Quote of the day

"A minor operation is one performed on somebody else"
— Victoria Wood

The Economists’ Manifesto

Tim Harford asks economists what policies the next British government should pursue: “We’d have more borrowing and considerably more investment – in housing, big infrastructure, science and green cities.” Taxes would probably not fall but they would be rationalised, with a focus on energy efficiency and a transparent taxation of income and housing wealth. More questions would be asked about inequality (3,673 words)

Game Theory of Thrones

The popularity of the television fantasy drama Game of Thrones has now grown to the extent that academics are subjecting the plots to analysis. A management scientist thinks that the dynastic battles created by George R R Martin contain many useful lessons which illuminate game theory. Applying the theory may even help to predict the answer to the question which preoccupies fans: who will sit on the Iron Throne of Westeros?

Can The Internet Be Saved Without Harming Democracy?

“Internet governance is the biggest geoeconomic and geopolitical battlefield you’ve never heard about – dictating the rules, emperors, winners and losers of our online lives, fortunes and destinies,” writes a legal scholar who is pleased that an international group of the great, good and retired spook-masters has started to think sensibly about how the internet should be run. But our mistrust of machines can upset the best-laid plans and ideas. (1,518 words)

How A Bee Sting Saved My Life

A rare example of poison as medicine. Ellie is severely allergic to bee stings. She was also a victim of Lyme’s disease, which she had been fighting for fifteen years, and thought that she had only a few months to live when she was attacked by a swarm of bees. “I thought: wow, this is it. I’m just going to die right here.” Instead of killing her, the bees saved Ellie’s life. (3,712 words)

Broken On The Wheel

Two hundred and fifty years ago this spring, a French court reached a final judgement in a murder case which shaped the final period of Voltaire’s argumentative life. The campaign to clear the name of Jean Calas began the reform of French criminal law and is also seen by some as the start of the movement to end the death penalty. In his last years Voltaire became a “one-man Innocence Project.” (3,103 words)

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