Tim Worstall

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Tim Worstall is an Englishman who has failed at many things. Thus his turn to writing, the last refuge of many who could make a living no other way. He is, as an example of his business and financial perspicacity, the head of the international scandium oligopoly: the only commodity which has not risen in price in the past decade.
David and Goliath in the Valley of Elah

Pumping billions into data centres won't guarantee you an empire

It's not a surprise for us, in economics, to find that we've got two (or more) different processes going on, each working in opposite directions. The final result will come from the interaction of the two and we're never really sure which is going to win out. Sometimes, in a certain society, one will beat the other, and at some …
Tim Worstall, 01 Apr 2015
Nuke blast

Nuclear waste spill: How a pro-organic push sparked $240m blunder

Worstall on Wednesday There's a rather dry but absolutely fascinating document out from the US Department of Energy, which you can download in all its couple of hundred page glory here [PDF]. It's about the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) near Carlsbad in New Mexico. This is where the Yanks send off all those barrels of radioactive nasties to sit …
Tim Worstall, 01 Apr 2015
Worstall Merkur 5 650p

Building a better society from the Czechs' version of Meccano

Worstall @ the Weekend To move a little off the normal sort of subject around here, something from an exhibition just around the corner here in Usti nad Labem in the Czech Republic. The lads I hang out with here are 40ish professionals and they were terribly excited about an exhibition being put on of “Merkur”. They had to explain it to me a couple of …
Tim Worstall, 29 Mar 2015
Person throwing rock at tank

Big Data will shield the Apple Watch from Android onslaught

It's possible that the arrival of a firm like Apple into wearables with its watch validates the space, just as Apple validated smart phones eight years ago. Sure, smartphones existed before, but no-one thought they were much cop. Since then, everyone up to and including John the Baptist has plunged into the market and there's …
Tim Worstall, 27 Mar 2015
ATLAS (A Toroidal LHC Apparatus) is one of six detector experiments at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) – image by Maximilien Brice CERN/Science photo library

What is HPC actually good for? Just you wait and see

High Performance Computing (HPC) is all terribly exciting. We get announcements about this supercluster or that beating the number of teraflops of that other one (or, more likely these days, petaflops). Or maybe it's data throughput or storage size or even transfer rates. And, perhaps the most interesting way of thinking about …
Tim Worstall, 27 Mar 2015
My bowls of stew and rice

A Quid A Day for NOSH? Luxury!

WiF It's that time of year as El Reg limbers up for the Quid A Day Nosh campaign and I'm here to point out that in context this is actually a pretty easy challenge. It must be, in technical terms, if one billion mostly illiterate peasants manage it all year round every year. Which is rather the point of the challenge in fact, to …
Tim Worstall, 26 Mar 2015
Ancient cave frieze. Pic: Leon Yaakov

No, really, the $17,000 Apple Watch IS all about getting your leg over

Worstall on Wednesday There was a certain amount of consumer resistance to my assertion that the Apple Christometer's $17,000 worth of bling was all about sex. But I'm afraid that this really is so. Bling is about getting sex: and it's the women who decide that it is as well. We have a less than reputable source for this: …conspicuous consumption …
Tim Worstall, 25 Mar 2015
Guardian 2.0

Guardian: 'Oil reserves will soon be worth NOTHING!' (A bit like their stock tips, really)

Worstall @ the Weekend It's not going to come as all that much of a surprise that those who worry excessively about climate change aren't really all that up to speed with economics as a subject in general. But it should produce a little amazement (or a chortle or two perhaps) when said usual suspects launch a new campaign that deliberately ignores a …
Tim Worstall, 22 Mar 2015
Android icon desktop toys

$30 Landfill Android mobes are proof that capitalism ROCKS

Worstall on Wednesday I've mentioned around here before that the shipping container has been one of the most revolutionary technologies of our times. Similarly, I've said that the mobile phone has had a vast effect on human wealth. The TL;DR version of mobes is that 10 per cent of the population with a mobile increases GDP by 0.5 per cent each and …
Tim Worstall, 18 Mar 2015
Apple Watch lineup

