Author Archives: keithlmelvin

Feeding the Beasts of the Economy

Modern western economies have made an odd transition away from production industry and over to the realms of funny money and the whole mortgage and real estate pyramid. The amounts which were used to subisdise production and innovation in industry are a fraction of the bail outs of the banks have recieved in the last decade post crash of 2008. Now it is apparent the recovery in this new era,  is really all about feeding the same beasts again.

Wealthy countries of  notable populus, have by in large significant natural resources and  effective, private primary extraction and agricultural sectors. This underpins a certain stability and certainty in the economy and the currency. Above this though, there was always a tacit acceptance that the tertiary service economy would grow to overshadow the production sector, the secondary economy, post the period of hyper inflation in the 1970s in western countries. Even in China, that industrial Mega factory, services now outstrip production industries as a proportion of GDP.

We are now locked  into feeding a tertiary economy, mortgage debt fuelled escalator to sustain growth in the economies of a large proportion of western countries. Every house owner’s goal is that of building captial value in property well above the rate of currency inflation. It is a self fulfilling economic prophecy, fuelled by growth in the population, metropolisation and by a reluctance to sell if the return on investment is weak, yet the mortgage repayments are still afforded.  This is the new, seemingly inescapable beast, but it is a monster which is diseased deep to the bones and vital organs, and fundamentally unsound in its cerebral processes. When it rages, there will be a new financial crisis.

This  beast is made of pure rentier based economics – we all need a roof over our heads and in other tertirary services like transport, we need to get to work. There is no coincidence that  the costs of commuting and parking are now largely privatised, and largely free from price control. The rentier beast feeds from our need to exist and be economically and culturally active as is our human condition.  In our unavoidable sickness and old age, Health services are also on their way to being fully private, with either a direct to consumer franchise or the government tendering processes we see being rolled out today in the UK.  Privatised and in the realms of profiteering yet with restrictions  placed on supply, such as monopolies, and resrtictions placed upon the consumer’s ability to choose and arrest price rises,  and create a true free market.

Like Leninist Marxism, the Free Market is a utopian vision, in reality it is subject to monopolisation, price parity and  worse than this, outright collusion and political corruption. At its’ fringes of supply chain in the third world, its’ ends are served by slavery and child labour.

Privatised services such as health and transport,  become highly inflationary to government and consumers as demand rises, yet mysterioulsy this does not by in large translate to inflationary pressure on currency. There has been was is called the great moderation in the consumer price index as the old RPI is now called. Are then production based, secondary based economies with unions and internal inflation bound to collapse then, and we must all pray to the pyramid-selling, mortgage beast ? This vision for a utopia of small, weak government and corporate freedom?

The answer to the question of a production based economy being doomed to inflation and diminishing returns, is  both yes and no. Contradictory to the inevitability,  you can see fairly clearly that the (western) German economy has thrived on manufacturing in a land with relatively limiting natural resources since entering  this new century.  They have focused on qaulity engineering, high value products and niche technical business and consumer market sectors. On the flip side of the tiger industrial nations in the post war era,   Japan has reached some natural limits on resources, and is in a period of ‘de-growth’, yet ironically this has not seen an actual reduction in standard of living, in contrast to austerity UK and US where average employees have seen their spending power eroded in the decade post the great casino crash.

Moderate growth, and moderate inflation are two of the keystones of the Neo Conservative economic policy, but another fundamental had been the mantra of global free trade. This has become the other great beast and has lead perhaps inevitably to the vast trade deficit between the USA and EU economies and Asia, following the rush to Low Cost Countries, mainly meaning China.

This is where the vast hipocrisy of the Neo Conservative era has come home to roost, and lead us to the Post Neo Conservative agenda, which we will come back to. We see very clearly that in the most ultra Neo Conservative countries, UK and USA, this so called ‘free trade’ with a command capitalist country run by the communists, has lead to the rust belts and resulting sentiment which ushered in the concurrent farces of Trump and Brexit. More on that Alt Right later as well.

China and to some extent the other asian tiger economies, have become the new production sites for even advanced, innovative products which we were promised by Neo Conservatives in the 1980s,  would be enabled in our home lands. By freeing ourselves from the heavy industry and unionisation of the past, we could realise new super productivity in the knowledge based, production economy.

The Beast from the East arose instead of a science based secondary economy. Even companies making reasonable profits in the west, are relocated to China by their boards who pander to investor demand for higher profit margins from lower production cost, via of course cheap labour. China , where of course the economy is almost a Tito Market Socialism, or Neo Keynsian model where the banks print money yet inflation is tagged by price controls and means of increasing supply via government steered national and global supply chain strategies.

Neo Liberal poltical-economies rely on cheap consumer items subject to low inflation and high competition in order to keep workers satisfied with their spending power on those meagre and often stagnant wages, and to fuel that other great monster of course the credit card beast, and for larger purchases, the remortgage / equity release credit supply.

However what is interesting here is that the secondary sector has remained constant yet if you look at its’ sources of income, government has in some countries become the biggest direct buyer or first link away customer, funding these industries via purchasing. This is in areas of pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, military, transport, IT where the government is a major buyer. Secondary demand to this are things like Medicare where the government is either directly paying employees contributions, or a large source of income is from public employees.   That is what was acceptable to investors upon privatisation. Further  we  then branch over to the keynsian nature of services, recylcing money from a very great deal of public sector spending and wages, and of course the primary sector is moved to rentier services such as commuting, and housing. So for example commuting for governmental employees to the metropoles,  which now is by in large in fact along monopolised transport corridors, or subidised roads for personal cars.

