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Articles about Economics

Programming languages in economics: Cool research, bro, but what about, er, economics?

Ignoring the central insight and purpose of economics seems odd in an economics paper. You peeps here at El Reg are most unlikely to be regular readers of papers published by US body NBER, the National Bureau for Economic Research. So I've brought you one we can all puzzle over together (PDF here), "A Comparison of Programming …
Tim Worstall, 16 Jul 2014
Costumed pirate

Economics prof denies digital pirates plundered €20bn from EU coffers

A European academic has rubbished claims by the Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy (BASCAP) group that digital piracy cost the EU more than €20bn between 2008 and 2011. Making the assumption that the creative and service sectors performed at the same level, a grand total of around one million jobs and €47bn of …
Jennifer Baker, 08 Oct 2014

'Theoretical' Nobel economics explain WHY the tech industry's such a damned mess

Jean Tirole was this year's Nobel Laureate in Economics* and what the prize was awarded (in part) for should interest people around here. Tirole's work has often been about how this tech industry of ours works and what the hell anyone should be doing to try and regulate it – if, indeed, it should be regulated at all. This is …
Tim Worstall, 15 Oct 2014
David Cameron, UK prime minister

Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...

As is ever the case, by the time squares have caught on to the value of whatever hipsters have been doing this week, the latter are off doing something else entirely. Much the same happens with economic fashions: it takes time for those not actually involved in the subject to grok to what the cool kids are saying and by the time …
Tim Worstall, 19 Oct 2014

THE DEATH OF ECONOMICS: Aircraft design vs flat-lining financial models

John Watkinson continues his series of essays for El Reg in which he examines failures in society from banking and education to transport and IT. Here, with a critical eye on our economic plight, he looks at the methods employed by those doing the sums and their consequences. Here we are, several years into the aftermath of the …
John Watkinson, 21 Sep 2014

My big reveal as macro-economics analyst: It's a load of COBBLERS

Welcome to the first Worstall at the Weekend, where I get to spout off on whatever I jolly well please: where the aim is to leave something at least potentially gravid with further thought and discussion rather than that sterile deposit one ends up with inside the barber's weekend supplies. Which brings us to the discussion of …
Tim Worstall, 24 Aug 2014

Want a promotion? Study economics, says HDS economist

Want to get noticed by the higher-ups in your workplace? Forget about a new certification or home lab, an appreciation of economics and its application as a tool to define precise metrics about just what it costs to operate your employer's IT kit will see you get ahead. That's the opinion of Hitachi Data Systems' (HDS') chief …
Simon Sharwood, 06 Mar 2013
Gordo: EPIC FAIL

Oxfam, you're full of FAIL. Leave economics to sensible bods

As I become ever more viciously right wing with age, I become ever more disappointed with Oxfam. It's not just because I have left behind the views of Genghis and am galloping up close behind Attila. It's rather that the organisation itself has changed from being that well-meaning, thoroughly humanitarian organisation that doled …
Tim Worstall, 20 Mar 2014
LP stylus

Music-mad Brits drive up hardware sales too – claims BPI

Amazingly, 12 per cent of British people watching TV are listening to music from another source as they watch. Or maybe that isn’t so amazing. Maybe you need to play Napalm Death while watching The X Factor - and who could blame you? Tech-mad Brits also spend more on music per head than the G7 average - but which drives which? …
Andrew Orlowski, 02 Oct 2014

Investment climate hostile to optical sector: Alca-Lu

Alcatel-Lucent is warning that the telco sector is skewing its investment cycles – and that could have disastrous affects down the track. At issue is that investments in the boring business of science into products don't rate as highly as the more sexy flavour-of-the-month sectors like software defined networks (SDN) and network …
Zhang Xinzhu

Chinese regulator fires antitrust advisor over alleged kickbacks from Qualcomm

A Chinese academic has been booted from a government antitrust advisory committee amid allegations he accepted payouts from Qualcomm in exchange for giving testimony favorable to the company in an ongoing monopoly probe. State-run media outlet China News Service reported on Wednesday that Zhang Xinzhu, director of the Research …
Neil McAllister, 13 Aug 2014

Blighty: Welcome your new, faceless MI6 chief – Alex Younger

Career spook Alex Younger has been named as the new head of MI6, replacing Sir John Sawers. Before taking up his position as boss of the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), which is more widely known as MI6, Younger oversaw its global operations. After joining in 1991, he was posted to Europe and the Middle East, before becoming …
Jasper Hamill, 03 Oct 2014
Neil Cardy's massive bacon sarnie from a cafe on the A90

Bacon-related medical breakthrough wins Ig Nobel prize

Is there nothing that can’t be solved with the judicious application of bacon? Apparently not, as this year’s Ig Nobel Prize for Medicine winners can attest. The boffins from the US and India took home the gong for their paper on treating “uncontrollable" nosebleeds by packing the nose with strips of cured pork. The Ig Nobels, …

IT crisis looming: 'What if AWS goes pop, runs out of cash?'

