A basic income for everyone? Yes, Finland shows it really can work

For Iain Duncan Smith, poverty was the rotten fruit of broken families, addiction or debt. Photograph: Bloomberg/via Getty Images

That was Jrvinen, too, until this year. Just as with so many Britons on social security, he was trapped in a humiliating system that gave him barely enough to feed himself, while refusing him even a glimmer of a hope of fulfilment.

So what accounted for his change? Certainly not the UBI money. In Finland, 560 is less than a fifth of average private-sector income. You have to be a magician to survive on such money, Jrvinen says. Over and over, he baldly describes himself as poor.

His liberation came in the lack of conditions attached to the money. If they so wish, Finns on UBI can bank the cash and do nothing else. But, in Jrvinens case at least, the sum has removed the fear of utter destitution, freeing him to do work he finds meaningful.

It sounds simple. It is simple. But to this visitor from Austerity Britain, with its inglorious panoply of welfare scandals stretching from universal credit to Concentrix to Atos, it was almost fantastical.

This UBI trial was introduced by a centre-right government that is bringing in its own version of austerity, including big cuts to benefits and schools. Yet, try as I might to imagine Theresa May or Philip Hammond allowing even loose change to be given to the poor with no questions, I still draw a blank.

I visit Finlands equivalent of Iain Duncan Smith, the social affairs minister Pirkko Mattila. A recent escapee from the populist True Finns, she carries no discernible hippy tendencies not a whiff of joss stick. Yet she seems genuinely bemused that there could be any political resistance to handing poor people some money to sit at home. I personally believe that in Finland citizens really want to work, she says.

What this underlines is how debased Britains welfare politics have become compared with much of the rest of Europe. Blame Tory austerity, or New Labours workfare, or Thatcherisms trite exhortations to get on your bike but we have ended up with a system shot through by two toxic beliefs.

One, that poverty is the product of personal moral failure. For the former chancellor George Osborne, it was about skivers v strivers. For IDS, poverty was the rotten fruit of broken families, addiction or debt. Neither man, nor the rest of their party, can accept what their rightwing counterparts in Finland do: that poverty is no more than a lack of money.

What flows from that is the second bogus British belief: the idea that social security isnt a safety net for all, but a cash-starved and demoralised triage system for the lazy and feckless right at the bottom.

Treating the poor as criminals in the making places welfare as an adjunct to the criminal justice system. It means declaring dying people as fit for work. It leaves disabled people living in mortal fear of their next Esa or Pip assessment; jobless people being sanctioned for no good reason.

And it is all next to useless. Bureaucracy and costs are displaced everywhere from the NHS to local councils to citizens advice bureaux. The government has, on its own assessments, failed to make a fraction of its proposed savings from reforming disability benefits. Think about all those ordinary peoples lives ripped up and ruined and barely a penny saved.

If that was the philosophy of the Finns, they would never have got this experiment off the ground, and Jrvinen would not now be dreaming up dozens of schemes.

Go to Finland for answers on universal basic income, by all means. But be prepared to come back with even more questions about why Britain abuses its poor.

Aditya Chakraborttys report from Finland can be seen on Vice News Tonight on HBO and online

Aditya Chakrabortty is a Guardian columnist

Broadband expansion could trigger dangerous surge in space junk

Increase in orbital traffic from countless interactions satellites might cause 50% increase in devastating crashes, states research study
d accumulation of harmful area scrap in Earths orbit, a research study alerts.

Google, SpaceX, Boeing and Samsung are amongst the business competing to release international broadband networks by releasing countless small satellites into low orbit. The very first launches are prepared for next year.

Dr Hugh Lewis, a senior speaker in aerospace engineering at the University of Southampton , ran a 200-year simulation to evaluate the possible repercussions of such an increase in orbital traffic. He discovered it might produce a 50% boost in the variety of disastrous accidents in between satellites.

Such crashes would most likely cause a more boost in the quantity of area scrap in orbit, he stated, resulting in the possibility of more accidents and prospective damage to the services the satellites were meant to offer.

The constellations that are because of be released from next year consist of an extraordinary variety of satellites, and a constellation introduced without much idea will see a considerable effect on the area environment due to the fact that of the increased rate of accidents that may happen, he stated.

With about 750,000 items bigger than 1cm orbiting Earth, the scrap surrounding the world is currently a significant barrier to efforts to make use of area. At average speeds of 40,000 km/h, effect on area hardware would provide approximately the energy equivalent to the surge of a hand grenade, with possibly remarkable effects for functional satellites.

The European Space Agency , which moneyed Lewiss research study, is requiring the satellites prepared for orbital mega-constellations to be able to transfer to low elevations once their objectives are over so they burn up in Earths environment. They need to likewise be able discharge all batteries, fuel tanks and pressure tanks to avoid surges that would spread particles.

