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Everything posted by Clarkkent

  1. [quote user="Rabbie"] [quote user="Russethouse"]And how much does your vet charge ? I suspect the fee structure might have something to do with it....[/quote]Mrs Rabbie is my vet so your question is not very relevant to me. In general veterinary charges are far less than the real costs of human medical care so I see no reason why there can't be a quicker turnround on GPs bloodtests. Surely human health is even more important than that of our pets The posts from WB and NormanH show that this can be done in France. The NHS needs to buck its ideas up if it wants to keep its reputation. [/quote] The French health system is esentially a private system. In every town there are private laboratories to which either blood samples are sent for analysis or patients are directed to give blood samples. They are in competition with each other and so, I suppose, there are commercial pressures to encourage efficient use of time. I think that this is the sort of commercial activity that David Cameron would like to see in the NHS system, but which results in howls of protest from those who do not want to see change. As I understand it, the NHS is primarily an accounting and management system. The quality of health care is delivered by individuals - doctors, nurses etc - and not by the NHS. GPs, after all, are self-emplyed, independent contractors within the NHS working in partnerships or as sole traders. There are good and bad practitioners in both France and the UK. Generalising individual experiences as typical of the whole national system is pointless and futile.
  2. [quote user="Russethouse"]A young relative of mine took GCSE Maths last week which he swears started with the question:how any times does 7 divide into 21? !!!!!!! [/quote] In my O-level Geography paper (c. 1958) there was an outline map of the British Isles with four rivers marked. One was quite long and entered the sea between Kent and Essex, a short way inland a town with a name beginning with L was shown. The river and town had to be identified. Another river entered the sea in the wide estuary between Lincolnshire and Yorkshire, and part way along its U-shaped progress was a town beginning with N. The other rivers and towns were equally obvious. This question earned 20% of the marks available. Easy questions are not new.
  3. [quote user="Rabbie"]Many years ago when I took A levels the grades were fixed by the percentage of candidates who reached a certain mark. So to get an A you needed to be in the top 10% and to get a B to be in the top 20% and so on.[/quote] This was the case. It was known as "norm-related assessment". Marks were adjusted to fit in with the norms and so were relative to the performance of the entire population of students taking that examination. One of the consequences of this when applied to grammar school selection was that the performance of girls was significantly superior to boys (since girls mature earlier than boys). Based on performance, more girls were likely to qualify for grammar school entry than boys, but keeping the numbers equal meant that some girls who had performed better than boys were denied entrance. With the growth of bodies like BEC and TEC, "criterion-related assessment" became common. This involves setting standards for performance at various levels and and awarding the qualification at that level to all students who achieve the appropriate standards. It is regarded as much fairer since it is not arbitrary or discriminating. I think that one of the main educational problems in the UK is the fact that the political elite come mainly from a very narrow segment of society and have little real knowledge or understanding of the world outside that experience. The country does need graduates - universities should be training people in the intellectual skills required of high level managers (analysis, decision making, presentation and so on) but university should not be seen as the only educational experience available at post-compulsory education level. It is bizarre that nursing should have become a graduate-only profession and the proposal to do the same with the police is ludicrous.
  4. Interesting article - but mainly impressionistic journalism and anecdotal supported by bogus statistics. After all, the "percentages" quoted were from voluntary responses to an online questionnaire. In such circumstances, only people with some sort of axe to grind bother to respond. This does not mean that it does not address some very important social issues and RH's contributions are pertinent and valuable. There are serious social problems associated with poor parenting that have to be tackled. And yes, bring back domestic science!  
  5. Indeed you did, Lucy, and thank you very much, too.    
  6. Thank you for your confirmation, John. I have just called LD Lines and made a booking. They actually give a 20% discount. Had I have booked my crossing on line it would have cost £165, I paid £132.
  7. [quote user="Chancer"] I do miss the forum of old. [/quote] How I agree. Where is Dick Smith when you need a measured a sane, sensible, informed contribution? Where is the obdurate and intractable Outcast? Could we not let back the St Malo One into our fold?   ... I was going to add the knowledgable, experienced and sensible Teamedup, but thankfully she has been reincarnated ...
