Tim Worstall

Well, no, not really

shipping in refrigerated shale gas from Qatar

Much to like in this Ross Clark piece. Could do with a bit more swearing – the fucks have been doing this to us etc – but OK, for print in a real newspaper.

Qatar’s not doing shale gas tho’. Entirely conventional field.

Fun, fun, rumour

Bloke on Twitter insisted he’d seen Mark Drakeford – First Minister of Wales – in Bristol on NY Eve.

No idea whether that’s true of course. But would be fun if it were. Escaping his own lockdown and all that.

But just think what the deeper message would be. Wales is so terrible that Bristol – Bristol! – is a step up……

Don’t Look Up

According to one I know who has actually bothered to watch the film it contains roughly this:

But at one point, there’s a tech billionaire (a version of Bezos or Jobs) who says that instead of destroying the asteroid, we can mine it for all the expensive rare minerals and it’ll be worth trillons. Something about yttrium, terbium, osmium, dysprosium and how we’re running short and the asteroid would contain 32 trillion dollars of it

Now, I’m going to have a very rough guess here. Osmium is fun, last time I saw – mebbe a decade back – possibly 500 a troy ounce. But a small market mind. Yttrium, $50 a kg for the oxide sounds about right. Hundreds of tonnes a year at tops. Dy is $couple of hundred, Tb $sixorsevenhundred a kg. 100 to 500 tonnes of each mebbe?

Not that I’d stand by those prices but they’re right range, so are market sizes. What the hell, call it all $250 million a year. So, someone drops 120,000 years of supply onto the planet in one large refinable lump. OK, let’s assume drops gently.

Prices just aren’t going to hold up, are they? Therefore the $32 trillion isn’t true either, is it? Prices, as we all should know, being reliant upon both supply and demand.


mag. 4.4 earthquake – 78 km south of Armona Island, Faro, Portugal, Jan 1, 2022 8:03 pm

So, about 120km from us. I’ll let someone clever than me do the translation into how powerful would the equivalent be if it happened under the building but gave us the same effect here.

The fracking limit is 0.5 in the UK.

7943 times different.

The effect here was that the wife looked at the dog to ask it to stop scratching and banging its leg against the sofa. Earthquakes do matter, of course, but scale does too.

That fracking limit hasn’t been set for any scientific reason, has it?

Apple and Foxconn in India

Terrors, eh, just terrors:

And that was when something snapped. Two days later hundreds of workers marched against the appalling conditions at the camps that house its estimated 15,000 workers. For hours protesters blocked the main road into the vast industrial estate to demand better conditions.

Foxconn, the Taiwanese company in charge of the site, suspended operations on December 18 promising improvements after its customer, Apple, put the site “on probation” — meaning all orders were placed on hold.

The controversy is the latest in a familiar line to hit Foxconn, the biggest private employer in neighbouring China, and Apple, the world’s most valuable company. A series of suicides at the vast Foxconn City industrial park in Shenzhen, China, in 2010 prompted international condemnation and brought promises of improvements to working conditions.

Foul conditions, foul job, £100 a month.

Yes, this is exactly what it was like in China in 2000. Things had vastly improved by 2010 when those stories about suicides turned up – the ones where the rate inside the factories was lower than that outside in China more generally. And now those very same factories pay a thoroughly – by global standards – middle class wage.

Hmm, why?

No, not because of unions. Nor labour activists. But because if they didn’t pay that much better wage no bugger would turn up for work. As Paul Krugman has pointed out the wage in any particular factory is determined by the general wage rate of the economy around it. Which is, in turn, determined by the general level of productivity in that surrounding economy.

That’s just the way it works. Rich countries pay high wages to everyone, poor low to all. So, to increase wages in one place the necessary thing is to make the whole country rich. Which is exactly what China has done this past couple of decades, what India as yet has not done. And that’s it. Wages are shitty at the Apple/Foxconn India factory because wages are shitty in India.

GDP growth, it’s what raises wages.

Seems simple enough

New Zealand yoga industry suffers as anti-vax sentiment co-opts wellness industry

People subject to two types of nuttery are likely to adopt a third when it rolls in.

Doing stretching exercises isn’t nuttery, nor is mens sana in corpore sano. But yoga and wellness are. So, when anti-vax rolls in….

Even, put aside those two specifics and think more broadly. Those specifics both see themselves as being part of a counterculture, away from, even opposed to, that capitalism and markets and blah blah over there. So, when there’s some other thing that comes down the pike from that conventional world they’re counter to then…..

If it turned out that avocado and tofu smoothies were the way to make a stock market fortune then they’d all stop drinking avocado and tofu smoothies….

Idiot stupidity

The single currency has been a resounding success on many levels, but soaring inflation poses a serious threat to its survival

No. Most of Europe’s macroeconomic problems can be laid at the feet of the euro. That’s not a success. Further, it doesn’t have a problem with inflation in general. It has a problem with different inflation rates across the eurozone. That this is the problem is exactly why the euro isn’t a success on that macroeconomic level…..

I is amused

So, an email from somewhere out there in the ether:

My client needing backlinks urgently. So sir, I requesting that you give me a do follow, permanent backlink on your blog. When you are done, please sending me email to confirming. Here is my client website:

blah blah

Plz also creating a 5 star GMB and Trust Pilot reviewings too.

If I do not seeing a backlink in one week, I am create million toxic blog comment spam and redirect backlink to timworstall.com and you can saying goodbye to your Google rankings for 1 year or more.

The source of this is a small and new company in a country where I write a newspaper column. And my buddy in that country is already making contact with those folks. That part is just random fun, for who could know that someone you spam does write a newspaper column from 8k miles away?