Improved Apple Watches won't get more expensive? Hmmm

Worstall on Monday It really is true, economists are a bit weird, and this rubs off on those interested in the subject. Most people when confronted with the Christometer seem to think about the bling value. Or, when presented with the iPhone itself, those same people instead think about how great it is to do email while sitting on the lavvy. To me …
Tim Worstall, 16 Mar 2015

$17,000 Apple Watch: Pointless bling, right? HA! You're WRONG

Comment What's the point of Apple's $17,000 Christometer then? Apart from, you know, vulgar money? There's been a certain amount of quiet coughing and choking among the fanbois over the new Apple Watch Edition's Christometer's tag of $17,000 at the top end. That's a whole heap of Benjamins for a wrist computer, most especially as the …
Tim Worstall, 12 Mar 2015
Pac-Man Google game (taken from Google home page on anniversary of Pac-Man )

The voters hate Google. Heeeeyyyy... how about a 'Google Tax'?

Worstall on Wednesday As the tech news outlet of record has told us, UK chancellor George Osborne is preparing to bring in the “Google Tax”. Properly known as the Diverted Profits Tax, it is supposed to be a way of scraping tax revenue off those profits that the tech giants are diverting out of what should be righteously paid to HM Treasury and …
Tim Worstall, 11 Mar 2015

The secret of Warren Buffett's success at Berkshire Hathaway

Worstall @ the Weekend We've just had the 50th anniversary of Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger taking over Berkshire Hathaway and that means we've also just had their 50th letter to shareholders. And this is the point where we try to puzzle over just how two guys managed to make so many hundreds of billions (if we include their own holdings and those …
Tim Worstall, 08 Mar 2015

Mummy, what's the point of Evgeny Morozov's tedious columns?

Worstall on Wednesday I often find myself mystified by Evgeny Morozov and his writings. I find it terribly difficult to work out what he's actually for, or what worldview it is that he thinks he's propagating. Unless, of course, it's just to piss off the libertarians or perhaps to show us how clever a Morozov can be in uncovering the feet of clay of …
Tim Worstall, 04 Mar 2015
Raphael's School of Athens

C'mon! Greece isn't really bust and it can pay its debts

Worstall @ the Weekend As I write we've just got the latest news that Greece has been saved from default, bankruptcy, being thrown out of the euro and everything is going to be lovely for The Men Without Ties. Which is, of course, lovely, but there really wasn't quite as much to worry about as people seemed to think. It could, obviously, all have gone …
Tim Worstall, 01 Mar 2015
Funnel of cash. Credit: via SXC – http://www.sxc.hu/profile/Leonardini

Bloody TECH GIANTS... all they do is WASTE investors' MONEY

Worstall on Wednesday The idea that the tech giants are simply going to waste the pots of cash with which they have been entrusted is certainly counter-intuitive, but it wouldn't surprise me at all if they did. For that's pretty much the fate of all investment: to be wasted. It's an odd claim, because there do appear to be successful examples of …
Tim Worstall, 25 Feb 2015

Didn't the Left once want the WORKERS to get all the dosh?

Worstall @ the Weekend I'm old enough to remember when the British left really was dominated by Marxist thinking, however thinly or thickly that was covered by a layer of Fabianism or some other "socialism lite". I haven't forgotten that the old Clause 4 of the Labour Party constitution, for example, insists that workers "by hand or brain" really …
Tim Worstall, 22 Feb 2015
© Copyright Anthony O'Neil and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Vodafone didn't have a £6bn tax bill. Sort yourselves out, Lefties

Worstall on Wednesday I find myself watching current politics completely open-mouthed in amazement. The number of what are, if we are to be unkind about it, simply outright lies that have become common truths astonishes me. I refer, of course, to the latest revelations of the tax affairs of the nation. The latest round is those revelations from HSBC' …
Tim Worstall, 18 Feb 2015
Photo of Kermit the Frog at NASA

It's not easy being Green. But WHY insist we knit our own ties?

