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tallim

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About tallim

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  1. Someone on another forum I read has managed to stitch together this excellent image of Curiosity on Mars. http://i164.photobucket.com/albums/u37/fastfreddy_photos/Curiosity_Panorama3.jpg Link to thread where the image was originally posted by 'FurtiveFreddy' the person who stitched it together: http://www.pistonheads.com/gassing/topic.asp?h=0&f=219&t=1166219&mid=0&i=500&nmt=%27Curiosity%27+-+NASA+Mars+Rover+-+Due+to+land+5th+Aug+2012&mid=0 The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has snapped a couple of photos of Curiosity from orbit, but the highest resolution camera has a pixel size of approximately 30cm square on the surface of Mars, so we're not going to see a lot. Also, just in case anyone is inspired by Curiosity and wants to have their own fun playing around in space, here's a link to a blog of someone who managed to send a webcam transmitting live images into near space 40km in the air using a weather balloon. http://www.daveakerman.com/?p=592
  2. tallim

    UK House prices: News & Views

    I remember saying 5 years ago that if I could ever get a 5 year fixed rate at 3.5% or less then I wouldn't care what the price of the house was. Looks like my metal is about to be tested, my view is a bit different now low interest rates are the norm and I have less of a need to borrow, but still. That is historically stonking value for a 5 year fix if you're borrowing enough for the 1500 product fee to make no real difference.
  3. tallim

    UK House prices: News & Views

    Rent the asset or rent the money. Capital payments are just savings with compound interest. The differences are only introduced when the asset price changes, or the cost of renting the asset or the money are different. In your example using a 5% rate for everything and slightly rounding some figures; 25 year repayment mortgage @1000 per month is purchase price of 171,000. To save 171,000 in 25 years with compound interest you need to save 291 per month. So if you can rent the 171,000 asset for (1000-291) = 709 per month (5% of the asset price) then everything is equal. Now make it real world and everything gets really complex with differing rates and different costs other than just the interest / rent, but basic principle is the same, still looks a bit odd if you imagine it over 25 years, but scale back to 12 months and it's simpler. (Though oddly enough, my current rental almost exactly balanced; renting, mortgage interest and savings interest were all within a shade of 2.9%, I'm facing the downside of that decision right now though as landlord has decided to sell up )
  4. When a high street is doing poorly, the charity shops move in. Why? Because, in the UK, charity shops pay no business rates. If only this exemption was offered to everyone. Business rates force commercial property to be used in an efficient way, this is normally considered a good thing, but we look for more than just efficiency in our town centres. How do you incubate a small retail business if you have to fork out £1000 per month on business rates? It just makes it far too risky, so no-one bothers.
  5. tallim

