Ministry Of Silly Things

Hot on the heels of yesterdays report that road maps using miles instead of kilometres are now in danger, Tim Worstall tells us the story of the Belgian town council which is trying to implement standardised clothing rules. As I suggest in comments this issue is not as trivial as it seems, and Maaseik is far from the only municipality across Europe to try to implement dress regulations.


The FT has a timely piece of Spain’s drought. You see, it isn’t simply a question of special pleading on my part :). And note the little detail, 700,000 new homes built last year. I suppose at least when the construction sector stops all those builders will be able to finally cool off.

A severe drought in Spain, the worst since records began in 1947, is playing havoc with livelihoods, sparking forest fires and threatening millions of tourists with water rationing as they head for the beaches this summer.

Worse yet, 2005 is unlikely to be a freak year. Spain is getting hotter and drier, with average temperatures rising by 1?C since 1960. The European Environment Agency estimates that average temperatures will rise by a further 4?C over the next century.

Winters are now so mild that storks have stopped their annual migration to north Africa. Scientists are witnessing desertification many estimate that up to one third of the country may be a desert within 50 years.

World Class Model Services

“Ufff”, my partner said as she put to rest a bunch of plastic bags she had just managed to drag from the supermarket, “so many things to buy”. I was pealing the spuds at the kitchen sink at the time, preparing the lunch, but I still managed to lean over, give her a kiss, and remind her that not everything can be bought: as the Beatles used to say “money can’t buy you love”. Then I remembered this headline.

Cabins designed in the Netherlands, (made in China no-doubt), sex workers from Eastern Europe (some 40,000 of them apparently), (capital possibly kindly provided by hedge funds), and customers from Western Europe, the US and Japan. Well, comparative advantage triumphs again. I imagine the terms of the Bolkestein directive will not be applied.

Things To Help You Sleep At Night

I don’t know quite why, but somehow I suddenly feel a lot better reading this:

Scientists trying to develop vaccines against Africa’s deadly Marburg and Ebola viruses are reporting an important milestone, a new type of vaccine that prevents the diseases in monkeys. Successfully immunizing monkeys is an essential step toward the goal of producing vaccines for people.

Two new vaccines, one for Marburg and one for Ebola, were 100 percent effective in a study of 12 macaques being published today in the journal Nature Medicine. Monkeys given just one shot of vaccine and later injected with a high dose of virus did not even get sick. Normally, all the animals would be expected to die.

Apples And Pears

Why does this kind of news always seem to come from Denmark?

Curvy women are more likely to live longer than their slimmer counterparts, researchers have found. Institute of Preventative Medicine in Copenhagen researchers found those with wider hips also appeared to be protected against heart conditions. Women with a hip measurement smaller than 40 inches, or a size 14 would not have this protection, they said. The researchers say hip fat contains a beneficial natural anti-inflammatory…..

“It has been widely reported that if you are apple-shaped, your risk of developing cardiovascular disease is likely to be greater than if you are pear-shaped. “This study provides additional evidence of the association between hip circumference and cardiovascular protection among women.