2018

A lot of people are really impressed by the insight that survey research among the British reliably suggests that both strongly left-wing and strongly right-wing positions are popular. A more nuanced version refines this to economically left-wing and socially right-wing positions. Nick Barlow’s post here is an example, but I don’t want to single him…

Read More Invisible Gammon: Fun with the Ecological Fallacy

So apparently this is a thing: Latest rumour is a May statement at 1.45pm. Full lectern job. Let's see. — Francis Elliott (@elliotttimes) September 21, 2018 There are prime ministerial statements, and then there are ones that get the official lectern. Those are special. And depressingly, it works, for a time at least: Totally normal,…

Read More Full Lectern Job

So there’s this: How to make the UK the laughing stock of the world. https://t.co/BKRzC7QZco — (((Frances Coppola))) (@Frances_Coppola) September 15, 2018 Specifically, Liam Fox’s ministry is sponsoring the restoration of a Spitfire as part of its export promotion campaign. FOXFIRE!!! This reminded me of something. If you’re pitching to the Big Lottery Fund or…

Read More FOXFIRE! and grant applications as a way of political life

Here is the first ad in the government campaign for the deployment of so-called smart energy meters, a giant Internet of Things project that’s not going so well. So here we have the charming little tykes Gaz and Leccy, a pair of mischievous pseudo-adolescents bouncing around causing trouble for the tired-olds (check out that astonishingly…

Read More Taking back control: Gaz, Leccy, and Frank Field

This War on the Rocks post is excellent, making the case that Hamas has succeeded in denying the Israelis escalation-dominance and this is why a cold peace is holding-ish. These TYR Flashbacks! refer (one, two, three, four.)

Read More SSP

So here’s the Parliamentary Select Committee on DCMS’s fake news report. Rather, its report on fake news. This bit has been doing the rounds: ‘Free Basics’ is a Facebook service that provides people in developing countries with mobile phone access to various services without data charges. This content includes news, employment, health, information and local…

Read More Now that’s what I call viral

While we’re talking fraud, this NYT piece on people who sell YouTube views is fascinating and enlightening. YouTube counts how many people watch videos, puts the number next to them, and uses this to account for advertising money and decide which videos to promote. It’s therefore worthwhile to program a computer to click on your…

Read More The Inversion: or why everything sucks.

We’ve not done one of these for a while so here goes. Dan Davies’ Lying for Money is an economic history of fraud which emphasises its relationship with the social trust necessary for civilisation. Practices like accounting, auditing, and record-keeping are in some sense technologies that permit us to manufacture artificial trust, and of course…

Read More Boooks