Tag Archives: america

hurricanes and all that

15 Sep

london 11.31am 19C sunny saturday 2018

it’s a lovely sunny day outside my window.

i have been reading about the hurricanes in america, and phillipines, and the thought occurred to me that i am glad to be in uk, away from all that. the american hurricane now is too slow. its a storm now, and hanging around so that it dumps a huge amount of water onto the land. in the phillipines the typhoon is too strong. nature is a bitch. haha.

the news tries to panic us by saying another hurricane (helene) is on its way to uk and will cause a huge storm, but experience tells us it wont be destructive, because by the time it gets here, it will be tamed down as it always does. uk have years , centuries of building with stone, that will withstand everything that is thrown at it. that is why we never have a run on the stores, emptying the shelves of goods unlike other countries where it seems to happen as a matter of course.

unlike the philipines which even though it always has hurricanes every year for yonks , have learnt that it pays to just weather it out. so it never build strong houses  of stone. or rather too poor to build out of stone.  maybe because stone is rare in that country. anyway, its strategy it seems is to build flimsy houses that can be easily destroyed by any wind, ( usually the roof comes off, but it can be easily replaced) with the idea that it is easy to rebuild after it blows away. and to have a strong building built by the local govt, (for eg the school)to shelter people temporarily until the storm is over. 


i did not realise that turkey is in NATO

4 Apr

london 2.14pm 15.1C cloudy monday 2016

i know the donald recently said america is paying too much for the upkeep of NATO, it seems only britain, poland and america are paying the required 1/50 (or 2% of GDP) of national income. $340,000 a year usa contribution. uk $60,000 a year. germany and france should be paying the same amount but they dont.(not a lot when u consider it). the costs comes when there is a war on and u have to spend on planes,ships,ammunition,men…)

added.13.4.16 i think the figures are wrong. it cannot be so low. i recently found out that  uk gives £11.4billion as 0.7% of gross national income to foreign aid. if that is so, than 2% of gni must be more than £24billion . that seems very high. but this quote

“Germany would have to increase its military budget from roughly €37 billion ($42 billion) to over €74 billion ($84 billion) to meet the target,” Anthony writes. in this article

suggests that figure is correct, the uk may well be spending £27billion. it seems to me we are confusing what is military spending for the whole country as opposed to military spending for NATO alone. maybe the two are so closely connected they dont distinguish the two.  all very confusing. 

people criticised him for it, but it does seem rather extraordinary for america to pay so much for defending other people’s territory.

why isn’t germany and france paying their share, or for that matter all the other countries that are in NATO? if poland can pay its share, it seems scandalous that france and germany are not doing so.

in the article in capX , 42% of americans agree with the donald. you certainly cannot blame them , after all, why should europe expect americans to pay for their defense??? people keep saying theEU has made europe war free… but it is clear that NATO is the one that makes it war free, with its promise that aggression against one member means the rest will join in to defend it. who are the members of NATO?

The Nato countries are: Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherland, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom,United States.

it seems to me the donald is making a lot of sense, at least if i were an american. all the other countries seem to be in the EU and are getting a free ride from NATO. come to think of it, canada is in there too. if i were canadian i would ask the same question of the canadian govt… why are we paying to defend these people who dont seem to be interested in paying for their own defense? and for a british voter, i would ask why is britain paying its full share, and the others not? i suppose if germany and france pays in their full share, or if all the countries pay 2% of GDP, there will be too much money given in which case maybe they can proportionately reduce the payment all round. the other question to ask is, if there is a war, american and britain will be contributing a lot more, in terms of aircraft, ships, men ammunition etc etc… added. i think it is military spending that the donald is talking about, and a lot of that spending by the usa is not directly related to NATO, though it is lumped in. thus usa spending in the war on iraq is included in that spending to NATO, even though france and germany are against it and so have not contributed to it. thus u have the donalds figures that usa is paying so much for NATO. 

The only thing that can stop tip inflation is stingy millennials | Zach Stafford | Comment is free | The Guardian

8 Jun

The only thing that can stop tip inflation is stingy millennials | Zach Stafford | Comment is free | The Guardian.

this one can only apply in america, where the staff rely on tips to bring their pay to minimum wage. it is the owner effectively saying the customer pays for the staff. i am glad we in uk dont have that system.

added. reading the article again i noticed he said baristas are paid minimum wage and so dont have to rely on their tips. so this is just the management using the smartphone payment method to make more money from the tips. because it seems the tip do not go to the server but add to the management’s profit. what a con!!

(of course, u could say anyone who pays with a apple phone or any of these technology is rich and deserved to  be fleeced, but you can see technology is making it easier for management to increase the cost… on the reason that it is convenient and make for speedy transactions. but convenience to whom? not to the customer that is for sure. )

so we find in this situation which zach stafford finds himself… because people pay with a smart phone, or with a cashless card in america, the amount of tip is suggested.

