Gramme for Gramme

Posted: 20th February 2015 by admin in Random ramblings
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What’s the most expensive thing in the world? A few hours of Googling gave a few interesting insights.

Here’s my countdown of the most expensive things money can buy (cost per g) starting with a few things at the cheap end for context and ending in the Top Ten:

Land – 0.0021p per Tonne – I thought this might come a bit higher but apparently land ownership extends all the way to the center of the planet! Who knew?

Tap Water – £1.46 per Tonne – Another surprise water is quite cheap, mainly as a cubic meter weighs a fair bit. (Prices from Anglian water.)

Cadbury Dairy Milk – 0.91p /g

Petrol – 18p /g – Calculated when it was 137.44p /litre.

Ivory – £1.23 /g – Price in Jul/2014 according to the Guardian newspaper.

An iPhone 6 – £6.12 /g – Anyone thinking of getting their next iPhone with an ivory case to bring the price down a bit?

Safron – £7.12 /g

Romanee-Conti Burgundy – £12.17 /g – A “record breaking” HK$12,556,250 for 114 bottles.

Ambergris – £15.8 /g – Aka whale barf; used in perfume making! – man in Morecambe found a 2.7kg lump on a beach which he was offered £43,000 by a dealer. Next time you’re on a beach look out for funny smelling rocks.

Henri Jayer Richebourg; Vintage : 1985 Red wine – £16.16 /g – Roughly the same per ml!

Iranian Beluga Caviar – £22.4 /g

Gold – £24.32 /g – Not even close to the medal for 1st place.

White Truffle – £24.96 /g – Based on sale in July 2014 of a 1.89Kg truffle bought for $73,600!

Platinum – £30.72 /g

Rhino Horn – £35.20 /g – Just thinking what rhinos would look like with gold horns instead. Makes you think how the poachers must see them but and that’s at 2/3 the value.

Methamphetamine – £76.8 /g – Anyone know a good chemist…

Lego Mr Gold – £140 /g – Worth about six times more than if it was made of real gold. Only £1,400 (

1962 Ferrari 250 GTO – £252 /g – Bought at Bonhams acution for $34.65 million weighing just 880kg.

Crack Cocaine – £384 /g – Anyone know a really good chemist…

No. 10) Scarlett Johansson’s Used Tissue – £976 /g – Some ‘fan’ paid $5,300 for this.

No. 9) Plutonium – £2.56k /g

No. 8) Lock of Elvis’ Hair – £96.6k /g – Bought at auction for £115k in 2002.

No. 7) Painite – £192k /g – Most expensive mineral.

No. 6) Moon Rock/Dust – £252k /g – $25 billion on the Apollo space program which bought back 382kg of rock.

No. 5) The Mona Lisa – £554k /g

No. 4) Electricity – £2.5million /g – Assuming I’ve worked this out correctly using the mater-energy equivalency of E=MC^2.

No. 3) Californium 252 – £17.28million /g

No. 2) The British Guiana One-Cent Black on Magenta – £152million /g – Sold for $9.5m and weighing at my guest about 0.06g.

No. 1) Antimater – £640 BILLION /g – You literally can’t touch it!

Honnorable Mentions –

There are 12 bottles of Scotch whiskey on Harrods website for a gnats whisker off £1million. I couldn’t find the weight of the bottles and they had real silver adornments. Sure they would dwarf the wines mentioned even so.

Tiger Penis – At around $1,300 per dried specimen it’s quite pricy and really wanted to include it but unfortunately Google let me down on the average weight of a dried tiger penis! Anyone have that info to hand…

Quite a few prices from this page –…

R.I.P. N.H.S.

Posted: 2nd April 2013 by agentfluffy in Inspired by recent news
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I am saddened by this of course but I’m mostly feeling angry at myself and everyone else who has watched the gentle poisoning of the NHS for the last few years, and hasn’t done anything.

It all started with the ridiculously incompetent private finance idea. However you want to try to spin it, it’s just stupid. Anyone who thinks it’s a good idea hasn’t actually thought about it (or has financial interests in the companies being outsourced to).

All it takes to see it are simple maths and logic.