So we have these Beasts, we accept them as if they are necessary evils, and know that they are always hungry. No one can make them go away, because that would be upsetting the cosey way things work.  The way it all works, yes. That an upper third of society in terms of wage income and multiple property ownership,  feel they are free from oppressive tax regimes, while the middle third would like to be that top third, but have such high medical insurance and educational costs that they never will, and the lower third are just proletariat service sector and unemployables who are useful due to their aggregate demand as a portion of society.

All the time a top few percent in society can perpetuate their greed in actually owning the means of extracting wealth, and evading taxation,  from national economies.  While in the UK many hourly wages have stagnated for a decade and take home pay for many is reduced, the wealthiest 2% have been able to triple their capital value since 2008. Pure Marxist comment? Yes but you play the game in the economy where you will in full knowledge of this is how it works, and you just accept that this is all as said, necessary evil. Beasts we must live with and can never change.

If we dont feed the beast of property and capital values, then the whole economy breaks. If we don’t reap the benefits of cheap, inflation free products from China – the beast from the east – then we get retail inflation. Most of all if the beast of consumer credit is not fed by a rising population, then economic growth stops up.

The last point is the back to basics core of the whole rentier philosophy behind Neo “liberal” Economics. That industry is no longer important in the west when the lowest common denominator in labour costs can be found globally, and that very lowest is subsistance living and indeed slavery. That capital value, and in particular real estate, can grow without creating currency inflation, in fact the reverse, currency can gain value offsetting other consumer and supply side driven inflationary pressures. Capital can then do nothing in particular which is more than living off our existence, our basic needs. Or rather it does very much indeed to ensure some key drivers are in place for this.

Firstly metropolitisation driven by government policy of centralising services and administration, and awarding contracts to larger players in the metropoles. Hence demand for housing can be focused, and the ladder of escalation of value exploited more efficiently at a lower risk to investors.  Secondly the privatisation is not in fact reducing inflation as far as the government or consumer is concerned. The best examples of this are in power and railways in the UK, where price rises have risen ahead of underlying inflation yet subsidies to infrastructure and innovation are also higher than three decades ago when adjusted for CPI inflation. Thirdly the removal of irksome legislation – worker’s rights to organise as unions and associations, and collectively bargain ; environmental protection laws which add costs; freedom of speech which leads to demonstrations against corporates. Just this week we see the Scottish Police’s Special Branch have labelled Anti Fracking Demonstrators as ” domestic extremists”  .

The term ‘rentier’ used to have its’ own Wiki entry, but not has been subverted to being soley associated to Karl Marx, in an attempt to marginalise its’ meaning by adding the long term negative sentiment about ‘Marxism’. You can eqaully well call Margaret Thatcher a ‘Marxist’ because she understood how the mechanisms of capitalism can be used to explout a work force and render the ‘entitles’ richer while wages could slow in growth and stagnate for even average workers.

https://rcooley123.wordpress.com/2018/08/19/we-now-live-under-the-rule-of-a-rentier-capitalism-by-paul-street/

There were two inevitabilities from feeding the beasts of the western rentier economies. Once was the massive trade deficits, the other was the crash of 2008. Eventually such a crypto keynsian cycle of private debt stimulating demand, would collapse due to some small bugs along the way which would reveal the corruption in the credit pyramid and erode confidence. The consequence of these inevitabilities is the disaffection of the the lower third of society and the realisation amongst mid income earners that their prospects for personal capital were being threatened.

The political answer to this was the end of Neo Liberalism. The end to small government, rather a new form of big, corrupt government serving the corporates. A new ultra arrogant political era came to be with that old chesnut, xenophobia as the rallying call to the disaffected. Blame immigrants. Blame assylum seekers. Use fear of terrorism, of cultural conflict, of overpopulation diluting wages. Build a wall to keep the people out who have been giving you cheap gardening, house building harvesting, and food processing for years.

Brexit is finally looking like the farce many warned it would be, but it is not until the little Britain , or rather sleeping electorate, start to see that their pockets are being drained of money while the rich just move their capital over borders. In polls amongst the highest brexit stronghold constituencies, it was immigration which was the major concern, yet those self same north of england places had the lowest levels of immigrant workers living there. Xenophobia, fear of the unknown, and scapegoating – blame some other poor sod just not the rich who are so pleased to feed all the beasts. It was an assylum seeker who forced you into a zero hours contract.

Even ultra social democratic Norway is at the beginning of a slow journey towards realising a Neo Liberal political economy. The cuts in budgets to local authorities and now hospitals, plus the senseless competitive tendering betweeen one state’s rail company and another, are moves along the way, with the 30 billion Euro series of tax cuts to the wealthiest in Society being the gold rush.

But the trouble is that you can’t feed all the beasts all the time, and when you actively call those beasts, as Trump and Brexit have, then you start to play with fire. The key driver of that rather dull but secure economic growth in the UK has been a rising population. Demand for the necessities of life increase, and capital value grows on a multiplier due to the loan-thrice-income escalator.

In the UK though, hat steady growth is not coming from indigenous Britons. They are not anywhere near having that stereotypical 2.4 kids, they were by the early 00ies down at 1.7 and some believe it is now as low as 1.4 per arbitary couple . That means the UK population would decline, and in the course of two generations be half of that it was in 2000. However immigration has abated this, especially from the EU, and in particular eastern europe. They bring with them too a culture for women having children earlier, having over two on average by age 32 when married, and focuising on motherhood and not career.

