The Wiki Manrss

(Photo: Getty)

Want to avoid regulators? Do something useless

29 August 2015

I had a water meter installed in my flat a few months ago. I looked at it just now and it said ‘13’. I didn’t know what ‘13’ meant, so… Read more


The real power of free markets: not efficiency, but innovation and dumb luck

15 August 2015

The greatest mistake made by conservatism was its overly close relationship with neo-classical economics. This was a marriage of convenience: finding themselves Johnny-no-mates in the academic world, the conservative establishment… Read more

BBC Announces 2,900 Job Losses

Turn the licence fee into a digital currency – and save more than just the BBC

1 August 2015

What follows is a proposal for reducing the BBC licence fee and improving the corporation’s output while saving the British newspaper industry. All that’s involved is a basic understanding of… Read more

This is what every menu should look like

18 July 2015

The appallingly bad photograph below was taken on my mobile phone about 15 years ago. It shows the menu layout from the Lisbon restaurant Chapito. I have never seen any… Read more


A better way to be charitable: just give money

4 July 2015

Seven years ago I wrote here about a site called I had met the co-founder of this charity when she came to Oxford in 2007 and was intrigued by… Read more

Tesco Opens First Of Its "Fresh And Easy" Stores In L.A

The trick that makes self-checkouts almost tolerable

20 June 2015

I spent the last few days in Deal and Folkestone with Professor Richard Thaler at Nudgestock, Ogilvy’s seaside festival of Behavioural Science. On my way home I decided to stop… Read more


In praise of the ‘Don’t know’ voter

6 June 2015

I am scraping the edges of my memory here, but I am fairly sure that opinion polls in my childhood (for the elections of 1970, 1974 and 1979) quoted four… Read more

The modern day baker's dozen: Five Guys' fries with a side of fries (Photo: L Twynam)

The importance of selective inefficiency

23 May 2015

Readers of a certain age may remember choosing a cassette player in the 1980s. In theory the process was simple: we would have read reviews of competing devices in audiophile… Read more


Why the internet hasn’t killed estate agents (and what might)

9 May 2015

I don’t like to make business predictions, but — barring some apocalypse — I suspect there will be plenty of estate agents around in 2065, and occupying prominent high-street shopfronts… Read more

John McEnroe probably wouldn't have bothered with tennis 15 years ago (Photo: Getty)

Sod hard-working families: let’s have a four-day week

25 April 2015

Whenever I hear the phrase ‘hard-working families’ a little voice in my head asks ‘what about the lazier, chilled-out families? Shouldn’t we think about them too?’ If Cameron simply abandoned… Read more


Why plane crashes are getting weirder – and if we’re lucky, other problems will too

11 April 2015

In the late 1980s, the parks service in the United States were concerned about the deterioration of the stonework on the Lincoln Memorial. So they asked the maintenance staff why… Read more

A lesson in decision-making from the world’s worst road sign

28 March 2015

Driving from Dover on the M20 a year ago I missed the turning for the M25. A month later I did it again. Then again. ‘You bloody idiot — you… Read more

Can you see it?

How to make Ukip supporters love green policies

14 March 2015

Few people know this, but hidden within the FedEx logo, between the E and the x, there is a small white arrow, pointing to the right. I feel slightly guilty… Read more

Want more diversity? Hire groups, not individuals

28 February 2015

If I were to give you a budget to choose your perfect house, you would quickly have a clear idea of what to buy. And typically your perfect house will… Read more


From Umbrella Man to the Coughing Major, the truth is often very strange

14 February 2015

Are you sitting comfortably and wearing your tinfoil hat? If so, open YouTube and watch a full-screen version of the Zapruder film, in particular the section after frame 215 where… Read more

No Strings

How consumer habits are subject to the law of unintended consequences

31 January 2015

Some time in the 1960s, a group of people in an advertising agency (among them Llewelyn Thomas, son of Dylan) found themselves debating the direction of causation in the purchase… Read more


The joys and sorrows of two-way ratings systems

17 January 2015

‘J’ai failli attendre’ — ‘I almost had to wait’ — allegedly said by Louis XIV when his carriage drew up just a few seconds before he reached the bottom of the palace… Read more


Let’s appoint a Ministry of Scandalous Ideas

3 January 2015

My children have a phrase called ‘fomo’ — which stands for ‘fear of missing out’. It is a constant, mildly paranoid anxiety, exacerbated by social media, that all your friends… Read more


How to pick the perfect present

13 December 2014

I had always attributed it to bad luck in the genetic lottery. I am three-eighths Welsh and a quarter Scottish, which is a rotten mixture: part Cavalier, part Roundhead. This… Read more


Have the people who design trains and airports noticed that laptops exist?

6 December 2014

It’s taken years to work this out, but there is a subtle art to designing an airport lounge. 1) Install power sockets and add useful tables and comfortable chairs… 2)… Read more

Facebook's Influence In Consumer Consumption Of News Growing

The secrets that your clicks give away

22 November 2014

About four years ago, an irate father in Minneapolis walked into his local Target shop with a complaint. He wanted to know why they were sending his daughter, who was… Read more


S&M&B&Q: Why aren’t there sex-and-shopping novels for men?

8 November 2014

I never got beyond page 20 in Fifty Shades of Grey. No one got shot in the first chapter, and there were more than four characters, so I rapidly found… Read more


The best navigation idea I’ve seen since the Tube map

25 October 2014

I stopped using London buses when some coward put doors on them. Twenty years ago, you could board any bus headed in the right direction and when it diverged from… Read more

The Garden of England

Why everywhere should be more like Essex

11 October 2014

Apart from the Wye Valley, where I grew up, there are only two places in Britain I’d consider living: Kent and Essex. Since Kent grabbed the ‘Garden of England’ moniker,… Read more

Red or white… or nothing

Was the phrasing of the Scottish referendum question designed to create division?

27 September 2014

It is a trick which often works on children. Do not tell them to eat vegetables; instead ask whether they want broccoli or spinach. Question such as ‘Red or white?’… Read more