It’s our dreadful colonialism that caused the South Sea Islanders to get fat

This just in: that appalling colonial thing we white folks did is what made the people of the South Pacific so dreadfully fat today: Anthropologists Dr Amy McLennan and Professor Stanley Ulijaszek found that islanders lost many of their traditional food cultivation, preparation and preserving skills after settlers insisted that they learn western ways of […]

From the Annals of Rampant Stupidity

The latest bright idea is that apparently granny would like to scrabble in the dirt for a few potatoes the day after her hip replacement: Even if hospital patients have always hated their food, whether it’s microwaved meals, over salted vegetables, or fresh fruit, there are still things we can learn from the past. One […]

Privateers and the sinister threat posed by ‘patent trolls’

Many in Britain may not be familiar with the term ‘patent privateering’ – but that may all be about to change. British courts are apparently being targeted in a forum-shopping exercise by global monopolists, who are using this technique to reduce competition and innovation in the hi-tech sector. This new menace to the workings of […]

When your results should give you pause for thought

It’s entirely possible to construct methods of measurement that will prove anything you want them to. But when you do so it’s always worth just checking your results to see if they make some sort of sense. As with that delightful survey from nef a few years ago, where they tried to list the best […]

Why Uber might be making a mistake in paying by the hour

There’s a little technical detail about incentives that suggests that Uber might be making a mistake in their policy of paying minicab drivers by the hour. That mistake being not quite getting the difference between the income effect and the substitution effect as it affects pieceworkers (those two effects together being what gives us the […]