Dr Holger Krag, the head of the area particles workplace at the ESA, stated a number of the business proposing to introduce services offered by such mega constellations did not have experience of the troubles of operating in Earths orbit.

The launch of mega-constellations of interaction satellites might result in an increase in accidents, researchers alert. Picture: University of Southampton/PA

He revealed issue at aspirations to make satellites at a portion of the expense and lot of times the rate of the present batch of taxpayer-funded spacecraft, while still satisfying exacting standards for dealing with them at the end of their objectives.

They are business so they have rivals, so they have pressure, Krag stated. Under these conditions they would need to make satellites that are dependable enough after 5 years of operations to dependably perform this disposal manoeuvre.

Right now, under all the taxpayer-funded area flight we are doing today is just able to accomplish 60% of success rate for that manoeuvre. How can they be much better under industrial pressure and with less expensive satellites? Thats the concern we have.

Lewis exists his research study today at the European conference on area particles at the ESAs centre in Darmsadt, Germany. Krag stated he anticipated a few of the business preparing launches to go to.

Even with excellent objectives it stays an incredibly high technological difficulty to handle to [fulfill the ESAs proposed standards], he stated.

Let them attain a success rate of 90%, which would be incredibly great compared to exactly what we do now, and it still indicates a couple of hundred satellites will be lost and at that elevation its bad. Its as basic as that.


Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2017/apr/18/broadband-expansion-space-junk-internet-debris

Leaning San Francisco Tower Seen Sinking From Space

San Francisco (AP)– Engineers in San Francisco have actually tunneled underground to comprehend the sinking and attempt of the 58-story Millennium Tower. Now comes an analysis from area.

The European Space Agency has actually launched comprehensive information from satellite images that reveals the high-rise building in San Francisco’s monetary district is continuing to sink at a consistent rate and possibly faster than formerly understood.

The high-end high-rise that opened its doors in 2009 has actually been called the Leaning Tower of San Francisco. It has actually sunk about 16 inches into land fill and is tilting a number of inches to the northwest.

A conflict over the structure’s building in the seismically active city has actually stimulated various suits including the designer, the city and owners of its multimillion dollar homes.

Engineers have actually approximated the structure is sinking at a rate of about 1-inch each year. The Sentinel-1 twin satellites reveal practically double that rate based upon information gathered from April 2015 to September 2016.

The satellite information reveals the Millennium Tower sunk 40 to 45 millimeters or 1.6 to 1.8 inches over a current 1 year duration and nearly double that quantity 70 to 75 mm (2.6 to 2.9 inches) over its 17-month observation duration, stated Petar Marinkovic, creator and chief researcher of PPO Labs which evaluated the satellite’s radar images for the ESA in addition to Norway-based research study institute Norut.

“What can be concluded from our information, is that the Millennium Tower is sinking at a constant rate,” Marinkovic stated in a telephone interview Monday from The Hague, Netherlands.

The information discovered a little downturn this summer season however one that requires more analysis, he stated, and does not alter the total information. “There is rather a constant subsidence.”

The Sentinel-1 research study is not concentrated on the Millennium Tower however belongs to a bigger objective by the European Space Agency tracking metropolitan ground motion worldwide, and especially subsidence “hotspots” in Europe, stated Pierre Potin, Sentinel-1 objective supervisor for the ESA.

The ESA chose to perform routine observations of the San Francisco Bay Area, consisting of the Hayward Fault, given that it is susceptible to tectonic motion and earthquakes, stated Potin, who is based in Italy.

Data from the satellite, which is orbiting about 400 miles (700 kilometers) from the earth’s surface area, was tape-recorded every 24 days.

The structure’s designer, Millennium Partners, firmly insists the structure is safe for tenancy and might hold up against an earthquake.

The designer’s representative PJ Johnston stated he had no direct talk about the satellite information however provided a declaration stating that the Millennium Tower is an advanced structure that was “developed and built to the extremely high requirements” mandated by San Francisco.

He repeated the designers’ blame for the tower’s issues on the city’s building of a surrounding train station, which they state gotten rid of ground water from below the Millennium Tower that triggered it to tilt and sink.

The city company, the Transbay Joint Powers Authority, blames the structure’s “insufficient structure” which is not anchored to bedrock. The tower is supported by stacks owned 60 to 90 feet into land fill.

Engineers worked with by the structure and its designers have actually drilled deep holes around the structure to check soil samples to identify if the structure has actually stopped sinking, and if there’s a method to repair it.

One of the structure’s renters, Jerry Dodson, states that designers have actually provided occupants the impression that the sinking was stopping and slowing.

“To have the area firm taking a look at it unmasks exactly what (designers) have actually put out there. Now we understand it’s continuing to sink at a sped up rate,” stated Dodson, a lawyer who has actually assisted arrange house owners claims. “I can inform you that satellite information is way more precise that digging in the dirt.”

Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com//news/articles/2016-11-29/leaning-san-francisco-tower-seen-sinking-from-space