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Expenses

If there is one subject that has been constantly in the news in the UK over the last couple of months, it is the word "expenses", in relation to that thorny subject of MP's expenses.


As most people will know, and certainly anyone British, UK politics has been rocked by a series of scandals showing claims from MPs that are outrageous, and in many cases may be proven to actually be fraudulent once a police enquiry takes place.  From claiming for penny phone calls, to flipping their homes to maximise expense revenue and more besides, many MPs have been busy milking the system.


If Shakespeare were writing now, perhaps instead of describing greatness he would be writing about MPs and their riches:


Some MPs are born rich
Others have richness thrust upon them
...For all the other MPs, there's the expense system


Having seen the public mood, most MPs reluctantly admitted that there was something wrong in the state of Westminster, but assured us all that they were 'honest mistakes'.  Of course this set up a rather alarming lose-lose dichotomy:


Either all the MPs who had dodgy expenses are honest but incompetent, in which case how can we trust them with important parliamentary business, or they are dishonest, in which case how can we trust them with important parliamentary business?  It's lose-lose for those MPs, but much worse, it's lose-lose for the country.

Time: 22 Jun 2009 19:00:00

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To Infinity and Beyond!

Infinity


Something that is definitely not ephemeral is infinity, a concept that has been around for a long, long time!


Defining and truly understanding infinity has proved notoriously difficult over the years.  Whilst we can all understand the idea of something without end, when it comes to studying infinity in detail, things all get a little thornier and, at times, quite counter-intuitive.


Mathematicians have known for a long time that some infinites are greater than others and have more members.  For instance, the sequence of integers (numbers such as 1,2,3,4...) has more members than the sequence of even numbers (2,4,6,8...) even though both of them are infinite.


There are many well known quotes involving the word infinity or infinite - and the concept in general.  One famous poetic verse is by William Blake:


To see a world in a Grain of Sand,
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour


What's your favourite quote related to infinity?

Time: 15 Jun 2009 00:00:00

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