$2 tip for a $4 coffee seems excessive. of course they say u can alter it or refuse it, but few would do that for fear of being thought cheapskate. or for fear that they will have to stop going to that place. no knowing what the barista is going to put in your coffee if word gets round that u dont tip. haha.

the owners say they keep prices down as they rely on customers to tip and pay their staff;  to us in london, $4 = £2.80,  is not cheap. it costs the same as in london and we dont have this tipping culture. so i dont think the prices are kept down at all.

here, we dont have that passive aggressive attitude to their customers that will happen when the staff rely on tips. a customer may think 10% is good enough for tips, but the staff may think 20% minimum is expected.

it isn’t even that the barrista gave special service to warrant a tip. he is doing what he is there to do, make coffee.

in fact, come to think of it, u are at the counter. it is not that u are at a table and he have to bring it to u even, you are being the waiter here and you still have to give him a tip… ?!!!

why expect a tip for that? and it fosters a forced behaviour on their part… they feel they have to do extra… that kind of unwanted service that u dont want… like making cheerful greetings and being over friendly and keep asking u ‘how are you doing?’ just so they can appear to give extra service.

addeed. 12.22pm i was taking the c10 back to my place after my library session. what was new is seeing this man in work clothes and flourescent jacket wheeling a pile of suitcases on his upright wheeler. he was with a elderly chinese lady. he put the luggage in the bus and he waved the lady bye , waved bye to the bus driver and off he went, did not hang around to collect a tip, and i thought that is the thing here in uk, they just accept a thank you and that is it, off they go. it is unusual for anyone to have a porter person carrying their luggage . this is an ordinary bus stop, not a coach stop or anything.

the thought occurred to me how is the old lady going to carry all that luggage out of the bus and who will take it to  where she is going? did she expect someone she knows to be waiting for her at her stop? it is the thing about life, the story is half told and we dont know the ending. haha. nor in this case the beginning, as to where did she come from and how did she manage to get a workman to porter the luggage?

How Starbucks’ ‘RaceTogether’ blunder revealed some hard truths: Olive | Toronto Star

28 Mar

How Starbucks’ ‘RaceTogether’ blunder revealed some hard truths: Olive | Toronto Star.

quite an eye opener of an article, which posits that starbucks failed attempt to initiate conversations about race which was so heavily criticised by the public , suggests that we do need to talk about race. it obviously makes us uncomfortable to talk of it, why else this vociferous criticism by those who object to it. it is only to ask people to talk of it, but that alone generates so much heat and anger, that starbucks stopped it.

what is surprisng is that this happened in canada too. such a response in canada, which u might think have no axe to grind regarding relations between whites and blacks might welcome and be able to hold convesations about race without acrimony. when it wont even want to have them. what does it say about these people who objected? huh? makes u wonder, dont you think? maybe it is a human condition, to fear people who are too much unlike you. or to fear people whose members  are all too often connected to violence. if i bring this up in a conversation about race, that i for one, feel black people are prone to violence, because i get the impression they are a violent people, (whether true or not, that impression i get that they are, is very strong. i dont get that same feeling when i talk about indians, or chinese), will u accuse me of being racist, and bring the conversation to an end?

the idea was that starbucks asks its staff to write #racetogether and hope that customers will start the conversation with them and hopefully with others customers about race. but i think race is or has been as sensitive as religion, maybe even more so. in america when they refer to race, it is about black people and white people. or should i say african-american and european- american(?).

discussions of other races  dont seem to be so fraught with emotions, because u dont get asians, (i presume americans and canadians lump indians, chinese, southeast asians, etc,all under the term asians) being killed in police shoot outs.

if starbucks did do it in uk, it did not generate much heat, because i never read anything of it in the papers. if its not even mentioned in our papers, it cannot have generated much notice. maybe people here in uk are not that bothered about it, because race is not much of an issue here.

now if starbucks have initiated a #religiontogether …. it will never happen, but might it get a different response? and everyone eagerly join in to talk of religion or no religion, or how one religion is better than the other, or why muslims seem so prone to running off to join isis…and why those who resort to killing to express their views subscribe to the islam religion. somehow i doubt it. race and religion are two topics not on the list of discussions. 

added 5.4.15 here is another viewpoint that described what actually happened in starbucks during the racetogether week.

One line from “Saturday Night Live” explains the turmoil in emerging markets – Quartz

5 Feb

One line from “Saturday Night Live” explains the turmoil in emerging markets – Quartz.

i remember that time when thailand started the crash in asia in the late 90s which resulted in malaysia imposing exchange controls on the ringgit and that saved the malaysian economy.

i remember indonesia crashed spectacularly, and it seems from this article they were considered by the IMF to be safe.  malaysia defied the IMF solution and imposed exchange controls.

indonesia followed the IMF advise, floated its currency which promptly went down and increased their debt as the debt was in us dollars. ..  and its economy went tits up.

and people still maintain the IMF is an expert on the economy. haha.

recently the IMF criticised the uk for reducing its debt, but have to eat its words when the economy bounced back this year, with consistent growth throughout 2013.  whilst the EU which the IMF oversees is deep  in recession. it is not changing its policy though.

i think no one really knows how the economy behaves.

the present crisis in the emerging markets is due to the fact that america is not printing money anymore and so no more  flooding the world with cheap money. that means interest rates in america will be going up and so the world is now taking money out of elsewhere and buying american debt as it is not only higher interest  but safer than in the emerging economies.  that results in crashing stock market prices in the emerging countries as the money is taken out of the countries.

it looks like the emerging economies are subprime investments.

it is true, that when america sneezes, the world catches a cold.

i just have a thought. you remember the saying… if u want to know why.. just follow the money. It occurred to me that the IMF is a money lender. it pools money given to it by countries to lend to other countries… and so i wonder how unbiased it can be in its advise. have u noticed its solution is always to say.. borrow more money… we will lend it to you. and spend your way out of your troubles.