  8. [quote user="Pierre ZFP"] If no beeps then prob a motherboard fault - not cheap :-((( [/quote] Not cheap, but, if you are prepared to fit it yourself, you can get a processor/motherboard/memory bundle for about £120. You will, effectively, have a new computer.
  9. Does anyone know whether LD Lines still offer discounts to passengers in particular age groups (over 65, under 25 etc)? There is no information on the web site.
  10.   To get back to the original post: [quote user="Pommier"]So if Scotland votes for independance, will the Union flag be re-drawn excluding the Scottish flag?[/quote] The design of the flag reflects the history of the United Kingdom but is not predicated by the composition of the Union. There is no reason to redesign it if Scotland leaves the Union, it was not redesigned following Irish independence. It has achieved an identity of its own and can continue unchanged - it will be up to Scotland to create a new flag for itself. All the talk I have heard suggests that most Scots do not want independence. There is a case for arguing that if the Union is to be broken up then all members should should have a vote. Were that to be the case then the English vote may well be for independence from Scotland - so Scotland would not secede but would be ejected from the United Kingdom.      
  11. Those Swiss - exporting their cuckoo clocks and locked away in their little mountainous retreat - not in the Euro and not troubled greatly by the problems affecting the rest of the world. They think they can tell everyone else how to behave. Did you know that their latest wheeze is to make people carry blazing torches? Are they telling the rest of the world that in Cameron's Britain the street lights don't work? The next thing you know we will be overrun with foreigners arriving at Heathrow demanding to be taken to Stratford ... and they won't for a second be interested in Hamlet or As You Like It ...
  12. [quote user="Rabbie"] ... Too many of them have gone straight from their privileged backgounds to university and then to jobs as political research assistants and then as elected MPs etc ... [/quote] I think that the situation is even worse than this. They work in the central office of the political party not only as researchers but as policy developers. The policies are often based on a narrow philosophical viewpoint which has little relevence in the real world and then seek election so that they can foist their barmy ideas on to the electorate.
  13. For me, the role and subsequently the quality of a Head of State (let's just settle for US President, UK PM, French President, German Chancellor etc) I know it may be considered only a minor point, but in this context you mean Head of Government not Head of State. In the case of the UK and Germany the roles you mention are not Heads of State. I think that there is a major problem with having executive presidencies (USA and France) in that the demands of sound government are often seen as subordinate to national pride. I suspect that Sarkozy sometimes confused his role as national figurehead with that of political leader. It will be interesting to see if Hollande suffers similar confusion.
  14. There doesn't appear to be much comment about this anywhere - and it won't have a big impact on travelling to and from France - but bmibaby is to cease operations on 10 September - the last services will fly on 9 September. This is a consequence of the takeover of its parent company BMI by AIG and the likely integration of BMI and British Airways.
  15. I don't really see how reading the Bible can ever improve anyone. The Old Testament is a collection of the myths, legends and fairy tales of a small group of bronze age arab goat herders which involve a rather capricious and bad tempered god who keeps killing people. The New Testament seems to suggest that if you are nice to people and go round doing good you will end up having a public and excrutiatingly painful death. Stick to Harry Potter.  
  16. [quote user="idun"] Someone told me recently when they were at school in the 1960's they took Brave New World home to study. Their mother, quite a religious woman, threw it on the fire.Could anyone tell me why this book would have been treat in such a manner. I remember reading it, I don't remember thinking that it was evil and should be put to the flames. [/quote] It may also have been because Brave New World portrays sex as a recreational activity - the women, having been harvested of their ovaries, were incapable of reproduction. One of the peculiarities of Christianity (heavily influenced by Thomas Aquinas) is that it all too often regards sexuality and sexual activity as sinful.
  17. [quote user="Pickles"][quote user="Chancer"]If anyone knows a way of having my number listed as liste rouge in the annuaire while I am with Free.fr I would love to know, the only option they give me is ex-directory which I dont want.[/quote] Since ex-directory IS liste rouge, do you mean liste orange? (ie in the directory, but not for telesales use) From what I have read, you can get to this through "mon compte" and then look for "gerer mes references" - apparently the last step of this process enables you to either be ex-directory or no marketing. [/quote] I presume that this is similar to the Telephone Preference service in Britain, which ensures that your number is not used for selling purposes. It works quite well - except that many call centres are not located in the UK and bypass the TPS. On one occasion I did buy from a telephone call. I was wanting to develop a website and was trying to use an elderly Frontpage. A caller from Serif told me about their product - WebPlus - and kept dropping the price. Eventually I bought. The software is excellent, but not their selling methods. At monthly - or so - intervals I am plagued with patronising, insisting phone calls. I have told them not to call me but to send information about their products to my e-mail address, but to no avail.