Even then it does strike as perhaps not the best way to be conducting business…..

An alternative explanation is possible

If I could work all this out on the basis of the evidence that scientists were producing then why couldn’t the government? That is the question that needs answering, except there will never be a reasonable answer to that. Only wilful blindness can explain the government’s inaction.

Not that I’m saying that the P³ is right of course. But assume and an alternative explanation is possible. Which is that governments are shit.

Which is why we don’t want governments to be doing things. The surprise being that the P³ never can bring himself to make that logical leap.

Efficient banking

Maybe too efficient:

Santander is racing to reclaim £130m after tens of thousands of customers woke up to a surprise bonus in their accounts on Christmas Day.

The bank is hoping to recover the cash from rivals after about 75,000 people and businesses wrongly received their wages or supplier payments for a second time on December 25.

Well, that batch of payments went through easily enough. Let’s do it again!

As to racing etc. Well, they do actually know where it’s gone, don’t they?

Yeah, obviously, I mean innit?

Meat eaters should not pick on my jetsetting lifestyle, says eco-warrior Michaela Strachan
BBC star says critics must stop attacking her for regularly flying between South Africa and Britain for work because she is a vegetarian

Star – which is being generous because who in buggery? – resorts to tu quoque when challenged on hypocrisy. This is the surprised face.

Hmm, yes

The Falling Soldier, one of the most famous war photographs ever published, was staged and might not even have been taken by its official author Robert Capa, a Spanish researcher has claimed after spending two decades investigating the image.

I’ve always thought it obvious that it was staged. Opinions differ, obviously…..

Quick, quick, more solar panels!

This month is set to be the dullest December in 65 years.

There were just 26.6 hours of sunshine across the country this month, figures from the Met Office show, putting Britain on course for the greyest festive period since 1956.

After all, that’s what the greenies do say, isn’t it? If there’s no wind then build more windmills…..

Here’s the mistake

I had a long and decent discussion with one of the architects of the Gender Recognition Act last month. He said to me, “I recognise the free speech issues in your case, but don’t you see that calling a transwoman ‘male’ or ‘he’ is as offensive as calling a black person a nigger?”

No, I said, it is not.

Doesn’t matter whether it is or it isn’t. Calling someone a nigger might get your teeth pushed in – unless you happen to be black apparently – might get you fired and most certainly isn’t something I’d recommend. Yet it is still that issue of free speech. You can say – absent libel and incitement to immediate violence – what the hell you like, you just have to put up with the consequences.

That everyone around you will punish you for calling someone nigger is just fine. That the law might try to ban us from doing so is an abomination. And that’s where the battle is being lost. The only defensible line of where other peoples’ feelings about what is said may define what it is legal to say is “none”.

The only free speech issue is whether we have it or not.


Second, it was drawn to my attention yesterday that Twitter seemed to be particularly excited about unsubstantiated claims about the state of Prince William’s marriage.

Divorced bloke gets on high horse about third in line to throne’s marriage gossip.

Instead, what troubles me is that in what passes for a constitutional settlement within the UK the decisions of some people as to how they will conduct their personal lives might have implication for the conduct of government. Prince William, in particular, is second in line to the throne and his father will be well into his seventies if he does ever become king. In that case the succession rests pretty heavily on his shoulders. Like it or not, public confidence in his conduct matters whether you are a monarchist or not.

There is a point at which we say fuck off to pompous gits, isn’t there?

Umm, why?

a supposed market in consumer energy in the UK when it is very obvious that this should be under state monopoly control.

Why should retail power supply be a state monopoly?

We can – say – heat our houses using coal, wood, electricity, gas and jumpers. So, the coal merchant, the wood bloke, the gas and ‘leccie supplies and all jumper makers must be the one, single, state company?

Or is this just one of those conclusions based upon nothing but manual manipulation of the rectum?

That EU response

Oh Aye?

Faced with Covid, Europe’s citizens demanded an EU response – and got it
Luuk van Middelaar
The pandemic finally brought into being a European public, as we discovered that our health is a common concern

That’s the one where the bureaucracy pissed about for months trying to kill off industry standards – vaccine liability standards – in the middle of a pandemic because they had no fucking clue?

Ah, yes, that is the one, isn’t it?

The pandemic led to mishaps, distrust and fierce clashes of all kinds, but it also mobilised unforeseen forces and led to huge political shifts. In the summer of 2020, the bloc’s presidents and prime ministers took two far-reaching decisions: the EU would purchase vaccines centrally,

Yep, that’s actually being touted as a victory. That they collected power and then fucked up the exercise of that power is a victory.

Ah, yes, the prodnoses

So, zero carbon jet fuel is entirely possible, if expensive currently, Lots of effort being out into making it cheaper.

For some experts, reducing flying is the only genuine path to achieving net zero,

Ah, yes, for some it’s not actually about carbon at all, is it?

Whadda ya mean former peer?

Labour has demanded ministers explain why £330,000 of taxpayers’ money was spent on repairing a pothole-ridden road reportedly owned by a former Tory peer.

Lisa Nandy, the shadow levelling-up secretary, called on the government to say “how this happened and what steps are being taken to ensure it does not happen again”.

It came after the Daily Mail reported the money had been spent on improving the road on land owned by the eighth Viscount Gage. He inherited his title in 1993 and was removed from the House of Lords, alongside the majority of his fellow hereditary peers, in 1999.

He’s still a Viscount so still a peer. True, he’s not a member of the House of Lords any more but he’s still a peer.