Category Archives: Finance

Bitcoin to revolutionise the economy

Bitcoin is a decentralised computer currency designed by self-righteous Ayn Rand-reading nerds who despise looters and parasites like, er, you. It is used to purchase Internet services, illegal drugs and pictures of naked women holding video cards.

Bitcoin works by an emergent synergy of cryptography, peer-to-peer, anonymity, anarchism, libertarianism, wasting stupendous quantities of electricity, the marketing department at NVidia, the enduring exchange value of tulip bulbs and doing all of this instead of Folding@Home.

Bitcoin successfully harnesses a hitherto-unexploited Internet resource: the vast reserves of unexamined privilege amongst computer programmers. Coins are “mined” by stealing them from people who are able to comprehend this level of computer science but still keep their Bitcoin wallet in plain text on a Windows machine.

The Bitcoin system is robustly designed to continue past the inevitable collapse of the US dollar and the world economy, as the Internet, fast computers and reliable electricity are all expected to be readily available when barbarian hordes are wandering the burnt-out post-apocalyptic remnants of civilisation.

It is completely incorrect to describe Bitcoin as a “pyramid scheme.” Technically, it’s a “pump-and-dump.”

Many common products are still inexplicably not purchasable with Bitcoins. “It’s like they don’t understand the revolutionary wonder of Bitcoin,” says Debian developer Hiram Nerdboy, 17. “I can’t get chicks with Bitcoins either. Even with my slickest Pick-Up Artist techniques! It’s as if my knowledge of economics, game theory and Bayesian epistemology didn’t substitute for understanding anything about people. But that’s impossible, of course. They’re probably just theists. Hold on, I just gotta post to Slashdot about this.”

Bitcoin was invented by Internet libertarians, in the spirit of freely-chosen individual interpersonal interactions that will bring about the utter collapse of the oppressive taint of the dead hand of government, in order to make money at your expense.

Bizarre benefits fraud excuses revealed by government

THE OSBOURNES, Bog Society, Sunday (NTN) — A survey by fraud investigators has revealed their top ten worst excuses used by the evil benefit cheats depriving you, yes you, of valuable pennies you could have put toward your next pint.

  • Bayer Heroin bottle“We didn’t realise the NHS needed that six billion quid, we just had to make a few million phone calls.”
  • “Don’t tell me you give a shit about the tax your supermarket pays if you get your milk 2p cheaper.”
  • “It was a necessary and unavoidable cost of doing business to route every penny through Switzerland.”
  • “Kate Moss on my arm or you getting to study. I mean, let’s get serious here.”

“Benefit fraud is no joke,” said welfare reform minister Lord Fraud, “and yet our investigators are routinely dealing with barefaced cheek and ridiculous excuses for stealing money from the taxpayer.

“Fortunately, they’re mates of George’s, so we can get on with scapegoating victims we’re fairly sure probably can’t fight back. You weren’t limping on the way in here, were you?”

Tories rescue economy from workers’ “rights”

PRODUCTIVITY HOME, London EC1, Wednesday (NTN) — The Chancellor, George Osborne, will be “streamlining” employment regulation to revive the economy, having discovered that the recession was all the fault of the workers, rather than, e.g., the bankers.

New Waver’s office desk card “Current employment law contains too much bureaucracy,” said Mr Osborne. “Apparently you have to fill out paperwork before firing someone!”

Consumer confidence and willingness to spend will be hugely enhanced by consumers knowing they could be fired at five minutes’ notice for any reason or none. “Senior management are consumers too, you know.”

“Workplace relationships have changed dramatically over the last decade,” said the Confederation of British Industry, “with employees having become much more accustomed to eating shit for a living. It’s time the law reflected our donations to the Tories.”

With the abolition of the retirement age, workers will no longer require pensions, having been given the completely free choice, as empowered and independent participants in society, to keep slogging away until six months past the point of actual death.

The Liberal Democrats stressed that they would moderate the proposals in a “muscular and visible” manner, strictly rationing the number of children to become chimney sweeps to a mere 95% of Tory proposals.

Labour said the proposals would make working life less secure, but somehow having Ed Miliband plead the workers’ case didn’t give anyone a sense of reassurance.

Journalists back to core competencies as house prices do something

HIGH SOCIETY, Skid Row, Friday (NTN) — British house prices are set to go up, go down or possibly stay the same, according to relieved Daily Mail journalists looking for something to fill space with.

A quarterly survey of 27 analysts showed house prices would probably do something that could be turned into copy, with editors dusting off the Microsoft Word macros they used to generate half the paper in 2007.

Analysts still believe newspaper space is overvalued and the forecasts are a far cry from the double-digit page area percentages seen in the boom years, but they will provide some relief to editors who saw thousands wiped from their real estate advertising income.

“We are not currently predicting a double dip,” said editor Paul Dacre, “but we should be able to ease up on the stories about immigrants and celebrities, only having to repeat them every third day instead of every other day.”

