Ulster Bank and the Discovery of Anti-Money

For years I suspected  that my bank held a vast store of anti-money in a specially-constructed vault.  If anti-matter could annihilate matter then why might anti-money do the same thing to my hard-won coin?

The evidence?  Simple.  No matter how much I lodged, I was always broke.

Ah, never mind.  It was just a conversational throwaway, another means of blanching the matter, some trivial commonplace to keep the conversation flowing until now.

What’s now?  Oh, that’s easy.  Now is a world where the only people of integrity are scientists, working without regard to personal gain, and, in the process, unpicking the fundamental nature of our existence.

I was out this morning with my son, and as we drove along, the conversation naturally came round to CERN’s announcement of a five-sigma observation of a Higgs particle.  You can hardly have missed it since it’s been all over the news.

Did the Large Hadron Collider make a profit? he asked, insightfully.

Well, I replied, that depends what you mean by a profit.  If you’re thinking of an investment in the future of humanity, it made a huge profit.  But if your question is a monetary one, then no.  Without CERN, we wouldn’t have CAT scans.  We’d have no internet.  But yes, it’s true that no bondholders have been enriched by what it does.

Damn those ungreedy, trying-to-understand-how-things-work geeks, he spat.

Indeed, I agreed.  They knew how to deal with renegade philosophers back in ancient Greece.  Boiling oil.  Damn those thinking troublemakers.

We drove along in silence for a while, each processing his own piece of existence, until eventually I couldn’t resist it any more.

The Higgs boson, I said.


It’s not only necessary.

It is not, agreed Bullet.

It’s not only sufficient.

Very true, he muttered.  But what about the Manchester United player’s livestock?

You mean the Giggs Bison.

I do.  

What about the Hoggs Bosom?

Will we go any further with this?

Nah, we both nodded.  It speaks for itself.  We need the Higgs boson as much as the Higgs boson needs us.  It’s there because we are.  We’re there because it is.  But what of all these brainy folk in CERN?

Well, those folks are doing what they do because they want to find things out for themselves, and what’s the best way to find things out for yourself?  Is it to ask somebody else?  No.   The best way to find something out for yourself is to find it out for yourself.

That’s what science is all about.  You look at what’s in front of you and you do your best to explain it. But all the time, you accept that you might be wrong, and you’re prepared to change your mind if you find out something different, and that’s not just science, because science isn’t a thing.  Science isn’t a belief system, despite what believers would have you believe.  Science is simply clear thinking, applied to the physical world.

What’s the difference between science and faith?  Simple.  Science is prepared to change in light of new evidence.

What’s the difference between science and pseudoscience?  The answer is as above.

What do faith and pseudoscience have in common?  That’s easy.  Neither of them cares one jot about evidence.  Here’s some some shit we made up earlier.

Let’s get it plain.  Science is not a thing.  It’s not a belief.  It’s not a system.   If you’re being consistent and logical in your thinking then you’re being scientific.  Otherwise, you’re blundering around making shit up to suit yourself.

Back to those banks.  Are they being scientific?

Oh, yes, though you wouldn’t think it.  The people who run those outfits are as sharp as a razor with a blade honed on high-energy hadrons.  They might talk a great deal of unscientific waffle but the reason is perfectly plain: they don’t give a toss.  Take Ulster Bank.  The bank that likes to say Next Week.  They’ve been telling their customers for what, a fortnight now? that everything will be fixed by tomorrow.  I heard on the news today that their latest forecast is some time in the middle of next week.  That’s a full month they’ve been screwing up their loyal customers, without thev slightest hint of a sincere apology.

It baffled me why a well-run bank should suddenly turn rogue until I remembered that these guys had nothing to do with the banking collapse.  Northern.  Solid.  Royal Bank of Scotland.  Ulster.  NatWest.  Bowler hats.  Umbrellas.  Probity.   Honesty.

Very very solid.

How could that suddenly go as crazy as we’ve seen in the last while?  It couldn’t, obviously, so we’re condemned to cast around for an alternative answer.  Those Ulstermen would never rob you, but they would certainly build a Small Hadron Collider in a wee bank vault.  Small but not too small.

Not too small to annihilate my paltry weekly lodgements and generate in the process an enormous amount of energy, to be sold on.

No flies on these boys, let me tell you.

