Little to say for myself

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Hello! It's me again

No excuses. You know how it is - just not particularly moved to write anything in particular, and then I realise it's months since my last post.

Then, as the time-gap gets bigger, the "significance" of the next post increases exponentially and I don't know what to write to "re-launch" things.

Anyway, I've given all that bollocks up and I'm going to start by writing a typical example of the usual inane stuff you've come to know and ignore in your thousands. In fact, the following piece is so trivial that it serves my purpose perfectly...

In for a penny

I heard a thing on the radio this morning about whether or not it's time to abolish the 1p coin. It's apparently worth less than the halfpenny was when that was removed from circulation in 1984, and its main function these days is to keep plumbers busy unblocking washing machine outlet pipes.

Apparently one of the popular concerns of losing the penny is that it would result in inflation, since every price would be rounded up by scurrilous shopkeepers to the nearest even number of pence. I think the opposite is true. Most of the things we buy have prices of the type ?9p or £??.99. No shopkeeper's going to want to round a price up from £9.99 to £10, so they'd be more likely to drop it to £9.98. Either that or (more likely) they'd keep the prices the same and, if you were paying cash, they'd let you off the odd penny on the total, or give you 1p more in change if necessary. They'd be happy to do that if it meant not having to deal with tens of kilos of almost worthless and difficult-to-handle small bits of metal.

In fact I'd be all for abolishing the 2p piece too. They're just as unnecessarily bulky as the 1p (and they might force prices down to £?.95).

In any case, so few transactions are cash these days, and, even in those, if everyone adopted a system where prices were still set to the nearest penny, and the transaction total was rounded up or down to the nearest 5p, no-one would lose out in the long-run. That way we wouldn't have to carry around those bulky bronze coins that no slot machine accepts any more anyway.

Wow - you wouldn't believe such a subversive, Earth-shatteringly significant article could be penned by someone who hasn't lifted his quill in months. I can hear the call from the Pulitzer committee coming through now.

posted by Plig | 14:52 |

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Forget the sentimental notion that foreign policy is a struggle between virtue and vice, with virtue bound to win.
Forget the utopian notion that a brave new world without power politics will follow the unconditional surrender of wicked nations.
Forget the crusading notion that any nation, however virtuous and powerful, can have the mission to make the world in its own image.
Remember that diplomacy without power is feeble, and power without diplomacy is destructive and blind.
Remember that no nation's power is without limits, and hence that its policies must respect the power and interests of others.
Hans Morgenthau

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts
Bertrand Russell

The release of atomic energy has not created a new problem. It has merely made more urgent the necessity of solving an existing one
Albert Einstein

When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative
Martin Luther King Jr.

Our great democracies still tend to think that a stupid man is more likely to be honest than a clever man
Bertrand Russell

I think it would be a good idea
Mahatma Gandhi, when asked what he thought of Western civilization

There are painters who transform the sun to a yellow spot, but there are others who with the help of their art and their intelligence, transform a yellow spot into the sun
Pablo Picasso

Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others
Groucho Marx

Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it
Mahatma Gandhi

Always make new mistakes
Esther Dyson
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