Worstall @ the Weekend Following on from last week's approbation of one Green Party policy, it is possibly time for me to get off my chest an issue over the policy general of said greenery luvvies that really, really, bugs me. Specifically, it is this idea that we should rely upon markets less and do more things "for ourselves". As I'll explain, from …
Tim Worstall, 15 Feb 2015

Skin colour's irrelevant. Just hire competent folk on their merits, FFS

Worstall on Wednesday I note from a technical publication of repute that Microsoft has announced that marriage equality is a fundamental and core value for the company itself. To which, OK, great, and why not? As I pointed out previously, “taste” discrimination against people because of anything other than their working skills is a costly endeavour …
Tim Worstall, 11 Feb 2015

Basic minimum income is a BRILLIANT idea. Small problem: it doesn't work as planned

Worstall @ the Weekend Given that we've a general election coming up, people are starting to actually pay attention to what the various politicians are saying. Which is, of course, interesting, for it's often the first time that said politicos are asked whether their sums add up. So it was when Natalie Bennett of the Green Party was “questioned” - …
Tim Worstall, 08 Feb 2015
Making conversation Google Glass style

Google gets my data, I get search and email and that. Help help, I'm being REPRESSED!

Worstall on Wednesday When munching that third slice of toast and marmalade I allow myself on a Sunday morning (diet is so important to us middle-aged types) I find that John Naughton's piece on personal data leads me to spluttering Seville's finest all over the kittens as they angle for the remains of the fry-up. He opens with this phrase: “ …
Tim Worstall, 04 Feb 2015

Chipotle insider trading: Disproving the efficient markets hypothesis

Worstall @ the Weekend We had a distressing little incident here recently among the commentards over the meaning of the efficient markets hypothesis. So I'll explain what it is, using a current little story to prove that one version of it must be wrong as well. That little efficient markets hypothesis (EMH) incident was an insider trading case …
Tim Worstall, 01 Feb 2015

Does Big Tech hire white boys ahead of more skilled black people and/or women?

Worstall on Weds (on Thurs) I've been watching with some amusement a little story about Pinterest noting that it's got a user base that leans heavily female. It's doing the rounds as the company thinks, well, it would be nice to be stuffing men full of ads as well (when it actually starts slinging ads) so, umm, why don't we go out and try and find some …
Tim Worstall, 29 Jan 2015

Uber isn't limited by the taxi market: It's limited by the Electronic Thumb market

Worstall @ the Weekend We've had a look before at that valuation of Uber at $40k bar** and mulled over whether it makes any sense or not. And there's a little snippet of news out that shows that there might be more substance to it than most of us tend to think there is. It could, of course it could, still be just an absurdly over-hyped product of …
Tim Worstall, 25 Jan 2015
The final page of that Facebook storyboard

Facebook worth more than Portugal? Hell, it's worth a LOT more than THAT

Worstall on Wednesday As an esteemed editor said, one not a million miles away from here, the fact that Facebook has commissioned a report showing what vast amounts of wonderful, beneficial economic activity it is responsible for indicates that the company in fact contributes nothing. Stands to reason, that does. And even once one allows for a …
Tim Worstall, 21 Jan 2015
Clapping children

'It's NOT FAIR!' yell RICH KIDS ... and that's a GOOD THING

Worstall @ the Weekend Having the Daily Mail as a starting point to the edges of human knowledge doesn't sound all that likely, I know, not unless we're talking about approaching human knowledge from the outside of a story about "foreign" pomegranates causing cancers and damaging house prices. But that is how this little journey started, with this …
Tim Worstall, 18 Jan 2015
A rusty petrol pump at an abandoned gas station. Pic by Silvia B. Jakiello via shutterstock

What will happen to the oil price? Look to the PC for clues

Worstall on Wednesday Economics, of course, is simply a bunch of mumbo-jumbo – as evidenced by its failure to answer the Queen's question regarding the crash: "Why did nobody see it coming?" Theory of Finance scribe and Nobel laureate Eugene Fama's answer – that economic theory insists it is impossible to predict such things – tends not to convince …
Tim Worstall, 14 Jan 2015

Tax Systems: The good, the bad and the completely toot toot ding-dong loopy

Worstall @ the Weekend A loyal reader of these 'ere pages, Rich Bryant, writes in with an interesting question. There's a proposal for an entirely new taxation system out there, The Reset, and is it something that mainstream economists are ignoring because the paradigms of mainstream economics just cannot deal with it - or is it because the plan is …
Tim Worstall, 11 Jan 2015

Sardine fishing in Kerala: Who benefits from mobile phones?

