Alpine

(no subject)

Work is busy. Life is busy. I seem to be stuck with a semi-permanent shortage of time. I'm slowly getting irritated with the constant need to sprint to keep up with what I feel the need to get done. Yes, I know that I could resolve this by redefining the things that I need to get done. But the things I want to get done are fun and exciting and useful. Well, not necessarily all of those, but usually some combination. Maybe I'll just get used to sprinting instead.

Matters are not helped by the current constraint on space in my abode. The solution to this, as many people have pointed out, is simple - get a better abode. I somehow get the feeling that this is not going to increase my free time.

If we're completely honest about it, spending time writing this post isn't going to help with my free time either. (I was tempted to use the phrase 'crafting this post', but I'm blatantly failing to put sufficient effort in to claim that it is in any way crafted.) Ah, the joys of procrastination.

Enough of procrastination. Onwards!
Alpine

(no subject)

The European Court says that it's illegal to charge women different insurance rates from men, and to pay them lower pensions because they tend to live longer: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-12606610

The result of this will be that the consumer is generally worse off, due to something known as selection. Essentially, people select things which are financially advantageous to them, and you have to take that into account when setting prices. Let us consider an example:

Mr Cough has a severe illness and does not have long to live. Mr Pure is perfectly healthy and expects to live for a very long time. They are otherwise identical. The insurance company knows about the medical conditions of these two people, and will offer Mr Pure a much lower premium for his life insurance.

Now suppose that the life insurance company is not allowed to discriminate on the basis of medical conditions, and has to offer both of them the same terms. Naively, you might think that the premium would be halfway between the previous premiums for Mr Cough and Mr Pure.

If this were the case, Mr Cough would look at the premium and pounce on it - it's definitely good value for him. Mr Pure, on the other hand, would decide that it was a waste of money and not take it. The insurance company would end up insuring Mr Cough at an unprofitable rate. To ensure profitability, the insurance company has to assume that Mr Pure will not insure himself, and set the premium at a level where insuring Mr Cough is profitable (i.e. the rate which they previously had for Mr Cough).


As a result of this ruling, I would expect the tendency to be for young female drivers to self-insure (take the legal minimum of third party, fire and theft, and arrange for themselves / parents to foot the bill if they have an accident) and for males to make retirement provisions in ways other than buying annuities. The insurance prices for young males and female annuities might change a little, but generally I'd expect them to remain the same. As I said above, everyone will be worse off.
Alpine

Referendum on UK voting systems

There is going to be a vote on what nine people will do this evening. Three want to go kick-boxing. The remaining six definitely don't want to go kick-boxing. Two want to watch a film, two want to go to play boardgames, and two want to bake a cake.

Absent tactical voting, under FPTP, all nine will be going kickboxing. With tactical voting, it depends on whether they can guess how the others will tactically vote, but kick-boxing remains a viable option

Under AV, they'll end up with something that is more acceptable to the majority without having to play stupid guessing games.

That's why I support AV compared to FPTP.
Alpine

(no subject)

I've not read many new books in the past year or so; largely I've been revisiting the comfortable backwaters of volumes previously consumed. Recently however there have been a couple of books which did the literary equivalent of mugging me in a back alley, grabbing my attention and rivetting it the discovery of what happened next, leading me through fascinating lands and depositing me comfortably at the far end with a burning desire to know what happens in the next volume. Which in neither case are available, not having been published yet. These books are "The Name of the Wind" by Patrick Rothfuss and "The Way of Kings" by Brandon Sanderson. And they are both recommended.
Alpine

(no subject)

Not dead yet, just relatively busy; over the last weeks it feels as if I've been trying to keep one more ball in the air than I can reliably juggle. I'll be hugely relieved when I can put the unwieldy moving house ball down and can cease having it's erratic movements pulling me in all directions, and while the busy weekend balls are glittering with exciting distraction, an empty weekend in which I can catch breath will also be most welcome. But in the mean time, nothing seems to have fallen and broken just yet, so I'm going to keep on juggling.


Whilst on the subject of busy weekends, this last weekend was notionally, rather than actually busy; very much a recuperative affair. The Veitzla was it's usual fun self, with the 'feat of strength' challenge producing a somewhat more physical response than the typical array of half poetry, and the aftermath happily devolving into games playing. The Summerthing was likewise good, with ideal punting weather taking the place of the forecast scattered showers. Playtesting on Friday and Saturday led to the usual mix of the good (Pirate and Bunte Gegend), the bad (Bazaar, annoyingly after I'd spent far to much time creating the pieces, damnit) and the ugly (Create a Card Game, while it's usually fun self is still amusingly weird). Then heading home for a Sunday cycle ride with pub lunch. All pleasantly recuperating. Even if I didn't do as much moving house today as I wanted to get done. Tomorrow, I suppose, is a proverbial nother day.
Alpine

(no subject)

As previously posted, I'll be holding a board games[1] day on Saturday 15th May. In departure from previous such days, however, I will be holding at my girlfriend's[2] house in Slough. Directions, as always, are available on request, and are probably a bit more necessary than previously unless you've been audaciously stalking me.

(I don't think I'll theme this one; the games available will, in any case, depend largely on what I've been able to bring over prior to that point.)

The event is from middayish to late, although you're welcome to arrive earlier or stay later if you give me some advanced warning[3] . Indeed, RSVPs in general are encouraged so I know whom to expect for catering purposes.

The number of people turning up has been on the low side for the last couple of events, which suggests to me either (a) that everyone hates me secretly, or that (b) I've been holding them a bit too frequently. As a result, and because my weekends seem to be pretty busy for the next few months, the next games day will be a bit later than usual on the 24th July. The one afterwards will probably be on the 18th September. Be there, or be elsewhere :)

[1] Such as Settlers, Carcassonne, Age of Steam, etc. If you don't possess many or indeed any such games, don't worry as I have a sizeable collection. Enough that I make up silly themes to guide choices, although people wishing to ignore the theme entirely are welcome to do so.
[2] You didn't know I had a girlfriend? Well, it came as a bit of a surprise to me, too. She's called Caroline and is very nice.
[3] You'll still be welcome without advanced notice, but you may find me a mite less prepared.
Alpine

Springtime for board games!

Spring has sprung (despite winter attempting last gasp freezes in the morning). As such, I'm holding a board games[1] day on Saturday 20th March, and symbolising new growth by themeing it about prototypes.

The event is from middayish to late, in my house in Windsor[2]. You're welcome to arrive earlier or stay later if you give me some advanced warning[3] . Indeed, RSVPs in general are encouraged so I know whom to expect for catering purposes.

For those of you who plan further in advance, and so are unable to make this because of clashes, the next games event will be on the 15th May. Put it your diary now ;).

[1] Such as Settlers, Carcassonne, Age of Steam, etc. If you don't possess many or indeed any such games, don't worry as I have a sizeable collection. Enough that I make up silly themes to guide choices, although people wishing to ignore the theme entirely are welcome to do so.
[2] Directions to my house available on request. Or, if you're feeling shy, in previous posts. Directions to Windsor available on any good UK map.
[3] You'll still be welcome without advanced notice, but you may find me a mite less prepared.