4 December 2013

Banks suffer meltdown, Man loses £4m Bitcoins, Uni applications drop…

Oxford Student brings flamethrower to party

Flamethrower students

A party at Oxford University was shut down after a student turned up dressed as Arcade Fire, with a space invader round his neck and a homemade flamethrower.

Nobody was burned at the party and the police weren’t called but college porters closed the party before midnight.

Our take: At least it’d be bright in the event of a ‘Power Out’, but just to be on the safe side we’d probably ‘Keep the Car Running’ next time your ‘Old Flame’ invites you to go to a party in the Oxford ‘Neighbourhood’. If you want our advice, we’d see keep to the ‘Suburbs’, but if you really must go, it’s your ‘Funeral’.

Man throws away hard drive with £4mill Bitcoins

Bitcoins
An IT expert in Newport is on a desperate search for a hard drive that he threw away with £4million worth of Bitcoins on it.

James Howells realised his mistake and is now searching a Newport landfill site for the hard drive.

Our take: The digital currency reached a value of $1000 last week and we feel sorry for this guy. The chances of him finding the hard drive are pretty low but we think it’s well worth searching the landfill for £4million. Who fancies going on a hunt with us?

RBS and Natwest suffer meltdown causing chaos

Natwest RBS chaos
An IT glitch left 1000s of customers unable to use their debit and credit cards, on Cyber Monday of all days.

The banks have said that they have reimbursed any customers who had been wrongly charged but will not be offering additional compensation for customers that missed out on offers.

Our take: This is rather embarrassing for the banks involved. Lots of customers were left scratching their heads when trying to purchase great deals online as well as in store. If you’ve been affected make sure you get in touch with your bank. If you’ve had any problems get in touch via free phone 0800 151 0404 (NatWest), 0800 151 0405 (RBS).

MPs want tighter student loan repayment control

Loan repayments

A report this week has shown that the outstanding student loan debt is currently £46bn and is set to rise.

The statistics also showed that around £5bn is unaccounted for due to students moving abroad or not supplying correct employment details. Also, about 50% of students are not expected to earn enough to repay all their loan.

Our take: We’ve said from day 1 that the new fees system could leave the government out of pocket due to the amount of students that will never earn enough to pay back the whole of their loans. All debts are wiped 30 years after graduating and this could hit the government hard. We just hope that this doesn’t lead to a change in the repayment terms.

Victory for striking cleaning staff at Uni of London

Cleaner Strike

Striking cleaning staff at the University of London have won a major battle for better working conditions as well as improved sick pay, holiday pay and a pension scheme.

While this is a positive victory for the striking workforce, there have still been no concessions over proposed job losses.

Our take: The underdog won! A strike achieved something! Who knew that was possible? This is a strong step in the right direction, here’s hoping that the cost doesn’t get shafted onto someone else.

Manchester SU deficit reaches half a million £s

Manchester SU

Job losses are looking likely at Manchester University as it’s Student Union amasses a deficit of half a million pounds.

The union has already closed one of its cafés and replaced many of its student staff with full time employees.

The deficit has come come directly from within the Union, which has several business assets, and many students are calling for its senior leaders to take pay cuts to rectify the situation.

Our take: Pay cuts?! If you’ve ran up a half a million pound deficit, you should be working for free until you’re back to making money. It’s not the front line staff or the students fault that this has happened, it’s bad management, but as always, they’re not the ones the footing the bill.

UCAS reports 4% drop in Uni applications

Applications drop

The latest figures from UCAS have revealed that 5000 fewer students have applied for university so far this year.

With the demand for degrees so low, the outlook is bleak although universities insist that the number will rise as the January deadline looms.

Our take: We’re sorry to be banging this drum again, but there’s one very easy to get young people to want to go to university again. Make it affordable! Until that happens, the number of applicants is just going to get lower and lower as people are priced out of education.

State of the Machin: On the Year’s Best TV

2013 TV

It’s December! Which can only mean one thing, it’s time to make arbitrary lists about aspects of pop culture. The dream of writing for the NME (see the above Arcade Fire pun-a-thon) is not yet dead as long as I can list things I liked over a certain time period.

This week it’s all about TV but up until the New Year, unless something really interesting happens to me (which is highly unlikely), I’ll be covering Films, Music and Games as well. Because they’re the only things that matter.

Best TV Show: Game of Thrones

I was incredibly late to the party with this one, but once I’d watched a few episodes, I was completely hooked.

The third season was the best so far, and I’m literally counting down the days until the fourth season starts. Team Jaime!

Show I Expected to Hate but Actually Loved : Revenge

When I started watching Revenge, I told myself it was in a semi ironic way. It just wasn’t possible that someone with such a refined palette as mine could possibly enjoy this silly TV show about impossibly rich young white people.

How wrong I was, clunky dialogue or no I was still tuning in each week to see what Emily Thorne’s next plan was.

Best Documentary: Educating Yorkshire

I’m torn here between Educating Yorkshire and a BBC3 documentary about young people  who’d been sectioned under the mental health act.

Unfortunately, as good as it was, I can’t remember what that was called, so Educating Yorkshire wins this field. And not just because of my terrible memory.

The documentary gave incredible insight into the running of a school, the teenager mind and showed some genuine heart warming examples of great, passionate teachers.

Best Comedy: Parks and Recreation

While not technically new, it was new to the UK. Seasons (as the Americans call them) 1 & 2 aired on BBC4 earlier this year and after a shaky start, Parks quickly became the most consistently hilarious and all round fantastic sitcom.

I’m especially looking forward to the arrival of Adam Scott and Rob Lowe when the series returns to BBC4 in the new year.

Best Crime Drama: Broadchurch

Good old ITV, they went big with the promotion of Broadchurch, and rightly so. They had a fantastic eight part drama on their hands, with two leading actors who were both at the top of their game.

David Tennant managed to put all of his Doctor Who whimsy behind him and Olivia Coleman quickly rose from Mitchell & Webb sidekick to legitimate leading lady (on an ITV crime drama).

That’s all the TV I have space for here, but there were countless other great shows. Get in touch with what you enjoyed!

And that’s the State of the Machin.

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