## Sunday, November 20, 2011

### Ex student? How much for £300 per week take home?

How much Salary does a graduate have to earn to take home £300 a week?

Rough estimate - including Student Loans Company (slc):

Assuming a nice round 60% net (tax + NI is approx 40%), we see...

£300 x 52 gives £15,600

Divide by .6 to gross up that figure gives you the higher gross of £26,000

£15,600 / 0.6 = £26,000

£90 * 12 = £1,080 (annual slc repayment on £26,000)

Estimate: £27,080

But 40% for tax & NI is wrong? But £90 per month slc is wrong?

These figures are a bit rough and ready. Feel free to substitute your own percentages.

A spreadsheet to help with the monthly repayment to slc can be found here

Note: Spreadsheet is in Open Document format (.ods).

You can view it directly in Googledocs here

Below is a preview image:

The Tax and National Insurance rate estimates are local to the United Kingdom, please adjust as appropriate for your local situation.

#### UK Zero Percent Tax threshold in 2014:

From April 2014 the personal tax threshold (level below which no income tax is payable) is estimated at £10,000

What this means for somebody earning £27,000 is that 17,000 of their salary is taxed at entry level tax rate of 20%.
Making Annual income tax liability of £3,400 (Monthly £283.33)

The earlier statement "tax + NI is approx 40%" overstates things a little. Being an employee on that sort of salary means paying 12% National Insurance (NI).

Update the spreadsheet to reflect the current picture and get a more accurate estimate.

The £90 monthly payment to your Student Loan is still payable, and is not affected by changes in Tax or NI rates.

## Saturday, November 5, 2011

### Science - who should have a voice? is silence Scientific?

I am not anti-vax, I am not pro-vax, and I am no more comfortable with the ex actor becomes science voice, than I am with ex actor becomes president.

One thing that I would say, is that whilst I am no fan of Mr Celebritee, or Ms Ex Baywatch, it would also not be entirely wise, to smack down completely, all voices from outside the Scientific establishment.

It maybe in 15 or 20 years that Science (the community) has more of your faith, or less of your faith, but whatever, it might not be the same level as today.

If I could turn down the volume level on the non-science stuff/people then that would be great, but be careful of pursuing a policy of Science (establishment) or strict silence.

Here is an illustration:

```Science - Non-science celeb
.       -  A
a       -  A
A       -  A
A       -  a
A       -  .
```

The final option above is the 'Scientific establishment only' viewpoint - where you might advocate nothing else having a voice.
This option is not what I would choose.
Neither would I choose the first or second lines above.

I have been on the receiving end of some difficult reading in the past.
Reading journalists using pseudo-science to build a following around a view, that serves corporate lobbyists, but also their own profile, is painful.

I do not have a total solution.

The Internet has created a great way of building a community around celebrity messages.
Sometimes those celebrities are not in it for the good of that community, and may even be part-funded by a company that stands to make a good profit, from debunking the current Scientific view in a particular area [ allegedly ]

One solution is to give all citizens at least some introductory experience in critique, and researching of funding/sponsorship.
In the UK we have school leavers well versed in Facebook likes and shares, but who have no idea how to critique or spot a 'sponsored' report.

The very fact that political lobbying is so successful in the West, is testament to how lacking, in even basic critique, some countries citizens really are.

Celebrity bloggers do science - Is this the return of Quackery?

Possibly.

However listening (entirely) to the Science establishment reaction to this, might see too strong a response.

I watched a TV programme in 2011 where the President of the Royal Society, Sir Paul Nurse talked about the state of Science, and the rise of the celebrity blogger.

I agreed with much of what was said in that programme, however [ going back to the critique :) ], there is a billion pound Science industry in the UK, and most of what was said is, what you might expect of somebody seen as a figurehead for the Science establishment.

One thing that I seem to recall was the message that Science is on trial because of recent events / debates.

In order to have a trial, you need a jury, even though that jury may include types who you personally cannot stand :)

The Science establishment cannot be it's own jury*. Perhaps our job might be to ensure that, where practical, we enhance (and share) our personal critique skills, and be aware of how to spot the quackery.

jury* here does not mean peer review. Peer review is very important and I respect that, however if an 'alternative view' is growing stronger because of celebrity bloggers, then perhaps it is unwise to ignore how the 'lay person' feels about Science. Just how are you going to address this Scientists?

To avoid any confusion: I am an advocate of peer review, and appreciate how important this is - recent example - the reexamination of the 'faster than speed of light' speculation of European Physicists in 2011 - stimulated by CERN / observations between Switzerland and Italy.

I am not a Physicist, and have no clue about relativity.
However as a lay person (in the area of Physics), it is helping my faith in that area of Science, when I see such a 'peer review' process in action.

However the Scientific establishment is not infallible (see link below)
Science is not the only voice I want to listen to.
My (personal) choice is to listen closely when Scientists speak, but also, not to assign zero weight to other voices.

Whilst I appreciate the importance of established Scientific Journals, I also appreciate the need for arxiv

Extract from Heaviside (from link below):
Heaviside was not interested in rigour...
Whist rigour and proof are very important, there are very occasionally folks, who despite resisting rigour and process, manage to discover and apply something magnificent.
( Just to be crystal clear here I am thinking about Heaviside, and not any celebrity bloggers that I have read to date )

Heaviside did eventually get the recognition that he deserved, however the people who he did not 'get on with' entirely, managed to delay that recognition by several years.

The Scientific Establishment is a people system, and just like any people system (or computer system), is likely chock full of imperfections.

However my personal view, it that the Scientific Establishment (currently) does a pretty good job, so I will keep listening.

There have been at least two major Science debates in the last decade, where public opinion has really entered into the debate. In neither case, have I personally seen anything, that had me thinking, on those particular issues, that Science was wrong.
However I do not rule out in the future, the possibility, that I might find myself disagreeing with Science on a particular issue either.

For me it is an issue by issue thing. On individual topics, I try to critique where I can.

Want to help make Science more open? Read the manifesto and consider endorsing.

Note: I have no personal affiliation to Nick Barnes or that manifesto, read and critique what is said for yourself.