    UK House prices: News & Views

    A bit worrying for those pushing for an increase in housing supply, who is going to build these extra houses if a cash rich company that controls more than 60,000 building plots has so little appetite to build volume, or foresees such a poor rate of return that they give cash back to shareholders?
  6. Please forgive the waffling post, my thoughts aren't very clear yet. The UK 'housing shortage' has been something I've pondered a lot and I think I'm coming round to the idea that the very high level numbers can indiciate one thing, but the reality on the ground is different. I've proposed before that the fact that we have decreasing household sizes during a period of population growth must mean that we're adding, as a proportion, more housing than people because a smaller household cannot form until there is a physical house to do it in. If house building, as a proportion, really lagged population growth we would by definition see rising household sizes. I still stand by this hypothesis for the high level numbers, but I think the crux of the issue may be that the housing added recently is not equal to the average housing stock of old in size, location or quality. I'm finding it difficult to articulate exactly what I mean, so maybe an example is best: 3000 sqft Geogian townhouse that used to house a single family of 5 is sold and a developer splits it into 4 flats. 3 houses are added in this process, the 4 flats can now easily house 7 or 8 people, we have a falling average household size, but no-one is happy, because who wants to bring up a family in a 750 sqft flat. Now this is an extreme example, there has been plenty of completely new building going on as well, but I wouldn't want to live in many year 2000 onward housing developments if I had a choice, the kind of things that put me off are; lack of off-road parking, 'executive townhouses' that are all corridors and stairs, mixed tenancy social housing provision, being a long way from established town centres, etc... Not to mention that an awful lot of the houses added have been 'executive flats' where your kitchen is in your lounge so you can't cook fish or put the washing machine on in the evening. Maybe what we have is not a housing shortage as defined by the number of front doors, but by sqft or front doors in desirable locations. I've also been thinking a lot about what makes a desirable location and I think for me it's fundamentally about the other people that live in your neighbourhood, whether they care for their own property, respect yours and behave appropriately. You can do all the architectural regeneration you like and build hundreds of community facilities, but if your neighbours still like to argue in the street at 2am or let their dogs crap on your lawn it's not desirable. In the UK, I think it might only be London where regeneration of an existing residential neighbourhood can really happen, I know of nowhere else that every year has an influx of people who are there for no other reason than to work hard and make something of themselves. Without that, all you're left to do is hope that somehow people will clean up their act, but does anyone in the UK really think that the chav class is receding, not growing? Are the majority of empty houses in the UK in crap areas like this that have no hope of regneration because there are always going to be a proportion of idiot families that ruin it for everyone else? http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?q=little+hulton&hl=en&ll=53.522458,-2.426208&spn=0.003463,0.009645&hnear=Little+Hulton,+United+Kingdom&gl=uk&sqi=2&t=h&z=17&layer=c&cbll=53.522565,-2.426144&panoid=gp_jnFf3TC6XYCHKrYWpDg&cbp=12,301.9,,0,-0.2 BTW - I didn't specifically look for this image when writing this post, I came across it yesterday while browsing local auction listings and checking out the areas using google streetview. There are places like this right across the UK in the ex-industrial towns and cities.
  7. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/9091628/Test-tube-hamburgers-to-be-served-this-year.html Sounds intriguing to me, throws up lots of questions though. - Does this mean that the planet could support a greater population as less land is needed to produce a greater amount of food? - Would this product ever be cheap enough to be available to everyone in the world, or just the richest countries? - Would the product be acceptable to vegetarians? Also, a bit of a wild tangent, is this the kind of development that would assist very long distance manned space travel?
  8. I've read that the net CDS position is actually quite low, FTAlphaville have a decent explanation from last October http://ftalphaville.ft.com/blog/2011/10/27/713826/how-gross-and-net-cds-notionals-really-work/ Figures of 75bn euros gross and 4bn euros net. I would expect banks to have been actively reducing this since then, so as long as they are supported to trade through it then the impact should be pretty small. If that's correct and we can almost ignore the CDS position, then we're left with the impact of the pure default, I would also expect that every holder is prepared for this by now and the only real problem is going to be with the Greek Banks who will not have a central bank that can bail them out. They're bust anyway when you move to the new Drachma, so no problem, sell the assets off to new Greek banks in a normal liquidation. Another FT blog article today that describes the actual logistical problems of getting everything resolved before the next tranche of bonds becomes due on 20th March, seems to suggest that we're almost too late to get everything past Parliaments, private sector bondholders, etc... to avoid default anyway. http://blogs.ft.com/brusselsblog/2012/02/more-on-leaked-greek-debt-deal-documents/#axzz1mTBaBwOe
  9. tallim

    UK House prices: News & Views

    Well now Tata owns Jaguar Land Rover maybe we could see a Range Rover Nano. Cheap car with the right badge, like an Aston Martin Cygnet (well, not the cheap bit): http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/motoring/road-tests/aston-martin-cygnet-2373055.html I think we'll have an interesting spring, I have a feeling that there is quite a backlog of supply that people are holding off marketing until the spring bounce period. I've certainly seen new supply dry up in my area and from a couple of conversations with friends and colleagues it appears to be received wisdom that you don't market until March so your house is fresh for the spring bounce buyers.
  10. tallim

