Friday, September 29, 2006

Tax man drives builder to bankruptcy


link
By Rosie Murray-West, Business Correspondent
(Filed: 29/09/2006)

Neil Martin faces bankruptcy and losing his home because of an error by the taxman. He has been told the law can do nothing. The taxman is not liable for his mistakes even when he seriously disadvantages customers, a judge ruled yesterday.

Neil Martin lost his case after being the first person to sue the Inland Revenue over allegations of negligence or administrative incompetence

Andrew Simmonds, QC, said that the Inland Revenue had been responsible for a 52-day "negligent" delay that had helped push a builder to the brink of bankruptcy.

However, he ruled that the tax office is immune to prosecution by individuals and businesses, unlike other public services such as hospitals and police forces. Neil Martin, 38, became the first person to sue the Inland Revenue, now known as Revenue & Customs, for alleged negligence or administrative incompetence.


The builder, from Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, said that his business had been plunged into a cash flow crisis after a delay in processing a crucial form.

Without the form, part of 1999 anti-fraud legislation called the Construction Industry Scheme, contractors could not pay their bills without subtracting tax at source, which caused a cash crisis for the company.

Mr Martin now faces personal bankruptcy after being left with a swingeing tax bill of £250,000 along with substantial legal costs.

Yesterday he said that he intended to appeal against the judge's ruling and believes that the case could go "all the way to the House of Lords".

"This absolutely stinks," he said. "Ninety per cent of this judgment went in our favour, and I needed 100 per cent to get compensation. The Revenue is just allowed to put me out of business." He said that he was at risk of losing his home and that the case had been a huge strain on his fiancée, Janet.

The judge ruled that the tax office has no "duty of care" to the individuals it advises, meaning that no individual can prosecute it for incompetence.

However Mr Simmonds acknowledged that the case had raised "some very tricky legal questions" of general public importance and granted Mr Martin permission to challenge his ruling in the Court of Appeal. Nicholas Bowen, barrister for Mr Martin, told the judge after his ruling: "This will, of course, be very welcome news for the Revenue, but a very bitter pill for Mr Martin. The Revenue have established an effective immunity from suit."

Describing the dire impact of the court case and the Revenue's negligent delay on Mr Martin's life, the barrister said: "The end result is that he will lose his home and be bankrupted."

Despite what Mr Bowen called "persistent error and administrative incompetence" by the Revenue, he said Mr Martin left court with "a big fat zero".

Revenue & Customs welcomed the judge's ruling. "It confirms HMRC's understanding of the scope and extent of its duty of care to applicants under the Construction Industry Scheme," a spokesman said.

The Revenue had argued that, had Mr Martin won, it would have opened the floodgates to thousands of claims from businesses and individuals who believed that they had been disadvantaged.

-west@telegraph.co.uk

Information appearing on telegraph.co.uk is the copyright of Telegraph Group Limited and must not be reproduced in any medium without licence.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Peace and Relaxation


Incredibly, this software really works to bring you to a totally relaxed hypnotic state. It accesses your subconscious and helps you think more creatively, solve problems, achieve goals and all manner of mind over matters.


I stopped smoking two packs a day in 1990 through hypnosis so I know it really works for me. Dunno if it works for you.

Make a PDF online


From the [un]billable hour, a mass of great ideas.
link
links for 2006-09-25
PDF Online:Simply upload the document you want to convert to PDF
Creates PDF's from any computer and then e-mails them to you.
(tags: pdf document tools)
Digg this • Add to del.icio.us • Subscribe to this feed • Email this • Subscribe by email


Friday, September 22, 2006

Shepards for Science


CiteSeer.IST: Sample Form: "



 
Search:




"

KeyCite or Shepard's
Westlaw or Lexis?


BibleGateway.com - Keyword Search:

"Jeremiah 25:34
Weep and wail, you shepherds; roll in the dust, you leaders of the flock. For your time to be slaughtered has come; you will fall and be shattered like fine pottery.
Jeremiah 25:33-35 (in Context)

Zechariah 11:3
Listen to the wail of the shepherds; their rich pastures are destroyed! Listen to the roar of the lions; the lush thicket of the Jordan is ruined!
Zechariah 11:2-4 (in Context)"

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

ChoicePoint expose


link
What You Need to Know About ChoicePoint
By William B. Baker
March 2005 | Privacy In Focus


Starting with revelations in February regarding the ChoicePoint release, followed rapidly by news of similar breaches at other data firms, banks, colleges and even Paris Hilton’s cell phone, the security of electronic data is receiving much public attention. News of Congressional hearings, introduction of legislation at both the federal and state levels, federal investigations and, of course, a class-action lawsuit, now fill the popular and trade press. ChoicePoint and other data brokers already have made significant changes to their business operations. And, unfortunately, an untold number of persons may have suffered identity theft.