If both the NHS itself and a PFI are given X £’s to run a service, the PFI spends X minus company profit on the service whereas the NHS spends all of X on the service.  Now basic primary school maths says that X with anything taken away is less than X. So whatever other benefits you try to stack up against the idea there is still and always, unalterably LESS being spent on actual healthcare using PFI or anything similar.

Secondly, and this is what should really worry people and be the death-knell to the whole idea; what should be the top priority of the NHS? – Providing healthcare. Now let’s ask what the top priority is for the people managing PFI’s?? – Making money.

The thought that the people controlling how operating theatres and intensive care wards function are not putting the patient in the bed, right at the top as primary interest should send a cool chill down your spine.

PFI’s are BUSINESSES and by their very nature function to make wealth for the people at the top and only really care about increasing efficiency on the shop-floor to ease the bottom line. If someone has got a scalpel at my insides the last thing I want their managers thinking about is cost cutting and short-cuts (nor for that matter fitting in as many ops as possible to meet a quota).

As I said right at the top I’m upset with myself because I have thought this for many years and not protested against it in any way other than an occasional rant or two. As always ‘the only thing required for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing’. And we have mostly all done nothing.

It is a fact that life moves very quickly and that minute by minute there are many matters needing attention. So when we do find a bit of calm from the storm, we want to stay sheltered and tranquil as long as we can.

Altering the direction or policy of government takes grand, collective and continued pressure; that’s a lot to squeeze into our tiring lives.

It is a massive effort – BUT IT IS THE ONLY WAY.


[Footnote – It is going to be an unpopular notion that I actually understand the actions of the ‘evil’ Tories. Yes, they are acting in their own self interests, making money from the policies they implement but it is no different from the decisions we make every day. The next time you buy a take-away meal, a ‘cute’ objet d’art, a new dress, that latest DVD or any luxury item think how many people you could help with that money. How many homeless could you buy a hot meal. How many refugees you could bring clean water or a needed medicine. How much energy and resources you could save and make available for the rest of the world.

These are selfish acts. They occur on a small scale I hear you say; whereas political decisions make a difference to a huge number of people. Well there is a HUGE amount of money involved swaying the decisions of those politicians. I have never seen a comparison of the relative self benefit of our everyday selfish choices and the big policy choices of politicians, in terms of amount of per person difference that could be made to needy people but I suspect that when our everyday selfish choices add up, it might be an unpleasant revelation.]

Comments Off on Education is THE Answer

It’s that simple really.

The world today is propaganda central. We are constantly bombarded by reasons, arguments and enticement to try to convince us to accept and get on-board with a myriad of agendas; ranging from what to choose for our breakfast cereal to who to elect to who we should believe about the planet’s future.

These organisations are very good at what they do. They have had a lot of practice and have developed a network of ‘experts’ to endorse and verify their assertions. They can quote a lot of facts and figures too.

The sad part is that the ‘free press’ is complicit in the deluge. This is happening in a number of ways: From the huge companies owning media brands to further their agendas, through not wanting to bite the advertising hand that feeds, down to journalists that don’t have the time, knowledge or inclination to do any quality or penetrating rebuttal works.

The ONLY way to cut through the careful wording, half truths, slights of hand and downright bullshit is to have some real knowledge of your own.

I’m lucky enough to have had a good education and moreso a good science education. So I can pick apart some of the nonsense. There are a LOT of people who are not so well equipped. These people get taken for a ride every minute of every day.

The best thing to happen to the world, which is more and more run in the interests of bigger and bigger companies, would be for the general population to be able to see through the distracting downpour of dazzling dung.

The push for this will not come from any government on the planet. Government = politicians and when they are not thinking about keeping companies sweet to keep our flawed economy away from the brink for another month or two, they are thinking with their bank balance. They’ll weigh up how much the People are giving them in the form of their meager government salary and compare that with the promises and enticements from businesses; and it aint even close. Not to mention the fact that an under-educated electorate is easy to swindle, sorry I meant campaign to.

Politicians and by extension governments have no interest in the population being well educated.

