The usual argument in favour of legalising insider trading is that it is not actually harmful (or even beneficial) to investors. I think that insider trading is extremely harmful and in-ethical, but it should be legalised anyway. My reasons are the difficulties in enforcing the law, and the probable effects on markets of legalisation. (more…)
There is a whole industry telling people what to eat, and frequently selling the dubious benefits (from diet books, to health food). It seems to me that most of it boils down to some simple rules that are easy to follow, and some points of controversy (on which it may not be possible to decide what is best). I follow a simple rules that work very well. (more…)
Is it right that a tremendously important literary work, also a work of religious importance to many, should be public domain throughout the world, except in the country whose people’s taxes paid for it? Is a 400 year old private monopoly, granted as part in order to further censorship something that should be maintained? This is exactly what has happened to the Authorised Version of the Bible (the King James Version), which, in the UK is still under a perpetual crown copyright, with a small number of private companies profiting from the letter patent or licences they have inherited to print it. (more…)
As requests for IDE recommendations on the django-users mailing list/Google Group, and as I assume that anyone developing with Django knows they should search for answers on the net before asking, here is a summary of the most often recommended options. (more…)
Nothing can destroy my productivity the way Twitter can. There are a lot of potential distractions, especially the multitude available over the internet, but Twitter’s nature makes it far more distracting than web browsing, email or even other social networks. (more…)
Rick’s latest post on the creativity crisis raises the possibility that the current slowdown in technological advance is merely a period of adjustment rather than a permanent slowdown. I have three reasons for remaining pessimistic.
- The slowdown is historically unprecedented, not just part of a cycle.
- The reasons for the slowdown are built into our economy and politics, so it cannot easily be reversed.
- Even if this is just a temporary phenomenon, the results could still be catastrophic.
The greater fool effect is well established as a key mechanism that allows bubbles to inflate to ludicrous valuations: investors who know prices are too high keep buying. Prices can stay too high in a similar way outside a bubble: not necessarily massively over-valued or in the context of a broader market bubble. (more…)
I have thought about this before, but a question my nine year old daughter asked me crystallised the idea. The (already existing) regulatory process can be tweaked to provide an alternative to patents that would make the market more competitive, reduce over-head costs of research, and reduce litigation costs and uncertainties. (more…)
The old, and much debated, question of why a benevolent and omnipotent God would allow suffering has many answers, but there is a more intuitive grasp of one answer to be found in works of fiction (at least one by an atheist). (more…)
I am entirely unable to understand Boston Consulting Group’s much publicised claim that the “internet economy” contributes 8.3% of UK GDP. They do not define what they mean and I cannot reconcile it with the numbers. Most of the discussion in their document is of online retail so that is clearly important, but lets start with a key question. (more…)