  18. Wow! What good fortune. They will enable the RAF to get back to operational strength following the savage cuts imposed by the governemt.
  19. [quote user="mogs"]My daughter is even at Lycee on Friday. Strange really it is not a religious holiday in France? The day that Christ was crucified?? Yet a public holiday on Monday, could someone explain that to me please or have I got it wrong all these years?[/quote] France seems to have problems about being a secular state. Good Friday not being a bank holiday fits into the notion of secularism. But why, then, doesn't Ascension Day or Toussaint?  [8-)]
  20. We should remember that justice is a process not an outcome. In this case I think that the correct decision has been taken. We shall be well rid of this odious man (if his appeal is not successful). What worries me, though, is the idea that if I post, from Europe, onto a website whose servers are in the USA then I am subject to American law and can be extradited to the USA. I may make a statement which is lawful and inoffensive in Britain but which breaks some idiosyncratic legislation in the state where the website's servers happen to be. The willingness of the UK government to deliver its citizens into the hands of American law enforcers frightens me.
  21. I see that you're up to date. This dates from 2007! The only people likely to be offended, surely, are right-wing, fundagelical members of the NRA. I don't know how up to date this is, but I believe that only about 10% of Americans ever acquire a passport - so life outside the USA for most is a totally unknown quantity.
  22. [quote user="Russethouse"] How do you work that out ? If you are born with x, y or z missing/not working you are entitled to treatment, but not if it happens to be your reproductive system ? Seems a little odd to me....... [/quote] You wouldn't be referring to pde5 inhibitors, would you? When Viagra was introduced, the Secretary of State for Health, one Frank Dobson, seemed to be of the opinion that demand for it would swamp the drug budget and so - apart from for a few specific conditions - made it available only privately. I suspect he had been leaned by the Treasury! So, women who want to have sexual relations with their partners and avoid pregnancy can have their pills free. Men with erectile dysfunction who want to have sexual relations with their partners have to pay for it - sounds like prostitution to me with the drug companies as Madams! Why hasn't this been challenged under sex equality/human rights legislation? During the next couple of years the patents start expiring. The Indian pharmaceutical industry will start feeling the pain as their internet sales of copies of Viagra and Cialis fall!
  23. [quote user="Araucaria"]I recall ages ago reading a story - surely apocryphal - that the wrong brother got the original knighthood in 1976. David was put up for the honour for all the worthy things he had been doing, and the recommendation went to the honours committee as just "D Attenborough". Regrettably (or perhaps not) the cabinet secretary at the time was a film buff who wasn't aware that David even existed, and he remarked to his assistant secretary "What a silly billy you are: Dicky Attenborough's name really starts with an R". So he crossed out the D and put it up for final approval with Richard's name on it. [/quote] Interesting - but absurdly silly. David had been a BBC executive, Controller of BBC2, and was considered a candidate for Director-General. There wasn't a politician or civil servant who did not know who he was. Richard's peerage was announced at the same time as that of Yehudi Menuhin - clearly a good day for high art and culture.
  24. Perhaps it is saying that there are no separate cultures within the EU only European culture. A blast against multiculturalism? Possibly, but hardly racist. Or then again, it could be clumsily promoting multiculturalism ... As AnOther says, a crap advert ...
  25. [quote user="AnOther"]I believe the empty tank policy is common if not the norm in Portugal. SiI'm a little confused though as on the one hand you say it was only £80 with CDW, and you booked it, but on the other hand say you had your own CDW which they would not accept ? I think the lesson which stands out loud and clear is, if it sounds too good to be true then it probably is [blink] [/quote] Sorry I was not clear. "My CDW" was the one I bought with the booking. This the company would not accept. As I said, Consumers Association is very interested in the activities of this company (which also operates in Spain - with similar practices). I do not know (yet) whether or not it operates in France. (Its name includes a precious metal - not silver.)
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