The big public infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) players may be on the brink of a crisis as cataclysmic as the 2008 banking crash, as they slash prices while spending billions on building out and staffing their operations. Or so claimed Steve Brazier, CEO at channel beanie Canalys, who warned resellers steering their customers …
Paul Kunert, 25 Sep 2014
chalk outline of  human body at crime scene

Climate change will 'CAUSE huge increase in MURDER, ROBBERY and RAPE'

An "environmental economist" has produced a study in which he claims that climate change this century will "cause" millions of violent crimes in the United States, over and above those that would have happened anyway. Matthew Ranson holds a B.A. in Environmental Science and Public Policy and Economics and a PhD in Public Policy …
Lewis Page, 24 Feb 2014
iPhone forensics beaten image

YES, iPhones ARE getting slower with each new release of iOS

There's a nice little feuilleton in the New York Times looking at why everyone whines about their iPhone slowing down when Apple releases a new variant. Starting from a personal complaint by a professor, one of his students looks at the incidence for “iPhone slow” in Google Trends and notes that there's a leap every time a new …
Tim Worstall, 30 Jul 2014

Be the next tech hotshot – by staying the hell away from regulators

Little else is requisite to carry a state to the highest degree of opulence from the lowest barbarism, but peace, easy taxes, and a tolerable administration of justice: all the rest being brought about by the natural course of things – that's Adam Smith, by the way. I'm often left rather scratching my head as I read the latest …
Tim Worstall, 15 May 2014

Inequality increasing? BOLLOCKS! You heard me: 'Screw the 1%'

You can't have failed to notice those massed ranks of people stamping their feet and going blue in the face as they shout about how inequality is rising and something, anything, really must be done to stop it. However, you may not have noticed those arguing the opposite, that inequality is falling, which is why we should carry …
Tim Worstall, 28 Sep 2014
A cow

US dairy biz in a churn over TPP

Farmers, rather than economics or 'net freedom activists, are once again putting pressure on Trans Pacific Partnership negotiators, with the US dairy sector uniting against the proposed treaty. US negotiators have already found themselves stonewalled by the agricultural sector in Japan, which wants to protect local farmers ( …
School of six finger threadfin fish

BLAM! IBM drags its NetApp OEM deal horse outside, gunshot heard

IBM has formally sundered its OEM relationship with NetApp, as we earlier suggested it would. Spokesperson Michael Zimmerman provided a statement, saying: Cloud and the explosion of data associated with social and mobile are increasing the demand for flexible storage solutions. This is driving a shift towards software delivery …
Chris Mellor, 29 May 2014
Rebecca & Fiona - Bullets

Spotify boasts 10 million paying subscribers ... Um, is that all?

Spotify says it now has 10 million paying subscribers and 40 million active users. The last official user numbers were released in March last year, when it said it had five million active users. Spotify now operates in 56 countries around the world, up from 20 a year ago, CEO Daniel Ek said. The privately held company, whose …
Andrew Orlowski, 22 May 2014
Candle in the dark

Britain'll look like rural Albania without fracking – House of Lords report

The UK needs to get a move on and exploit its rich shale gas resources to avoid losing its energy intensive industries, the House of Lords' economics committee has reported. So far only tentative exploratory work to research the quality of the shale formations has taken place in the UK – and commercial exploitation appears to be …
Andrew Orlowski, 08 May 2014

Britain's housing crisis: What are we going to do about it?

We talked last week about how macroeconomics is still pretty terrible at telling us what we ought to do about the world around us, which is why I always rather scratch me head at people who insist that rent control is going to be a good way of solving our current housing crisis. For amongst economists, there's a pretty good …
Tim Worstall, 30 Aug 2014

White LED lies: It's great, but Nobel physics prize-winning great?

This year's Nobel Prize in Physics went to the three Japanese guys who worked on, and got right, the blue LED. It's an excellent piece of work, enabling a whole new ensemble of energy efficient lamps and colour LED screens, and fully deserving of the prize. And yes, it might well change society in wondrous and wonderful ways. …
Tim Worstall, 11 Oct 2014
Stradivarius violin reproduction

Violin Memory FINALLY writes dedupe and compression into its latest Concerto

Violin Memory has fixed a gaping hole in its data management feature set by adding deduplication and compression to its Concerto memory array controller product. This will cut its effective cost/GB figures to new lows, and strengthens its competitive hand against other all-flash array vendors – such as EMX XtremIO, IBM …
Chris Mellor, 19 Aug 2014
boris_001

Boris: Look on 'London's digital tentacles', ye mighty, and despair!

