The “farm gate” price of 1kg of opium in Afghanistan is $100 at best. I will do this all in dollars, since the best figures are from the UN drugs control programme 2008 world report. Therefore the 1,260kg of opium captured on this raid, in Afghanistan, is worth somewhere near $126,000, not £50m.
What if it had been converted to heroin? We could be generous and say that heroin is worth $2,000 per kg in Afghanistan. So fine: this would make the army’s (potential) 130kg of heroin worth about $250,000.
That’s still not £50m. Where did this number come from? Perhaps everyone was trying to calculate it by using the wholesale price in the UK, assuming that the Taliban ran the entire operation from “farm gate” to “warehouse in Essex”. This is a stretch of our generosity but we can give it a go: the wholesale price of heroin in the UK has fallen dramatically over the past two decades, from $54,000 per kilo in 1990 to $28,000 in 2006. That would make our 130kg of (potential) heroin worth $3.6m.
We’re still nowhere near £50m. Maybe these people seriously think that every sweaty tyke with missing teeth selling £10 bags is secretly an agent for the Taliban, passing profits on - in full - to Taliban HQ. Even then, UK heroin is $71 per gram at retail prices (down from $157 a gram in 1990), so the value of our 130kg is $9m. Okay, it’s only 30-50% pure, so we’ll be generous: this haul is worth $30m on the streets, or £20m, at absolute best, using individual street level UK retail prices on the gram. That’s not £50m.
After a year of addictive gambling she had lost more than $250,000 (£176,000). She had exhausted her retirement savings and emptied her pension. “I knew I was destroying my life but I just couldn’t stop,” she says. In 2006, Klinestiver was finally taken off her dopamine agonist. Her movement problems came back but the gambling compulsion disappeared. And she isn’t the only one. Medical studies suggest that as many as 13 per cent of patients taking dopamine agonists develop severe gambling compulsions. People with no history of gambling suddenly become addicts. While most of these people will obsess over slot machines, others will become hooked on internet poker or blackjack. They will squander everything they have on bets that are stacked against them.
Montague argues that these dopamine neurons are also a main cause of financial bubbles. When the market keeps going up, people are naturally led to make larger investments in the boom. (This is precisely what happened to me when I bought shares in Cisco and Citibank.) Their greedy brains are convinced that they have solved the stock market, and they forget about the possibility of a loss. But then, just when investors are most convinced that the bubble isn’t a bubble, the bubble bursts. At this point investors race to dump any assets that are declining in value as their neurons realise they have made some expensive prediction errors. That’s when you get a financial panic.
At The Dog&Duck. Orwell and Mozart (?) drank here. Hidden toilet, nice pint of Amstel.
Waiting for Wire to come on. Pancakes and beer at The Water Poet pre-gig.
Prepared for Wire gig at Cargo on Tuesday.
By listening to these again, and the tracks on pinkflag.com. http://twitpic.com/1n3bf
But even with the best efforts, Lovelock fears that the earth’s move to a new warm state, 5-6C hotter than now, is probably inevitable, and that we should be planning to meet that challenge. His starkest warning is that the earth is overpopulated by a factor of about seven. It cannot for much longer maintain both its ecosystem and the supply of food, energy and materials to such a large population. He fears that, whatever we do, climatic catastrophes are going to reduce that population, leaving the rump of humanity living on what he calls “lifeboats” - favourably situated regions in the northern hemisphere. One such is the British Isles.
The whole Stanford set-up reads like an episode of Hustle (I’ve stopped watching). Nick Cohen thinks the money was fake, but either way it was quite a display. Surprisingly there’s not much information about getting custom logos on the rental choppers at PremiAir’s website, but it’s probably quite common to get one done for the day.
Despite its impressive logos, there was no Stanford company helicopter. Nor was there a $20 million jackpot in the treasure chest that the beaming Texan showed off to the world — the “prize money” that he had pledged for the first in a series of Twenty20 matches between his own West Indian Stanford Superstars and England.
The helicopter had been hired for the day and the Stanford logo added by the hire company.
There could have been as little as $100,000 in the box that had been driven into Lord’s in an armoured security van with a phalanx of burly guards.
As new details emerge after Stanford’s alleged $8 billion fraud, the extent of his fakery becomes more obvious. It has left many wondering how a man who once falsely claimed to be related to the founder of Stanford University was able to fool so many people — and persuade the leaders of English cricket to abandon their usually cautious attitude to business and grab at his millions.