Why hasn’t the economy crashed as those terrible Remoaners would have had us believe? Well Brexit has not YET happened and all the signs are that this week, the chicken run has begun in earnest. Banks are bowing to the laws on capital holding in main trading zone, ie EU not UK, and moving jobs to the continent. Major companies are moving their HQ out. Inward employee migration is halting.  Warnings about supply chain disruption and resulting factory closures and food infaltion are abounding. The threat of an Irish veto on any hard border or fake open border is present. The most pro EU member state representatives may want a more restrictive and therefore  punitive deal, like that between Canada and the EU. Those trade deals with ‘over half our exports outside the EU’ are now so desperately needed by politicians, that concessions and poorer terms than the current EU umbrella deals offer. Also a great deal of that trade, both export and import,  is linked to supply chains and logistic centres in the EU.

The average conservative MP is now a very wealthy person, with  both capital interests and strong connections to corporates which will offer them a career post parliament. Most don’t have to worry about a crash in the pound, they can transfer much of their liquid wealth to other currencies or assets abroad. Their inland capital wealth, in homes and estates, is a relative wealth which barring complete catastrophe, will remain relatively high value when seen outside the international context. You either own a bit of Belgrade or you don’t darling.  They don’t have to care about the short term effects of Brexit, they play to international corporates who are looking to gain a fifty first state of the USA where they can extract value without having the difficulties of ‘restrictive’ democratic policies in employment, environment and off shore profit exporting ie tax evasion via ‘loan and import’ mechanisms. They are securing the privatisation of the NHS in England as the brexit farce plays out, a long term major gain for their silent corporate sponsors.  Distraction politics.

In effect the Neo New Right, the Alt Right and its’ normalised political power in the UK, Hungary, Spain and of course the USA, have been able to divert a potential class war which was brewing, into a Race War.

 

Immigrants are a very visible force in a local economy, when they are the ones who go knocking door to door at employers and work long hours with little if any time off for sickness. They come with practical skills often in short supply as the culture for a (often useless) University education rolls throughout society. They work cheaper sometimes, but often they go self employed and soon are competing with their old employers on building sites for supplying labour and whole contracts.

 

 

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The Malts, they are a-changing…..and not all for the better

I am a mere hoi palloi amongst malt whisky drinkers. I began on standard was it 10 or 12 year old Macallan and that was a fine tiple in its time, and moved onto Aberlour and other Highland styles from the NE corner. I dont collect whisky, I enjoy it the way it was meant to be enjoyed. I have though an axe to grind. No-Age-Specified malts.

A tour through the Islay Malts, which I used to avoid due to the irritating sasenachs so proud of their bottles of ‘Leapfrog’ , lead me to a very nasty night , an OD on a fine middle aged Bowmore which meant smoke was off the menu for several years due to the matters described by Pavlov, Hughy and Ralph. Now it is back, but I am very glad for the continuing journey through Ben Riach and Glen Dronach county where I happened to live before I took up with anything better than bog standard Glen Morangie. Auchetoshan, far from a Romantic western isle idyll, produces a fine la’land whisky

That whiskies from the stable could vary not just by age was a discovery on a flight somewhere where my boss was tucking in to a wee green bottle of Glen Fiddich. Usually I find the standard product to be a peppery item, a little devoid of true character and living off its’ brand name and three sided green prism. Howevver the ‘export’ at a little stronger 43% was a far superior product, with a richness and depth that left me pleasantly surprised.

Now though things have changed. Malt whisky could one day soon displace blended mash crap whisky in value of sales. But the expansion is driven by greed and the marketing guys and accountants have been able to koibosh the blenders and expert tasters into making a far inferior product.

It started with Macallan. Their wonderful bright flavoured, sweet nectar of years gone by was first hidden away by the oak finish and other releases, and around the late naughties it quietly became a far inferior product at the 10 yo or was it 12 standard product. To my palate it became a nothing whisky with the 18 being an interesting side show, but not the sherry finish perfection of what was a whisky which did what it said on the bottle, it was Macallan. Insiders toldme it was the shortage of not only sherry barrels, due to aunty bertha loosing her taste for the later afternnon tiupple and container-donor, but also good enough sherry barrels to facilitate the economic production of a mid priced 12 yo. All sherry barrels are not created equal and Macallan no doubt found themselves competing for a diminishing supply of the best. They then have an issue. Double the price to keep it the same , or decrease the ahem, user experience. I would have been brand loyal and gone to 80 quid a bottle my self.

Some say that Macallanin Japan is the good ol’ girl we all knew.

Anyway that was then and several standard products like Oban or Dalwhinne have actually improved, and the malt content of some blends seems to be so high that you could , when the palate is otherwise overloaded, satisfy the wee heid mellowness with a double-cheap-skate after that vindaloo.

What grinds my gears is also not the silly brand blended malts of unknown origin. Things like Monkey Shoulder. They are smooth enough, cheap and cheerful. They also have soemthign of much higher valuie to eduicate the pallate. They have a slightly sickly , barley sugar and camphor ‘finger print’. These malt scotches are to my knowledge, mostly no age statement. That means they are based to some extent or not , on a young 3 year old spirit, the minimum legal age for Whisky in the UK. The plot would suddenly thicken. ProfessorPlumb, in the library wiht the barley sugar candle stick.

I only remember it was Bowmore of all wee dear places of pagodas and craftsemen, was out without an age statement as goes the single malt marques. I actually think the taster I go I tasted seemed much better, in terms of concentration and length of taste, than the bottle I took home and opened. Maybe my palate was more in the mood at Glasgow Airport’s tax free.

