It is just me then

I was reading The Observer and thinking, hmm, haven’t I seen this before?

Not an unusual experience for that paper as the whines are ever the same.

Have they, though, forgotten to add this week’s content to the site?

Ah, no, it’s Saturday. Gonna be one of them days, eh?

It’s happening

To give workers the feeling of an immediate Brexit bounce, Mr Johnson approved an increase in the threshold at which workers start paying National Insurance from £8,628 to £9,500, resulting in a tax cut of £104 for a typical employee starting in April.

Still a way to go but the idea that the working poor shouldn’t be paying income tax and NI on their paltry earnings……it’s happening.


No call as yet

Boris Johnson is planning to beef up the House of Lords with Brexit-supporting experts to create a ‘working’ upper chamber, according to Tory insiders.

Lawyers, trade specialists and environmental gurus are expected to be elevated to the peerage in the coming days and weeks as the government seeks to strengthen its hand before passing more Brexit legislation through both Houses of Parliament.

Perhaps I should apply to be a Senior Lecturer?

It appears that I agree with Ted Nugent*

Or, less likely, that Ted Nugent* agrees with me:

3. Whatever the arguments for private vs public ownership of grid, I see little basis for claim that public utility would be more likely to reduce fire risk. One way or another ratepayers or taxpayers will have to pay to fireproof system. Ownership structure is mostly irrelevant.

Well, yes:

So, changing the system or ownership of provision is not going to change matters. Moving to a community-owned, state-run, or even just more regulated provider isn’t going to solve the problem.

Consumers, given their voice through that regulation process, aren’t willing to carry the costs of the maintenance and upgrade of the current system. Let alone move to that more expensive technology, the burial of cables. Who owns the system doesn’t change this underlying reality.

We are fully capable of providing an electricity grid year-round without burning down half the countryside.

*It’s Ted Nordhaus which is much less fun

So, one of these question thingies

While I like swimming as a form of exercise I’d like to vary matters a bit. Living in the centre of a town means that cycling isn’t quite what it used to be – skimming through the countryside.

So, alternatives. Weights, well, yes, but not really. So, thinking about a rowing machine.

Anyone got any tips? What to look for? What to avoid? Types to bypass?

Things that cost £500 and up aren’t going to get chosen, at least not in this first iteration of trying it out.

So, the collective intelligence, what sayeth it?

So, where do I find stories about stocks?

A leetle problem. Doing a test run on writing stories about stocks. Obviosly I know the generalities.

But the specifics. How to find 20 a month to write about?

What I can’t do is look at the normal stock trading boards. Nor pick up from the HL newsletters and all that. But I still need those 20 stocks a month to write something about.

If I can find such then it’s worth doing. The actual writing up is near trivial – given how long I’ve been pumping out few hundred word stories it is.

But, umm, sources?

So, GE coming, eh?

Which safe (presumably Tory) seat would like to parachute me in?

Varied problems being

1) Not a Tory Party member

2) Not a Tory – although that’s not been a huge problem for many current MPs

3) I have been known to say “fuck” – and worse – on the internet.

4) Not on the approved list of candidates.

Applications to the usual address……

There’s a bit of this world I still don’t get

I think of myself as someone just deploying their comparative advantage. I’m less bad at scribbling on matters economic than I am at most other things. I also think I’m about 20 – a child in these things.

So, anyway, I’m doing a bit of paid scribbling which requires checking the details of the Simon Ehrlich bet. OK, wikipedia – and I’m listed as one of the sources of the truth about the Simon Ehrlich bet.


Yes, yes, obviously, just false modesty, Har Har! Everybody says but no, Tim, you’re really……and it’s not that. The internal conversation in my head really is either well, what the buggery is this complicated world about and aren’t I a minnow? The only time it’s different is when I’m considering something so damned obvious that children still giggling at helium balloons can see this, can’t they?

And then I get really worried. The people actually running the world are in the same position, aren’t they? Either that or there’s a hell of a lot of Dunning Kruger going on. Either rather neatly explaining the state of it…..

I’ve mentioned this before but anyone with any ideas?

The standard life of a freelance is the search for some easy, plentiful, even if not especially well paid, source of work. Sure, writing a newspaper piece is fun but it’s rare to be offered the opportunity. And you’d not want to rely upon the offer to do so to pay the food bill. A more basic income is required to make sure the bills get paid.

There’s one form of writing work that is out there in vast mountains. Writing the landing pages etc for online retailers. 300 to 400 words each, should, if you’ve got the knack, take perhaps 20 minutes a pop. Sure, $25 an hour or whatever doesn’t sound like much. But a couple of hours a day fills that desired basic bill paying described above.

And the thing is, as I’ve mentioned, I find that I can’t do it. I should be able to. And, almost certainly, if I practice, I can. Which is the ideas thing.

Anyone got a clue as to where I can learn to do this stuff?

Doing a radio interview

So, some part of the HBO empire – Vice – wanted me to talk about China and rare earths. Fine. They didn’t want to use Skype because sound quality. Odd, but there we are. Mobile, not land line. OK. Give them mobile number, time to call.


Actually, would you mind calling me? +1 xxx xxxx Thanks —


Well, yes, I would. Making a 30 minute international call on my mobile – in return for no payment as an appearance fee – isn’t quite how I like to spend my money.

They called me.

The thing is the assumption they make there. That not only am I willing to give my time up for free – US media really just doesn’t pay appearance fees in the way the BBC does – but I’m so desirous of getting my voice on the airwaves that I’ll pay to do it. I assume there are enough for this to be true for it to have become that standard set up but still….