Mr Dacre stressed the importance of such news coverage to society and the nation. “With the thicker papers, you could more easily build a little house to live in next to your park bench.”

Bank of England shocked to discover that just printing money doesn’t work very well

GROUND ZERO, London EC1, Sunday (NTN) — The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee is expected this week to halt its £200 billion blitz of quantitative easing, otherwise known as just printing money.

Bomb-throwing capitalist“Just printing money is a task of surgical precision,” said Mervyn King. “But we are enormously pleased that the economy has grown a massive 0.1 per cent, with inflation of only three per cent to get there. We’re sure your daughters can cope with you selling them on the streets just a few years longer.”

The Institute of Economic Affairs has called for just printing money to be extended by another £50 billion, to around 10 per cent of GDP, since inflation affects the rich far less than anyone else. The Ernst & Young ITEM Club has warned that the end of just printing money risks triggering a fresh slump in commercial property values, as if anyone had any new businesses to rent them for in the first place.

The US Federal Reserve issued a uncompromising warning on Friday about the “uncharted waters” the financial sector finds itself in following the recession, where people have actually noticed what they do for a living and have started carrying nooses around with them in case they meet a banker. “They’ve worked out that just printing money fucks them over too. Ixnay on the onusesbay!”

The pound sterling has been replaced in day-to-day consumer use with twigs and small rocks, as these currently have much greater practical exchange value. One-way holidays to Zimbabwe are also proving popular.

Goldman Sachs “doing God’s work”

MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE, Blind Idiot Heaven, Sunday (NNN) — Lloyd Blankfein, chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs, says that “banks are doing God’s work,” comparable to Hurricane Katrina, the eruption of Krakatoa and the Tunguska event of 1908.

Lloyd Blankfein in Hell“There is a balance to all things,” said Mr Blankfein. “God created Heaven, and He also created the banking sector.”

Mr Blankfein points out that there are always business opportunities, even in the hard times. “The blood, the frogs, the lice, the flies, the livestock diseases, the boils, the hail and — of course — the locusts came about after the deregulation we lobbied for. But market efficiency has been increased, which is good for capitalism and therefore good for everyone. The darkness is strictly temporary for the duration of the mortgage on your firstborns unto the seventh generation.”

Goldman Sachs is set to pay a record £12 billion in salaries and bonuses this year. “It rewards our good work in creating investments so complex that not even we understand them. No blame, no shame! Past Avarice and through Wrath and Sloth, Heresy, Violence, Fraud and Treason! The suffering will wash away your sins! Praise the Lord!”

Recovery is expected through 2010. “The financial system led us into the crisis and it will lead us out. We have opened the Seventh Collateralised Debt Obligation of the Covenant and a mere one-third of the globe has collapsed, far less than our forecasts. What could possibly go wrong now? The way out is the way through! So if you could spare just a few billion dollars’ spare change, sir, for a latte and a burger, that would help us greatly, and God bless you sir, God bless you.”

Robert Peston: The morning tea deficit explained

YOUR DESK, Work, every day is like Monday (NNN) — It’s five minutes past nine and the workplace economy is in the doldrums. Everyone is present but no work is flowing. Economics is, after all, about the flows. How to stimulate industry?

Robert Peston glowing with brillianceWhile workers’ in-trays remain thin, the rate of decline across the office is slowing as people face up to the task of opening Outlook and getting their twitching right middle finger away from the delete key. Wordless grunt output rose 0.5% between 9:05 and 9:10, the fastest pace of growth since the start of business according to your boss who cycled in at 8am and looks like he’s about to run a marathon around the desks. You look up bleary-eyed and wonder if he has an amphetamine gland but conclude the fucker’s just like that.

The recovery formula is complex. Your arsehole co-worker wants his tea bag contacting water for thirty seconds, your nice co-worker wants Earl Grey which takes longer, your boss wants some herbal hippie rubbish and you want yours boiled orange in a boot with four sugars. All this takes five minutes away from your desk during which you don’t have to do complicated things like work a keyboard at this hour, merely pour boiling water all over the place with gay abandon.

But a successful quantitative teaing should see better flow of fingers on keys, increased word count in looking-productive emails, a break from reading the b3ta message boards and a risk of actual effort returning. Followed by a handy break to piss like a fountain and coincidentally play several rounds of Snake on your phone before walking quickly back to your desk as if you’re in a hurry to get there.

While there are tentative signs that quantitative teaing is working, there remains more to be done. Some work would probably be an idea. Additional tea can help the flow of work about the office, help you try to pretend your co-workers are in any way shaggable whatsoever and help you look forward to drinks after work with your nice co-worker where you can both hold forth with detailed discussion of your excess competence and productivity and chronic deficit of pay, despite the complete absence of any evidence whatsoever that either is the case.

G20: Financial crisis response “worked for us”

HECK, Pennsylvania, Friday (NNN) — Leaders of the world’s biggest economies have announced that they have won the financial crisis fight. “It worked,” declared the Group of 20, “and will keep us in power long enough.”

