Tag Archives | London

Are Differences in IQ to Blame for Income Inequality?

The upper crust knows little about this

Could it be that this prick is making a justification for a slough of elitists? Via The Week

Last week, London Mayor Boris Johnson made a very controversial assertion that differences in IQ levels help explain income inequality. Here are his remarks:

Whatever you may think of the value of IQ tests, it is surely relevant to a conversation about equality that as many as 16 percent of our species have an IQ below 85, while about 2 percent have an IQ above 130. The harder you shake the pack, the easier it will be for some cornflakes to get to the top.

And for one reason or another — boardroom greed or, as I am assured, the natural and god-given talent of boardroom inhabitants — the income gap between the top cornflakes and the bottom cornflakes is getting wider than ever. I stress: I don’t believe that economic equality is possible; indeed, some measure of inequality is essential for the spirit of envy and keeping up with the Joneses that is, like greed, a valuable spur to economic activity.

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My First Big Mistake: Mortuary Assistant

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Simon Winchester shares his humorous story about the time he worked as a mortuary assistant.

via Lapham’s Quarterly

The victim of the first big mistake I ever made was a gentleman to whom I had never been properly introduced (and whose name I still do not know) but who was possessed of three singular qualities: he was alone in a room with me, he was without his trousers, and he was very, very dead.

Some context might be useful. It was the winter of 1962. I was eighteen years old and had taken a year off before going up to Oxford University. I also had a girlfriend far away in Montreal, and in the superheated enthusiasm of my puppy love, I had promised to visit her. The fact that I then lived in London and she three thousand miles away meant that fare money had to be amassed: I had to get a job, and one that paid well enough to allow me to get away to Canada as quickly as possible.

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London Skyscraper Melts Car

20_Fenchurch_street,_April_2013In a story straight from a 20th Century comic, sun rays reflecting off the curved glass of a London skyscraper nicknamed the Walkie Talkie building have melted a parked car. From BBC News:

A new London skyscraper dubbed the “Walkie-Talkie” has been blamed for reflecting light which melted parts of a car parked on a nearby street.

Martin Lindsay parked his Jaguar on Eastcheap, in the City of London, on Thursday afternoon.

When he returned about two hours later, he found parts of his car – including the wing mirror and badge – had melted.

Mr Lindsay said he “could not believe” the damage. The developers have apologised and paid for repairs.

The 37-storey skyscraper at 20 Fenchurch Street, which has been nicknamed the “Walkie-Talkie” because of its shape, is currently under construction.

‘Dangerous’
Mr Lindsay, director of tiling company Moderna Contracts Ltd, said: “I was walking down the road and saw a photographer taking photos and asked, ‘what’s happening?’

“The photographer asked me ‘have you seen that car?

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Reliving The South African Struggle In London

London School of Economics Coat of ArmsLondon: Thomas Wolfe wrote “You Can’t Go Home Again” years ago, and its core truth keeps popping up in my life even as I tend to retrace some of my life journeys, in an endless walk down memory lane.

I am back in London, cold and wet as I remember it, to attend an event honoring those of us who went to South Africa on underground missions at my mid 1960’s alma mater, The London School of Economics and Political Science. I was on political side of he College’s split personality back in 1966-68.

This event marked my real “major” in what the Rolling Stones called “street fighting years:“ imagining world revolution.

Our group of solidarity stalwarts is now called “The London Recruits.” There is now a book out from Merlin Press telling our story in the words of many participants, including myself.

Yes, I was an activist in those pre-journalism years, blamed by some in the then Fleet Street press for sparking the LSE’s student “troubles” that soon morphed into an occupation and dramatic student protest.… Read the rest

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English Atheists Go To Church

Photo: Fin Fahey (CC)

Hey London atheists, did you go to church today? The UK’s first atheist church is now holding services in Islington reports the Islington Gazette:

Stand-up comedians Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans will bring together a godless congregation in the Nave in St Paul’s Road, Canonbury for services – with wedding ceremonies and funerals for non-believers even on the cards.

News of the church, which will meet on the first Sunday of every month starting with a service on the Feast of Epiphany on January 6, comes after the census results revealed last week that nearly one in three residents are atheists.

Mr Jones and Ms Evans, a musical improv comedian who had a BBC Radio 4 show called Showstopper, came up with the idea for The Sunday Assembly after agreeing they liked many aspects of religion but didn’t believe in a god.

“We thought it would be a shame not to enjoy the good stuff about religion, like the sense of community, just because of a theological disagreement,” said Mr Jones, who recently became the first person to sell out the Sydney Opera House by personally selling all tickets by hand.

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Bombing London With Poetry

This past June, the Chilean arts group Los Casagrande dropped more than 100,000 poems, printed on scraps of paper, from a helicopter above central London in a performance titled the Bombing of Poems. They have done the same in Warsaw, Berlin, and Santiago -- all cities which have been bombed during wartime. Local government approved of the Bombing of Poems as a jubilant spectacle anticipating the pomp of the Olympic festivities to come, but the stunt's meaning may be more ambiguous. Was the poetry drop an emergency measure in an era in which funding the arts has been deemed no longer possible, and the metropolis is dominated by finance? Is it a commentary on the blanketing of the city with propaganda?
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Ninjas Attack Talkers & Texters In Movie Theater

Somehow I don’t think this concept is going to play well in Colorado, but apparently in London it’s acceptable. Via SlashFilm:

The Prince Charles Cinema is said to be employing volunteer “ninjas” to regulate good behavior among the audience. The term “ninja” is being used loosely here — they’re really more like glorified ushers in black skintight bodysuits — but whatever you want to call them, it’s certainly an interesting way to keep the peace. More afer the jump.

The so-called ninjas are ordinary cinephiles who agree to “guard” screenings in exchange for free admission. When they spot a patron talking, texting, throwing popcorn, kicking seats, or otherwise engaging in rude behavior, they swoop down to give the jerk in question a talking-to. One of the program’s recent targets, moviegoer Abdul Stagg, recounted his experience:

I normally hate noisy people in cinemas, but I got a call from my friend just as the movie started and thought I could get away with taking it.

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