It seems many more distilleries, or rather their conjumated marketing power dressers, have siezed the concept. Brand by suggesting something almost spiritual rather than branding on the age of the spirit. Where as an earlier gentleman’s agreement that Malts would be only sold over 8 y.o. maybe existed, it has been blown away and single malts are wrapped up in a travesty which is maybe in the direction of a nightmare based upon cutting open the stomach of the golden goose to get the eggs out quicker.

The economics are there, if you can make a pallatable product which in particular, reaches new users, 30 somethings or frequent flyer business folk, or dare I say woman folk, and gets them buying malts. Establishing a franchise with the brand. Buying into the heritage via a short cut fancy brand name on a cheaper product in terms of maturation and all the high costs and risks in that.

Barley sugar. A slightly sickly and a wee bit citrus taste, with a decided camphor or sandal wood note in it. A good sweetness and roundness like what good malts should have. But there you have it, a sickly taste with a little after effect which is not all that pleasant.

What have they manage to achieve? What frankensteins monster will destroy the franchise with loyal, 10 to 12 y.o. Malt whisky-drinkers? Who else will enter the market with 3 y.o. sherry and burbon finished concoctions ?

I don’t quite know what they have got up to in the stills, the nosing and tasting room and the blending buildings. The barley sugar is the fingerprint. I have just opened a bottle of Limited Cask, or Casg Annamh, Aberlour and it is not a bad drop,. It is a dark colour, which is promising, a kind of ruby brown rust, a nice brightness to it. At 48% they are near cask stength for an older whisky with a nice pair of figures on the bottle, like 12 , 15 or 18. It has character and is reminiscent of the stable product, but it has those little notes underlying it.

I would not have bought it myself, it has no age statement. I am no longer buying malts with NAS, unless they are a tenner at the barras. What have they done with Malts ?

Well an insider who is not involved directly with the process of blending or tasting, tells me that those processes concerning no age statement batches have become a more hush hush affair than in years gone by, perhaps asking how it was going with the 12 and maybe being invited in for a dram or just a nose after coffee break. Conspiracy, the smoking gun being locked doors and sealed lips.

I suspect and this is with the disclamier to my palate’s experience of these, that they have found a way to make a 3 year old carrier scotch which blends ‘well’ with select casks of well matured malt. I have heard that some barrels of 18 plus are undrinkable on their own, but used in small amounts add a mystique to the blending process ( very few ‘single’ malts are marketed as single barrel. Rather they are blended at one single distillery from various barrels and on an age-declared malt, the YOUNGEST is that age by law) . We are in effect getting a vodka whisky with some extra flavour in it from good barrels. Rather than dilution per se, we are carrying a good tune on a rather rubbish casio keyboard.

This is actually so far as the sharp suited marketeers are prepared to boast about. That not being tied down to an minimum og age maturation, frees them to make exciting products picking from select flavours in the library of barrels they have to hand. They claim they can then present a better, more intriguing product at the key duty free price point of about 50 -80 euro bucks or so per bottle.

I’d say good luck to them, not for me, but good luck BUT, there are two rather large flies in the ointment. Firstly these sly products eat up shelf space and tasting lines in that key duty free shop, where I buy about half my Malts and most of the higher price ones in that. Secondly someone pointed out on a forum, these hipster facsimilie bottles are stealing from the malts of the future.

What do we mean with this, stealing from the future? Well it has to be said that there MUST be a significant amount of 3 y.o. carrier spirit in these malts, vodka whisky if you like. It means that the margin equation can be worked on in capturing people into the brand, but will those punters become franchised into loyalty and up-buying? Or do they want to have wee orgasms of selling to churn customers wandering like sheep through the globe’s tacky taxless shops?

Back to the future, maybe they plan to have a more expensive 12 y.o. upgrade from these , but surely it is plain and simple economics that you can turn over more from your capital assets pushing out at three years rather than 10 or 12 for your volume product??

Some say that todays 3 yo cast up in a funny name brand NAS, is tommorrows loss from the shelves of 12 yo and up over. I suspect worse, that this carrier spirit is a little different in fact from the product which would be matured to 12 years. Perhaps it is better in some way, a smoother distilliation, more select concanamers, a more careful or longer mashing the ‘wort’??

The answer to this dear distiller, is to let me taste three year old malts, or indeed if it is so good as a standard product, bloody well market it Age Statement on the bottle. What is wrong with following the micro distillers and doing some smoother, light matured Gins instead? Or like classic and new cola, is the whole thing a subetfuge to get more shelf space and more excitement going in duty free and super markets.

I might like it if these new, “ageless” malts could debunk the pseud’s and reveal that the product is good as gold without it needing all those damp, dark days in the bond maturing until it makes the magic number which is in consumer’s minds only a sign of quality and brand equity. Unfortunetly many of us and right proper aficionados have lived with the age declaration and loved its vargieries, and lamented some products sliding while others came with new wonder bottlings like Glen Dronnach 18 yo. Malt whisky has been marketed upon a minimum age per batch and bottle for very good reason, because that is when it is best.

As whisky gets older, beyond 15 and 18, it gets much darker and the chemistry developes in new directions, and in fact I am not all that keen on the 18 plus I have tried which are rather dear and not to my pallette, a bit like Malbec versus a matured Bordeaux, I dont like leather and too much dried fruit in my red wine, I like fresh and bright, and yeah ok, some green pepper corns or some tobacco smoke, but I like a fruit in the body. The same goes for Scotch, I love good 10 to 12 yo, a light inspiring drink which takes me back to mellow moments and the odd flirt in my home land of West Scotland.