Big Ben closed for businessThe April G20 meeting declared that the world economy was “facing its greatest challenge in our generation. We must do whatever it takes to shore up the system that has worked so well for our donors and very good friends. And get re-elected.”

Today’s draft statement says that “our forceful response helped stop the dangerous, sharp decline in our credibility and that of the financial markets. The people are still living under bridges and eating boiled shoe leather, but they think we’ve got a plan to get them out of it. God bless ’em and their cute little dreams!”

But there is much to be done. “A sense of normalcy should not lead to complacency. There are 2010 mid-terms to think of as well as the 2012 Presidential election.”

The programme is expected to continue. “As we face the current global and economic crisis, the G20 has proven its effectiveness and usefulness by bringing together leaders of both developed and developing countries in the quest to save their own skins. Gordon’s still totally screwed, of course.”

Banks utterly surprised to be paying squillions in bonuses again

THE MEMORY HOLE, London EC1, Monday (NNN) — Barclays and HSBC have passionately defended the City’s culture of bonuses barely a year after the government bailout of the financial system.

Bomb-throwing capitalist“I am shocked, shocked — oh, my cheque? Thank you! — that such bonuses have had to be paid again,” said John Varley, chief executive of Barclays. “Naughty, naughty traders! What can you expect, they’re like kids, they are. They’re like Premier League footballers or Hollywood rock stars or something else that sounds cooler than ‘rapacious scum.’ And we just have to be Roman Abramovich to compete. There are other oligarchs to impress, you know! I mean, there’s a financial system to keep pumping. Capital flowing efficiently to where it’s most needed, or will grow fastest anyway. We’re the arteries of the free market and the traders are the aneurysms. I’m sorry, I’ll start that again.”

A jump in profits for both banks led to speculation as to huge pay deals, with details to be published on Wikileaks later in the week. Barclays Capital has profits of half the British Isles, while HSBC has options on half of Hong Kong.

But criticism of the banks came from across the political spectrum. Vince Cable, the Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesman, said the Financial Services Authority needed to show “real teeth” rather than the false ones that worked so well from 1997 until 2008. Minister for Women and Equality Harriet Harman said they needed more women in the boardrooms of major banks. Shadow chancellor George Osborne replied that Mrs Thatcher was getting on a bit, but did so well last time that they were sure she’d still do a better job than the current government.

Stuart Gulliver of HSBC explained: “If a trader makes a deal, they know two days later how much they made. If it’s a five million profit, that is something we can count, we can see it, it’s real. If it turns out a couple of years later to be a hugely leveraged disaster requiring trillions in government bailouts to avert the total collapse of the world economy, how were they to know? It’s most unfair and disrespectful of artistic genius. We’re putting the 2008 crash in for this year’s Turner Prize.”

Get daily email alerts of new NewsTechnica!

Press reports dazzling quarter for Microsoft

WINDOWSGRAD, Seattle Oblast, Thursday (NNGadget) — Microsoft has reported spectacular results for the April to June quarter, say completely independent tech journalists.

Steve Ballmer overjoyed at Microsoft’s quarterly results“With profits allegedly down by a third,” said Rob Enderle, “Microsoft is absolutely poised to make a brilliant recovery next quarter. Windows 7, man!”

Revenue came in at $13.1 billion, down 17% from the same quarter last year. Net profit on this revenue was $3.1 billion, down 29% from a year earlier. Microsoft shares fell 7% in after-hours trading.

“Wall Street analysts claim these numbers don’t match their expectations,” said Mary Jo Foley. “What do they know about business? They should be grateful that Microsoft made their so-called numbers twenty-two years running, and not whine because they haven’t made any of them in the last year. It’s their patriotic duty to raise Microsoft’s stock price. Wall Street are a pack of un-American communists.”

The world’s largest software maker said it had been affected by weakness in the global personal computer and server markets, particularly by having to sell Windows XP for $5 to keep netbooks from going entirely Linux.

“Some manufacturers were going to release netbooks with ARM processors, which would run Linux or Chrome OS at twice the speed, half the heat and ten-hour battery life, but wouldn’t run Windows 7. Microsoft assures us this is a crushing blow for ARM,” said Michael Silver of Gartner. “ARM didn’t have anything to say to that, just a guffawing sound down the phone. Obviously they’re upset and hysterical.”

The one bright spot was the company’s cost-cutting measures. Five thousand employees were laid off in January, with another thousand to go in August. Further, all management staff have been given bonuses to ensure their continued excellent performance.

“Microsoft’s future is absolutely assured,” said Michael Gartenberg. “Windows 7 will be completely unstoppable! Look at it on this laptop Microsoft, er, lent me! Hold on, I’ll just get out of Ubuntu and boot it into Windows … uh, don’t print that bit.”

Get daily email alerts of new NewsTechnica!