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Postal scales

The Shop on the Borderlands
Had a fairly large order to post for the shop today - a whole bunch of 4th edition D&D books worth about £100 and weighing several kilogrammes. Interesting that while sending this in one parcel via Royal Mail would have cost in excess of £20 and only have been insured for £20 of value, by packing the order into four parcels of no more than 2kg*, it only cost £11.20, with each parcel being covered up to £20. Those postal scales I bought a while back have been a sound investment.

* One of them came to 1.964kg. It was close enough that I didn't even include the invoice to save on weight.
Generally I like LiveJournal and wish it was more popular. But there are one or two things that I don't like. One of those seems to be by far the most popular community on LJ - 'ohnotheydidnt .

I don't know if this works for all possible configurations of friends feeds, but on mine, there is a section on the right hand side of the page called LiveJournal Today which shows the most popular posts. Most of them (if not all) on most days will be posts in this community. Have you ever clicked on it?

If you're ever trying to convince a friend to give LJ a go, don't go near this community. It's like the worst kind of sub-tabloid celebrity gossip mixed with twitter/tumblr style extreme SJW political correctness. You rarely see a comment of more than a sentence in length. Most of the commenters seem to be illiterate. And just to top it all off, most of the userpics you'll see are animated gifs with a duration of no more than a second featuring some film star blinking or just moving slightly. No more than a second might be the attention span.


Genetic makeup of native British people

This Oxford University study is fascinating. I've read books on this subject before that came to similar conclusions, but I think I'm right in saying that this is the most detailed study so far:

There's all sorts of interesting stuff revealed. For example:

  • There's no real 'celtic' ethnic group. There is more genetic diversity between different culturally celtic groups than you'd expect.

  • Bernicia was clearly a thing, Rheged definitely so. Perhaps more surprisingly, so was the Kingdom of Elmet.

  • Cornish and Devonian populations are genetically distinct, and the boundary is pretty much the River Tamar (the modern boundary between the Duchy and the county). We live just on the Cornish side of the border. Most people I know from Devon wouldn't dream of living in Cornwall and vice versa. Clearly these attitudes have been around for almost 1500 years!

  • I wonder to what extent this signifies that the Cornish are an earlier population and to what extent they are Breton immigrants.

  • North and South Welsh populations are similarly distinct.

  • However, there seems to be an English marcher population stretching from the Severn Valley right up to the Wirral. Wasn't expecting that. Interestingly this population (marked with a purple cross on the map) also has three other very specific locations away from the Welsh frontier - one on the Isle of Wight, one in Kent vaguely near Maidstone and one in what might be Scunthorpe. Interesting.

  • Vikings can't have fancied local women much - there are almost no Norse genes. The one exception is (predictably) Orkney. (I'm assuming from the map that they didn't include Shetland and possibly also the Isle of Man.)

  • There's a clear link between Catalonia and North Wales.

  • There is a distinct 'English' ethnic group, but it only covers part of modern England. The line between the 'English' and the rest of the country is broadly where it was in 600AD which perhaps suggests that areas of 'England' beyond that line are conquered territories that were never truly settled.

Educating people about economics

Long-term readers of this blog may remember that a few years ago, I wrote a series of posts about economics with the intention of educating my fellow humans. After all, most people would consider knowledge of economics to be important - especially when deciding who to vote for - but few people study it at school or university.

I haven't done any of those posts in ages - mostly because I'm busier at the moment than I was back then. This post isn't one of my own, but it is a link to a remarkably good article that someone pointed me at. It's a post about economics on (of all places) an arts blog. The writer is "beseeching" art people to learn economics. He could just as easily beseech everyone else. Fab article.

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Want to play in the NFL? How good is your memory? It’s very rare for people not directly involved in the game to ever get access to pro playbooks. This copy of the Oakland Raiders’ 1998 June mini-camp (a sort of short training camp before the main one) playbook was leaked / released recently. Yes, it’s a bit old (dating back to when the Raiders were good…), but it gives you some idea of the intellectual pressures placed on NFL players. 216 pages, thousands of formations and audibles and routes and options. Quarterbacks will have to learn every single permutation. Other positions will need to learn large parts.

Oxford rape and trafficking: Who were the abusers? Not long after political correctness was shown to have led to the gang rape of 1,400 young girls by muslim gangs in Rotherham, we have this. The names of the Oxford gang were Mohammed Karrar, Bassam Karrar, Akhtar Dogar, Anjum Dogar, Kamar Jamil, Assad Hussain and Zeeshan Ahmed. Yet, at no point in this BBC article, even though it is clearly relevant to the story, are these men referred to as ‘muslims’. When someone tells you that political correctness does not exist or that it isn’t anything to be ashamed of, show them this.