I urge anyone reading this to do anything and everything to help educate as many people as possible. Lend your name to any protest to get more education spending from government and share your own knowledge and insights with friends and co-workers or as many people as you can reach. Oh and don’t forget yourself in the all this education.

He’s my contribution: I’m currently reading ‘Bad Science’ by Ben Goldacre, which is basically a users guide to spotting BS in science in the media. It’s brilliant. If you can get a copy, please do. If you can’t, leave a comment on this post and when my funds allow I’ll send you a FREE copy. Seriously.

Comments Off on Journalistic Integrity and Ethics (or the current lack of it)

British journalism is broken. This should be obvious.

Stories nowadays are twisted to elicit the most emotional response,  usually to scare. In the main the news is no longer reported; it is sensationalized! Oh and a story being true, this appears to be an optional extra for some publications.

Also for a long time I have hated the unhealthy obsession there is with the every move (I’m sure if it was allowed to be printed every bowel movement too) and more to the point every slip celebrities make, that has become the mainstay of certain publications.

The most tasteless and bitter example of what is wrong happened in an advert for a ‘Chat’ / ‘OK’ type magazine. There had been what can only be described as a tragic accident: during a family visit to the beach a young child was killed when the person-size hole she had been digging in the sand collapsed on her. (As an aside there was a positive side to the story: many other beach goers rushed to help to dig the girl out.)

The magazine in question had done, what any of this type magazine would have been tripping up over themselves to do, was to pay the family for an exclusive of their story. Now the resulting article was never going to be measured it was only ever going to be hyped to tug at heart strings. And the TV ad that publicised it didn’t stray far from this vein but that was not the worst. The advert, as is customary, was voiced by the usual excitable young female.

What was so appalling was that in the 2nd half of the same advert the mag also publicised the latest insignificant celeb gossip, and the transition between the two topics was SEAMLESS. There was only the slightest change of tone with no respectful pause, no segue-way ( I however doubt that a suitable one could be written but no attempt was made.), no note of sympathy, nothing.

In the same breath, in the same inane tone both stories were publicised with equal weight and import. The truly tragic and the absolutely pointless and irrelevant voiced as one. Simply disgusting.

Now, I’m not naive, so I am well aware that the root of the problem is that people buy this shit. Society as a whole is sick.  This is the sort of thing, where we need protecting from ourselves, that government needs to regulate.

I had some ideas for a basic framework of measures that was needed. It was suggested by my other half that I do some research to see what the actual current regulations are. As the problem has not been fixed by them or by their enforcement, or lack of, I decided that seamed silly.

This is what I came up with (written in the style of a law because that’s what my thoughts were tending towards; a new journalism law) :

Journalistic Integrity and Ethics

Principle – To get rid of all the inaccurate, hurtful and intrusive journalism in the UK; To improve quality and preserve due privacy without harming proper investigative journalism.

Section 1. – Licensing of ‘Journalists’

Part i) – Who needs a licence
Any person or organisation supplying or presenting news or information must me licensed: reporters, ‘editors’, company owners, directors, CEO’s, media companies etc.

This applies not only to journalists working solely within the UK, but to those people who are entering the country from outside the UK even if the finished article will never be published and/or distributed within the UK. (For publications written and published outside the UK but distributed within the UK a license cannot be required of it’s reporters but all other requirements imposed by these regulations on the publishing company shall apply.)

The licence and general regulatory provisions apply to journalists and companies working and/or registered within the UK no matter in what medium the article is being published.

With regard to the internet an article is published in the UK, if it resides on a domain regulated by a UK body(.UK).

A personal blog or social media page author and/or owner would not need to be licensed as long as the blog, site or page is understood to be opinion or fiction only by it’s readers.

It is an offence to work as a ‘Journalist’ or for an organisation to publish a ‘news’ publication without a license.

Part ii) – Obtaining a license
Obtaining a license should only cost a nominal fee that covers the administration and enforcement of such a licence.

The process should involve confirming that you understand the ‘Journalistic Integrity and Ethics’ regulations by signing a witnessed document and swearing an oath to uphold it’s principles.  The witness to the signing and the oath should be a professional person; similar to the requirements to certifying a passport photo except that they cannot know you personally or be a journalist themselves.