On my third dram of Casg Annamh and it doesnt grow on me. It is a fantasy whisky made up as a limited cask, with a good colour, but it is not a true heritage malt,. In fact I prefer their standard 12 yo, but this is different and offers something once a tea spoon of water is in it. But I wouldnt buy it myself not just on principle but because I have tasted enough of these NAS malts to be fed up with it all, and like any cheap product, the after taste soon takes away from the initial flattery on the tongue.

Lumix LX 100 mark 1 musings…..

A month in and I am still loving the camera….

but first the drawbacks

First up is the default lens extend when on, which renders the camera cumbersome and it mneeds to be shut down to pop backin a pocket True it does seem to keep the last settings up and there are a lot of hard dial operatiuons I use. I find it annoying between viewing . I will look into all this, it gets all hard and pointy out at the merest tap on a wrong button!

Secondly there is the zoom reach. It is about 30mm short of ideal, which would be a camera with a 24 /105 mm reach. That would be a bigger camera, cannae defy the laws of physics if you want to maintain say f 1.7 to f 4 in that range,. I suppose the camera would be even more pleased to see me when it auto extended.

Here is though where the new Mark II comes in, with bags more megapixels, it makes post cropping more attractive. But I think 24 /90 would be a magical camera.

Thirdly there is the wifi transfer which is awkward and I see it delivers compromised jpges!!! They are down at 2 megabytes. Raw needs direct exchange of body fluids.

Then there are the luxury issues………

Depth of Field.

As you can see the camera offers a wonderful shallow depth of field wide open. However that leads to a luxury problem, quite a few shots look like they have camera shake, because SO much of the image is unsharp!

See below for what I mean.

Here the image looks unsharp beccause the edges of the lead are out of focuis. With no edge cues to help the eye , it fights to find some ‘hard ground’

The other luxury problems are in choice paralysis, but luckily menu and settings resume make for some easy progress when you are a little innatentive.

Next non luxury issue is the ISO and associated to that the dynamic range. High ISos of 1600 upover, are to my eye, unusable in jpeg mode. Perhaps RAW work can save that, bnut you are in the realms of ‘documetning something happened’ like the dgitial crop zoom.

Dynamic range is ok, It is better than many cameras from ten years ago, and better than most all mobile phones until the latest ones which cost twice that this camera does. The HDR mode does not use wide enough a bracketing to do anything more than tickle the scne, and my two year old mobile does a better job. Manual work after bracketing for hyper dynamic range, but for my preferred extended dynamic range, there is plenty detail and little noise in the three quarter tones *light shadows , so you can easily lift the dynamic range to that of APSC standard like the D7000 series for example. Which is very nice.

I hear that the Mark II has better dynamic range so that is better again. Not that I would rush out to buy it. I am very pleased, and know what I wan.t. An FZ1000 type bridge camera with the same sensor !!!

Canon have come oh-so-near to trumping the lx100 witheir G1 X , but it doesnt live up to what it could, is expensive and much bigger.

The Lumix LX 100 Mrk II – Panasonic Follow Sony’s Strategy

With today’s launch of the mark II  LX 100 from Panasonic, it seems a lot of people are disappointed and not going to be replacing their LX100 original anytime soon, But they are kind of missing the point completely.

I like it. A mark II rather than a new distinct product, l.ike the imaginatively divised LX200 could have been. I don’t recall Panasonic having done this before, but it has long been used by Sony in their benchmark RX100, which is around the same ballpark as the LX100 i.e. an enthusiast’s compact. They are following Sony’s communication and product lifecycle management pretty much to the ‘t’,  in sticking to the ‘form factor’ . Like Sony’s iterations of the RX,  most of the hardware and human interface are still there, same old same old, so panasonic are evolving the camera rather than revolutionising it.

Within panasonic there is though going to have to be internal conflict because the product managers were allowed to reveal that the LX100 uses an mFT chip, all be that cropped in on a smaller light circle from the obviously more compact lens. They must surely be worried about cannibalisaiton of their mFT compacts and furthermore, lenses because as fast a zoom lens as this from their range costs twice as much as the outgoing price tag on the ‘100.

In effect this is an update, a minor upgrade, a getting up to where mFT cameras are these days with a higher resolution mFT sensor which is reported to demonstrate lower noise characteristics. A touch screen is added, and the rest it seems are very minor new features.

Amongst these new features which will work emmenently well with a touch screen, are two new focus modes. One is focus stacking, very useful in macro photography and hopefully also when you are doing things like HDR montage using a wide open lens to build up a landscape or street shot with a marked depth of field from very near the camera to infinity. Within the set up for then what is focus bracketing, which I presume builds a single image vis a vis stacking, availability in RAW outputther is probably absent. In addition to stacking,  they have perhaps thrown in ‘post focus’ based on the same software as stacking.  ‘Post Focus’  I am presuming is essentially an autobracketing of various focal points as single images, and you then touch select which area of the photo you want in focus most, and that image is chosen on screen and the others duly deleted. A bit like poor man’s light field camera. This is actually a really useful feature for things like foliage in the way, and candid shots of people when there is movement and varied light. As I say though, this probably isnt very fancy pants,  because it will be no doubt restricted to jpeg output, and wont work in combination with for example exposure bracketing, which could make for some really cool macro and HDR shots.

While on consumery stuff, never having used much filter in camera myself, there is an improved BW choice there, and I wonder if they have done anything with their HDR mode, because it was pretty rubbish and you are better off exposure bracketing and using either your home PC ‘s weapon of choice, or even some on line offerings for merging layered exposures. I quite like my HDR Mode on my mobile, it suits a roughly 35 mm lens with foreground and a lighter background working good enough for social media.

