Friday, February 26, 2010
1/ Women's voices needed in Lesotho's development.
2/ Book a World Cup tour to Lesotho with Kick4Life and Lesotho2010
3/ Basotho people at work: A new book.
4/ Running is miracle grow for your brain.
5/ Fighting crime with math.
6/ HIV/Aids in South Africa (HT: VL)
7/ Photos of bureaucrats at their work (HT: Chris Blattman)
8/ We pretend we are Christians. Difficult not to be Christian in some parts of Texas.
9/ The Fear Budget hypothesis. Do people have a fixed mental budget to allocate to fear?
10/ 77% of Britons want cut in immigration. I don't include myself in their number.
11/ The secret to happiness. (HT: Chartporn)
12/ The Falklands here and here. I have sympathy with the idea that we can talk about shared revenue from oil with Argentina, but no sympathy with the idea that we can talk about sovereignty unless Falkland Islanders themselves want to (either with respect to independence, or joint sovereignty with Argentina or a complete transferal to Argentina). And not following bullying by an Argentine Government. A Government has a duty to its citizens and to people who feel they belong under a particular Government. It is a cowardly Government that abandons those who feel they belong to a country for the sake of short-lived bullying of those who demand a country give up sovereignty over its own citizens for some ill-defined but apparently 'liberal' motivations.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Sunday, February 21, 2010
I am a Saints fan. Our local rivals are Pompey. It would be fair to say that their is a fair amount of historical animosity between Southampton and Portsmouth and the rivalry can be pretty bitter between the two sets of fans.
Below is a picture to illustrate:
I am sure that there are a few Saints fans who feel differently, but I hope not too many.
Friday, February 19, 2010
See all Friday links
"I'm walking through a local Phoenix mall and pass a kiosk for Rosetta Stone, the language-learning software. There's a sign indicating $125 off each course. I ask the woman manning the kiosk, "Is this a discount price over an internet purchase?" She responds, "Where do you live?" I indicate I live locally. She says, "Why would you want to support the Virginia economy [I gather this is where Rosetta Stone is headquartered] rather than our local Phoenix economy? It's the same price either way, but don't you want to keep the money here?"
I told her she made a good point and asked her where in Phoenix she lived? She told me she lived in the Biltmore area. I sighed and explained that was too bad since I lived in the Arcadia area, and wanted to help support the Arcadian economy.
She looked at me like I was crazy. Sadly, this is not an isolated incident..."
"Until the mid 20th century the global chocolate industry faced a huge problem – a lack of holidays and between Easter and Christmas meant that the never-ending circle of life, during which Santa Clause is reborn as the Easter bunny and Rudolph magically transforms into the Paschal lamb, was endangered! The time between Christmas and Easter was too long to keep chocolate and the circle of life could not be sustained! This did not only pose the industry with wildlife conservation problems, confronted it with Sweetpeace campaigns, but also raised the serious problem of how to get rid of tons of leftover stocks (and if you’re now gonna say that the time between Easter and Christmas is even longer, think about when the first Santa’s hit the shops… ).
The industry was in a desperate position: wasting chocolate is a cardinal sin and a ruthless crime! Left stranded, melting and looking for answers, the industry turned to God and he, acknowledging their prayers, shared his endless love with them and encouraged them to share it amongst each other on Valentine’s Day! This not only meant that men had to remember one more meaningless date in addition to birthdays and all sorts of anniversaries, but also gave industry another holiday which they could shamelessly exploit!"
3/ Alistair Darling rejects economists calls for spending cuts. What kind of an idiot would listen to economists on matters concerning the economy anyway?
4/ The importance of technological innovation for Small and Medium Enterprise growth. An academic study.
6/ How to be British (a link especially for Amitha :) )
10/ South Africa gives away 1% of its GDP to its neighbours. And Western countries still struggle to spend a pathetic 0.7% of GDP on Overseas Development Aid.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
It’s something that I noticed quite quickly after coming to Lesotho: Coca cola in a large bottle can never be a private good.
So often I have a 2 liter bottle in the office and so often anyone who passes feels they can ask for a cup of it*. What is interesting though, is that this does not happen to any other drink. For example, fanta or fruit juices do not attract the same attention. Why should that be?
There is another interesting pair of private-common goods: chocolate on my desk is private; it belongs to me and no one will ask for it. Biscuits, on the other hand, are a common good. Anyone is allowed to ask for a biscuit.
I guess every society has similar things. In Europe, cigarettes used to be common-ish, but are now private, but that reflects a price change. Coke and fanta cost about the same amount here.
What other interesting combinations of these have people spotted?
* Interestingly, conditions apply. There must be no one else in the room and, most importantly, the coke must be cold. Warm coke appears to have about the same value here as sunblock on a rainy day. The Basotho are a people of taste :)