This scrutiny has already drawn attention to the relatively unregulated business of data brokerage and the legal and . . .

Sunday, September 17, 2006

The Hamburger Standard (based on March 25, 2006 BigMac Prices)


link

Purchasing Power Parity (PPP): is a measure of the relative purchasing power of different currencies. It is measured by the price of the same goods in different countries, translated by the FX rate (or exchange rate) of that country's currency against a "base currency".

How to read this table:
In this case, the goods is the Big Mac. For example, if a BigMac costs €2.75 in the countries that use Euro and costs $2.65 in US, then the PPP exchange rate would be 2.75/2.65 = 1.0377.
If the actual exchange rate is lower, then the BigMac theory says that you should expect the value of the Euro to go up until it reaches the PPP exchange rate. If the actual exchange rate is higher, then the BigMac theory says that you should expect the value of the Euro to go down until it reaches the PPP exchange rate.

The Over/Under valuation against the dollar is calculated as:

(PPP - Exchange Rate)
---------------------------------- x 100
Exchange Rate

huge files can be shared broadbanders


link

What is Gigasize ? (Page 1 of 4)
Gigasize is probably the best way to store and share big files online. Why you ask ? Let us show you !
Gigasize offers you virtually limitless space to store any kind of file (Documents, Photos, Music, Video…)

You can use our services to :

-Share your files with your friends/family (up to
-Use our e-mailing services to to send your files to your Instant Messenger (IM) contact lists
-Access your files from anywhere in the world
-And much more…

Essentially, GigaSize is the new way to share anything with anybody, without the hassles of traditional ways like e-mail. And the best part is that basic accounts are free !



Thursday, September 14, 2006

Quack or No Quack


A woman brought a very limp duck into a veterinary surgeon. As she laid her pet on the table, the vet pulled out his stethoscope and listened to the bird's chest. After a moment or two, the vet shook his head sadly and said,
"I'm so sorry, your duck, Cuddles, has passed away."

The distressed owner wailed, "Are you sure"? "Yes, I am sure. The duck is dead," he replied. "How can you be so sure"? She protested. "I mean, you haven't done any testing on him or anything. He might just be in a coma or something."

The vet rolled his eyes, turned around and left the room, and returned a few moments later with a black Labrador Retriever. As the duck's owner looked on in amazement, the dog stood on his hind legs, put his front paws on the examination table and sniffed the duck from top to bottom. He then looked at the vet with sad eyes and shook his head.

The vet patted the dog and took it out, and returned a few moments later with a cat. The cat jumped up on the table and also sniffed delicately at the bird from head to foot. The cat sat back on its haunches, shook its head, meowed softly and strolled out of the room. The vet looked at the woman and said, "I'm sorry, but as I said, this is most definitely, 100 percent certifiably, a dead duck."

Then the vet turned to his computer terminal, hit a few keys and produced a bill, which he handed to the woman. The duck's owner, still in shock, took the bill. "$150!" she cried. "$150 just to tell me my duck is dead"?

"The vet shrugged. "I'm sorry. If you'd taken my word for it, the bill would have been $20, but with the lab report and the cat scan, it's now $150."

Monday, September 11, 2006

Find books and journals


Web Watch


link
Defining Reliability In a Wild Wiki World

By Frank Ahrens
Sunday, September 10, 2006; Page F07

In the wacky Wiki world that is the Internet, it's hard to know which information is reliable and which isn't.

User-created content, such as entries found in Wikipedia, the open-to-most online encyclopedia, comes with varying degrees of trustworthiness. Wikipedia, for instance, relies on a number of citizen editors, who act as a broad peer-review process for entries, but it's still possible to get something by them that's just plain wrong. Eventually, the entry might be removed but maybe not; Wikipedia boasts more than 1 million articles.

At the same time, Wikipedia has become enormously popular, especially with younger users. Type just about any topic into the Google search engine, and its Wikipedia entry will pop up on the first or second page of results.

This has alarmed many teachers . . .

Small Library Organizer Pro, v1.5


link

-------------------------
Small book library software for private, public, or corporate libraries.

