Archive for the ‘Random’ Category

What is this nonsense?

November 19, 2017

subjearn

Following our earlier discussion, the BBC has published an article on the financial benefits of a university education, with some results as shown above.  But it’s difficult to know what to make of it, since they don’t say anything about data or methodology or (perhaps more realistically) give a link to where these questions might be covered.

Questions which are not answered include what data are they using, what years are they covering, what is the definition of these subjects, what students are they covering.

What data are they using?

The real question is income data.  If it comes from self-report, then you will get low coverage and also inaccurate answers.  If it’s HMRC data, then you might also get some regrettable inaccuracies and omissions and you will miss foreign students and UK students who went abroad after graduation.  There’s also a question about what coverage you get of UK students who don’t take out student loans.  The work is ascribed to Dr Jack Britton from the IFS and there is a recent IFS study that covers similar ground.  Perhaps it’s the same data…the same years…whatever.

What years are they covering?

Search me.

What is the definition of these subjects?

It is hard (for me at least) to work out the coverage of Medicine & Dentistry, Nursing, and All Medicine.  I suppose that All Medicine does not enter into combined, but you never know.  Then you could ask whether Languages is just Modern Foreign Languages, or does it include Classics, Welsh, Irish, Linguistics…and so on…

What students are they covering?

At a guess, it might be UK-based students who have done first degrees at UK universities and who can be followed up.  But then in some subject areas many of them will have done higher degrees and a PhD would probably depress earnings at the 5-year mark.

gradearn

Finally, the figure above is interesting for its inclusion of the Open University, whose students may well be different on entry and retired on exit…

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The value of adjectives

October 31, 2017

adjectives

We apply our previous methodology, using the Indeed site that allows one to search for job postings according to particular keywords in a particular location and gives a summary in terms of numbers and estimated salaries. So we can compare these results for postings containing various adjectives popular in advertising, as shown above.

We see that more than a third of the jobs are exciting and more than a quarter are fantasticStunning and amazing are very close in meaning and in salary too.  Groundbreaking is rare but commands a massive salary premium while innovative is also well paid (but creative may well be a noun in some of these ads).

Lovely is the Cinderella here, both unpopular and ill-paid, as befits a word that belongs to human beings rather than advertising.

 

On disobedience

October 28, 2017

disobedience

Fascist Italian police tired of growing their bellies demand your passport.

The management decide you can take on new staff as consultants rather than employees.

The boss decides you can take on his daughter, just because he says so, and she gets employee rights.

A hotel-keeper demands to see your passport just because she feels like it.

Your new employer sends you some demeaning documentation to fill in after you have conscientiously requested the contract terms before joining in the first place.

So, what to do?

I suppose as ever the things to do are keep calm, run through the options, realise what your objectives are, realise that it is you that you have control over, but first of all do not obey.

Do not obey

They want you to obey now, grieve later–when it’s too late.  But you can ask:

i)  what the requirement is exactly;

ii)  what the justification is;

iii)  for the points above to be put in writing;

iv)  for relevant rules/codes/enactments to be cited.

The demands on skills in logical reasoning and literacy may well be enough to defeat senior management, at least for a time.

Keep calm

If the enemy can reduce this to a direct conflict, they can pull rank and also accuse you of being irrational, irresponsible, unreliable, female…Let them explain why what they want is a good idea–they’re normally keen enough on the sound of their own voices–and help them to become thoroughly enmeshed in a paralysing mass of fabrications and contradictions.

Know your objectives

In a just world, your presentation of the facts should lead the enemy to a full realisation of their unworthiness and hence to death by self-castration.  /in fact, what you can aim at is them whingeing and whining and kind-of forgetting about it with an infantile display of ill-grace.  And that’s the triumph you’re aiming at.

You have control over yourself

Not over them.  Nor are they going to crawl away and die–they got where they are by shamelessness, treachery, bullying, and disregard of all decent principles.  Focus on your objectives.  Make it easy for them to whine and forget by suggesting a way out.  But a record in writing that they cannot wish away is also a good thing.

romans-13-1-2

What they want you to think–but we know better

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That looks interesting too…

October 27, 2017

bathhouse

Some more things to remember not to forget:

The Bathhouse:
http://calderbookshop.com/pagebathhouse.html

Mark Bebbington plays John Ireland:
 https://www.cadoganhall.com/event/royal-philharmonic-orchestra-171101/

Angela Brownridge:
https://www.sjss.org.uk/events/angela-brownridge

Bruckner Symphony No.8:
https://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/whats-on/96422-london-philharmonic-orchestra-bruckner-symphony-no8-2017

On valuing non-financial outcomes

October 25, 2017

We learned some interesting things about valuing outcomes from a talk about a Pro Bono OR project at a community centre in Chester-le-Street, County Durham today:

Equivalent value–the cost of an alternative activity that a beneficiary could have paid for in order to achieve the same outcome.

Contingent value–the self-reported value of an outcome by a beneficiary.

