Alpha Publications

Going up in Smoke

2 December 2019

Scientists at Cardiff University recently published a study which suggests that global wind speeds have increased substantially since 2010. Heating of the Earth’s surface has changed ocean and atmospheric circulation patterns which, together with a change in land surface roughness has increased wind speeds. Technical innovation was believed to be the main driver of increased […]


Having Trouble Taking Off Captain?

25 November 2019

“Having trouble taking off, captain?” A question once asked of me by a policeman who had pulled my car over. However, ship captains may also need to watch their speed in the future. The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has been discussing the speed of ships following a study and campaign undertaken by Seas at Risk […]


Cyber Storm

18 November 2019

Wall Street hit a fresh all-time high last week as the US and China announced that they had held ‘constructive discussions’ in phase one of their trade talks. However, we are mindful that phase two, covering intellectual property and technology is something of a more challenging long-term goal. In the meantime, tension between the two […]


Satan 2 Trump 1

11 November 2019

The last major nuclear arms control treaty between Russia and the United States, the New START Treaty, is due to expire in 2021. It limits the number of strategic nuclear warheads the world’s two biggest nuclear powers can deploy. In a ramping up of its nuclear deterrent, Russia has successfully test-fired an intercontinental ballistic missile […]


The JEDI order

4 November 2019

  Not a new chapter in the film series Star Wars but the saga surrounding the award of a new cloud-based computer contract in the USA, involving no less than President Donald Trump and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. The Pentagon has recently awarded a $10bn cloud-computing contract to Microsoft, following a heavily scrutinised bidding process […]


Dark Fate – Rise of the Machines

28 October 2019

The latest film in the Terminator franchise, Dark Fate starring Arnold Schwarzenegger is currently in cinemas, so this week, we return to one of our past themes, the ‘Rise of the Machines’. The Terminator film franchise spans 35 years and like Arnold, might be getting a bit old in the tooth but reality does appear […]


Rip it DUP and start again

21 October 2019

The challenge with any new technological development is making it commercially viable. While many investors have been getting very excited about the development of electric vehicles and associated technology such as batteries and the raw material components, there have been a few high-profile setbacks recently. For example, Dyson, best known for its vacuum cleaners, has […]


Extinction Rebellion or Extension Rebellion

14 October 2019

Flygskam – ‘flight shame’ appears to be spreading. High-profile environmental campaigns led by Swedish school girl Greta Thunberg, has helped push the climate crisis up the political agenda.  Separately, a report out today commissioned by the government’s climate change adviser, the Committee on Climate Change, has called for an end to ‘air miles’ incentives for […]


Adapting to Change

7 October 2019

Will we drop the green baton? The IMF has called upon governments to pick up the baton from central banks and undertake fiscal stimulus. Central banks remain in supportive mode providing stimulus for the global economy. However, while the US Federal Reserve has a bit more scope to cut interest rates, it does feel as […]


He-lp

30 September 2019

Helium (He), is an inert gas with one of the lowest boiling points of any element. It is therefore used as a cooling medium in a range of applications from satellites to medical MRI scanners, as well as the Large Hadron Collider. A mixture of helium and oxygen is also used by deep sea divers. […]


You Cannot be Sirius*

23 September 2019

With apologies to John McEnroe* Last week, Sirius Minerals announced it had been forced to cancel plans to issue a $500m bond to help partly fund a £3bn mining project it is developing in the North Yorkshire moors. The shares fell by over 50% on the news. The Sirius Minerals project was set to be […]


Goodbye PPI and Spam

16 September 2019

The total PPI claims bill has still to be finalised, but is now expected to be well in excess of £50bn! A staggering amount of money and a major windfall for consumers. The FCA’s PPI claims advertising campaign in the run up to the final deadline of 29th August 2019, appears to have worked too […]


Skyfall

9 September 2019

Russia’s weather service, recently reported that radiation levels had spiked sixteen times higher than normal in the far north of the country. This appeared to follow a fatal explosion in the port city of Severodvinsk where Russia’s state nuclear agency, said a nuclear-powered engine was being tested. Western military experts believe that this could be […]


Bananas!

