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 recalls […]

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”:–0052059–3270336 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 […]