Support these foolish people

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I don’t often ask much of my friends. I’m fairly low maintenance really. Stand your round and putting up with my being a tosser from time to time is normally as hard as it gets. So when I do ask for something, I really hope you realise it’s worth paying attention to. Especially when I’m asking for someone else…

I would really love it if you could support (financially and emotionally and by sharing this video) my good friend Sam, who this weekend is part of a team of six doing The Three Peaks Challenge in aid of The Stable Family Home Trust*. The challenge is to climb the three highest peaks in each of the UK countries in a 24 hour period. This will kick off at 10pm on Saturday at Ben Nevis, before tackling Scafell Pike and finishing at Snowdon.

Shitty UK weather for 15/6/13

To make things harder, the weekend they’ve picked looks like the kind of weather that has sane people inside with a log fire, not climbing a mountain in pissing down rain in the middle of the night.

Quite frankly, there is not enough Kendal Mint Cake in the world to make me do what they’re doing!

Every penny raised will go direct to the service users of the charity. The entire cost of the challenge has been covered by generous local businesses. The charity will not use any funds raised for administrative costs; these donations will be ringfenced to enable the charity to enrich the quality of life and lifestyle of the people the charity cares for.

A talented friend of the charity has made this amazing video to spur them on. I loved it – it’s very very clever and well executed. Please do go watch it and then donate!

3 Peaks Challenge SFHT team

* The Stable Family Home Trust supports people with a learning disability to lead ordinary lives with some extraordinary moments. The charity provides a range of support services including residential care, day services and domiciliary support and a wealth of opportunities and activities for individuals. They believe that anyone can do and achieve anything as long as they have the right support.


Necessarily annoyed

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Is the idiomatic grammatical battlefield for ‘literally’ now metaphorically as dead as a dodo? Are syntax pedants mixing metaphors by picking battles on a sinking ship? Should we make like a cowboy and change simile horses mid-stream?

What is the next problem area?

I propose, following a particularly linguistically frustrating meeting, that it is very important to me that people stop abusing the word necessary.

Necessity is logically the statement that something cannot fail to be true; it is always the case in all possible worlds, or it is a statement that is required for something else to be true.

It is necessary that 2+2=4. It is necessary that for whole numbers greater than 2, even numbers cannot be prime. It is necessary that all humans are mammals.

It is not, I assert therefore, necessary that I perform a task for someone by their arbitrary deadline.

Nor is it necessary that this given person take that task and forcibly place it in a darkened personal space.

What is annoying you today, fellow pedant?

What is wealth?


My good buddy Michael Story posted the following tweet this morning:

World Income Inequality: The poorest 5% of Americans are richer than the richest 5% of Indians…

— Michael W Story (@MWStory) June 6, 2013

Which started a little debate as to what ‘wealth’ means.

Which of these following 4 people do you think is the ‘wealthiest’?

a)      A person who earns £100k per year but due to circumstances has no outgoings. They pay no tax, no mortgage or rent. Their food is paid for. Every penny of gross income is disposable income.

b)      A person who earns £100k per year but due to circumstances has (reasonably) unavoidable outgoings in excess of £100k per year. Their net income is below zero.

c)       A person who has no income but has gross assets worth £1m. They have liabilities (debts etc) in excess of £1m. They must generate income from or divest themselves of assets in order to live including servicing liabilities.

d)      A person who has no income but has gross assets worth £1m. The assets are entirely unencumbered. They have no liabilities. They must generate income from or divest themselves of assets in order to live.

Many articles, including the one linked in the tweet above treat gross income as synonymous with wealth.

They are not.

Wealth is a measure of net assets, not of gross income. To conflate the two is pure hyperbole. Just because one has a high paying job or living in a big house does not make one wealthy.