Worstall on Wednesday We're now 30 years into the mobile phone era here in Good Old Blighty, with that first call having been made back on New Year's Day. And it's worth asking who has really benefited from this technology: something which, when considered, will lead us to being able to tell big government fan Professor Mariana Mazzucato to take a …
Tim Worstall, 07 Jan 2015

Healthcare: Look anywhere you like for answers, just not the US

Worstall @ the Weekend A few weeks back I pointed out that the US has the second largest social welfare system in the world. This produced a certain amount of pushback (journalistic speak for me whining to El Ed that you commentards are shouting at me) over the fact that a good part of that is the woeful healthcare system in said US. So, as the New …
Tim Worstall, 04 Jan 2015

Really, govt tech profit cash grab is a PRIZE-WINNING idea?

Worstall on Wednesday So, that favourite of mine and of Andrew Orlowski, Mariana Mazzucato, has been awarded a prize by the New Statesman in the field of political economy. Given that her message is that government should be getting more of the pie, that's the sort of political economy you would expect the magazine to like. However, I find there's a …
Tim Worstall, 31 Dec 2014
President Putin doing judo

Why has the Russian economy plunged SO SUDDENLY into the toilet?

Worstall @Xmas The best economic fun of the past few weeks has been watching the meltdown of the rouble and the associated problems in the Russian economy. OK, “fun” might not be quite the right word: schadenfreude, perhaps? Real people are undoubtedly, through no fault of their own, being made worse off by what is happening - so fun is almost …
Tim Worstall, 28 Dec 2014
Sidewalk mobile phone lane in China

Xiaomi: It really ISN'T a biz-miracle idiot tax like Apple

Worstall on Wednesday The lads over at Business Insider seem to be getting a little over-excited about Xiaomi's latest fund raising exercise, claiming in their headline that it's the Apple of China. Well, no, not really, Apple is the Apple of China. Making cute kit and selling it in volume isn't the definitive point about Apple itself so a company …
Tim Worstall, 24 Dec 2014

Bring back big gov, right? If only the economics, STUPID, could tell us more

Worstall @ the Weekend The economy's not growing as fast as it used to when we had big government and big unions, so we'd better bring them back, right? Or maybe we just don't have enough economic data to tell? You don't have to go all that far leftward these days to find someone brandishing economic growth statistics at you. Proving that growth was …
Tim Worstall, 21 Dec 2014
Rotten apple

Apple's DIRTY SECRET isn't that secret, or that dirty

Comment We've had another instalment in the campaign to blame Apple for all that goes wrong in poor countries, and this time it was the BBC's Panorama that scolded the iFruit for buying tin in Indonesia. Not appreciably different from The Guardian's story of 25 months ago. Not really all that different from various Friends of the Earth …
Tim Worstall, 20 Dec 2014

Beware of merging, telcos. CHEAPER SPECTRUM follows

Worstall on Wednesday What consumers end up paying for mobile phone services isn't the only price we're worried about. Oh aye, thought I, as I scanned El Reg's coverage of mobile operators asking for permission to merge. I can see their game here: or, perhaps, I suspect what they'd rather we didn't think about. That being that what we, as consumers …
Tim Worstall, 17 Dec 2014

Deprivation Britain: 1930s all over again? Codswallop!

Worstall @ the Weekend When cruising The Guardian for a fix of poverty porn, as I tend to do from time to time, I'm frequently amused by what some people will believe about the subject. This time I have to admit to having been amazed. For we've the flat-out assertion that we're about to be back in the 1930s. In some ways this might even be true: there …
Tim Worstall, 14 Dec 2014

Uber? Worth $40 BEEELLION? Hey, actually, hold on ...

Worstall on Wednesday The latest fundraising for Uber seems to peg the value just north of $40 billion. Which is, when you think about it, quite a hefty sum for what is, after all, just a registry of hireable people with cars. Sure, we're talking 50 countries now, 250 cities, but it's still about taxi rides. And it's a competitive market. There're …
Tim Worstall, 10 Dec 2014

Which country has 2nd largest social welfare system in the world?

