Monthly Archives: January 2004

Hutton’s odd view of the world

The problem with the judgement in the BBC/Gilligan/Campbell/Hoon case is that the judge, Lord Hutton, has taken a forensic approach to the obvious and come up with a decision that belies common sense. He has applied far too tough a standard to the reporting of government action: aligning criticismof government that he believes unfair with […]


Tyler Cowen “offers confirmation”: that a wealth of choice can overwhelm action. It’s a common experience: probably everyone has their own heuristics to guide choice—or to enable at least some action in the face of daunting variety.Information and attention are costly. Shortcuts match price to reward. The ‘null’ heuristic is to excercise no choice (‘indiscretion&#8217)and […]

Doubtful threat

The Director general of WTO is reportedly threatening Ambassadors in Geneva with direct action. bq. Supachai Panitchpakdi, director-general of the World Trade Organisation, will take a more aggressive approach to chivvy governments into making progress in the stalled Doha world trade talks. bq. He said that unless WTO members’ negotiators showed more flexibility, he would […]

Australia Day

Patriotism is difficult in a country that cannot decide, even after a hundred years of constitutional government, to break its ties to a foreign monarch or to adopt a flag free of foreign icons. Third place winner in “AusFlag competition(link to Ausflag competition site)”: for a new Australian flag I like this design because it […]

India-Brazil-South Africa

An “interview()”: in L’Express (Mauritius) with the Indian foreign minister in which he describes the construction of a ‘trilateral’ grouping that he says underwrote the success of the G-20 in the WTO negotiations at Cancún. Sinha refers to India’s intention to expand it’s international technical assistance and to reduce its tariffs and non-tariff barriers—although through […]


Should we be more surprised to find some ancient evidence of living organisms on Mars or not to find such evidence? There has been a lot of debate about the proability of life ocurring on any given planet in the universe. Although this probabilitiy (call it P0) has not been satisfactorily determined, “Amir Aczel”: estimates […]


The final round of the US-Australia free trade agreement negotiations restart tomorrow in Washington with the negotiating teams now lead by Cabinet members on both sides. The talks were stuck, last week, on the liberalization of agricultural trade: particularly beef, dairy, sugar, peanuts and some horticultural products. The hope on the Australian side is that […]