General Interest

Scrabble Stuffed!

This is a screengrab from an online scrabble game I'm involved in.

I think I'm stuffed!

(I've delayed this post in order to avoid leaking information to my opponent).

Regarding the ongoing scrabulous/scrabble debate - I understand Hasbro's point, but tend to think that more people will get exposure to their game (and hence sales) with scrabulous than without. I know that I would simply avoid the game otherwise, end even if every player online doesn't result in a sale, the more players there are, the more sales ultimately result. I can understand why they got all legalistic, but can't help thinking that they'd have been better off trying to bring scrabulous into the fold with its established user base.


If you've not done so already, it's worth signing up to YouGov. They are a survey company who periodically send notifications of surveys. They pay you for each one you complete. It typically takes a few minutes per survey, and you only get an email every few days or so.

These surveys are quoted on the news and in papers etc. They're also fed back to companies, essentially anyone who commissions a survey.

I've just done a 'brandindex' survey, it took about 2 minutes.

Trafalgar Square

Green Trafalgar Last night we went to see 'Evita' at the Adelphi in London. I walked in via Trafalgar Square, and found that it had been turfed over.

Unfortunately, as I arrived they were taking the turf up, and so I didn't see the full effect. It did look good, though.

Around Hayward's Gallery, look up. There are statues on the rooftops, people just standing there. I'm sure that permission must have been asked from the police (phone calls from people who only spot the one thinking it's a suicide attempt). The installation is part of an Anthony 'fog in the box' Gormley collection.

Anthony Gormley Statues


The better half pointed out that the Stereophonics were touring, and she wanted to go along. Me, in my slightly 'no longer with it' way, said 'who?' (I tend to be very good with tunes, not with the names of tunes or bands - this doesn't help as the other half isn't too good at humming the tunes to me)

She replied with the names of a few songs, saying they recorded 'Handbags and Gladrags' and 'Maybe tomorrow'.

I replied 'What? They wrote the theme of 'The Littlest Hobo?!' '

Not only does this provide a reasonable marker of my age (I remember the colour version), but it also reinforces that the word 'slightly' in the second paragraph was an understatement.

Manure at Ramsay's

Gordon Ramsay has had a pile of manure dumped outside his restaurant in protest at his liking for (and cooking of) horse meat burgers for a TV programme. Whilst my first reaction was to think of other 'celebrity chefs' who might benefit from a similar treatment (naughty of me, I know) - I did wonder what the objective difference between horse and cow meat is, or horse and lamb etc.

If the argument is that 'all meat is murder', it's extreme but self consistent (as long as the proclaimer realises the hypocrisy should they ever need medical treatment) - however, if the argument is 'you can cook a cow, but not a horse', then I don't understand in any objective way.

It's not that I'd love to eat horse, I don't think I would (though Kangaroo used to be sold at Tesco, it was tasty). I just don't understand the objective difference between that and beef, the difference which makes one acceptable and the other wrong.

How Taxes Work

How Taxes Work . . . This is a VERY simple way to understand the tax laws. Read on — it does make you think!!

Let's put tax cuts in terms everyone can understand. Suppose that every day, ten men go out for dinner. The bill for all ten comes to £100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:

The first four men — the poorest — would pay nothing; the fifth would pay £1, the sixth would pay £3, the seventh £7, the eighth £12, the ninth £18, and the tenth man — the richest — would pay £59.

That's what they decided to do. The ten men ate dinner in the restaurant every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement — until one day, the owner threw them a curve (in tax language a tax cut).

"Since you are all such good customers," he said, "I'm going to reduce the cost of your daily meal by £20." So now dinner for the ten only cost £80.00.

The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes. So the first four men were unaffected. They would still eat for free. But what about the other six — the paying customers? How could they divvy up the £20 windfall so that everyone would get his "fair share?"

The six men realized that £20 divided by six is £3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody's share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would end up being PAID to eat their meal. So the restaurant owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man's bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay.

And so the fifth man paid nothing, the sixth pitched in £2, the seventh paid £5, the eighth paid £9, the ninth paid £12, leaving the tenth man with a bill of £52 instead of his earlier £59. Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to eat for free.

But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings. "I only got a pound out of the £20," declared the sixth man who pointed to the tenth. "But he got £7!"

"Yeah, that's right," exclaimed the fifth man, "I only saved a pound, too . . . It's unfair that he got seven times more than me!".

"That's true!" shouted the seventh man, "why should he get £7 back when I got only £2? The wealthy get all the breaks!"

"Wait a minute," yelled the first four men in unison, "We didn't get anything at all. The system exploits the poor!"

The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up. The next night he didn't show up for dinner, so the nine sat down and ate without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered, a little late what was very important. They were FIFTY-TWO POUNDS short of paying the bill! Imagine that!

And that, boys and girls, journalists and college instructors, is how the tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up at the table anymore.

Where would that leave the rest? Unfortunately, most taxing authorities anywhere cannot seem to grasp this rather straightforward logic!

via Snopes and Division of Labour, following a post from a Drunken Wasp


I've just hit the 50 quid mark with YouGov, so I can expect a cheque to arrive soon - just about the right time of the year. If you haven't heard of YouGov, they do surveys for, well, whoever pays them, and they pay you each time you complete a survey (typically 50p, though it can be more).

If you sign up to YouGov, you can quit at any point, no obligations and all that.

The 50 quid should be with me in January, that'll be nice.