Revealed preference technique–the total cost to a beneficiary of attending an activity, including hidden costs such as childcare, clothing, equipment and travel, even if these things cost the beneficiary nothing.  [Even if no monetary costs fall upon the beneficiary.]

Travel cost method–an implicit method where the beneficiary indicated how far they would travel to obtain the same outcome.  The value is how much it would cost to travel this distance.

National surveys–the Family Resources Survey (FRS) or other national surveys indicate how much familes spend on average for certain activities/outcomes, which can be used as a value for a given outcome.

Agonising death

October 19, 2017

minsk1

My attention was caught by this Belarusian cigarette packet on the streets of South London, probably by the word ‘Minsk’ in Latin script.I suspect that is what the Belarusian consumer would notice too. We also have ‘Superslims’ in English and a customs stamp which makes it all look all right, and then an emaciated photograph resembling an X-ray with ‘Agonising death’  written on it in Russian, which probably also counts as prestigious in Belarus.

minsk2

The other side has ‘agonising death’ in Belarusian and ‘Minsk’ in Cyrillic characters together with ‘Superslims’ once again in English, which is of course were the prestige is. Apart from that, catastrophic warnings tend not to work because the addressee smokes a packet of cigarettes, does not drop dead, in fact feels perfectly OK, and then starts to discount them more and more until it’s too late.

A pretty comprehensive example of ineffective tobacco control I would say–I wonder how much tax they collected from it…

Svetlanivsk

October 18, 2017

stanislaviv

So you may well ask why Ivano-Frankivsk is named after Ivan Franko, who had nothing to do with the place, rather than Svetlana Alexievich, who was born there. Svetlanivsk would be close enough to the original name of Stanislaviv after all.

catherinei

Catherine I in Ekaterinburg

I thought the largest city to be named after a woman for achievements in fields other than getting married and giving birth must be Ekaterinburg (Catherine the Great). But it turns out to be named after the wife of Peter the Great instead…sad, that…

Otherwise for largest cities named after females, there’s Adelaide (whoever she was), Los Angeles (Queen of the Angels, a title of BVM), Chandigarh (Chandi, a goddess).

I suppose if you were to allow Los Angeles, by the same token the largest city named after a man would be São Paulo, or after that Ho Chi Minh City sounds quite convincing.

That looks interesting…

October 17, 2017

giselle

…things I ought to remember not to forget.

Antigone:  https://www.greenwichtheatre.org.uk/events/antigone

Pravda:  http://www.sbf.org.uk/_app/stbridefoundation/preview/theatreshows/pravda

The Slaves of Solitude: https://www.hampsteadtheatre.com/whats-on/2017/the-slaves-of-solitude/

Leningrad Symphony:  https://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/whats-on/96419-london-philharmonic-orchestra-leningrad-symphony-2017

La tragedie de Carmen: https://www.wiltons.org.uk/whatson/358-la-trag-die-de-carmen

Semiramide: http://www.roh.org.uk/productions/semiramide-by-david-alden

Giselle:  http://www.roh.org.uk/productions/giselle-by-peter-wright

Russian State Ballet and Opera House

October 12, 2017

171012rstate

The information on this outfit’s website (as above) leaves us in some doubt as to who exactly they are presenting to the British public. But if you buy a programme you don’t get to find out who is singing on a particular evening but you do learn that as regards the present season they belong to the Astrakhan State Opera and Ballet Theatre, whose repertoire contains a great deal that looks more interesting than Madam Butterfly and Tosca–but then I don’t have to try and make money from it…

171012gastroli

Happy opera company about to go on tour

The site has a photo of the opera company looking undaunted by the prospect of touring the length and breadth of Britain, and also some slightly vague geographical indications:

191012llan

The idea that Crewe is in North-West England is debatable, but putting Llandudno there is really going too far

Anne Applebaum at EBRD, 28 September

September 28, 2017

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Blurred picture of Anne Applebaum and Ed Lucas

Anne Applebaum pursued three main lines in discussing her new book Red Famine: Stalin’s War On Ukraine under the benign oversight of Ed Lucas.

The first was that by sequencing and analysing decisions taken by Stalin in the light of his previous experiences we could be sure that the Holodomor or Great Famine was a deliberate attempt to destroy Ukraine and not just things going badly in agriculture as they were elsewhere in the Soviet Union.  As subsidiary points, it was now possible to establish the number of excess deaths with reasonable accuracy and the closure of Russian archives was not crucially important since it had been possible to sufficiently elucidate Stalin’s decisions.

Her second main theme was a number of historical absences around Holodomor, which had been covered up by the Soviet regime which complaisant Western correspondents, following the lead of Walter Duranty, had also glossed over.  As well as wishing to keep on good terms with the regime for practical purposes of doing his job, he had also not wished to go back his earlier Pulitzer-Prize-winning articles on collectivisation.  This tied in with the ambivalent reaction to Applebaum’s book of historians like Sheila Fitzpatrick who had developed an idea of Stalinism as a different type of modernisation and hence a different type of normal.

With regard to the question of genocide, then the actions of the Soviet Government would fall within the normal understanding of the term but not within the strict legal definition adopted by the UN.