So why are there warning balls on electric power lines?

Driving around here in Sunny Portugal we’ve become a little puzzled.

So, high energy – voltage? – power lines have little balls on them. Different colours, red and white perhaps. OK, that’s fine, it’s obviously a warning. “Here be high voltage power lines.”

And it’s on the top strand of the set going from pylon to pylon. That’s fine.

Could be for birds I guess, something that scares them. Maybe planes? Dunno, but that’s not the question.

Observation (two incidences, you can tell we’re doing science here) says that these balls are only on that line when the lines cross a road. But they’re far too high up to have anything to do with the road. The spans away from the road don’t have the reflectors/birdscarers/whatever on.

So, err, why?

That’s my job at Islington Technical College screwed then

So, there’s a letter from 1,100 economist floating around. Insisting that trade agreements have made the world much richer blah, blah, blah. So, I was going to write a typically Worstallian piece. Nah, it’s not trade agreements, it’s lower transport costs. Agreements are nice, useful, make us richer etc, but transport hugely outweighs tariffs etc.

And, you know, all economists would agree when this is pointed out, it’s just we don’t normally bother to do so.

Just before I charge off thought I’d just check the drop in transport costs. I know absolutely it’s true for late 19th century, let’s just check it is for post-war 20th.

It ain’t. Ad valorem shipping rates have been pretty constant actually. Complicated stuff – what gets shipped has changed etc, times are much shorter, smaller load can be shipped, less theft – but my thesis isn’t, really, very true at all.

So, not writing a piece on that claim then.

But that is my application to teach at Islington Technical College screwed then isn’t it? Altering stuff on the basis of facts?

Just to make it worse, then looked up a bit of trade theory to see why I disagreed with it. Turns out I misunderstood it. Ho hum….

So, who’s got good Google Fu?

Just back from the ancestral acres in Ireland. And one of the stories we heard was that Patrick Kielty, from the same village (Dundrum in Co. Down) did a show on an abandoned house/shop in the village.

Apparently this is on YouTube. I can’t find it – can anyone else?

The interest being that the place was, in its time, the shop of great grandfather in Dundrum. The show and abandonment are long after his time, but would be interesting to see the piece if anyone can find it.

Just as an aside would point out that Journalistic Investigation Method No. 1 still works. Wait until starting one’s second pint then ask the barman. Lo! Within 10 minutes we had the location of the g-gfather’s shop and garage down pat, along with a quick guided walk up and down the street.

It did help that the pub, the Dundrum Inn, was a whole 20 yards from either and both.

Tech help

Printers, printers.

OK, so, in the print queue on one machine I’ve a document it says is “deleting”. I cannot get it to print anything else while that is going on. But it’s bneen going on for days now, that deleting.

Know it’s not the printer, have hooked another machine up to it and printed something.

So, how do I get shot of that thing clogging up the print queue? Have highlighted and deleted. Have “cancel all print jobs”, all the obvious things that the system allows.

But that damn file is still there, blocking the queue.

Any ideas?

We’re looking for writers

Over at Continental Telegraph.

No, don’t get excited, it’s definitely unpaid.

But we would be interested in more people joining the roster. There is no commitment to regularity, you don’t need to sign up to do a regular column or anything.

Pieces should be unique tho’. We’re not going to become simply a place to reprint blog posts.

If you’ve an expertise, or a point of view, we’re interested. If you’ve specific books, records, video games you’d like to review and tell us all about that’s fine too. That second might well suit those who review stuff at Amazon for example.

Drop me a line at “” and we’ll get things moving.


Much brain power is being overused in attempting to make the US tech giants contribute more to Her Majesty’s Revenue. The initial complaint, that the current international business taxation system doesn’t deal well with digital, is entirely correct – it doesn’t.

The problem is that almost all of the suggested solutions to this inconvenience run up against two rather harsh economic facts. One is that businesses never really pay any tax at all, and the other is that the problem of not paying any taxes at all is already largely solved.

If only Ritchie could grasp both points, eh?

In other news, am doing a piece for the Independent, writing my little fingers off at Continental Telegraph and how are you all?

Yes, things will happen here once we’ve got that running……

Road Trip!

Fear not for blogging and its frequency. Short road trip to Porto going on.

So far complete and abject failure at tracking down the bloke I was at school with who owns one of the port trading houses.

The only time I’ve ever tried to use that old buy network and it’s not working. How is it that it’s such a powerful force in British life then?

Damore’s Google suit proves Worstall’s Law

“Every organisation will, in the end, be run by those who stay awake in committee”

Worstall’s Law.


Damore, who was fired in 2017 after writing a controversial memo about gender and technology, alleges in the lawsuit that white, male conservative employees at Google are “ostracized, belittled, and punished”.

The lawsuit claims that numerous Google managers maintained “blacklists” of conservative employees with whom they refused to work; that Google has a list of conservatives who are banned from visiting the campus; and that Google’s firings of Damore and the other named plaintiff, David Gudeman, were discriminatory.

Yup, another organisation being taken over be the committecrats.

So, here’s a thing then

Some years back told to start taking pills for high blood pressure. Hmm, OK.

More recently, thinking that things aren’t quite right. Excessive sleeping – 10 hours a night and a 90 minute siesta?

Also, drinking well down, weight off (few stone, and it has stayed off for years) and exercising properly. Not gym bunny but 20 to 40 km on a bike two, three times a week, or swim a mile same number of times. No, not all weeks but often enough still that none are a strain, they’re an enjoyment.

So, off to the Doc for the usual middle age tests, PSA, diabeetus and so on. Ask Doc, well, blood pressure? Test while on pills, perfect.

Come off for a week. Bounces up a bit, as is expected. But only to “pre-high blood pressure” on rebound.

And today? Below (admittedly, without coffee or cigarette/vape today at all) being on the pills (110/70).

So, don’t take them any more.

How likely is this that weight and exercise actually cure this?