    UK House prices: News & Views

    Spotted coming up for auction soon, 6 2-bed flats in a decent area, easy commute to Manchester on the tram. Wood Court, 205 Brooklands Road, Sale Flat 4 65k guide http://www.countrywidepropertyauctions.co.uk/content/Property_Search/Details/2-bedroom-property-for-sale-in-205-Brooklands-Road-M33-rpache-CHL111040-1324402217 Flat 5 70k guide http://www.countrywidepropertyauctions.co.uk/content/Property_Search/Details/2-bedroom-property-for-sale-in-205-Brooklands-Road-M33-rpache-CHL111039-1324473188 Flat 9 75k guide http://www.countrywidepropertyauctions.co.uk/content/Property_Search/Details/2-bedroom-property-for-sale-in-205-Brooklands-Road-M33-rpache-CHL111038-1324402252 Flat 10 65k guide http://www.countrywidepropertyauctions.co.uk/content/Property_Search/Details/2-bedroom-property-for-sale-in-205-Brooklands-Road-M33-rpache-CHL111037-1324402282 Flat 13 70k guide http://www.countrywidepropertyauctions.co.uk/content/Property_Search/Details/2-bedroom-property-for-sale-in-205-Brooklands-Road-M33-rpache-CHL111036-1324402330 Flat 17 70k guide http://www.countrywidepropertyauctions.co.uk/content/Property_Search/Details/2-bedroom-property-for-sale-in-205-Brooklands-Road-M33-rpache-CHL111035-1324402352 All bought on 26/08/2003 for 92k as new about 12-18 months after the development completed. I'd expect them to go for around 20% over guide, so maybe 80 to 90k. One in same apartments failing to sell on open market for 130k. http://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/property-30614384.html 22 July 2010 Initial entry found 10 September 2010 Price changed: from '£145,000' to '£141,950' 28 January 2011 Price changed: from '£141,950' to '£137,500' 01 July 2011 Price changed: from '£137,500' to '£129,500' Last open market sale at 120k http://www.mouseprice.com/house-prices/land-registry/205-brooklands-road-sale?Mode=SP They'll rent all day long with few voids at 600pcm to young couples or sharers, no mention of how much service charges are though, slight potential to become social housing. First sale of this type I've seen in this area of Greater Manchester.
  11. If you're brutal with the interpretation, colonisation and the resources, products and markets this provided was one of the ways that Britain produced wealth for itself, so Walktothewater's point is valid.
  12. tallim

    Stocking up for Doomsday

    The armageddon these guys are preparing for won't be too bad judging by the presence of Fairy dishwasher tablets in the photo. My doomsday plan is to get knifed while trying to defend a mediocre bottle of Shiraz
  13. I agree with you that it should be scrapped, I just thought I'd put some context in there. It would be nice to have a greater number of jobs here as we look to be struggling with a pretty hefty number of non-working adults. Lower labour costs should lead to that, would it also lead to a nice bout of deflation, so the lower wages could support a similar lifestyle? http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/neilobrien1/100124062/why-does-britain-have-more-children-in-workless-households-than-anywhere-else-in-europe-and-what-family-policy-should-we-have/
  14. I thought I did this exercise for this forum, but I can't find the old post, found it saved somewhere else; my analysis of if you can live on minimum wage... ------------------------------ I was wondering if I found myself in a position where I was working Monday to Friday on minimum wage, could I live without relying on the state. I set myself some rules; 5% pension contribution, single, no shared houses, no state help at all (tax credits, etc...), a life, not just surviving. £11,856.00 Annual Gross Income (37.5 hours per week) (£757.64) Income Tax (£450.89) National Insurance (£592.80) 5% Pension Contribution £10,054.67 Annual Net Pay £837.89 Monthly Net Pay Monthly Recurring Costs (Based on Trafford area) (£350.00) Private Rent for 1-Bed Flat (£6.00) Contents Insurance (£64.00) Council Tax (inc. 25% reduction for single person discount) (£20.00) Gas utility bill (£20.00) Electricity utility bill (£20.00) Water utility bill (£12.00) Television Licence (£110.00) Groceries (Based on £3 per day for food, plus £20 for cupboard items, cleaning supplies, toiletries, etc...) (£10.00) Medical (Medicines, Opticians, Dentist, etc...) (£55.00) Monthly Bus Pass (£667.00) TOTAL Monthly Recurring Costs £179.89 Monthly Remainder to choose how to split on; - Savings - Phone & Internet - Household items (furniture, electrical, repairs, etc...) - Clothing - Haircuts - Entertainment - Presents - Holidays ------------------------------ My conclusion was that you could, but it would be tight. In reality at this wage in the UK you qualify for working tax credits offsetting most, if not all, of your taxes. The stupidity is doing it as a rebate, with all the extra admin, rather than just increasing the tax threshold. You'd also likely consider sharing housing to reduce rent, utility and council tax bills, or if young, stay living at home with your parents. Couples have much cheaper living costs when you can share a bedroom. Finally, like many low paid workers, you'd work more than 37.5 hours per week. But, National Minimum Wage is already less than £6.08 for younger workers.. http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Employment/Employees/TheNationalMinimumWage/DG_10027201 Current NMW rates There are different levels of NMW, depending on your age and whether you are an apprentice. The current rates (from 1 October 2011) are: £6.08 - the main rate for workers aged 21 and over £4.98 - the 18-20 rate £3.68 - the 16-17 rate for workers above school leaving age but under 18 £2.60 - the apprentice rate, for apprentices under 19 or 19 or over and in the first year of their apprenticeship
  15. tallim

    UK House prices: News & Views

    I thought you were of the opinion that prolonged inflation would eventually lead to pay catching up and closing the gap quite significantly?
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