2 September 2019

An estimated 30% of food consumed in the UK comes from the EU. However, in the case of some products such as spinach and olive oil, the EU is practically the UK’s sole supplier. This has raised concerns about product availability in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Fortunately, British food producers supply about 50% […]


North South Divide

27 August 2019

On June 30th 2019, President Trump made history by becoming the first serving US President to step into North Korea in a meeting with Kim Jong-Un at the demilitarised zone. Trump said he had ‘developed a great relationship’ with the North Korean leader. However, just a few months later and tensions have resurfaced. North Korea […]


No Man Is an Island

19 August 2019

Trump to buy Greenland? Danes were scratching their heads on Friday, as rumours started that Donald Trump had floated the idea of purchasing Greenland from Denmark. Initially the news was greeted with some humour, with a former prime minister describing it as an April Fool’s Joke.  However, over the weekend, when confronted, Trump confirmed his […]


Zandmotor

12 August 2019

One in six people in England are living in properties at risk of flooding. Rising sea levels and coastal erosion are becoming an increasing concern for many small communities, along parts of Britain’s shore line. This is particularly so for Norfolk where several metres of coastline can be washed away during big storms. Those property […]


Talking Rubbish

5 August 2019

A recent study estimates that the world produces over 2.1 billion tonnes of municipal solid waste (MSW) or general rubbish waste every year, enough to fill over 800,000 Olympic size swimming pools. MSW is waste collected by local authorities from residential and commercial premises. The report suggests that globally only 16% of this amount is […]


Gone Phishing

29 July 2019

Britain’s intelligence gathering agency GCHQ has recently revealed that it stopped 140,000 separate computer ‘phishing’ attacks last year. ‘Phishing’ is an attempted online theft of bank details and other sensitive information by impersonating a trustworthy person or organisation. Fraudsters are even impersonating real-life vicars and barristers to gain peoples trust. GCHQ believes it has been […]


Boiling Point

22 July 2019

Apparently, an African Plume is about to bring us the hottest July day on record. Last week, controversial climate protesters Extinction Rebellion took to the streets in London, Glasgow, Leeds, Cardiff and Bristol in a so-called summer uprising. Many towns and cities across the UK have already declared ‘a climate emergency’, although there is no […]


Hijacked

15 July 2019

While New Zealand may accuse England’s cricket team of hijacking the World Cup after the freak six-runs from the incredible Ben Stokes deflection, it was one of the most thrilling matches ever, with both sides showing a lot of heart, down to the last ball of the Super Over. Who said cricket was boring? Talking […]


It’s not rocket science

8 July 2019

The Government is falling short of its own R&D investment target. An additional £21bn of investment is needed if the UK is to achieve its vision of becoming a science-led economy. The UK’s leading independent science advocacy, Campaign for Science and Engineering (CaSE), is calling for a material step-up in science funding for the UK […]


Europe Reaches Boiling Point

1 July 2019

Temperatures across Europe have hit record levels, presenting a major health threat. We are reminded that that water is becoming increasingly scarce and in many areas is putting agricultural productivity under risk.  Scientists are developing a satellite system to survey fields of crops to estimate water-use by plants and to also show how they transfer […]


Turkey Shoot

24 June 2019

Tension is increasing between the US and Iran. US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, has landed in Saudi Arabia in a hastily arranged visit. The recent downing of a $100m US surveillance drone, reportedly brought us within 15 minutes of a military strike, before Trump intervention. However, the US and Turkey, one of Washington’s long […]


Take That Back

17 June 2019

Western consumers are becoming more vocal about plastic waste and politicians are under pressure to introduce more regulation to increase recycling. Historically, many wealthy countries have sent their recyclable waste overseas helping them meet recycling targets and reduce domestic landfill. The US and EU are the largest exporters of plastic waste. The United Nations has […]