It’s a mere detail in Mad Men’s otherwise beautifully evocative world, but the show’s total lack of pipes is, to my mind, an oversight.
That’s Kathryn Flett in The Observer last week. She is wrong. Within the first episode of Series Two you can see Paul Kinsey clutching a pipe (as the placement of the Xerox-maxhine is being discussed). The pipe is clearer on display in S02E02 (series 2, episode 2 - as shown above) as Paul’s going “bohemian”. He smoked a pipe in the first series as well (I am quite sure). Kathryn Flett, you are wrong, there are pipes in Madmen.
I haven’t played much cards lately, but went to the Loose Cannon on Friday for the £20+4 No-Limit Hold’Em thinking it was dealer dealt. It wasn’t; but it served as a useful reminder why I don’t play self-dealt competitions anymore. I guess the average hand took four minutes: endless banter, people chatting and trash-talking, pretending to have hard decisions to make on every street (if you are going to fold, just fold: don’t give us the big talk to explain how good you or your hand is) and not even proper shuffle, cut, deal procedures followed. Doubled up early on when I got a customer for my full house and lasted until the 600-1200 blind levels before heading home. Great venue, but that game is not for me. Back to the International tomorrow then.
I have played a bit in the suck-the-life-out-of-you experience that is small-stakes online poker the last month and have taken a cash-out just to make sure I am in the black online as well.
As of Sunday 21 feb 2009.
- Live Tournaments. Winnings: £585. Entrance fees: £219. Tips: £35. Overall: +£331
- Live Cash. £0
- Online. Cashouts:£103. Deposits: £49. Overall: +£54
- Bottom line: +£385
I ask why dildos are central to his vision of the former prime minister. Is it a way of insulting her? No, he says, not at all. “The dildos just underline the mysterious, deeply buried sexuality that she has and it comes with a whiff of testosterone, not feminine sexiness. They’re about the testosterone she surrounded herself with. She was literally surrounded by cocks. She should have been a feminist icon for the power she had, but she absolutely wasn’t. So you’ve got something that is negative and implying criticism but hopefully the bravura of the piece, the majesty, not to pay myself a compliment, dances with those things.”
Milward is a major talent, and his love for his characters shines through any degrading obstacles he forces them to encounter. When writers are being churned out of creative fiction courses like salmon from fish farms, he possesses that scarcest quality: a highly original and engaging voice. He’s also a novelist of great emotional power and deft skill; the way he transforms the seedy alcoholic lorry driver Alan Blunt, from a character we loathe to one we pity, is virtuoso stuff, delivering an uppercut this reader never saw coming.
World Finance’s 2008 Man of the Year award was bestowed upon Sir Allen Stanford as he clearly stood out when, two years ago, he began cautioning those in the financial services industry that an impending global economic storm was brewing. His ability to lead the Stanford Financial organisation through this current turbulent environment unscathed and his commitment to philanthropic causes in the cities around the world where Stanford conducts business were the deciding factors in selecting him as this year’s award recipient.
Changing to Twitterfon, seems like a nicer client.
Does Vista have the worst ever wireless network/DHCP combo? Keeps dropping off, iPhone works fine from same spot.
Slang used to refer to an “unofficial rule” under which the banking industry once operated, which alludes to it being noncompetitive and simplistic.The 3-6-3 rule describes how bankers would give 3% interest on depositors’ accounts, lend the depositors money at 6% interest and then be playing golf at 3pm.
It really feels that way after seeing Magazine last night. Recently or upcoming we have Simple Minds, ABC, Wire, DAF, Durutti Column (Windsor), Throbbing Gristle, Vic Godard, Ultravox (the wrong lineup, but still considering if I should go), Yellow Magic Orchestra, Grace Jones and probably many more visiting London. I get to pick and choose some 28 years later.
I wish NME, Sounds and Melody Maker made all their archives available online.
If all goes to plan, the Polaroid factory in Enschede, Amsterdam, will soon be making film again thanks to its new owner, an eccentric Austrian artist and businessman named Florian Kaps. Mr Kaps, 39, has dedicated the past five years to instant photography. He set up Polanoid.net, the biggest Polaroid gallery on the web, and the first ever Polaroid-only art gallery in Vienna, called Polanoir.
Yup, that’s the Financial Times talking to Devoto. How times change.