The Anonymous Widower

Co-op Bank Debt Is Rated Junk

This report, says that the Co-op Bank‘s debt isn’t very highly rated.

I wouldn’t know whether it is going bust or not, but because of its political leanings and links to the Labour Party, I bet that management of the bank, wish that George Osborne wasn’t Chancellor.

What I find strange about the bank, is that why some of my left-leaning friends, who support Labour, bank with other banks, like Lloyds, Barclays or HSBC.

May 10, 2013 Posted by | Finance, News | , , , | Leave a comment

Is Sir Howard Going To Recommend A Second Runway At Gatwick?

This report in the Standard speculates that Sir Howard Davies report on London airports might be recommending a second runway at Gatwick.

I think this could be a sensible solution, to providing more runway capacity in the South East of England.

I said in this post, that Gatwick’s second runway, if it is built, should be North South.  Here’s what I said.

I used to fly a lot and was an avid reader of Flight International. Years ago, an airline pilot proposed building a second runway at Gatwick, by building over the M23 and putting that in a tunnel underneath. The runway would have been North-South, which is an unusual direction for the UK, but would only have been used for take-off in a southerly direction.

He had a point and it shows how if you think radically, you may come up with better solutions.

I still think that this North-South proposal should be seriously examined.

Gatwick also has good rail links to London.  My only questions are, are the links as good as they can be and are doing enough to make Farringdon a proper hub with restaurants, hotels and offices? I mused on the latter here!

We need some radical thinking to link the major airports together and also to the Channel Tunnel and HS2.

May 10, 2013 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 1 Comment

The Man In The White Suit

This film is on BBC2 tomorrow.  The BBC has labelled it as B/W.  surely, it’s mainly white!

May 10, 2013 Posted by | World | , | Leave a comment

Boris Gets Everywhere

Boris Johnson is to open a new Wrightbus factory to make chassis for the New Bus for London. This is a paragraph in the report.

Each bus costs around £354,500 and has an estimated lifespan of 14 years.

I don’t have any doubts on the cost, as that is probably an official or contractual figure.

It’s the fourteen years, that I think is wrong. Just look at some of the trains we have in this country. Take the Class 455 that works out of Waterloo to the south west of London. They were built in the early 1980s and Wikipedia has this paragraph about a recent refurbishment. Included is this sentence.

This refurbishment was so comprehensive that many passengers thought the refurbished units were new trains.

Who’s to say that in five years time or so, that New Buses for London will be refurbished and will continue to serve for many more years. London Underground used to do this type of operation with old-style Routemasters at Aldenham Works.

If you look at the design of the New Bus for London, it is very much a series of modules and components bolted together with a small diesel and the other motive power components distributed around the bus. For example, the battery is under front staircase and the electric motors in the rear wheel hubs. All of this makes continuous refurbishment and improvement a realisable prospect. In fact, I read somewhere recently, that LT1, the first New Bus for London, is off the road at the moment, as it is being upgraded to production standard.  I must admit, I haven’t seen it lately, but I only note the numbers, when I pass one and I generally only do that a couple of times a day at a maximum.

I wouldn’t be surprised if these buses outlive me.

May 10, 2013 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

100,000 Downloads And Still Counting

The 3D-printable gun has now been downloaded over a hundred thousand times according to this report on the BBC. Here’s part of the report.

Californian senator Leland Yee said he wanted a law passed to stop the manufacture of 3D-printed guns.

“I plan to introduce legislation that will ensure public safety and stop the manufacturing of guns that are invisible to metal detectors and that can be easily made without a background check,” he said in a statement.

According to Defense Distributed, most of the 100,000 downloads have been in the US, followed by Spain, Brazil, Germany and the UK.

The blueprint has also been uploaded to file-sharing site the Pirate Bay, where it has become the most popular file in the site’s 3D-printing category.

Calls to make such a gun illegal and stop the downloading, will fall on deaf ears. After all to create an illegal gun factory, all you need is a few thousand pounds or dollars to buy a quality 3D printer. Many aspire to have a weapon for personal protection or to settle scores with rivals or neighbours.

This gun is still crude and what worries me is not this gun, but the follow on designs, that will be possible as 3D printing gets more affordable and a lot better.

How long will it be before a crime is committed using a gun, that has been downloaded from the Internet and printed?

May 10, 2013 Posted by | Computing, News | , , , | Leave a comment

Now That Is A Bank Raid!

There are reports from the United States about what must rank as the world’s biggest bank robbery.  The story is on France24 here. Here’s the opening paragraph.

Cyber thieves around the world stole $45 million by hacking into debit card companies, lifting withdrawal limits, and helping themselves from cash machines, US authorities said Thursday.

It just shows how you should carefully monitor your bank account.

I think it also shows, that your money is probably safer in an account or securities, where it is working hard. After all, suppose you have money in a deposit account, in the same bank account, as your main current account, a crooked bank employee could perhaps hack your account, move the money to your current account and get his friends to withdraw it from cash machines with forged bank cards. It may seem to be an unlikely scenario, but when the truth comes out from this mega-robbery, it might be only one step away from a scenario the banks believe can’t happen.

A bank is only as secure as its weakest link. As we’ve seen over the last few years, they have found a few of those.  But how many more are there?

May 10, 2013 Posted by | Finance, News | , | Leave a comment