Tricks of the trade

In the late 1870s, a magician named Buatier De Kolta was mesmerising audiences in Paris by producing big bunches of paper flowers from an empty roll of paper. Nobody knew how the trick was achieved, until a gust of wind blew one of the flowers on to the floor in front...

Cricket critique

Dear Economist, As an Englishman who has been living in Chicago for five years, I remain perplexed by baseball, a game that lacks cricket’s sophistication. However, I am unable to persuade my American friends to take cricket seriously. They lack the patience for a...

Getting to the starting line

I have an article up at Forbes.com for part of their package on “The American Dream”. I argue that America isn’t the land of opportunity that I like to think it is: Who could argue with the idea that America is the land of opportunity? Since the...

Lost in Music

My troubles began while I was tidying up my CD collection, the decaying fruit of a misspent youth. I don’t mean alphabetising it, merely sorting through the piles of scratched silvery discs and putting them back into their cases. The process reminded me just how much...

Comedy Conundrum

Dear Economist, As a keen silver surfer, I find YouTube an excellent way to revisit comedy favourites such as Monty Python and Peter Cook and Dudley Moore. I feel guilty watching pirated material, but what really puzzles me is why people post this material for my...

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