The Wiki Man

Reducing activities to their core misses the point

17 February 2018 9:00 am

There may be a very simple evolutionary reason why water does not really taste of anything, as I learned from…

Let’s face it: the Presidents Club was on to something

3 February 2018 9:00 am

There exist in the annals of salesmanship certain ideas that are both highly immoral and wickedly clever. Before P. T.…

A nice, cuddly NHS would be bad for us

20 January 2018 9:00 am

Recently the NHS postponed a large number of non-urgent operations to cope with what is known as the ‘annual winter…

How to make economists fight like ferrets in a sack

6 January 2018 9:00 am

One of the funniest passages of writing I have read in the past few years appears within the pages of…

Design everything for the disabled and you can’t go wrong

16 December 2017 9:00 am

About 30 years ago, BT introduced a telephone handset with enormous keys. It was intended for people with serious visual…

The inventions (and Welsh rarebit mix) that will change your life

2 December 2017 9:00 am

At last. And just what you’ve been waiting for. The official Wiki Man guide to the best gadgets and gizmos…

What we need is a Freedom of Uninformation Act

18 November 2017 9:00 am

One dietary fad that never made sense to me was the campaign against the consumption of eggs. Now call me…

How to stop the Grenfell Tower disaster from happening again? Ask the air industry

4 November 2017 9:00 am

It took a spate of air disasters in the late 1970s, in particular the Portland crash of United Airlines Flight…

When it comes to politics, perception is more important than ‘truth’

21 October 2017 9:00 am

I hate to tell you this, but every time you watch television you are being duped. In fact there are…

The value of raising the threshold of crappiness

7 October 2017 9:00 am

I love anything open late at night. Never mind ‘the sigh of midnight trains in empty stations’; even mundane activities…

Forget free trade – we should be embracing pain-free trade

23 September 2017 9:00 am

You can try to change people’s minds, but this is difficult. You can bribe people to change their behaviour, but…

Migration is complicated. Don’t pretend it’s not

9 September 2017 9:00 am

I expect you’ve already noticed it, but in case you’ve been living in a cave or an economics faculty for…

Want greater diversity in the workplace? Try being less fair

26 August 2017 9:00 am

In its hasty dismissal of James Damore, Google showed a worrying disregard for one of the most important freedoms within…

How Sutherland’s Law of Bad Maths could solve nightmare train commutes

12 August 2017 9:00 am

Imagine for a moment a parallel universe in which shops had mostly not yet been invented, and that all commerce…

How internet paywalls are making us all dumber

29 July 2017 9:00 am

Thanks to meteoric advances in computational power, it is now possible to take abundant data from a wide range of…

Why our Robert Adam flat is worth scarcely more than a boring one

15 July 2017 9:00 am

Of the 375,000 listed buildings in England only 2.5 per cent are Grade I. Half are churches; many are otherwise…

Why driverless showers are key to the housing crisis

1 July 2017 9:00 am

Although it is commonly assumed that faster-than-sound passenger travel died with Concorde, this isn’t quite true: it overlooks the Caledonian…

A degree course should last a year – after that, let them pay

17 June 2017 9:00 am

In every respect bar one, those bloody Corbyn-supporting students have a much tougher time of it than I did, what…

Don’t look for any merit in meritocracy

3 June 2017 9:00 am

A few years ago, someone asked me how to fix social care costs for the elderly. One eventual idea of…

Why targeted political advertising is not to be trusted

20 May 2017 9:00 am

When you get into a taxi, there’s usually a framed sheet of paper describing what you pay for your trip:…

Even the most successful companies can be wrecked by idiots with MBAs

6 May 2017 9:00 am

I rang a company’s call centre the other day, and the experience was exemplary: helpful, knowledgeable, charming. The firm was…

Fund a fisherman, finance a film or give a fillip to forensics

22 April 2017 9:00 am

Crowdfunding is a promising idea, and has created useful products. The Canary home-security system I wrote about recently was funded…

All hail the taxi-card revolution

8 April 2017 9:00 am

From October last year, it was compulsory for all London black cabs to accept payment by card. London cabbies aren’t…

On landing, the pilot made an announcement so psychologically astute that I wanted to offer him a job

25 March 2017 9:00 am

After landing at Gatwick, the plane taxied for five minutes or so and then came to a halt in the…

How technology exacerbates the winner-takes-all effect

11 March 2017 9:00 am

I was exchanging emails with someone the other day and signed off with the sentence ‘let me know when you…