Software Overview
Small Library Organizer Pro is a database maintenance system for small private, public, or corporate libraries. Our library software is designed to manage the following activities of your library: manage all library collections, manage member/patron information, and keep track of the library circulation data.

Small book library software solution includes four databases:
- Small Library: manage and catalog all library collections (books, CDs, video tapes, DVDs...)
- Borrowers: manage member's information
- Loan Database: view, search circulation data
- Fine Database: manage fine transactions (optional) . . .

Friday, September 08, 2006

Trial of Saddam Hussein


Trial of Saddam Hussein

This website is intended to provide the viewer with essential information related to the relevant trials. It will also set out a selection of reference materials that will further explain important aspects of the trials. In making this selection, the Law Library of Congress does not endorse or attest to the authenticity of any such referenced materials or information.

In addition to viewers in general, the following of the development of the trial of Saddam Hussein, which started in October 2005, may be of special interest to legal scholars of international criminal law and the seekers of universal justice.

Site last updated : 14-Jul-2006

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Yahoo! Answers



Guardian



Yahoo! launches 'social search' in Britain with multimillion-pound ad campaign
· User collaboration is key to new web advice service
· Marketing outlay is largest since dotcom boom days

Richard Wray, communications editor
Monday September 4, 2006


Yahoo! will launch a service today that allows users to ask other people's advice, when looking for anything from a good hotel or bar to an apple pie recipe, rather than rely solely upon electronically generated search results. The search and online portal operator will promote Yahoo! Answers with its largest advertising campaign in Britain since the dotcom boom.

Yahoo! Answers is the latest example of social search, a new trend in online applications that allows people to collaborate and share information online - as epitomised by sites such as Wikipedia, Digg and YouTube.

Launched in the US at the start of the year and available in test form in Britain since April, Yahoo! Answers is available in 18 countries and has already amassed about 50 million users, who have provided 75 million answers.

Today Yahoo! will launch a nationwide multimillion-pound print, radio and poster campaign to try to attract British internet users to the service. A different celebrity will pose Yahoo! Answers users a question each week for the next eight weeks.

"This is the biggest campaign that Yahoo! have mounted for five or six years," said Stephen Taylor, head of search and search marketing at Yahoo! Europe. "It's a measure of the confidence we have in Yahoo! Answers."

It is also another attempt to widen the scope of the information available on the internet. The first wave of online searching, now dominated by Google, relies heavily upon complex mathematical algorithms to match search terms with information contained in web pages. While useful when hunting out companies, people, products or services, a more nuanced request such as "where is the best restaurant for romance in west London?" requires more than an answer derived from maths.

Yahoo! Answers allows people to pose a question that anyone registered to the site can answer, rather like the Guardian's Notes & Queries section.

Yesterday, questions on Yahoo! Answers ranged from "how do I get black ink from a Biro out of coloured clothes?" and "what documents do you need to enter China?" to "does anyone else think Heathcliff is Earnshaw's son by a black mistress?" and the inevitable "any ladies want to show me their boobs?"

"We see Yahoo! Answers as a way of tapping into the knowledge that is in people's heads," Mr Taylor said.

Questioners impressed with an answer can rate that person as an expert in a particular field. If other people also obtain good answers from this individual, it creates a league table of the best "answerers" in categories such as food and drink, or beauty and style. Some Yahoo! Answers users in the US have already gained a reputation as providers of trustworthy responses, rather like PowerSellers on the eBay auction site.

The whole enterprise, however, relies upon creating a large pool of people who regularly check back to pose and answer questions. Yahoo! is hoping that over time it will be able to amass answers to questions that its search engine has struggled to provide.

The endgame could be to include data from Yahoo! Answers in search results generated by the company's main search engine. While Mr Taylor would not comment on whether this was the ultimate development of the service, he said: "We do see our core internet search and social search getting closer and closer together. Essentially, what you are building is a global knowledge database."

Google has already widened the information available to its search engine through its Google Books project.

While scanning books in university libraries has annoyed some in the industry, who see it as a violation of copyright, information held in out-of-copyright texts is increasingly accessible through its core search engine.

Backstory

Social search is not new. Sites that relied on users rather than machines to map the internet appeared in the mid-1990s. But the advent of broadband has seen an explosion in sites that rely on "folksonomy".

Unlike taxonomy, this relies on users generating their own labelling system. An example is the bookmarking site del.icio.us, which is now part of Yahoo!.

Allowing users to flag up interesting content to a wider community is also central to the news site Digg and the hobbies portal Fanpop, while local information portals such as Yelp and iBegin in North America also rely on users.

Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2006

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