Worstall @ the Weekend The general impression we've all got is that the US is a place where the poor are simply left to starve in the gutter, unlike in soft and cuddly Europe, where we do our best to help our fellow man. That the political mantras shouted at us to keep us coughing up to pay for these welfare states might not be wholly and entirely …
Tim Worstall, 07 Dec 2014

Is EU right to expand 'right to be forgotten' to Google.com?

Worstall on Wednesday The European Union is arguing that the so-called "right to be forgotten" (you know, sure, I was a paedophile mass murderer but it was only the once and I've been to confession now so nobody should know about it) in Google and other search engine results should be extended to the Google.com domain, as well as those aimed more …
Tim Worstall, 03 Dec 2014

Under the Iron Sea: YES, tech and science could SAVE the planet

Worstall @ the Weekend Back last week we had the news from Google bods (almost but not quite boffins) telling us there's no way to make renewable energy fuel in an advanced industrial society. Our esteemed editor here at El Reg then pointed out that we've got a reasonable and cheap method of producing all the power we need: nuclear. The frustration …
Tim Worstall, 30 Nov 2014

As-a-service upstarts will KILL OFF THE CORPORATES?

Worstall on Wednesday Amazingly, economists have figured out a few things...even things that can help in this brave new digital world. One of these is the "marketplaces vs firm" debate. So I was surprised to find a fascinating little piece in TechCrunch singing the praises of all those "online freelance work marketplace" sites. You know the sort of …
Tim Worstall, 26 Nov 2014

BIG FAT Lies: Porky Pies about obesity

Worstall @ the Weekend I often wonder why it is that people bother publishing “research” papers that are obviously incorrect. Is it that they're getting paid to spout bollocks? So who ate all of these? Tax payers mainly Or, is there some thought that we're all too stupid to realise that they're teabagging great big hairy ones at us? The latest …
Tim Worstall, 23 Nov 2014

'Cleantech' a dirty word for VCs? RUBBISH!

Worstall on Wednesday Over at Bloomberg there's a piece bemoaning the fact that the big Venture Capital companies aren't investing in "cleantech". You know the sort of thing: climate change, biggest opportunity ever, why isn't private money getting involved, maybe the government will have to do everything, blather blather, et cetera. The problem with …
Tim Worstall, 19 Nov 2014

GT sapphire glaziers: You signed WHAT deal with Apple?

Worstall @ the Weekend It's been a terribly exciting few weeks, as we've seen GT Advanced Technologies (GTAT) stumble and crash headlong into bankruptcy protection. The more documents are released by the court the more we can find out about just how this happened. And the more we do see, the more we realise that what actually happened is the …
Tim Worstall, 16 Nov 2014

My HOUSE used to be a PUB: How to save the UK high street

Worstall on Wednesday Interesting news on the Blighty high street as Tesco continues to lose market share: now it has fallen behind Amazon as the retailer of choice for the sort of shiny-shiny we buy each other for Crimbo. Fruit and vegetables on display on the shelves of a supermarket Roomy fridge, isn't it? I think we'll put the kids' room here. …
Tim Worstall, 12 Nov 2014

If only 0.006% care about BLOOD-SOAKED METAL ... why are we spending all this cash?

Worstall @ the Weekend As El Reg's official dodgy metals dealer, another tilt at the oh-so-fashionable concerns over conflict minerals and that “blood in the mobile” campaign. The essential point is that almost none of us seem to be very interested in the subject so why the hell are we spending billions of dollars on it? You can read past coverage of …
Tim Worstall, 09 Nov 2014

Trickle-down economics WORKS: SpaceShipTwo is a PRIME EXAMPLE

Worstall on Wednesday For the sake of my expenditure on blood pressure pills I really ought to stop reading those attempts The Guardian sometimes makes at making sense of matters economic. The latest cause of choler is Zoe Williams telling us all how Brit billionaire Richard Branson's space tourism (triggered, obviously, by the story of the very sad …
Tim Worstall, 05 Nov 2014

Piketty-Poketty-Poo: Some people are JUST ITCHING to up tax to capital ...

Worstall @ the Weekend I'll cop to being a bear of little brain, for it can take me a long time to spot what should be obvious. And so it is with my taking so long to work out what's really going on with Capital in the Twenty-First Century author Thomas Piketty and all that wealth inequality stuff. I believe his book is essentially a political project …
Tim Worstall, 02 Nov 2014