Getting A Handle On A lot Of Energy

The Feedback page in the 26 June 2021 edition of New Scientist mentions a quote from oceanographer Gregory Johnson, who described the increase in Earth’s heat imbalance from 2005 to 2019.

The heat imbalance is the difference between what the Earth receives from the Sun and what is lost to space.

Johnson said that difference over that period was the energy equivalent of four detonations per second of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, or every person on Earth using 20 electric tea kettles at once.

The Cost Of The Triple Lock On Pensions

In The Week of 17 July 2021

‘To govern is to choose,’ said the London Evening Standard. And a key choice confronting ministers today is whether or not to risk alienating older voters by ending the triple lock on pensions. This is the policy that guarantees that the state pension rises each year by whichever is the highest out of average earnings, the inflation rate or 2.5%. The policy was introduced by David Cameron in 2010, and the Tories promised in their last election manifesto to maintain it. But the pandemic has complicated things.

Although earnings suffered a freak reduction and inflation rose by just 1% last year, pensions still grew by 2.5%. This year, the unwinding of the furlough scheme is expected to lead to a freak 8% increase In earnings, which – under the terms of the triple lock – means pensions would have to rise by the same, at a cost to the Exchequer of £3bn.

Critics claim this would be an outrageous gift to the relatively well-off elderly, said Andrew Fisher in The i Paper, but you have to put it in context.

In national spending terms, £3bn isn’t all that much: the 2021 Budget unveiled £25bn in corporate tax breaks over the next two years. And the UK has one of the least generous state pensions in Europe. It amounts to £137.60 per week for those who reached State Pension Age (SPA) before 6 6 April 2016, and £179.60 for those who reach SPA after that date. By comparison, single pensioners get £254 a week in the Netherlands and £366 in Denmark.

As for the idea that it is inter-generationally unfair, that’s nonsense. Young people are going to be even more reliant on state pensions than today’s pensioners, who are more likely to have worked in unionised workplaces with collectively negotiated pension provisions. They should be ‘fighting hard to defend the triple lock it will be the bedrock of their retirement’.

I doubt indebted students and those on universal credit who are about to lose their £20 a week Covid top-up would see an 8% pensions hike in those terms, said Will Hutton in The Observer. For them, it would just look like another undeserved bonus for the baby boomers. Chancellor Rishi Sunak “can read the runes, and he also needs that £3bn”. The signs are that he’ll water down the triple lock commitment by fixing it to a longer-term average of wage growth.

He needs to do something, said Chris Whiteside on Conservative Home. “It isn’t sustainable to permanently guarantee any section of society a relative income which can never get worse but can and ultimately will keep improving.” The triple lock initially made sense as a way of helping pensions catch up with wages. But the correction has gone far enough.

COVID Deaths

Then in the Letters To The Editor section is reported a letter to The Daily Telegraph on the subject of funding the triple lock

Your report on the pensions triple lock says that £3bn will be needed if pensions are to increase by 8.5%. Last year, it was reported that all the pensioner deaths would save the Government £3bn in unpaid pensions. Does one not equal the other? / Gerry Price, Granby, Nottinghamshire

Aspirin Linked To Cancer Survival

Reported in The Week, 17 July 2021:

Taking aspirin alongside conventional treatments may reduce the risk of cancer patients dying by 20%, a new analysis has found. The researchers, at Cardiff University, also found that the painkiller appeared to reduce the risk of the cancer spreading within the body.

Their review covered 118 earlier studies, involving patients with 18 different cancers. The 250,000 patients who’d reported taking aspirin (as a supplement to other treatments) had a 20% reduced mortality rate.

“There is now a considerable body of evidence to suggest a significant reduction in mortality in patients who take aspirin, said lead author Professor Peter Elwood.

Gun Deaths USA

Reported in The Week 17 July 2021

Chicago, Illinois

Gun violence: The mayor of Chicago, Lori Lightfoot, has pleaded with President Biden for more help and resources in tackling the city’s epidemic of gun violence, following an Independence Day weekend that saw 18 people shot dead in the city and at least another 90 injured.

Five children aged under 13 were among those who suffered gunshot wounds, on the US’s deadliest and most violent weekend of the year so far.

According to data compiled by the Gun Violence Archive, a monitoring group, 189 people died across the US and 516 were injured 1n shootings over the three-day holiday weekend from 3-5 July.

The number of people shot dead in the US rose to 43,555 last year, and is on course to hit a new record high in 2021.

In April, President Biden passed a number of executive actions relating to gun control measures, and instructed the Department of Justice to published “model” legislation for individual states to enact.

Bonds and Inflation

In times of inflation, the value of bonds is eroded and so is the value of the interest payments.

The Etymology Of The Word ‘Sardonic’

The word ‘sardonic’ comes from the Greek for the word meaning ‘plant from Sardinia’ because the Greeks believed that eating that plant caused one to make a face resembling sardonic laughter.