The dust devil is maybe addressed with this camera, but the so called bete noire of the LX100, is actually a pretty common bug bear on compacts with zooms and medium sized sensors. Not that it ISNT a concern and that it ISNT always easy to get a service job by Panny where you may actually live.

 

Disappointments for me personally are that they havnt stretched the focal length of the glass to 90mm. I would then like a sister camera with a range of say 40mm-200mm which could be a bit bulkier, but is based on the same sensor and user interface. Or maybe they should do a video optimised version in a different body?

Another little pandering to the phillistines in the LX100 is the digital zoom, which is only useable if you want to document something happen, like the martian invasion three houses up the street. The mark II will have much better digital zoom in the portrait and sports critical focal range of 90 to 120 mm, due to the higher resolution sensor.  So I am guessing without having done the maths, that around 100mm crop zoom will be the same resolution as the LX100 at 75mm full optical legnth (?) .  Now that is very useful for portraits, and any loss of blurry background can be made up with layering those post focus shots in your software at home.

With a price point to maybe try and keep to, guessing around €/$ 750-950 at launch, then why need to retool the whole production line, when you can upgrade and entertain new buyers who are downsizing from APS-C DSLRS or upsizing from their mobile phones?  The three big main asks from the moaners in internetland are tilt screen, weather and dust sealing and a longer reach lens, and all of those require majore retooling and alterations to the supply chain.

Why change a winning formula? Sony hasn’t done it with the RX100, Canon had the 5D, and now Olympus are also at it. It says something to the market, that this brand is so strong a franchise of qualities that we are sticking to it. Also it allows for a fancy assed, and may I remind the bitches and flamers, larger camera, with a mic jack point and a big super zoom lens and a whippy, flippy screen etc etc . Not a bad camera, just not an elegant, jacket pocket one.

I hope people who are disappointed with the Lx100 Mark II  stop in the evolution of a very good camera, and just go off and buy one of the APS-C offerings from CaniFujiKon or who ever makes them. I dont need a tilt screen.

2HFVA Nøkkel Læring II Helse GH1

Behovsirkelen  / Behovspyramide

Fysiske, Psykiske, Sosiale og Åndelig Behov

Psykiske behov – øverst er TRYGGHET  –

  • TRYGGHET følelser at fare eller andre trusler er fraværende.  Følelse av å være tatt vare på og i stand til å takle utfordringer.
  • KJÆRLIGHET  – og OMSORG av familie, venner eller hjelpepleiere
  • INKLUSJON  – å bli sett og hørt i familie, sosiale krets og inkluderte i samfunnet

Sosiale Behov  –

  • SAMSPILL OG DIALOG MED ANDRE MENNESKER ,
  • RESPEKT I KRETS OG SAMFUNNET- besøk av familie og venner, kontakt utenom besøk, å bli i et nettverk av mennesker,

Åndelig og Kulturell Behov

  • Trosfrihet – rett til å praksisere troen din
  • Å føle felleskap og at begevelse og meninger bidrar til positive virkninger i sammfunnet  ( tro og politikk )
  • Delta i og erfarer kulturelle begivenheter
  • Erfarer det estetiske i kunst og musikk

Maslows behovspyramide viser at fysiologiske (dvs biologisk) behov er grunnlaget for liver og danner bunnen av pyramidet.  Ovenfor det kommer våre behov for trygghet som husly, så sosiale og så kultrurelle, og på toppen er det anerkjennelse for våre tilværelse og bidrag til samfunnet eller familien og krets, og så selv realisering gjennom yrket, det sosiale eller gjennom tro.

Levekår

Ytre Rammeverk rundt våre livet.

Objektive og nokså bestemt som en forutsetning.

Trygghet skapt av felleskapet. Samfunnets systemer, lover, moralske grunnlag og sosiale velferd og tilbud.

Økonomi – muligheter for arbeid og tilrettelagt systemer for tilgang til bolig , velferdstjenester osv.

Demokratiske Lovverket, politi og rettsystemet. Brannvesenet og Helsevesenet. Rett til skolegang og videre Utdanning og sosiale tjenester.  Tilrettelagte muligheter for trening og fritidsaktiviteter.

Livskvalitet

Livskvalitet er mer subjektiv enn levekårene man befinner seg i.

Livskvalitet er hva enkelte mennesker mener og opplever som positive eller negative i sine liv.

God livskvalitet dreier seg om trivsel i hverdagen. Det er å oppleve livet ditt som noe godt med glede og mestring når det gjelder utfordringer eller ferdigheter.

Det er bygget på personlige omstendigheter og følelser

  • Å være Aktiv
  • Å ha sosiale relasjoner
  • Å ha positive selvfølelser og selvbilde
  • Å kunne få glede fra livets hverdagen alt ovenfor

Personlighet er en del av det som bidrar til livskvalitet.

Livskvalitet kan måles ved bruk av spørreskjemaet og observasjon. Skandinaviske land og andre land med statlige ordning for velferd dvs høye levekår formidlet av staten i en  demokarti, er de høyeste når livskvalitet måles.

Mennesker med sykdom eller nedsatt funksjon kan opplever forholdsvis bra livskvalitet og å opprettholde en så god livskvalitet som mulig,  er et stort formål i helsepleie, vernepleie og omsorgsarbeid generelt.

Levekår og Livskvalitet?

Livskvalitet er mer subjektiv enn levekårene man befinner seg i.