Now.  The Higgs particle has been identified, or at least one of them, and our understanding of the universe is confirmed, so let’s turn the attention of the world’s best intellects on the Royal Bank of Scotland debacle and see if the CERN scientists can figure it out.  I have no doubt that they’d see through the entire fuck-up in minutes, but let’s not bother.  Instead, let’s just fling the whole lot of the banking heads into jail.

What are the chances of that happening?  About as high as the chances of detecting a Higgs Boson in your bottle of Bollinger.




3 thoughts on “Ulster Bank and the Discovery of Anti-Money

  1. There was a bloke from the bank on the radio earlier and the presenter asked him if they will be compensating customers for the delays. He was not a happy man. He might have went and puked into a Haggs Basin. Who knows…

  2. Hello Bock,

    Higgs Boson – bullshit, and much more than one particle of it. What difference would it make, if we understood how the world is assembled? We could talk about it,
    and include new phrases/keywords like neutrinos blah blah. This would satisfy the dummies around us, that we are broad minded, but really?
    “A broad mind is no good without depth” (einstein).

    All of these discoveries in theory, won’t help us to live much longer, and how much longer is longer ever going to be?
    The fundamental understanding, is would we want to live longer, and why? If we’re middle aged or above, we know nothing if we never tried to grasp this – enter religion
    which successfully masks the mortal reality. Blending keywords, won’t help.
    Thats us.

    Ulster Bank – more bullshit. It became obvious after two or three days, that the I.T. department, if they have one, did not have a reliable copy of a backup. They
    may have an old copy (say, a few years old), but this useless/irrelevant as it doesn’t reflect the current reality of ones finances. So the database must be rebuilt/assembled,
    from scratch – hence the delay, and without factoring the new business (daily change in transactions).

    The Ulster Bank Fiasco, can be likened to any database like bocktherobber. Except that wordpress may be backing up Bocks data. Similarly, for facebook or anyone else.

    Now, what the fuck good is the God particle or discussions of it, going to do the “I.T. staff” of Ulster Bank, who don’t understand the simple affair of having reliable
    data backups? And it is a simple affair – I’ve even done it, and its largely automated, but needs checking by an average human who does’nt necessarily understand the composition
    of the galaxy….
    Pretending to understand something….unless…hold on..maybe the Higgs Boson is the missing element – that if we understood it; then we wouldn’t be subsidising Brian Cowens
    further education in Stanford University? We’d know, due to Higgs Boson, that Cowen is not worth that investment.

    It might be conceivable that if we had a more intimate knowledge of the higgs particle, then we wouldn’t just hand out annual pensions of 150k, to dangerous people. Dangerous,
    in that they hold positions which can crucify the ordinary citizen, through the more common but elusive particle; a particle which bonds to others, creating a mass
    known as ignorance.

    I was called, correctly, backward when I conveyed my assessment of the Higgs Boson, to an aquaintance. But would we be able to download concrete, if we only knew what we
    don’t know about the assembly of matter? This would be good, save diesel and load of tyres, but really.. If my friends perception was greater than casual, then we wouldn’t
    need concrete at all, or the rubber and deisel that goes into it. We could fashion something of a similar structural strength, to concrete from something common and .light – like grass.

    Imagine it… make whatever you want from whatever you have – except others could do the same, and you end up with the I.T. Department of Ulster Bank doing incredible things,
    while forgetting to do the things they were paid for.

    Imagine, if you can, what Brian Cowen would do if only he understood the missing element of matter construction? Bear in mind before you begin, the amazing stunts he already
    does, without this additional insight! Overpaid from a broken economy, for doing ….what…making it worse, without even recognising it? I’d be fearful of a world where
    a human like this could have an iota of extra leverage, to “improve” his (our) position.

    Cast your mind to a time when Sean Quinn could invoke his higgs boson baton, and how that could utterly change the structure of his company accounts. Mick Wallace could
    download the higgs manual from a file sharing website, and tickle his accounts to suit himself – thats on top of the knowledge he already has!

    The turf cutters could deconstruct the bogs they love, move them outside the SAC (SCA, is it?), and reassemble them.

    This is the stuff of Star Trek – on one hand, anything is possible to the futuristic mind, coupled to the other side where the simplest of things are impossible; even while
    we accept that they are possible. Would or will the Higgs Boson, help to de-couple this paradox?

    I have to de-couple the matter from my underpants (the old fashioned way) – yes, there is an easier way, but she won’t do it anymore.

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