Intelligence is not what you might expect

29 May 2020|

Intelligence tests are wrong. Let me count the ways. They are morally wrong because they result in people being placed in categories and treated differently because of that. This categorisation is a lazy shortcut that assumes there is some degree of stickiness about which category you belong to — it’s easy to put people in boxes and forget that they are people. Easy, but wrong, every time. They are intellectually wrong because they assume that intelligence can be mapped on

Not on my watch… I hope

22 May 2020|

“The single biggest threat to man’s continued dominance on the planet is the virus.” Joshua Lederberg, Nobel laureate (1988) As COVID-19 infects virtually all aspects of our lives, it is clear the world was (and still is) severely underprepared to deal with the threat of pandemics. With human history plagued by similar catastrophic outbreaks, the coronavirus pandemic was far from unprecedented. Nor was it unpredictable. As the quotes illustrate, over the last 40 years there have been more warnings than

The case for football

15 May 2020|

After a two-month pause, Germany’s premier football competition, the Bundesliga, resumes this weekend. With football matches suspended in every country in the world over the last few months (except footballing powerhouses Nicaragua and Belarus) fans like me have been starved of games, which is why all eyes are on Germany this weekend. Fathom’s TFiF editorial board had requested that we reduce the number of football-related posts, but I’m hoping that since there hasn’t been one for a while and in

On the occasional importance of the monetary statistics

7 May 2020|

Interest in the monetary statistics is something that comes and goes. For most economists, it’s something that has now largely gone. Their heyday to date, during my time at least, came in the 1980s. In April 1980, UK chancellor Geoffrey Howe launched a ‘Medium-Term Financial Strategy’ (MTFS), which included target ranges for the rate of growth of the money supply. The objective of monetary policy at the time was to meet those targets, and so began what has become known

Zoom and Teams – a breath of fresh air?

1 May 2020|

It’s not often that I’m disappointed by the OED. When I am, it’s usually because the dictionary has denied me a higher Countdown score. Today, I’m disappointed by it for another reason. In April, the OED published a revised edition, adding a number of new words related to the ongoing health crisis. Covid-19, R0 and infodemic are all now in. But, much to my annoyance, the verbs to teams and to zoom haven’t been included. Clearly, they haven’t spent much

Don’t forget the little guys

24 April 2020|

“Flick, flick, claw, claw, holding spoons, da, da, da-da-da” were the instructions shouted through the ether by the remote dance teacher on Instagram Live last Saturday. Bearing in mind that I haven’t voluntarily taken a dance class since junior school, it was surprisingly enjoyable. To this day, when the song ‘You’re the one that I want’ comes on the radio, I feel like donning my ‘Pink Ladies’ jacket, collar up, and recreating my junior school dance moves. I have no

Struggling with lockdown? Try a good rant!

17 April 2020|

As the current holder of the coveted accolade of longest self-isolating Fathom employee, I feel I’m in a good place to shed some light on some notable changes that have happened during this period. The staggering rise in the dubious content flying in and out of my WhatsApp chats betrays a clear longing for broflake infused social interactions somewhere beyond the confinement of domestic walls, ideally a boys’ trip (Brian, can we go on another stag please?). The compounded overload

TFIT: exercise and the other benefits of lockdown

9 April 2020|

The good news is that it’s a four-day weekend. The bad news is that it’s probably the least anticipated four-day weekend of my lifetime. Being locked inside isn’t fun: that’s probably why we reserve it as punishment for people that break the law or enjoy cruises. Bill Withers, who sadly lost his life last week, reminds us that “there’s always tomorrow”. Lockdowns will end. No doubt they have been tough for all of us. But I’m sure we can all

The carbon neutral stag party

3 April 2020|

Most of us are locked at home and likely to be for some time, which has given us a moment to pause and think about the important things in life. Like how much we love our family and how much we value friendship. That was me in week one of lockdown. In week two, as I look out of my window at the plane-free sky over central London my mind has drifted to the climate and the recent reduction in

Ten ways that times change and you won’t believe how values change too

27 March 2020|

Economics is the study of trade-offs. How much of something we want are we prepared to give up in order to get one unit of something else we want? And how much must we give up? Those trade-offs change over time – and particularly in extraordinary times like these. A previous TFiF looked at how much we’d need to be compensated to give up various forms of social media and other online resources. It is extremely likely that those metrics