Ronnie Biggs wasn’t a hero or a villain, just an idiot

The death of Great Train Robber (which, rather like the Holy Roman Empire, is a descriptive phrase that falls down on all possible counts) Ronnie Biggs has led to some predictable, polarised reactions: the geezer-ish "he was a fackin' legend!", and the handwringing "but he was a violent cwiminal!". Both are fairly stupid. Ronnie Biggs … Continue reading Ronnie Biggs wasn’t a hero or a villain, just an idiot

Consistency, aviation and discrimination

The average woman weighs less than the average man, as does the average child. This is undeniably true. By far the most important cost for the average aeroplane flight is fuel, which is directly dependent on total take-off weight. This is undeniably true. The average woman joining a passenger aeroplane flight carries more luggage than … Continue reading Consistency, aviation and discrimination

Why credit ratings weren’t important in the Thameslink deal

I've not abandoned this blog - just, whilst struggling with painful paid work on the kind of social media and consumer goods marketing work I tend to post here (it's rewarding and worthwhile paid work, but whilst working on it for pay I'm not so keen to blog on it for no money), most of … Continue reading Why credit ratings weren’t important in the Thameslink deal

Dull Friday quiz

Since I've been blethering on about aviation, that's the quiz topic: 1) Which single airport (domestic or international) is the most popular passenger destination for people flying out of Boston Logan Airport? 2) Where was Air Berlin headquartered for the first 12 years of its existence? 3) Out of the top 40 international destination airports … Continue reading Dull Friday quiz

Not from me, on Qantas and Rolls-Royce

From an occasional correspondent who knows about this sort of thing: RR engines do not like oil in the wrong places because it may stop the air-cooled turbine blades being cooled All RR "B" checks are supposed to include a look for oil in the wrong places Qantas seem less good at finding it than … Continue reading Not from me, on Qantas and Rolls-Royce

More fun with marginal tax rates

Here's Felix Salmon Justin Fox standing in for Felix Salmon, on the economic impact of the socialist Truman government's evil confiscatory tax policies: During the Korean War, Congress enacted an excess profits tax meant to keep military contractors from, well, profiteering. In its infinite wisdom, Congress defined excess profits as anything above what a company … Continue reading More fun with marginal tax rates

Waratah trains: why the NSW government isn’t at fault

The suggestion that the NSW government had done nothing wrong would normally seem unlikely, irrespective of context. Even more so when the context is a $2.6bn capital investment project that’s at risk of collapsing, requiring a massive government bailout, or both. However, the funding shortfall threatening the public-private partnership (PPP) to build 78 new Waratah … Continue reading Waratah trains: why the NSW government isn’t at fault