London mayor Boris Johnson and ex-New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg have today opened the inaugural London Technology Week. It's estimated 30,000 people will attend 200 talks and workshops over the next five days, covering everything from big data to "digital ladies". The confabs and demos will be held in locations sprinkled …
Jasper Hamill, 16 Jun 2014
Abacus. Credit: Newsum Antiques

The IT kit revolution's OVER, say beancounters - but how do they know?

One of the great problems within economics is in trying to work out what's a structural change, what's a cyclical change and what's being buggered up just because you're not measuring it properly. For example, we can look at how much companies (or more accurately, non-household entities) are spending on the computing …
Tim Worstall, 03 Sep 2014

Windows 8 leaker gets three months, booted back to Russia

Alex Kibkalo, the former Microsoft worker who pleaded guilty in April to leaking company secrets, is likely headed back to his native Russia in a week or so, having been sentenced to serve a brief stint in prison. According to court documents, Kibkalo was formally sentenced on Tuesday to a three-month prison term, per his plea …
Neil McAllister, 11 Jun 2014
Artist's impression of a manned mission to Mars

MARS NEEDS WOMEN, says NASA pretendnaut: They are light, eat less

Women (not men) would be a better choice for the first (wo)manned mission to Mars, according to boffin and fake NASA-naut Kate Greene. Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) Greene, the crew writer for one of NASA’s HI-SEAS (Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation) pretendy Martian mission, said in an article for Slate that female …

China's 'Deep Panda' crew targets Middle East policy wonks - report

A group of China-based cyber spies have begun targeting national security think tanks, initially targeting analysts focusing on the Asia-Pacific region before switching their focus to Iraq. Infosec threat intelligence firm CrowdStrike warns that a group it dubs Deep Panda has begun targeting think tanks, particularly those …
John Leyden, 08 Jul 2014

CDOT relatively crap for flash, hyperscalers crap for constant storage

Chief NetApp techie Jay Kidd had some strong words for the flash and cloud crowd at a Wells Fargo event for investors. Among other things, he covered Clustered Data ONTAP and flash and the customer spending slowdown. Not a great fit and a transitory slowdown were the take-away messages. The event was the Wells Fargo Tech …
Chris Mellor, 08 Apr 2014
Four of EMC/XtremIO's Project X all flash arrays

It's tough at the top: Yet another hybrid startup knocks EMC

Nimble Storage is setting its sights on would-be EMC clients with competitive data tables showing that its product is better than both VNX hybrid arrays and also XtremIO all-flash arrays. This comes just days after Nutanix opened up its Nix vBlock marketing campaign against EMC-using Vblocks from VCE. It’s hard being top of the …
Chris Mellor, 13 Jun 2014
ZAdara_storage

Cloudy startup drops unified storage array into YOUR data centre

Cloudy storage startup Zadara can now drop a unified storage array in your own data centre, with you paying for its use and maintenance on a pay as you go scheme. It's essentially a "serviced storage array" (like a serviced office). Zadara has gone into acronym overload with this new VPSA OPaaS SAN and NAS product. Let's go …
Chris Mellor, 07 Aug 2014
Octopus

What kind of Big Data is yours? Is it data bauxite, data aluminium ... or data Dreamliner?

Data is valuable. There, we’ve said it, do you feel better? The question is, has data as an information currency - and an entity in and of itself - become inherently more valuable? Now that we have real time transactional big data analytics to enrich our lives, does this mean that the 1s and 0s inside every binary now somehow …
snowden insider theft security

Snowden's HELPING public clouds says VMware hybrid head

VMware's senior veep and general manager for Hybrid Cloud Service Bill Fathers has told the Gigaom Structure conference that Edward Snowden's revelations about NSA snoopery have turned out to be a good thing for the hybrid cloud. In an interview visible here Fathers, at about the five minute mark, says the NSA's activities are “ …
Simon Sharwood, 19 Jun 2014
NSW_road_death_poster

More chance you came a cropper on a UK road than bought a Chromebook this year

Chromebooks aren't pouring cash into the coffers of European IT distributors – but, nonetheless, more Google-powered lappies are finding their way into the arms of cost-conscious schools and consumers. Some 45,000 Chromies each found a home across Western Europe in the first quarter of 2014, and 61.5 per cent of those purchases …
Paul Kunert, 20 May 2014

Cocky Spotify drops time limits on free listening, skint music-lovers cheer

As it promised to do before Christmas, Spotify has dropped restrictions on free listening with the celestial jukebox - but it's also removed restrictions on free desktop listening, too. Previously the service capped the number of hours you could listen to music without a subscription. That listening contained advertisments, of …
Andrew Orlowski, 16 Jan 2014
Broke - empty pockets

