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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

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
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
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
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
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

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 …

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
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 …
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
Regina Egbert, El Reg's virtual news anchor

The Register to boldly go where no Vulture has gone before: The WEEKEND

On the internet there are certain things you can be pretty sure of. Nubile young women lusting after you probably aren't (any of those things); free stuff almost certainly isn't free, and may not even be stuff; and after 5pm San Francisco time on Friday there probably won't be anything decent published on the Register until the …
Lewis Page, 20 Aug 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

SHIP OF FAIL: How do we right capsized institutions we thought would NEVER go under?

John Watkinson writes the first in a series of essays for El Reg in which he examines failures in society from banking and education to transport and IT. But why whine about this stuff so much, he ponders, when we can simply get on with the business of problem solving? The last seven or so years since the economic crash has not …
John Watkinson, 07 Sep 2014

OpenStack kingpin Rackspace hires bankers to help it mull 'inbound strategic proposals'

Rackspace has retained Morgan Stanley to help it evaluate "inbound strategic proposals". In other words, a partnership or acquisition is something that may lie in Rackspace's future, according to Bloomberg, which broke the news on Thursday. "Our board decided to hire Morgan Stanley to evaluate the inbound strategic proposals, …
Jack Clark, 15 May 2014
NBN Co Customer premises equipment

Vertigan killed FTTP but the battle for scalable FTTN has not begun

At a conference early this year, I attended a talk by a major Australian industry association. The talk's only good feature was its possible use as a cure for insomnia. I fled the room as soon as it was possible and polite to do so. As I left, I surprised to feel a tap on the shoulder from a representative of the association who …
Simon Sharwood, 01 Sep 2014

'I'll dance on their graves at 1 MILLION operations per second'

Welcome to The Register's new Comments of the Week feature. Here you'll find the best – and worst – of the stuff written below the line by El Reg's bafflingly diverse field of commentards. Just remember: we love you all. Even when your fellow commentards don't. The commentard who wins the “most popular” award this week is …
Gareth Corfield, 24 Aug 2014
channel_teaser_money_top

Why a plain packaging U-turn from UK.gov could cost £3bn a year

According to friendly "leaks" passed to newspapers overnight, the government may force cigarette manufacturers to sell their wares in plain packaging after yet another review, despite rejecting the policy earlier this year. But the gambit is unlikely to withstand the scrutiny of the Chancellor. Why? Plain packaging legislation …
Andrew Orlowski, 28 Nov 2013

UK govt preps World War 2 energy rationing to keep the lights on

The UK government will today set out Second World War-style measures to keep the lights on and avert power cuts as a "last resort". The price to Britons will be high. Factories will be asked to "voluntarily" shut down to save energy at peak times for homes, while others will be paid to provide their own backup power should they …
Andrew Orlowski, 10 Jun 2014

You're inventing the wrong sort of tech for bad people who want to buy it. Stop it at once

The comical success of the messaging app Yo is apparently proof perfect that Silicon Valley is doing everything wrong. It is supposedly proof, if any were needed, that the hypercapitalism of the tech scene means that people just hunt for the next quick flip rather than attempting to grapple with the real problems that besiege …
Tim Worstall, 25 Jun 2014
Maxta scheme

Server SAN software upstart Maxta gets Intel's cash inside

Server SAN software startup Maxta has gained $25m in a B-round of funding led by Intel's investment arm and Tenaya Capital just as the software-defined and converged storage trends are taking off. The upstart swallowed $10m in an A-round in October last year. With converged compute/storage hardware-software competitors Nutanix …
Chris Mellor, 08 May 2014
Concept art showing lightning strike on Venus. Credit: J Whatmore

Fix capitalism with floating cities on Venus says Charles Stross

As an economist, Charles Stross might just make a very good science fiction writer, because he's just suggested colonising Venus is a fine way to ensure the continuation of the species while also solving the crises effecting capitalism. In a post challengingly-titled The prospects of the Space and Freedom Party reconsidered in …
Simon Sharwood, 01 May 2014

Linux duo land $54m VC Xamarin cash bag

Two leading lights in open source and mobile have landed $54m in funding for their company. Xamarin, founded by Nat Friedman and Miguel de Icaza in 2011, announced today that it has been awarded the cash in its third funding tranche since July 2012. VCs have now poured a total of $82m into Xamarin, which lets devs build native …
Gavin Clarke, 21 Aug 2014
Funnel of cash. Credit: via SXC – http://www.sxc.hu/profile/Leonardini

Insight warns Google embracers of hidden costs in Apps for Biz

A number of Microsoft's top table resellers may have wrapped their arms around Google's Apps for Business but one that did so half a decade ago - Insight Enterprises - says it hasn't seen the benefit. CDW and SHI International, both among MS Licensing Solutions Partners, made very public statements in February and March …
Paul Kunert, 11 Apr 2014