Business Life: As if by magic…

First published in Business Life magazine, October 2009 In the late nineteenth century, Buatier De Kolta was mesmerising audiences in Paris with his magical tricks. In one that had his fans and his rivals mystified, he produced huge bunches of paper flowers from an...

Does free internet access really exist?

Dear Economist, While on a brief break in Devon, I was sitting in a coffee shop that provides free wireless internet access. As the lunch hour approached, the proprietor asked me to vacate the table for four because he wanted it to be free for a lunch party. This made...

Can I press my char into ironing for free?

Dear Economist, My ironing lady – housebound and bored – has taken to phoning me up and begging me to bring round my bed linen for ironing. As I return to pick it up again, proffering a pair of crisp £20 notes, I quip: “But Sheila, aren’t I providing occupational...

In search of hard facts about media bias

In the last days of the British election campaign, The Sun depicted David Cameron in the style of Shepard Fairey’s iconic image of Barack Obama, and claimed that Labour would, if elected, ban topless models on page three. (The topless models problem was doubtless just...

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