2016 — 11 October: Tuesday

I'm not sure why the prospect of metamorphosing into a State "Old Age" pensioner1 at the end of this week leaves me quite so cheerful. Oh, wait, yes I am! Having heard the BBC radio "Money Box" items on the baroque complexity (apparently) of the rules and conditions for topping up the amount of your pension (by making extra National Insurance contributions, basically) I am indeed already "topped up" to the max. And the further little mite they have added on from part of Christa's State Pension is just extra gravy on my particular slice of the national cake...

That could have been paid to me for the last nine years were it not for the fact that it's taken me that long to reach State Pension age. Though I recall that some part of their "system" was perfectly happy to carry on taxing me on the basis of my "State Pension" for two years after the one year I received of "Bereavement Allowance" in my first year as a widower. I only found out that was what was going on when out of the blue I received a Tax statement showing this "State Pension" which even I realised was then not something I was yet entitled to.

Roll on...

... Winter Fuel Allowance! Last year that went back up to £200 on the basis that my dead mother was no longer living with me at this address. (Not that she ever had been.)

I repaired...

... BlackBeast's own /etc/fstab entries yesterday, reverting it from Samba to NFS, and have confirmed this morning (in a separate experiment) that it happily wakes up and commences web-serving duty (from the NAS, now) without any intervention2 on my part.

I shall wrap myself around some breakfast and then I'm off for a little stroll in the fresh air. Gotta dash; woke up rather late this morning. (It's a nice, sunny one, too.)

The surreal debates...

... across the Pond are almost beyond satire:

Trump description

It clearly takes...

... a top-quality professional at the head of "HR" to re-state the bleedin' obvious sometimes:

This report ((available here)) shows clearly how the huge increase in the supply of graduates over the last 35 years has resulted in more and more occupations and professions being colonised by people with degrees, regardless of whether they actually need them to do the job...

Peter Cheese, quoted in Grauniad

Quite how guvmint ministers are supposed to "improve the quality of careers advice" baffles me, but then I'm just a bear of little brain.

The dubious benefits...

... of ever-increasing automation:

Beyond the degradation of basic skills of people who may once have been competent pilots, the fourth-generation jets have enabled people who probably never had the skills to begin with and should not have been in the cockpit. As a result, the mental makeup of airline pilots has changed.

William Langewiesche in Vanity Fair

Probably not what you want to hear while sitting in the take-off queue at Heathrow.

I've been a fan...

... of Colin Wilson for quite a long time. (I read "Strange Powers" back in the mid-1970s, and still have his "The War Against Sleep" from the early 1980s.) I also very much enjoyed his 2004 autobiography.

To save eyestrain, you can click this pic...

Colin Wilson biography

... to read Philip Pullman's opinion of this new biography by another fan.

If only this were funny...

James O'Brien is good to hear. Transcript:

James said it was remarkable that those who wanted to leave are claiming that people who wanted to stay are at fault for the difficulties in the economy.
Speaking on his LBC show, he said: "You've got two people describing the future. One of them says it's going to be bad, one of them says it isn't."
"And then it is bad and the one who said it wouldn't be bad blames it on the one who said it would be bad. This is what talking the country down means or talking the pound down."
"Absolutely remarkable."

James O'Brien on LBC (radio)


It's all very well having a nice view of the moon in a cloudless sky this evening but, having just nipped out to pop my last can into the green bin, it's jolly cold out there.


1  Doubtless there's some ghastly New Age Post-Modern euphemism for that status by now.
2  Just as well, because I also confirmed yesterday that unless BlackBeast's DisplayPort connection to the 34" Dell is selected when I switch on BB then the usual DP Display of Death/Sleep is at work by the time I use NoMachine from Skylark (or the i5NUC) to kick off a Remote Desktop session. This leaves me in that rather grim VGA resolution virtual display screen of little use to me.