Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Growth of blogs

According to two websites 1 2 in July 2005 there were 70 million blogs on the internet. They also assert that every five months the number of blogs doubles. This implies a monthly growth rate of 15% and 428% for the year. Thirdly it is said that only half of the blogs are active after 3 months. I used these three pieces of information to derive a trend.

The number implies that in January 2003 there were about 1 million blogs. If half of those were active then than always half of all existing blogs are active. The graph below shows that we can expect to have 2 billion active blogs (blue line) by the end of 2007.

If we assume that every month an active blog adds 1KB to its site than we can expect 15TB (pink line) of stored information by the end of 2007. This assumption excludes any follow-up comments on the web pages. This also raises the question whether the internet can run out of space and what storing policies are efficient and fair.

Veritas in brevitas

The truth can usually be said concisely. Now the ever expanding internet with more and more contributions by technical laymen has given us a large library. This means that the truth - what is that anyway? - drowns deeper and deeper into the ocean of utterance.

By truth I mean a theory which can describe real phenomena. The rest is ... anecdotes.

For the Argentinian (blind) poet JL Borges the library is the labyrinth/maze in which the truth can be found. Funnily enough Borges wrote mostly short stories and comments.

James on daycare

Oliver James writes about Hutton's announcement that lone parents should be encouraged to work. James claims he has evidence that "daycare children are at greater risk of being insecure in relationships, aggressive and indiscriminately friendly". Please, give us the source as I am not aware of that evidence.

He also completely misunderstands the proposal by ranting about three-year-olds, when the proposal refers to lone parents with children aged 11 and above.

He then proposes to pay lone parents the national average wage. This shows his lack of understanding of any economics. Besides, lone parents need to work only few hours to escape poverty, because of the existing minimum wage and tax credits.

James seems to have a division in his head between Blatcherites and Brownites. This division is very flawed since it misses the point about departmental responsibilities.

Please do your homework, Mr James.

Monday, January 29, 2007

The birth of nonlinear times series analysis

is described in this article by Tong who claims to have invented threshold models in 1977/8. He held the first statistics chair as a Chinese in the UK.

Why are British papers so bad?

Coming from Germany I am used to a big array of factual newspapers. However, in Britain I am struggling to find a suitable quality newspaper:

Guardian - ok, not great, certainly best layout
Independent - too green
Times - too right and too much crime reporting
Telegraph - ok, not great

What always strikes me as odd is how so many less interesting domestic issues find their way into the first ten pages. Apparently the British see themselves as very isolated from foreign issues. I don't mind political bias, as long something interesting is told. That's not always the case when pundits tell about their own life.

One of the best dailies is the NZZ of Switzerland, Swiss-neutral, conservative and open.

Friday, January 26, 2007


Flexicurity is a new concept describing a combination of flexible labour markets and social security in the age of globalisation, see link.

I was reading about it in a article about Denmark in Die Welt. Apparently they have achieved low unemployment and high participation rates with high satisfaction among workers. Unemployment benefits are still generous at90% of last earnings, but there is a cap. Denmark also has the lowest child poverty rate in Europe.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Inflation again

It seems that my (rather simplistic) forecast from mid-October was quite accurate. According to the Bank current inflation is 2.7%. This has caused the MPC to raise interest rates yet again, to 5.25%, much to the suprise of the City and the press.

This is 1.75 percentage points higher than the Euroland rate set by the ECB. Euroland has recently been joined by a new member, Slovenia, where people are already complaining about massive price increases. However, given Slovenia's marginal impact on Euroland inflation, there won't be any anticipated rate increases.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Who will succeed Nick Stern

Nick Stern will soon leave his job as the Director of the British Government Economic Service and return to LSE, but who will succeed him? It is clearly hard to find a suitable British candidate, since Stern is an economist of grandeur, having also worked for the World Bank.

Will the successor be a civil servant or a popular academic. A compromise would be someone from the Bank.

Ultimately the decision will also depend on who will be the new Chancellor, when Brown leaves for Number 10 or for good.