The application for a Journalism Licence can be fairly informal; taking place in village halls or similar place as long as a suitable arbitrator is present and all above conditions are met. Oaths can be taken en-mass but signatures must be witnessed one on one.

Applications must be submitted to the regulatory body for the production and distribution of the printed licence. Licence to be much like a new type drivers licence; personal details, with a photograph, address, any organisation being worked for or freelance status.

The same process to be undertaken by a company director on behalf of an organiasation for a company licence. The licence in this case is to be in the form of a certificate which must be then displayed at the company headquarters.

A license is valid for 25 years after which it must be renewed by the repeat of the same process.

Part iii) – Eligibility
Anyone is eligible for a license. A licence cannot be denied for any reason other then the failure to meet the conditions above or ineligibility due to punitive measures (see below). No other criteria is required to be met before the granting of a licence, for example, but not limited to; social status, ethnicity, education, nationality, ability to speak or write English, intelligence or political or religious allegiance.

It is an offence to deny a person a journalism license for any reason other than failing to carry out the above procedure correctly or previous disqualification/ineligibility due to breach of these regulations.

Section 2. – General Rules for ‘Journalists’

Part i) – Accuracy of ‘Articles’
All information reported must at all times be accurate and correct. It is the responsibility of the Journalist to check the accuracy of ‘facts’ that they publish. The burden of proof is incumbent on the journalist to prove their ‘facts’ true not on the subject to prove false. It is an offence to publish any ‘fact’ known or suspected to be false.

Furthermore no information, nor quote, may be taken out of its correct context or paraphrased, abridged or truncated to imply a different meaning or an intention other than that which was originally intended.

Opinions must always be clearly, obviously and in close proximity declared as such. Furthermore any opinion or rumour must have it’s source cited.

Any honest error must be remedied. This at least means ‘publishing’ a full and detailed correction taking up at least as much space, prominence and pre-eminence as the original error; any harm or damage caused by any error must also be remedied and if deemed appropriate financially recompensed.

Part ii) – Impartiality & Objectivity
No ‘news’ publication may have nor promote a political or social agenda. At all times ‘news’ publications must maintain a neutral and objective stance towards political parties.

Part iii) – Measured and Reserved Reporting
Events must never be reported or presented in a way that is likely to sensationalise them or elicit fear or anger. This of course does not mean that emotive events should not be reported, but that ‘News’ ‘publications’ should report the cold hard facts as un-emotionally as possible.

Section 3. – Respect for Personal Privacy, Generally and in Relation to Celebrity

Part i) – Right to Personal Privacy
Every human being has the right to personal privacy. No factor, other than those listed in Part ii and Part iii of this section, can negate this right especially but not limited to: social status, sexuality, ethnicity, education, nationality, intelligence, political or religious allegiance or current location.

It is an offence to breach the right to Personal Privacy.

Part ii) – Waiving the Right to Personal Privacy
A person may wave their right to personal privacy at their own digressions to whatever extent or limit they desire. Publications using information under a personal waive must keep proof of the permission to do so.

An agreement to waive personal privacy is always relating to a specific occurrence and is not a permanent licence to invade private lives.

A breach of personal privacy that results even in just embarrassment shall be treated very seriously and result in strong penalties.

Part iii) – National & Public Interest
The only other occasion when Personal Privacy may be discounted is for purposes of national or Public Interest.

Public Interest means events or activity likely to affect a large proportion of the population. A large proportion my be taken in context of a large proportion of a community, town, village or county.

Things likely to be of Public Interest:
– the uncovering of dishonesty or falsehood when within the public sphere,
– criminal activity,
– a person setting themselves up to be an role model, an ambassador for a cause or as an authority may be discussed insofar as their qualifications, or any previous act that would render them unsuitable or would have them disqualified for holding a post or position,
– professional/business activity of an individual in context of their actions within a company or organisation or business activity whilst working as a sole trader or self employed,
– activity of an individual in context of their actions within a government department or organisation,
– any act or activity that happens ‘in public’ may also be reported

Section 4. – With Respect to ‘Freedom of Speech’

These rules are not intended to stop freedom of speech; nor do they make any provisions prohibiting the free expression of an individuals opinions. Any individual or company can exercise their free speech in whatever form they decide as long as it is NOT in any news publication they control.

