Banks, Central Banks and Money

18 December 2009

One misconception about the mechanics of money that I mentioned in my last post is the idea that banks can hoard their reserves at the central bank* rather than lending them out. Here I will explain why this idea simply does not make sense, but no more casinos and gaming chips. No more senior croupiers […]

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How Money Works

11 December 2009

Over the last couple of years as the global financial crisis unfolded, a subject I have spent a lot of time thinking about is the nature of money. I have been planning a blog post on the topic and the time has finally come. The catalyst for finally writing this post was attending last week’s […]

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Which countries work the hardest?

1 December 2009

Last week over dinner with friends, a debate arose as to whether Australians worked harder than Americans or not. Since we had more wine than data, the argument did not last very long and we instead moved on to the question of whether China now more closely resembles a fascist regime than a communist one. Reflecting later on the first discussion, I decided to dig up some data on hours worked and attempt to determine a winner for the debate.

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Deceptive Charts #2

20 November 2009

Last month I wrote about the dangers of secondary axes, but even charts with a single axis can be deceiving. I have been reflecting on this after reading Jon Peltier’s critique of Microsoft’s “professional” charting tutorials earlier this week. One of the charts Peltier takes issue with is a column chart which has the value […]

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Mahalo 3.0: my new mechanical Turk

19 November 2009

Almost a year ago I posted about using twitter as my very own mechanial Turk. Here’s part of what I wrote back then: The original mechanical Turk was an 18th century machine that purported to be able to play chess. It was, however, a hoax as a human hidden inside the machine was actually doing […]

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Hot and Dry Days Ahead for Australia

13 November 2009

Earlier this month, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology released the October figure for the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI). It showed a precipitous plunge of almost 20 points down to -14.6. Just how significant a drop this is can be seen in the chart below, which shows the distribution of monthly changes in the SOI going […]

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Melbourne Cup by Numbers

2 November 2009

I don’t know anything about horses. Ever since I was bitten by one at the Easter Show as a small child, they have ranked very low on my animal preference list: only just above geese. Still, at this time of year almost everyone in Australia gets caught up in some way with the Melbourne Cup, […]

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The Kindle in Australia

24 October 2009

Initial impressions of the Kindle now that it is shipping to Australia: the good, the bad and the crippled.

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Petrol Price Update

21 October 2009

Oil prices have been heading up, but so has the Australian dollar. So, petrol prices in Sydney for October will have fallen since September.

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I have a love/hate relationship with psychometric testing

19 October 2009

A while ago, I had a bit of a rant in the post I Hate Personality Tests. Responding in this guest post, Maria Skarveli (who knows far more about psychology than I do) ponders personality testing phobia. As a psychology student belonging to the faculty of health and behavioural sciences which also harbours biology, medical […]

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