Monday, March 31, 2008

Applegarth's next job

The Telegraph is asking what former CEO of Northern Rock Applegarth's next job should be? How about helping all those families on a tight budget to cope with the difficult economic situation.

He currently receives 760k for doing nothing.

Liberal fascism

I am currently reading Liberal Fascism by Goldberg. I agree with him on the militancy of environmentalists but a lot of what he says about fascism I find less persuasive, still a good read. I am just afraid fascism is so overused that it actually doesn't mean anything.

Friday, March 28, 2008


Here is an advert from vanquis, I don't know if this is meant to be funny/cynical. How can someone deserve 40% interest on 250 pounds, this is ridiculous.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

T5 cock up

BA and BAA have messed up big time on the opening of terminal 5. The big investment seems to be blown in the wind given this further loss of confidence and reputation for the two companies. If they knew it would be a challenge, why they didn't test the system sufficiently? It's a disgrace how poorly they manage customers.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Indians buy Jaguar

Car giant Ford will sell its luxury UK-based car marques Jaguar and Land Rover to Indian company Tata. Tata, India's biggest vehicle maker, is likely to pay about $2bn (£1bn) in the deal, BBC reports
Tata is the maker of the Nano


SAS has released a new version of its STAT module. You can do Bayesian models in SAS now.

Also SAS stat studio allows to use functions from OOP languages.
The programming language in Stat Studio, which is called IMLPlus, is an enhanced version of the IML programming language. IMLPlus extends IML to provide new language features, including the ability to create and manipulate customized dynamic graphics, call SAS procedures as functions, and call computational programs written in C, C++, Java, and Fortran.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Why is Donald Trump selling cigarettes

The BBC writes about the proposed ban of cigarettes displays, but how is Donald Trump related? Did he start a shop in Britain?

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Plastic rubbish

BBC says that reducing plastic bag usage by 25% would take 18000 cars off the road. That is nothing considering that there are 27m cars in the UK. I am in favour of reducing plastic bag use, but there are more effectve ways to reduce waste.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


The International Journal of Forecasting has a free issue on many forecasting problems: Discussion by D Hendry.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Prediction of customer defection

A paper by Buckinx and van den Poel Customer Base Analysis: Partial Defection of Behaviorally-Loyal Clients in a Non-Contractual FMCG Retail Setting tries to explain the probability to defect. The best predictor is frequency which should come as no surprise, as it's just past loyalty. The value of this observation is questionable.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Bear Stearns

JP Morgan Chase's offer of $2bn for Bear Stearns drops the company's valuations by 3/7 of its current market capitalisation. From the high of $150 BSC's stock price has dropped to $30, a loss of 80%. Has the Fed ultimately made it easier for JP Morgan to acquire?


This is a really cool website for Greek cooking inspirations, with lost of pictures which makes it easier.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Child poverty in Darling budget

Darling's new budget claims to raise 250k children out of poverty. The measures are shown below, of those only the second and third one actually make a difference. The increase in child tax credit is actually less than £1 per week. Bigger increases in child tax credit are needed to achieve the 2010 target. Overall the commitments are tiny and disappointing.

Budget 2008 sets out the next steps, including measures to make significant
further progress towards the target of halving child poverty by 2010:
- increasing the first child rate of Child Benefit to £20 a week from April
2009, reinforcing the Government’s commitment to Child Benefit as the
foundation of financial support for all families;
- increasing the child element of the Child Tax Credit by £50 a year above
indexation from April 2009 to further help low to middle income families;
- disregarding Child Benefit in calculating income for Housing and Council
Tax Benefit from October 2009, improving work incentives for many of the
lowest paid families and boosting their incomes. A working family with one
child on the lowest incomes will gain up to £17 a week from this change.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Cameron in Telegraph

David Cameron has been uttering some populist nonsense in the Telegraph. He claims poverty rates are not publicly available for IB recipients, that's wrong they have been there for years, see here. In fact a child of a IB recipient has 37% poverty risk.

He also claims Labour hasn't done anything for the poor. Well it hasn't done enough but surely more than the Tories who have thrown generations into poverty.

Then he says they don't do anything over IB. He surely hasn't listened to the Freud proposals and the many pilots discussed.

Monday, March 03, 2008


According to MarketingWeek the Buy One Get One Free could be prohibited by the EU, because of the word free.

An Institute of Sales Promotions note adds that: "This does not stop any existing promotional mechanics. It simply means that the word free cannot be used in relation to them. For example, it would appear that 'buy one get one free' will not be acceptable, but the mechanic will remain perfectly legal and will have to be described as something like 'Two for the price of one'."

Saturday, March 01, 2008

What has happened to democracy?

Putin handing over to Medvedev, Clinton pushing Clinton, Brown moving out Blair, Sarkozy becoming drunken with celebrity. Have we lost the focus, do we have the cracy without the demos? Sucking up to the party dictatorship in China! Uninspired rules from Brussels.

The democratic evolution has lost steam, and image and populism have taken over.

The desparation of the CXO

Leaders have to be inspirers. Inspiration is a creative art. Many top tier managers show off their creative talents to impress ... mostly their peers. The technocrat has been transformed into the talkmaster who knows a few jokes, has seen many parts of the world and is eager to tell the story of success. A David Brentian happening. But probably better than before.

New World Bank Chief economist

The Chinese Justin Lin will be the new World Bank Chief Economist. His most cited paper is in the AER from 98: Competition, Policy Burdens, and State-Owned Enterprise Reform. He is a specialist in transition economics and was once an exhibit soldier who then deserted. Is the appointment of a transition economist coming a bit late?