Saturday, March 31, 2012

Mind boggling

For various reasons (okay, well, organisational penury), I've been haunting the pages of Ebay, mostly buying up bits of kit for work. Firewalls I don't know how to program, packetshapers I know go wrong regularly, that sort of thing.

But I've been amazed at the prices people are willing to pay for some stuff - more than it costs new, in many cases.

But I've just be staggered to see a 1oz palladium coin on sale for about £15,000. I had no idea what palladium was worth (although I did know it was on the pricey side) but Google is my friend and you can buy a 1oz ingot online for about $670, so on the order of £400. So that's, what, roughly 40 times the bullion value. For a not very attractive picture.

But is this a low issue coin thing? Well, okay, maybe. So I checked on the Royal Mint site. You've got the Queen's Diamond Jubilee platinum £5 coin - 94g of platinum for £6,400. Now platinum is about $1630 a troy ounce at the moment (slightly cheaper than gold, which surprised me - but the world has changed since I last worried about precious metal prices) - which works out, for a commemorative coin of only 250 issued, at a mark up of about 110%. Which seems rather more sensible. And you do get a nice box to keep it in.

Friday, March 23, 2012

More Stupidity About the Falklands

But, this time, the guilty party is a Brit. Simon Jenkins, on Comment is Fatuous:

When on 20 March Endurance was ordered from Port Stanley to South Georgia, it was too late, removing the one deterrent to an Argentine landing and leaving the Falklands exposed to attack.

Exactly, Sir, what sort of deterrent do you believe an underarmed (fitted for but not with 2 x 20mm at the time, iirc) naval icebreaker, albeit with a few marines on board, would have been? Against an invasion force of a submarine, a Type 42 destroyer, a corvette and amphbious assault ship with several full marine companies and armoured vehicles? In your extensive military experience?

And then this:

Lombardo's cobbled-together invasion took place on 2 April, leaving Thatcher initially stunned and humiliated. Though bloodless ...

The family of Argentinian Lieutenant-Commander Pedro Giachino, as well as those of the three Argentinian casualities of the South Georgia invasion, might disagree with you. As well as the small number wounded in the initial attacks. Mostly bloodless, I'll grant. But that's supposed to be the difference between mere hyperbole and professional journalism, wouldn't you say?

Some Falklands photos:

San Carlos Water, below a typical Falklands sky
1982 War Memorial, Port Stanley seafront
Argentinian Military Cemetary, north of Darwin. Note both the gravestones: this is just wrong.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Dear Argentina

My dearest Christina,

While we understand the depth of feeling in your country about the status of the Falkland Islands, and your need to distract your population from your (and your husband's) appalling economic record, we do think that you might have gone a little to far, or as the youth say "might have jumped the shark", with your recent suggestion that Argentina take over the civilian airbridge to the islands.

May I remind you that you are currently attempting to enforce a de facto blockade of the Islands and are attempting to start a trade war?

And you want us to give you control over the flights in to and out? Because we know that it isn't commercial viable for there to be two airlines. Simply not enough people.

Do you think we are fucking nuts?

Yours sincerely,


PS and BTW, we recognise all the participants as veterans. Yet you don't. If I may quote:

They say that back on the mainland their worst enemies were not the British, but their own superior officers.  They starved, humiliated, and even tortured their charges.  One common form of punishment involved tying a naked soldier to stakes on the ground and leaving him at the mercy of the Patagonian cold for days.

Sort your own camp out before whining about us.
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