Livskvalitet påvirkes ofte av Levevilkår i et samfunn, men enkelte kan mene eller erfare negative påvirkninger fra samfunnets regelverk som ellers er til felles godt.

Noen kan mistrives til tross for at det finns veldig bra levekår i deres samfunn. Livskvalitet  er bygget på personlige omstendigheter og følelser . Det er da basert på hvordan man som enkelte opplever livet innenfor levekårene omkring.

Gode muligheter for helsetilbud, skolering, videre utdanning og jobb bidrar veldig til livskvalitet.

Livskvalitet kan måles blant annet ved bruk av spørreskjemaer. Skandinavisk land og andre land hvor staten har gode ordninger for utdanning, helsetjenester og hvor det er lav arbeidsledighet og fattigdom, er høyeste i poengsum år etter år i flere store undersøkelser som utføres av anerkjent organisasjoner.  Dermed er det en klar sammenheng mellom levekår, velferd og de enkeltes livskvalitet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Week 34 2HVFA Nøkkel Læring

Hva Betyr God Helse ?

Fysisk, Mentalt og Sosial velvære

Mestring av Livets Utfordring

Å være i god helse betyr ikke at  alt av sykdom og ubehag er fraværende. Man kan bli utsatt for sykdom eller reduserte fysisk funksjon med høy alder, men fortsatt ellers være  i god helse.

WHO definere tre punkter om det at man har fysisk, mental og sosial velvære når man ser bort fra andre plager.

Hjorth en Norsk helseforsker sier at man er i god helse når man mestre livets utfordringer for seg selv.

Begge er  informative innen yrket med eldre og yngre brukere som har nedsatt funksjon og som  trenger pleie og omsorg.

Det er i lyset av disse beskrivelsene at en hoved oppgave for omsorgsarbeider er å tilrettelegge hverdagen slikt at mennesker trives i de tre områdene ovennevnte og takle det som de er i stand til å oppnå eller overkommer, med hensyn til deres begrensinger.  At de som pasient eller bruker får følelser av velvære og mestring.

Fysiske Aktivitet

  • Forberedende mot Sykdom
  • Bidra til raskere Bedring
  • Hjelpe med avrusing
  • Opprettholde styrke i kroppen og balanse
  • Psykisk Velvære
  • Utholdenhet
  • Bedre Søvn
  • Forberedende mot mange vanlige Livsstilsykdommer
    • Demens
    • Hjerte og Kar (vaskuler) Sykdom
    • Fedme og overvekt
    • Ledd og Beinmasse Sykdommer
    • Angst og Depresjon
  • Utsetter eller demper sykdom og nedsatt funksjon relaterte til høy alder
  • Opprettholder smidighet og balanse
    • I bedre stand til å stelle og klær på seg selv
    • mindre utsatt for fall og så beinbrudd !!
    • Bedre mobilitet hjemme og i sammfunnet
    • DERMED – eldre eller handikappe kan bo hjemme for seg selv lengre eller nyte bedre livskvalitet i omsorgsbolig, hospits eller sykehjem
  • Demper osteoporose ved å styrke beinveve
  • Utholdenhet i Andre av Livets Utfordringer og Aktiviteter
  • Bidra til positive innstillinger mot hverdagen og utfordringer – takle mer, bedre utholdenhet både fysisk og mentalt
  • Søvn og oksygen føring relaterte økt fysiske aktivitet demper eller utsetter symptomer på demens pga hjernen ikke bygge  opp protein plaketter og andre tegninger på sykdommen.

Form for Fysiske Aktivitet

Trening – Kardiovaskulær  – intensivt eller utholdenhet

Styrke Trening  – muskler og beinmasse ; kjerne stabilitet  og ledd  vil bidra til balanse

Balanse Trening – utfordre muskler og hjernens balansefunksjon med enkelte øvelser. Styrk små støtte muskler gjennom kroppen og ledd.

Alle tre går hånd-i-hånd for å fremme bedre livskvalitet og glede av å trene mer på sikt.

Få Brukere/Pasienter i Fysiske Aktivitet

I rekkefølge av hvordan man tilnærmer temaet

  • Oppmuntre
  • Motivere
  • Informere
  • Veilede

Oppmuntre – å finne ut hva brukeren liker sjøl eller mener er gøy, å gi forslag, , involvere andre, gjør det sosialt og sette tidspunktet som passer holder man til det.

Motivere – fokusere på fordelene i de tre faktorer ovenfor – fysisk, mentalt, sosialt. Diskuterer mål og det som kan oppnås. Sette mål for hver  øvelser og på sikt, utfordre nok men ikke er for høyt i første omgang. Lokke med belønning. ( positive forsterkninger. Bruker musikk og ressurser som blir tilknyttet positive erfaringer under veis.

Informere – når pasient viser motstand til de lokke teknikkene ovenfor, da er det å informere dem om konsekvensene av stillesittende eller lav aktivitetsnivå men hensyn til medisinske råd, lokale retningslinjer og god praksis som de har fått. Gjør observasjoner om pasients tilstand eller plager nå og hvordan de kan enten lettes litt med innsats eller kan bli verre ved varende inaktivitet.

Veilede – ved alle over nevnte skal man da veileder i hvordan en programm eller type aktivitet skal utføres, hvilken forventninger og må kan oppnås, og de positive effektene av økt fysiske aktivitet og øvelser som helsefagarbeideren skal utføre med dem.

Where Does It Go From Here on the Water??

To be honest right now I don’t quite know where to begin in even setting some new challenges, technical goals or bucket lists in sailing.