What they are designed to do is make sure that organisations or individuals that set themselves up as sources of news or information are accountable for what they report.

Section 5. – With Respect to ‘Freedom of the Press’

These rules are not intended to put an end to the freedom of the press. In contrast by this act it is also intended to remind the press in the strongest language of their responsibility to investigate and uncover serious matters of public interest and move away from their current pointless obsessive schadenfreude of celebrity embarrassment.

Section 6. – Enforcement, Control and Punishment

Any breach in these regulations can, on the sole judgement of the regulator, result in the revocation of a licence. A person who loses their licence must immediately stop all journalistic writing or editing and may no longer own or hold shares or hold any position of authority with a  journalistic organisation. Similarly any organisation that loses its licence must cease publication or production of any ‘news’ publication.

The maximum penalties for any offence defined under this act can be either or both of: up to the maximum penalty for an offence of perjury or a fine of up to one years income, not profit, of the person or organisation respectively that committed the offence.

It Works Both Ways

Posted: 3rd December 2011 by agentfluffy in Random ramblings, The way things should be
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Having random weekend musings:

Everyone presumably knows that there is a burden of responsibility enforced on employees not to do anything, at any time whether at work or not, that could reflect badly on the employer. People can be disciplined and dismissed for things done on their own time.

Just pondering that in the interest of fairness and reciprocation there should logically be a similar onus on the employer. If the company you work for does something unethical, no matter if you were not involved, doesn’t that tarnish your personal reputation? “Oh him he worked for ‘THAT’ company!!!”

Just thinking if anyone has ever tried to sue an employer, or if it would even be possible. Imagine if you were a senior manager and left ‘THAT evil company’; could the association with your former employer damage you chances of reemployment? At the least you might not get as higher position or as good a salary. Could you therefore sure your ex-employer for loss of future earnings??

If you can’t I think that it SHOULD BE possible as most principles work both ways. If it’s fair for you to ask me to do X it must be fair for me to ask you to do it too.


Comments Off on “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”

I believe that the decision by the judges to hold a closed trial for Anders Breivik is flawed. And not just because it is anathema to the basic principle of free speech.

Firstly and foremost I think families of those killed, the country as a whole and to a lesser extent the rest of the world need to know WHY he did what he did. To try to make some sense of it, to understand and be able to come to terms with the horrific act.

And coming a close 2nd is that I want the real effect of most acts of terrorism to be true for this one too. This effect is not the forcing of the terrorists agenda but the exact opposite. Every single act of terrorism only serves to reinforce opposition to the perpetrators group and beliefs. I want to know why Anders Breivik committed such violent acts and if others think as he does. I want the world to know. I want the world to be appalled at them and to be opposed.



Comments Off on Start Off Light

I would perhaps have liked to start my blog with a moderately less controversial topic but the time of my first impulse to post has coincided with a story in the news.  This news story. Which IMO falls into the category of someone getting into trouble for saying something fairly obviously correct but about a sensitive subject which is frequently also an uncomfortable truth. Anyway to the point. During an interview the UK Justice Secretary, Kenneth Clarke, said there were different levels of seriousness of rape. Storm in a teacup media frenzy ensues.

Now, as this is my first post and we don’t know each other yet, let’s get the blindingly obvious ‘that goes without saying’ said and done; any rape is a very serious and appalling crime.

It is evident with a small amount of thought that a woman being dragged into an alley by six guys with knives and being savagely attacked is different from so-called ‘date rape’ and different from rape within a dysfunctional relationship. Or indeed a premeditated rape is different from a rape of passion/base instinct during an alcoholic haze. All rape all serious but it is sometimes more serious than others and to progress logically, more serious crimes merit more serious punishments. Or to state that the other way round less serious crimes deserve less serious punishments. Surely that’s self-evident?

Nowadays there is a tendency for people to see thing as black and white, (not a new thing but with technology and science having specific mathematically correct and unambiguous answers and properties it has intensified) whereas nature has no straight lines or hard edges.