Ludicrous speed

“DONOVAN:            Rudolf.. is there not the possibility – ABEL:                          That my people are going to shoot me ? DONOVAN:              Well.. yes. You’re not worried ? ABEL:                          Would it help ?” Bridge of Spies, script…

Crisis and opportunity

“This is rumour control. Here are the facts !” Andrews (Brian Glover), Alien 3.   “The trades we make tonight will echo in eternity.” Someone on Finance Twitter.

Weeks where decades happen

Well, that escalated quickly. When historians come to run their lenses over the market and social environment of early 2020, the chances are that they will not treat the mainstream media particularly charitably. Nor should they. This is a point well discussed by the statistician Graeme Archer in his Unherd essay, We don’t deserve our wretched…

Beauty contest / ugly tree

“Professional investment may be likened to those newspaper competitions in which the competitors have to pick out the six prettiest faces from a hundred photographs, the prize being awarded to the competitor whose choice most nearly corresponds to the average preferences of the competitors as a whole: so that each competitor has to pick, not those…

End of Empire ?

A hundred years ago, in The Economic Consequences of the Peace, John Maynard Keynes wrote elegiacally of the economic standards enjoyed by affluent members of British society before the outbreak of the Great War. While the masses laboured on a more or less subsistence basis..

Everyone has a number

As we wrote on 6th February (‘Bless you !’), Jim Rickards has an intriguing thought experiment that touches on the same ‘cave brain’ behaviour as the new Covid-19 / coronavirus does. Imagine you were in a hotel ballroom with 500 other people..

Get to the chopper !

The director John McTiernan made two of the best action films of the 1980s. Die Hard surely needs little introduction – completists of the film can see its backstory in the series The Movies That Made Us on Netflix. The other is 1987’s Predator, with Arnie in one of his most memorable roles, as Major “Dutch” Schaefer, sent into the jungles of…

Try ignorance

“If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.” Attributed variously to Harvard University president Derek Bok, and to columnist ‘Ann Landers’ (Eppie Lederer).     “Sheriff Hank Keough: I.. I.. I never heard of a crocodile crossing an ocean. Hector Cyr: Well, they conceal information like that in books.” …

Bless you !

“..the most famous origin-story involving ‘Ring-a-Ring o’ Roses’ is that the rhyme refers to the Great Plague, specifically the one of the seventeenth century that devastated London in 1665 and prompted the inhabitants of the infected Derbyshire village of Eyam to isolate themselves from the rest of the country, so as to minimise the spread…

Unclean !

Mary Mallon managed to infect 47 people during the course of her career as a cook. Three of them died of the disease. Between 1900 and 1907, she infected two dozen people with typhoid fever. She worked in Mamaroneck, New York for less than two weeks when residents began to succumb. She moved to Manhattan in 1901 and members of the family where she was…