My thanks to you all

Some months back I asked about online and other resources to help with GCSE maths. Many suggestions were made and rather than try to write individually to those who helped a more general knuckle to forelock here.

Not quite sure what modern class marks mean but the grandkiddy’s maths one has gone from minus two to plus three as a result of your suggestions and a couple of hours spent over the summer going through them.

The most helpful seeming to be the BBC’s bitesize site. The advantage of which really seems to be that it’s all small enough – in the right sort of volumes – that there’s a willingness to actually do the work. 10, 15 minutes of homework time each day nibbles another bit of the subject.

There were a couple of things I was able to point out. When trying to o linear equations it aids in writing them out properly.

x + 2 = -7

Imagine, just as an example, now solve for x.

Rewrite out as + x + 2 = -7 aids in tracking negatives and positives.

The other I recall was that if you understand fractions – which grandkiddy did – then you understand ratios – which gkiddy didn’t. Because they’re just different ways of looking at the very same thing. 2/7 and 5/7 are the same as a 2:5 ratio.

Aaaaaah!

But that really helpful thing was the guidance to that place where maths will actually be done. Actually doing a subject being a very good start to getting to grips with it of course.

So, we thank you, both.

Pleasuring the Google News Algo

So, tech gurus out there. Anyone got any guides to pleasuring the Google News algo?

Story selection by them. A year back I had a pretty good idea of what interested them, got them to pick up a story. Now, not so sure. But now I nee to know again.

so, any guides out there? Any thoughts on what they do like to showcase, put on the front page?

I do actually know two people at Google but neither work on News…..

An email

Sorry Tim, I don’t wish to be offensive but I’ve looked at your web-site and given the conceptual resources you use (or lack of) there’s nothing you can say that would be of interest to me,

Note that he wrote to me.

Fancy that, I’m more notable than a Nobel Prize winner

Or rather, I’m more notable than a Nobel Prize winner before she gains her Nobel:

When the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm announced the Nobel prize for physics this week, anyone wanting to find out more about one of the three winners would have drawn a blank on Wikipedia.

Until around an hour and a half after the award was announced on Tuesday, the Canadian physicist Donna Strickland was not deemed significant enough to merit her own page on the user-edited encyclopedia.

The oversight has once again highlighted the marginalization of women in science and gender bias at Wikipedia.

Strickland is an associate professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Waterloo and former president of the Optical Society, but when a Wikipedia user attempted to create a profile for her in March, the page was denied by a moderator.

“This submission’s references do not show that the subject qualifies for a Wikipedia article,” said the moderator.

Soon after Tuesday’s announcement, however, the Wikipedia community scrambled to build up a profile, completing sections on her research, biography and – most critically – her awards.

But the belated recognition contrasted with that afforded to Strickland’s colleague Gérard Mourou – with whom she shared the award – who had a Wikipedia page in 2005.

As to why, no, I don’t think this is gender bias although it quite obviously is bias. It isn’t – objectively – true that some blogger and writer upon the internets is more important than an associate professor, male or female. But among those who inhabit the internets that inhabitant of the same milieu is perhaps more visible, possibly even better known in that particular community. While everyone in optics would be “Who the fuck is that Worstall bloke*?”

Bias, yes, but not gender such.

*Except the couple who work with scandium oxide thin film coatings but that’s another matter.

We have?

Millions of dollars has been raised from anonymous US donors to support British rightwing thinktanks that are among the most prominent in the Brexit debate.

American donors are giving money to US fundraising bodies that pass the donations to four thinktanks in Britain. A Guardian analysis has established that $5.6m (£4.3m) has been donated to these US entities since 2008.

The Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), the Adam Smith Institute, Policy Exchange and the Legatum Institute have all received financial support from US backers via this route.

The disclosure leaves the thinktanks facing questions as to whether wealthy Americans have undue influence in British politics, particularly over the form Brexit takes.

It would be difficult for there to be all that much influence. To give an example, I’m a Senior Fellow at the ASI. I also do a lot of writing for them. And I’ve no idea who funds – nor how much- the Institute. Not through any lassitude, it’s simply something that isn’t revealed to anyone.

And if I don’t know who funds – and I don’t get given instructions on what to think or write about, which I’m not – then whatever that funding is cannot influence, can it?

The UK thinktanks are some of strongest proponents of radical free trade deals with reduced regulation – positions likely to benefit big American businesses, which have opposed Europe’s tighter regulations since the 2008 financial crash.

Given that I’ve argued for unilateral free trade since whenever that would be a considerable watering down of my views rather than a strengthening of them.

They have a policy of not disclosing their donors, arguing they respect their backers’ right to privacy unless the backers wish otherwise. Critics say the lack of transparency allows unseen donors to influence political debate.

But if I, at the coal face, don’t know, how can it influence?

This is a little oddity

So, someone in Ghana likes Nkrumah. An odd thing but still. Then they use an old piece of mine to bolster their argument.

Which is a bit odd.

Chad has tried – or claimed perhaps – to get $74 billion in damages out of Exxon for underpaid oil royalties. I point out this is an absurd number. It’s he value of all oil exported over the period around and about. It cannot be true that this is he amount of royalties in dispute.

So, the bloke uses my article insisting it’s an absurd number to argue that Ghana should do the same.

??

So, who knows about expired and expiring domain names?

Looking for someone who really knows this subject.

