Inky-winky-binky-pinky

Via TW (who says Inflation’s a tricky thing you know) this interesting inflation calculator.

From the Torygraph, the Jetlev flyer. A ridiculous boys-toy, but it did cause my daughter to say “I must have one”. Did I mention that reading the Torygraph in the Waitrose cafe is one of my guilty pleasures? Its not quite as good as it looks, because not only do you have a huge hosepipe trailing after you, there is also the jetski-like boat you’re tied to (that’s the Jetlev, not reading the TG).

Also from the TG a delightful story about Empty wine bottles sell for £300 in China because, of course, if you’re cunning you can take an empty Lafite ’82, refill it with merely good wine, and resell it for £2000. Because (again, of course) the people buying them don’t know good from bad: the stuff is a mere status symbol (I suspect this is true the world over and not just in China). But what really made me laugh out loud was a delightful quote from one of the counterfeiters:

“The bottles need to be in the best condition possible,” said another dealer, called Mr Ye, at a Shanghai company. “It is very important. And I only want genuine bottles, no fakes,” he added.

Yes, that is right: he is happy to sell fake wine, but wants to do it in genuine bottles. Which makes sense: it is a lot easier to inspect a bottle to see if the label looks faked than to inspect the wine.

Again from TW, nice to see him standing up for principle. He didn’t add, so I will: terrorism is a trivial threat to this country. We are not justified in using extraordinary measures to fight it. Wake me up again when terrorism deaths/year exceed 10% of those on the roads.

The pic is from xkcd, obviously, though via SE.

And lastly, from the astoundingly, eternally, unbelievably hyperbolic Phil Plait, a video of the solar eclipse seen from satellite. What I thought most interesting about it was how little the sun’s surface changes. because all the sfc features look like fires, I expected them to flicker and burn and so on. But no, they are still. Too big, probably.

Comments

  1. #1 adelady
    2011/01/08

    The Chinese and wine?

    One of my daughters absolutely *hates* serving wine at tastings for groups of Chinese tourists. Not having a wine growing / drinking culture, many Chinese people strongly dislike the taste of wine. It’s not sweet enough. So they constantly ask for something “nicer” at a wine tasting. Serve another wine, then another. Even the concentrated late picked dessert wines (stickies) won’t satisfy many of them.

    Very frustrating for someone raised in a wine growing area.

    And prime targets for being duped by people substituting lower quality in a product they don’t even like.

  2. #2 eachran
    2011/01/08

    You may be correct in not using extraordinary measures to counter terrorism but road traffic deaths are of a different quality from these for example :

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jan/08/gabrielle-giffords-shot-tucson-arizona

    The idea that someone or a group of people or an idea or suggestion can cause something like this or any terrorist act rocks me and it rocks many people : it puts the very idea of society in question.

    So what was the equation WC? That six deaths have the same impact everywhere.

    [Good grief no. As you've just demonstrated, some six deaths are clearly more exciting (or, if you prefer, newsworthy) than other six deaths. OTOH, sometimes we pretend that all people are all of intrinsic equal worth. And what do you mean "of a different quality"? That people dying in road accidents are less dead? Less mourned by their kin?

    I'm not trying to pretend I care greatly about the deaths of strangers in road accidents. I'm just saying I don't care greatly about the deaths of strangers in shootings or bombings, either -W]

    How one deals with terrorism is another issue and I would support TW’s views in so far as he has made them clear.

    On inflation, I love these sort of ridiculous nonsenses. Having had lunch at the ABC’s London pad last year and seen how he lives (publicly) and seen his life style (as we all do) I would say that he is considerably poorer than I am and I am not rich by any means. As for the 1896 version my guess is that he would swap what he had then for my life style now at the drop of a mitre.

    And on wine? It’s globalisation aint it.

  3. #3 David B. Benson
    2011/01/08

    Could turn all the wine into ethanol for fuel.
    The French did that fairly recently with some lakes (literally) of quality reds.

  4. #5 cthulhu
    2011/01/09

    “terrorism is a trivial threat to this country. We are not justified in using extraordinary measures to fight it. Wake me up again when terrorism deaths/year exceed 10% of those on the roads.”

    I know this was just an offhand remark, a lot of context is missing (like the meaning of extraordinary) and it’s not right to assume two issues can be equated anyway, but I might as well say it before someone else does – could someone not make a similar argument about climate change?

    [Certainly. I would not support extraordinary measures, like shooting innocent Brazilian plumbers or locking people up without evidence, in order to "solve" climate change, either -W]

  5. #6 eachran
    2011/01/09

    WC the different quality referred to the circumstances of the deaths. I suspect you knew that but I just thought that I would add this comment.

    On caring, the Arizona killings make me care more than the deaths of people in a road accident. It doesnt take much to connect the Gifford case to US society as a whole as Mr Tomasky in The G has done.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/jan/09/us-shooting-republicans-giffords-loughner?showallcomments=true#end-of-comments

    [Yes OK I know what you mean. But I'm not sure I agree; certainly not with Mr T. Apparently he wants all the Repubs to condemn "the violent rhetoric that emanates from the rightwing of American society" despite the lack of any evidence (so far) that it is to blame. Why isn't this just yet another US gun-nuttery attack; there have been plenty so far. Maybe people will get lucky and it really will turn out to be the Teabaggers (try looking that up on google :-), but maybe not. In which case I doubt they'll be issuing apologies -W]

    And the subject fits quite well with not only James Annan’s diagram on Dem and Rep views on global heating but also the link I gave to the Yale survey and also cthulhu’s comments.

    Anyway back to G20. WC you will probably get good copy from me before the middle of Feb if you are still game. It is a very complicated subject and much more important than either a fruitcake emptying his loaded gun into a crowd or a drunk or drug crazed driver crashing into a bus queue.

  6. #7 Eli Rabett
    2011/01/10

    Sorry Father William, the violent rhetoric validates the nuts to themselves, see, they say, what we are doing is the right stuff.

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