I am at a stage many racers find themselves, that racing is like another day at the office and why bother when there are new experiences to be had elsewhere in life When your budget is typical of our generation, struggeling to buy a house big enough for the bairns and inlaws, then why go to the expense of a monster mortgage on house and boat? What is there to be bothered about?

Well I am not quite so cynical but I am too fond of rationalising things away into the old time, money and payback for investment equation. If I have the time off, will I be making enough money? For the time off I have , will I be able to train enough to win races at the nationals? If I use so much time on doing next season as this,will i even enjoy it ?

There are admittedly a lot of impractical routes I could choose which would just not be very rewarding. Dinghy racing sixty miles away. Delivering boats using holiday allowance. Jumping ship on the Melges to sail more often and with better sailors. These just dont work on the end of the equation, I am down on time and money but not a lot up in enjoyment and to be frank, social fulfillment.

I know I have a lot to learn still, but feel I have so much better a grounding now, like my shoulders can drop again as they did in my most successful years 1997-2008. But I need to learn how to learn. it’s hard being old and cynical and a bit know it all, or a bit down on concentration. Where to start? Planning seems like one way to get moving, but all those practicalities versus what I want and need to do in fact?

I have a share in a 27ft cruising boat, which could be brought up to racing standard, but it would be a waste of time. Or would it? Perhaps thats the project I need as they do race them OD around the place. I’m looking for someone to really enjoy chilling out on it, some pals or just a girly who can play guitar. Go to some anchorages I want drop the hook in and sleep by the gentle rocking

So deep in me now, after opening boxes of old family sailing holidays, I have a need to do some cruising and some general seamanship. That fulfills the equation. Racing is dear, time consuming and very much in diminishing returns and low return on large investment for me right now for the next two years ahead.

I have always had a deep need to cruise the Hebrides and follow in my father’s footsteps, despite having done four or is it five west highland weeks, Round Shuna with race past Easdale and Seil, and Round Mull with a stage win. We rushed past the fabled family places such as the Tresnish, Eigg and Tinker’s hole to get over the finish as quickly as possible. You are aware of the wonders of the west coast when you are racing passages, but you dont stick the bow in to look at waterfalls or find a tiny wee hook for the night all to yourselves. The excitement of racing in a fleet is hard to beat, but when you have done it a lot then beaten it can well be.

It is all a bit touchy feely, there are other things in sailing I need to achieve to get my own level of self satisfaction and confidence in my abilities up. So there are some practical learning issues, but in facty most of those can be learnt while cruising. Of course there is that old ‘performance plateauing’ which is necessary, putting in hours at one level just to be so damn ingrained in your helming that the next level can play out, while you are then in part on autopilot and in part prepared for the unexpected.

Manoerves, gear changes, and of course tactics all need polishing and refining, but really it is wind and tide strategy that I need to put my head back into, and I can do this by in large when cruising.

The wind then is a fickle mistress as any sailor worth theiir salt will tell you, It has shift patterns which are the most difficult to get your head round , or rather to get a routine for checking and responding to them drilled in for your racing and with your crew. When you throw in wind bands, and wind bends too, then you start to get a much more convoluted game of chess on the water than your usual boat on boat stuff. The beauty of windshifts and bends when cruising is that you have more than the easy time to gather data, and even change course to confrim where a band reaches, or the centre of a bend is, or if the shifts are really able to be timed with a stop watch.

Back to costs. Now I have a bit of a plan. Draw to the Hebrides and hire a boat and play out the wind shifts, stay still and time them, go into the wind bends, and most of all go to all the wee places my Dad did. Plan out passages, do some at night. Use only the compass and the depth sounder as my Dad would have done , with paper charts.

Set out and answer your own questions. How do I get better at sailing, how do I enjoy sailing more? How do I get out of the another day at the office rut? Perhaps in five years time you will have had a little spark and found a boat you can train up in to be world class, but what do you want out of sailing next season, and what weaknesses or gaps in knowledge and skills do you want to overcome?

The money, time and ROI equation stands infront of you,. Do you then give up most all in life to campaign a 49er ? Do you drop off shore crewing for helming a solo on a local lake? Do you take a year out from a train of the usual regattas and the usual frustrations and go cruising?

Any road will take you there if you dont know where you are going., Conversely if you know where you are eventually going, like me, then many roads seem like blind alleys and you are cautious at the crossroads,. I want to be a better helm, to win a few races here and in Scotland, to run a bigger boat in an OD fleet or to have a cruiser and a small racer with good racing at the side. I know I have been going that way for the last twenty years, I have had some cool diversions along the way, and some excellent building blocks in that time.

This blog is a bit touchy feely, and that is because sailing evokes a lot of emotions. Competition, the search for wisdom, joy, deflation, comradeship, fear, love. They are all in there. In sitting down to write I have been able to answer my own question. So I want you to ask yourself how do you feel about racing or sailing in general? Do you know how to define your ambitions and how to list your weaknesses? Are you able to learn from those you sail with or against now? Do you have mentors and teachers available? Or are you frustrated and don’t know what you are doing wrong? Do you need to do another year of be it travellers, Cowes Week, Scottish Series, Cork Week, Fastnet…..? Or would that be treading water for you?

The best advice I can offer is find a mentor, and that usually means sailing on said mentor’s boat, and dropping your own ego and ambitions a little. Sneak off maybe, dont ask the crew to come along. A typical managment tactic that, training budget for the department gets spent most on management with us plebs in the dark. Also eat your ego and down size your racing boat, go race dinghies in fact, the crack of the whip is harsher when you are reacting in the fraction of the second to wind and competitiors.