Tuesday 18 September 2007

Libraries rock

There are very few authors whose books I want to read as soon as they come out, but for William Gibson I make an exception. His new book Spook Country came out two weeks ago, but seeing as I have around 15 books sitting by the side of my bed waiting to be read, I decided not to buy the hardback and decided to just wait for the paperback to come out.

Meagan, my wife, made the very sensible suggestion to ask at the local library. Having read about the financial pressures on local libraries, I thought the chances of actually getting it were fairly slim, what with all the copies of Harry Potter they've probably had to buy.

Therefore I was very pleasantly surprised when Meagan came home with the hardback which I'll be reading over the next couple of days.

This may sound like a conspiracy theory...

While the city fund managers had every right to feel very jittery about Northern Rock this week, it seem just a little strange that the Bradford and Bingley and the Alliance and Leicester had sharp drops in the share price.

The business sections of the broadsheet papers have been pointing out over the last year that the Northern Rock mortgage book was full of buy to let and sub prime mortgages and therefore the most vulnerable.

However while there has been some discussion on the smaller banks abilities to withstand a downturn in the economy, I don't think anyone expected to see such a dumping of these stocks and at such a rate.

Call me cynical, but is it just possible that some people in the city with sizable cash reserves stirred up the hysteria to see the price drop and then dived in at the last minute knowing that they could make a killing.

Admittedly you need balls of steel to carry this out, but the really smart money would have avoided Northern Rock like the plague as it was just too risky and concentrated on a softer target such as the A&L

Monday 17 September 2007

Now that's what I call asking the customer

The Guardian reports that the co-op is planning to ask all of its members and customers about their green and ethical policies.

Worth reading for the comments from the head of co-op about the fact that growing roses in Holland generates six times as much co2 than in Kenya due to amount of heating and lighting used.

I don't know whether this is true or not but it is good to see a company that has the guts to take such a bold step, especially if they are planning to publish the results as a benchmark.

At long last... the truth about Iraq

From todays Guardian, Alan Greenspan the former head of the US federal reserve admits that the war in the Iraq may have been over oil after all....

In the book Mr Greenspan writes: "Whatever their publicised angst over Saddam Hussain's 'weapons of mass destruction', American and British authorities were also concerned about violence in the area that harbours a resource indispensable for the functioning of the world economy. I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil."

OK, so it taken nearly 4 years to be honest and come out and say what the rest of us have known for ages, but I like this new spirit of honesty. Next, we might even George admitting that he didn't really win his first election and that he'd like to say sorry to AL