Domain names. They expire. People don’t renew, whatever. OK

Some of these domains have “presence.” OK

Specifically, I’m interested in finding out more about such domains which are in the Google News index. With a view, obviously enough, to purchasing such an expired/expiring domain name which is listed in hte Google News index.

Obviously this is possible – I’ve seen a story about someone who did precisely this. Ah, but, then how?

And that’s the bit I’m hoping one of you can steer me to. Sure, I can google and find any number of sites telling me about domain names that can be bought. But I’d much prefer to find someone who actually knew what they were doing here and then talk to them/employ them on the point.

So, anyone any ideas or contacts?

The specific thing being looked for is not pagerank, authority, backlinks. It’s G News index.

Capitalisation matters

Chemical alert after man found dead in bath

Or

Chemical alert after man found dead in Bath

A man in his 20s has been found dead at a property in Bath, prompting a chemical alert.

Officers were called to the property in Church Street, Weston, at about 10:30 BST.

Not that Weston is Bath. Dear God, the place is almost rural!

So, what things have weekly sales charts then?

Certain things obviously have weekly sales charts.

Box Office is one. And that’s done across countries, so there’s US (really North America) box office in Variety, Hollywood Reporter and so on. UK box office, presumably India, S Africa and so on.

Records – both albums and singles I guess still now? Main chart, R&B, C&W etc in the US.

Books, hardback and paperback. Fiction, non-fiction. Genre and so on, depending upon how far down one wants to go.

And then it all gets a bit hazy for me. Games perhaps? Is there some officially recognised – or un-official that everyone does recognise – chart of sales? That people look at and go “Oooh, that’s number 1!”?

And what else is there that has such charts?

What I’m looking for are weekly releases of these sorts of things. Something that might then be written up by a newspaper or two (box office most certainly is) and which people tend to search for (box office ditto).

Movies, records, books, what else?

Two old blokes losing their memories

So, apparently this is something so good that I’ve recommended it a number of times. And neither I nor Mark in HK can recall what the heck it was.

Quick question

You have mentioned before one of your key recommendations for economics students being a collection of essays from a non economist in one of the big US newspapers and linked to a webpage. Could you remind me of it please? Son of a friend going off to uni to study business economics and thought it might help.

And:

Can’t remember the exact details, but you quote it reasonably often and once provided a link as it’s not in print. It’s kind of a collection of articles by someone who wrote regularly on markets and economics….thought it was in a US journal of some sort. Damn, I even printed it out once…

Neither of us can remember what the buggery this was. The hive mind is likely to do better than two sets of ageing synapses. Anyone think what this is?

Henry Hazlitt it is an was, thanks for the prompt to Dongguan John.

At which point, a fun little point about this social media and internet stuff. Bloke in Hong Kong is asking a bloke in Portugal to recall something. Answer comes from bloke working near Macao.. All participants are actually English. This takes 10 minutes.

Different world in some senses, isn’t it?

Anyone want to pick the sexually gratifying content out of this?

From Google.

Ads suspended on this page because of porno images, videos, games, sexually gratifying text, a page the rives traffic to such content.

This page here.

If Straights Can’t Play Gays, Does That Mean Gays Can’t Play Straights?

Something odd is going on over in the world of make believe. There’s seems to be considerable confusion over what acting is all about – pretending. That being the job of an actor, to pretend. There are very few Danish princes treading the boards but someone has to play Hamlet. Oddly enough those shot, blown up and stabbed on screen don’t in fact die, they get up again and still do panto at Christmas. Not all the people playing the good guys really do rescue kittens as a hobby even though it is of course true that all the bad guys really do eat babies for breakfast.

I assume it’s someone whining about the point being made rather than the page itself.

Sigh.

Your help needed – what’s wrong with this idea?

The question is, why won’t this business plan work?

Obviously, people don’t like it, don’t want to do it, play. It’s not marketed properly, it’s terrible.

But on a technical level, is there anything here that doesn’t work?

The basic is pretty simple. People like playing simple games on mobiles and the internet. They like complicated ones too, but simple still gains traffic. Solitaire (and this basic idea can be extended to more complex, and Sudoku etc).

Newspaper traditionally had a games section. Different games, given the technology but still. Modern day, disintermediation. The games are now off here, away from the newspaper. However, an underlying thought is that the most difficult thing these days is to gain an audience. That’s what costs the money in any web adventure.

So, if you’ve got one audience, sell them something else. Equally, if you’re seeking an audience try to sell them many things.

We have Continental Telegraph. That’s a newspaper manqué. Why shouldn’t it have a games section?

But what would be the attraction?

What’s the big thing out there. Might be as dumb as a sack of rocks but it’s a big thing. Crytpocurrency.

Hmm, so, invent a currency (an ERC 20 token might cost $100 to make). Give it away as the prize for winning the solitaire games.

Hmm, that might gain traffic.

To play the game you’ve got to see the ad (as with mindjolt). Also, the game page shows a few headlines from Contins at the bottom of the page, might gain traffic.

Consumer gets to gain free crypto by playing game.
Producer gets ad revenue by giving away free crypto.

Easy to get this up on a web page, not that much more difficult to make it a an app for iOS and Android.

So, where’s the error. What’s being missed?

A few simple versions of solitaire shouldn’t be that difficult to find. Need a wallet for the ERC token. A system of counting winnings and issuing them as ContinCoin. Dual OS app and webpage. Not the worst of technical tasks.

So, what’s the bit being missed?