Miserly investors toss $11m at storage upstart Amplidata

Is this thin investment provisioning in action? Object storage startup Amplidata has had $11m chucked at it to grow the business – a relatively trifling amount. Amplidata develops and sells the AmpliStor object storage product, which is OEMed as Lattus by Quantum. It uses a component of its StorNext multi-tier file …
Chris Mellor, 24 Mar 2014
Vulture

Fine print: Dell bod tells us the details of Fluid Cache for SAN

Fluid Cache for SAN is Dell’s technology to integrate server PCIe flash cards and networked SAN storage. We talked to Bob Fine, director of product marketing at Compellent to find out more about how it works. El Reg: Is Compellent's Storage Center (Data Progression functionality) loading data into the connected server's PCIe …
Chris Mellor, 16 Apr 2014
Crystal ball via http://www.manoftaste.de/

FIRST LOOK: Gartner gurus present all-flash prognostications

Gartner's gurus have completed their prognostications and their all-flash array magic quadrant has been released upon an anticipative flash array world - and The Register has seen a copy. The diagram is the key: Gartner AFA MQ Gartner Magic Quadrant for all-flash arrays. (Apologies for the poor pic quality – it was scraped off …
Chris Mellor, 29 Aug 2014
Malcolm Turnbull

Lower prices are BAD FOR CONSUMERS, says Turnbull

Communications minister Malcolm Turnbull has intervened in an Australian Consumer And Competition Commission (ACCC) inquiry, warning Australia's competition regulator not to cut the wholesale price of fixed line services. The letter, co-signed by finance minister Matthias Cormann, warns the ACCC that varying the price of Telstra …
Turnbull with Switkowski in Blacktown

Cherry-pick undermines NBN business case: Switkowski

NBN Co chief Ziggy Switkowski has told a Senate committee that “cherry-picking” network rollouts planned by TPG and mooted by Telstra do, indeed, pose a threat to its own business model. TPG Internet stated last year that it wanted to extent its metro fibre networks to residential apartment basements, using existing copper to …

Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees

The UK's Parliamentary climate change select committee has just issued a written endorsement of the latest, alarmist UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report. However, two MPs - the two most scientifically qualified on the committee - have strongly disagreed with this position. The IPCC's latest AR5 report …
Lewis Page, 29 Jul 2014
Nevada plate for Google car

'Disruptive innovation' is nonsense? Not ALWAYS, actually

If the theory of disruptive innovation is wrong then why do companies act as if it's true? Proof is rather in the pudding after all..... The latest topical shouting match in my corner of the economics-meets-tech world is an essay by Jill Lepore in the New Yorker. All this talk of “disruptive innovation” is just that – talk – …
Tim Worstall, 02 Jul 2014

Cisco belches forth mighty intergobblenator CLOUD OF DOLLARS

Cisco is planning to spend $1bn over the next two years on its very own cloud computing service for corporate customers. The networking firm wants to get into the cloud market with its very own "global Intercloud" and is going to spend the millions on building data centres to run the service. Unlike cloudy offerings from …
Night scene of bank station in central london

New .london domains touted tomorrow amid usual tech hypegasm

Do you have any idea what "wind and kite" means? No? Well, it's Cockney rhyming for “website.” But from tomorrow, rather than lobbing geezer slang around, you'll have a much easier time making sure the world knows your business is from London. Tuesday marks the launch of the .london, and addresses using the new generic top-level …
Jasper Hamill, 28 Apr 2014

MIT boffins moot tsunami-proof floating nuke power plants

Boffins at MIT have mooted a new concept for nuclear power plants which would see the entire facility towed several miles out to sea and moored in a similar way to offshore oil and gas platforms. The proposals would see nuke power plants built in shipyards and then moored or anchored a few miles off the coast, linked to the …
Phil Muncaster, 17 Apr 2014

IBM slashes SoftLayer prices and plugs it into more data centers

The great homogenizing force of cloud economics rolls on, this time pushing prices for IBM's SoftLayer cloud close to those of rivals Amazon and Microsoft. In yesterday's case of Adam Smith's invisible hand gently forcing a corporation to cut prices below rivals and grab some business along the way, IBM announced that it was …
Jack Clark, 11 Jun 2014

Do NOT adjust your set, viewers: UK server sales are GROWING

There was some welcome respite for hard pressed server box pedlars during Q1 as private and public sector organisations queued up to spend again, bringing to a close several quarters of declining market revenues. The latest numbers from IDC show the UK generated server sales of $420m (£250.7m) in the first quarter of 2014, up …
Paul Kunert, 02 Jun 2014
EMC

Storage management tools SUCK. We're getting what we pay for

Five years or so when I started blogging about storage I spent much time venting my spleen at EMC, especially the abomination that was ControlCenter; a product so poor that a peer in the industry once described it as being “too expensive even if it was free.” And yet the search for the perfect storage management product still …
StorageBod, 28 Apr 2014