent FUXIN mini fridge. (A product of a company whose motto is FUXIN TECHNOLOGY ‘Creat together, All-Win, Share’. Bless those ruddy Communists).

Ryan Maiden

And on to another Ryan: My old friend and drumming guru Ryan Colaco had his dream come true over the weekend when his metal band ‘Kryptos’ headlined for the Iron Maiden ‘Somewhere Back in Time 2009’ tour in Bangalore.

Ryo has been a long-standing fan of Maiden drummer Nicko and way back when my sis was in the group ‘Angel Dust’ they honed their talents together playing a lot of Iron Maiden covers. My favourites are still ‘Aces High’ and ‘Hallowed be thy Name’ because of them.

Ryo has posted some pics of him and Maiden on facebook.

20 Feb update: Iron Maiden were announced “Best British Live Act” at the Brits on Wednesday. They released this article on their website to announce it, and in the accompanying photo Bruce Dickenson (in the middle clutching the statuette) is wearing a Kryptos ‘Ark of Gemini’ t-shirt!


“Giggs, Giggs will tear you apart, again”

Seems like the movement to support Manchester United’s evergreen hero Ryan Giggs, OBE for this year’s Footballer of the Year award is growing in momentum.

I personally think there is no better footballer on and off the pitch today.

    He’s the most decorated player in English history. His haul includes 10 Premier League winner’s medals, 4 FA Cup Winner medals, 2 Champion’s League Winner medals and 2 League Cup Winner meals. This is not including the 5 more winner’s medals he’ll get this season πŸ˜‰

    He has stayed with the same club throughout his career in a time when footballers switch loyalties faster than they crash their Ferraris.

    He has never been sent off the pitch in his entire club career. This in a club record 788 appearances so far!

Literature and Britishness

Yesterday I went to listen to a debate on this topic at Manchester University’s Whitworth Hall. It is the same grand hall I received my post grad honours in. The debate was organised by the Centre for New Writing and the debators were the writers Martin Amis and Howard Jacobson.

I’ve been a long-standing fan of Amis (his autobiography ‘Experience’ is the only one of an author I’ve ever read) and was delighted when he came to Manchester as the Professor of Creative Writing at Manchester Uni in February 2007.

I’ll jot down the key points of the debate as an aide memoire for posterity.

Host intro: The Labour Party phases of Britain 1) Cool Britannia – pop, art. 2) Multicultural Britain – Zadie Smith’s ‘White Teeth’. 3) Return of the Empire, Britain Day – Kipling.

Amis: Death of the comic novel.

(…to be continued)

Playboy babes.


I was rather surprised by this little news item that popped up on tea-time telly yesterday regarding the stationer W.H.Smith. Apparently they have discontinued their ‘Playboy’ line of school stationery that was being purchased, amongst others, by primary school girls.

What I don’t understand is how the decision was made to launch this line in the first place. Was it National Straw-for-Brains Week? Imagine the electric brainstorming session at W.H.Smith Product Development and Marketing!

Alex: “Fire away all the words you associate with school, my homies”
Max: “Lunch”
Daryl: “Exams”
Trix: “Playground”
“Science projects”
Alex: “Whoa, back it up, back it up. Playboy, you say”
“That’s catchy!”
“We have a winner”
“Everyone knows Playboy”

And apparently there has been pressure on W.H.Smith by parent and consumer groups for years before they retracted the line. What’s to argue? Couldn’t they just apologise, hold their hands up and admit it was daft. This is of course part of a larger debate about sexualising youngsters, and reminds me of a stand-up comedian on telly doing a routine about what slogans can be seen written on kids t-shirts / etc. nowadays.

“Jeez Louise, you giving birth in instalments or what?”

also known as

“A kidney here, a liver there, it all adds up you know”

We’ve all heard of key-hole surgery. It minimses unsightly scars and is less invasive than the old cut-n-spread technique so beloved of doctors and Viktor Frankenstein. But now you can have ‘natural orifice’ surgery. Here’s the science bit: Doctors at John Hopkins have removed a lady donor’s kidney via her wazoo. Yes, thats via her lady bits. You know, “down there”. The Unmentionables.

Yes indeed. New Scientist is calling it the Final Frontier. No, I’m not making this up.

Here’s a totally random sentence I picked from the blog:

“A string attached to the bag allowed them to pull the bag and kidney out of her vagina.”

I’d pay to see a trick like that. Derren Brown, are you listening?

According to the lead surgeon Robert Montgomery “the procedure could encourage more women to donate their kidneys.” Hmmm….. let’s visit that quote again;

“A string attached to the bag allowed them to pull the bag and kidney out of her vagina.”

Course it will encourage them Dr. Course it will.