Question: How vain is Cristiano Ronaldo? Answer: Very, very vain.

"Fewer large companies are run by women than by men named John." Well, yes, but there's a good reason for that.

The racist and eugenicist history of the American minimum wage.

239 years of 'The Wealth of Nations'. Smith’s “greatest breakthrough was the realisation that we do not have to conquer people or make things in order to increase our wealth. We can also increase it by simply exchanging things.”

5 Economic Myths That Just Won't Die

Great image of the same supernova appearing four times because of the gravitational lens effect. (Thanks to louisedennis.)

The British charity that named the murdered Charlie Hebdo staff "Islamaphobes of the Year". Makes you proud to be British…not.

Broad Jump

NFL draft
How far do you think you could broad jump? To clarify, a broad jump is like a long jump, but you don't get a run-up - you have to do it from a standing start.

The broad jump is one of the tests used to see how athletic wannabe NFL players are at the annual Scouting Combine, which took place last weekend.

Now how far do you think elite athletes can broad jump? To give you some context, the best broad jump at the 2014 Scouting Combine, was 11 feet 0 inches, by Marquise Goodwin, a wide receiver from the University of Texas who would be drafted by the Buffalo Bills. Goodwin is a world-class long jumper, who made the Olympic Final in 2012, and was expected to win a medal. (He had a bad day and didn't. You may remember Great Britain's Greg Rutherford won the Gold.) The best ever broad jump at the Scouting Combine was 11 feet 7 inches in 2013.

So what do you think was the best broad jump at the 2015 Combine?

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Google Partners
"This ad was disapproved because "Recreational drugs, services & related equipment". I've heard cannabis referred to as "skunk", but I don't think I'm aware of an illegal narcotic called "whippet"...

"Adopt an Older Whippet Older whippets looking for forever homes here!"


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"NHS 111 to blame for rise in A&E attendances is a really dreadful explanation for something that did, in fact, not happen". (Thankyou Steer for a good piece of analysis.)

Ed Miliband thinks that an Italian who runs an American company and lives in Monaco should pay "his (British) taxes". This is a Labour policy I can get behind – get foreigners with no connection to the UK to pay all our taxes. Brilliant. I would totally vote for this policy. (When you think about it, it’s pretty much the policy that successive Greek governments have adopted for years…)

The German government uses Battlestar Galactica LARP (on an actual warship) to train diplomats.

Apparently women aren't rational. (This is the latest in a long line of what I like to call ‘pseudo-economics’ books that litter the shelves of high street bookshops. Just as you find history shelves full of books about secret societies and how the freemasons are looking after the Holy Grail until the aliens land, you will find books in the ‘Economics’ section written by the sort of people who think Adam Smith is a member of One Direction. Pfft.)

Hmm. We've been thinking we could do with a projector for the business...

Schoolboy suspended for saying he could make classmate 'disappear' with the One Ring. Actually, the funniest thing about this story is that there is a town in Texas called ‘Kermit’. *

The To Kill a Mockingbird sort-of-sequel. Should we be suspicious? Yes. No. Yes.

Rotherham Council, the council that allowed 1,400 children to be gang-raped and sexually abused by muslims, is to be taken over by central government until elections can be held.

Is Rotherham the tip of the iceberg? "How much does the Labour Party know about the stench of corruption, sexual malfeasance, public maladministration and greed, incompetence and pro-Asian bigotry emanating from Labour's heartlands?"

Or is the whole Rotherham problem simply a case of a "rotten borough"?

Top 10 'Things that Ed Balls Has Forgotten'.

"How Sci-Fi's Most Prestigious Awards Became A Political Battleground"

Bryan Henderson doesn't like the phrase "comprised of".

"Big accountancy firm accused of saving people money" I particularly love the phrase “in blatant accordance with the law”.

Adding up the wealth of the poor - the meme that refuses to die.

The World's Poorest Man.

The Information Commissioner's Office is the public body that enforces privacy and electronic communication regulations. Guess what they forgot to renew.

Random Guardian comment generator.

Today is the 40th Anniversary of Margaret Thatcher becoming leader of the Conservative Party. The Labour Party has never had a female leader, but it clearly knows how to attract female voters.

* Has anyone else read ‘A World of Ice and Fire’? Lovecraft references I can take, but Sesame Street…?