bookmark_borderFlere og flere vil stemme blankt

Royal Visit
Originally uploaded by malouette

Det ser ud til, at flere og flere vil stemme blankt til ændringen af Tronfølgeloven (som jeg før har opfordret til) – bl.a. en SF’er og muligvis Marianne Jelved.

Marianne ser dog ud til især at ville stemme nej, fordi Fogh har ødelagt den gode mulighed for at ændre Grundloven, og ikke af republikanske årsager.

Der er også opstået en del Facebook-grupper, så der er virkelig ved at komme en del modstand mod at stemme ja.

bookmark_borderDon’t Ryanair want customers?

Ryanair have now decided that people have to check in online and print out their boarding passes themselves, even if travelling with checked luggage

Here’s what they say about it themselves:

If you do not check-in online you will be required to pay the relevant fee to re-issue your boarding card at the airport (Euro 40/GBP 40).

Passengers travelling with checked luggage will be required to present their online boarding pass and checked baggage at the airport bag drop desk at least 2 hour prior to departure (bag drop desks will close strictly 40 minutes prior to scheduled flight departure).

I can immediately spot one problem with this:

People might be on holiday in a place without a printer. It is possible to check in up to two weeks in advance, but if you’re away for two weeks and a weekend, you have to find a computer and a printer while away.

I also think a £40 fine for not printing it is somewhat steep. (Perhaps there would be a business opportunity for providing internet and printer access in the airport for distraught travellers?)

There’s also another serious problem that my mum experienced while travelling back to Denmark yesterday:

In the “old” days, the people at the check-in desk would have a look at your hand luggage and tell you to check some of it in if it was too big.

But now that’s not possible any more, so to prevent people from abusing the hand luggage allowance, Ryanair now check hand luggage sizes in the boarding area.

But that’s ridiculous, because it’s too late to check it in! If your bag is too big, your options are to leave it behind or to stay behind with it. You can’t pay them to put it into the hold, and it’s too late to go back and check it in.

I predict this change will cause some severely annoyed customers to vow never to fly with Ryanair again. Is it really worth it?

bookmark_borderHow to make business cards in LaTeX

My business card
Originally uploaded by viralbus

When we set up our company, we needed some business cards.

VistaPrint will make business cards from a PDF file made according to the following specifications: “Full Bleed Size: 90mm x 52mm; Document Trim Size: 87mm x 49mm”.

I prefer doing typography in LaTeX, so I just needed to set this up properly.

I had a few problems with the margins, but with some help from DK-TUG‘s mailing list, I came up with the following:


The “[fixed]” option is very important here, but it is only available in the newest versions of memoir, so you might need to upgrade this package if you have problems getting it to work.

After designing the actual business card, I ran it through pdflatex and uploaded the resulting file to VistaPrint, and it worked beautifully, as can be seen on the photo.

bookmark_borderWhat’s the equivalent of an MP?

The excuse many MPs have given for abusing the expenses system is that their salary (£65k a year) is far too low compared to equivalent jobs.

It seems that they think they’re doing the equivalent of a medical doctor or a lawyer, which means that they think they should be earning more than £100k a year.

But is that reasonable? There are no formal requirements for becoming an MP, and backbenchers can to a certain degree decide their workload themselves. On the other hand, there is absolutely no job security (but a great pension scheme is provided).

YouGov just asked me a question about this:

Think about how much a Member of Parliament currently gets paid in salary. If MPs were to have their pay linked to that of another profession, which of the following professions do you think would be an appropriate link?

  • Senior civil servant
  • Headteacher
  • Doctor
  • Chief Executive of a FTSE 100 company
  • Judge
  • Police inspector
  • Teacher
  • Police constable
  • Social Worker
  • Nurse
  • Army private
  • Shop assistant
  • Call center worker
  • Cleaner
  • State pensioner

I don’t think any of these are exact equivalents, but in the end I opted for police inspector (i.e., ~£45k a year).

What would you have chosen?

bookmark_borderProportional representation coming soon?

Originally uploaded by phoosh

So some Labour grandees are now proposing to introduce proportional representation (AV+ to be precise – not my preferred variant, by the way, but it wouldn’t be too bad).

But the Tories are against. In David Cameron’s words: “Proportional representation takes power away from the man and woman in the street and hands it to the political elites. Instead of voters choosing their government on the basis of the manifestos put before them in an election, party managers would choose a government on the basis of secret backroom deals. How is that going to deliver the transparency and trust we need?

I think he’s very much mistaken.

He seems to imply that first-past-the-post gives power to the “man and woman in the street”, but how many constituencies in the UK are actually competitive? Very few, if we except the landslide elections (that only see seats changing in one direction).

On the other hand, in a proportional system, even fairly small voter movements will be translated into seat changes, thereby empowering the man and woman in the street.

Yes, in a proportional system there is a much greater possibility of coalition government, but that is not necessarily a bad thing handled mostly in “secret backroom deals”.

If parties are open about what’s absolute demands and what’s merely optional extras in their manifestos, and if they declare before the election under what circumstances they would enter into a coalition, the whole process can be transparent and open.

I think many people here think Italy or Israel when proportional representation is mentioned, but many other countries (such as Germany and the Scandinavian countries) combine proportional representation with stable government and small parties without unreasonable influence.

It’s just a question of copying the right system.


Comparing mobiles and ringtones
Originally uploaded by juicyrai

Der var en historie i Politiken i dag om, hvor uretfærdigt, det er, at man nu i Storbritannien kan få mobilabonnementer, hvor man ikke betaler ekstra for at bruge mobilen i udlandet.

De har dog blot glemt en lille detalje i historien:

I Storbritannien koster det typisk 10p at sende en SMS, og 20p for at tale i ét minut. Det er hhv. 85 øre og 1,70 kr.

Så vidt jeg kan vurdere, er de typiske priser i Danmark nu nede på 20 øre pr. SMS og 1 kr. for et minut.

Det er altså en stor forskel!

I praksis betyder det nemlig, at den nye maksimumspris for at sende en SMS i et andet EU-land på 82 øre er fire gange højere, end hvad danskere er vant til, men faktisk en lille smule lavere end den normale pris i Storbritannien.

Det gør det jo en smule nemmere for britiske mobilselskaber at indføre samme priser i både ind- og udland.

bookmark_borderUnderlige valgforbund

Hvis de danske partier mener det seriøst med at få vælgerne til at interessere sig mere for, hvad der foregår i Europaparlamentet, er det da ret sindssygt med de valgforbund, de har indgået.

SF, Socialdemokraterne og DrV sidder i ganske forskellige grupper i parlamentet, så et valgforbund giver meget dårlig mening (med mindre eneste formål er at holde EU-modstanderne ude).

At de tre partier i Danmark arbejder sammen for at vælge regeringen, har jo ikke meget med EU at gøre.

På den anden side sidder DrV og Venstre jo i samme gruppe, så de burde virkelig have indgået et valgforbund.