This is actually true

I was asked if someone could quote me.

Sure, quote away. I’m still fully in touch with my inner child, both surprised and delighted that the adults pay attention to anything I say.

I dunno, maybe there’s a stage of life when I’m supposed not to think or feel this way. Haven’t got there yet, obviously.

Letter in The Times

Chris Miller of this parish brought my attention to the piece itself which led to this:

Sir, Brian Cox says that rapid depletion of resources will make the Earth uninhabitable and thus we must colonise Mars (“Our future is as Martians, says Cox”, May 21). As the author of “The No Breakfast Fallacy: why the Club of Rome was wrong about us running out of resources”, I must point out that there is no shortage of mineral resources. The usual mistake is to measure mineral reserves as what is available for us to use.

They are not: mineral reserves are what we have prepared for us to use. Given the way that capitalism works we spend only the money to prepare for the next few decades. Thus mineral reserves of everything always run out a few decades after any one observation. Our actual supply is what we can prepare to be mineral reserves, this being somewhere between several million and several billion years’ supply, dependent upon the element. Colonising Mars is an excellent idea, as there’s an asteroid out there with Earth’s name on it, just as there was for the dinosaurs. But running out of resources isn’t a reason for going there.
Tim Worstall
Senior fellow, Adam Smith Institute

Wait, Windows 7 has the snipping tool?

I’ve long rather wondered – I might have mentioned it around here in fact – at the way some people manage to lift charts and maps and stuff from places. I’ve never really known how to do screen captures and all that. So, I was terribly excited by Windows 10. And the information youse guys provided in answer to a question of mine about how to use it. The snipping tool!

So, working desktop has two boxes on it, W7 and W10 boxes. Just because that’s what came on used boxes that were bought. But that meant when a page was found that I wanted to lift something from – usually on the W7 box – I would then load the page again on the W 10 one, snip, email it to the W 7 one, then use it.

All a bit inefficient really.

Umm, W7 has the snipping tool in it. At least this version on this box does.

How’s that for technological mastery? It only takes a decade for me to note it.


Dear Tim Worstall, Editor, The Continental Telegraph,

We rejected the petition you created – “Break up HMS Victory and send the timbers to France to help rebuild Notre Dame”.

There’s already a petition about this issue. We cannot accept a new petition when we already have one about a very similar issue.

You are more likely to get action on this issue if you sign and share a single petition.

Click this link to see your rejected petition:
View your rejected petition

Can we have a petition about a rejection of a petition?

My Google Fu has failed me

Spotted a different number plate in the parking lot. Newish car. With a not EU – at least, without the EU bit on it – number plate.

Can’t recall the crest exactly, but the shield in the crest looked like it was held up by storks, perhaps pelicans. More likely storks. And the motto was “ouranouma” or “oranama” or some such.

No detail as to which country it came from. But the plate number was 223 B or some such.

So, it’s got to be from a small place, a short run of numbers.

Note this is in the Algarve. So, small place which is not EU which someone might drive a car from.

Hmm. And I’m running out of ideas. Liechtenstein, Andorra, Monaco and San Marino are out, they don’t use plates – so far as Mr. Google tells me – like that at all.

I just can’t think of anywhere other than those four in Western Europe which is non-EU and yet which will issue its own plates. Ceuta, Melilla? Basic Spanish plates, no?

A Sovereign military order? Bit of a stretch.

Not Arab speaking as no squiggles, which rules out most of North Africa.

Given that someone here knows most about anything, who has an idea here?

It’s odd finding out what you can’t do

I was rather surprised when I found out that I could write.

OK, that’s sounding a bit special already. What I mean is that I can put words in order and sometimes it pleases some people. Enough so that I get paid to do it often enough.

It then comes as rather a surprise to find that I can’t do what is thought to be one of the simpler forms of it.

I’ve been casting around for a little side money-maker. Yep, that sort of $5 for this and $3 for that 50 words sorta stuff. Needs to be something where there’s a consistent supply of such work. No chasing around looking for the next commission. If there’s a spare couple of hours make $40 sorta thing. Finances are such that such a side gig is nice to have floating around but isn’t actually necessary for anything at all.

So, there is such work out there. Great vast gobbets of it. It’s writing product descriptions for websites. “This refrigerator is a double door delight which will feature your kitchen. With temperature controlled drawers and……” you get the idea.

Varies between 50 words and 200 for each description. Should take 10 -15 minutes tops to do each one. $4 to $6 for each one. So, I try it out.

And I just can’t do it. It’s weird.

Part of this is that they’re being very American about it, you’ve got to write according to Strunk and White and AP style and all that. Things I don’t really know. But it’s also, I guess, that it needs 50 or 100 attempts at practising the structure for me at least, with feedback as to why it’s not working yet. But you get 3 chances and if you fail all of those then you’re excised from consideration at all.

Yeah, I know, division and specialisation of labor. It’s just odd to find out that it’s the supposedly simple stuff, the near minimum wage crap, that I can’t do.

So, erm, small world etc

Was looking at the site stats for ContTel – no, I’m not maniacal about it – and saw, out of interest, that there was a bloke from Tacoma in the US reading the site.

Hmm, I wonder? Emailed the bloke I’ve known for 25 years, done business with over that time, who lives in Tacoma. That you?


Which, I guess, goes to show you how far ContTel has penetrated beyond my small circle of select friends and acquaintances….