Rogue Waves

10 June 2019

Once dismissed as a nautical myth, rogue waves that can be as tall as a ten-storey apartment block have been accepted as a leading cause of large ships sinking. In 1995 the cruise ship Queen Elizabeth II was hit by a 29-metre high rogue wave which the Captain Ronald Warwick described as ‘a great wall […]


Jakarta has that Sinking Feeling

3 June 2019

Global warming and rising sea levels are very much making headlines at the moment. Unfortunately, some cities which were originally built on swamps are proving particularly vulnerable. Jakarta is sinking. Indonesia’s president Joko Widodo has recently announced that it is to move the country’s capital away from Jakarta. The city is the home to over […]


This cloud has a silver lining

28 May 2019

  The recent protests in London by climate activists were a reminder, if one were required, that we need to tackle global warming. Scientists at Cambridge are setting up a research centre to develop new ways to repair the Earth’s climate because they feel that current approaches will not be sufficient and governments appear more […]


End of the Road for PPI

20 May 2019

A deadline of 29 August 2019 has been set by the UK’s financial regulator for final PPI-mis-selling claims to be made. As many as 64 million PPI policies were sold by UK banks as long ago as the 1970’s.  They were designed to cover loan repayments if borrowers fell ill or lost their job. Not […]


Food of the Future

13 May 2019

A vegan sausage roll launched by UK bakery Greggs in January caused a flurry of headlines. Veganism is becoming more popular in the UK and supermarket chains are beginning to stock more vegan options, while Burger King has been trialling a new veggie burger made by Impossible Foods. Silicon Valley based Impossible Foods and Beyond […]


A Swine to Deal With

7 May 2019

2019 is ‘Year of the Pig’ in China but it is ironic in that the country’s pig population is being decimated by African swine fever. While, not yet a threat to humans, this is a highly contagious virus with no known cure and is currently spreading through Asia killing virtually every pig it infects. African […]


A Job for Life?

29 April 2019

According to the Office of National Statistics (ONS), some 1.5million people or 5% of workers in England are likely to lose their jobs due to automation. Worryingly, 70% of the roles at high risk of automation are currently held by women. Part-timers workers and the young are the next most at risk. We are in the […]


A Tale of Two Cities

23 April 2019

Airports are a key part of any country’s infrastructure and a vital asset to support long-term economic growth, so it is interesting to compare London and Beijing. The expansion of Heathrow Airport has dragged on for decades but in 2016 a new runway and terminal was approved by the Government. The new runway will add […]


Problems Without Passports

15 April 2019

Having a problem with your passport sounds a classic summer holiday crisis. For once, the issue is not related to Brexit, but actually refers to something far more dangerous! In 2005, the US Congress set NASA a task to identify 90% of near-Earth asteroids of 140 metres in size or larger by 2020. Asteroids of […]


Brexit Under Water

8 April 2019

Last week’s dramatic water leakage at the House of Commons prompted a halt to the Brexit debate, as water started pouring in through the roof! MP’s joked about another major leak in Parliament and even legendary spoon bender Uri Geller, tapped in and sought to take the credit to block Brexit! Water companies also need […]


Brexit Cancelled

1 April 2019

…At the Royal Mint. Chancellor Philip Hammond had previously confirmed a commemorative 50p coin to mark the UK’s departure from the EU, in last year’s Autumn Budget. The original design, featured the phrase “peace, prosperity and friendship with all nations”, as well as the date of 29th March. Whilst no cost has been borne by […]


Turning Back Time

25 March 2019

Deal or no deal? Did we vote to leave or not? Should we revoke Article 50? Another General Election? Leadership contests? No wonder many are disillusioned with our politicians and the current debates. Let’s briefly ponder something that, before Brexit, used to get us energised… Next weekend, as part of Daylight Saving Time, our clocks will […]


Freak Weather – Outlook Uncertain

18 March 2019

‘Freak’ weather is disruptive and is making life harder for UK businesses. In 2018, we had the ‘Beast from the East’, then the joint hottest summer on record. In February 2019, the Sahara heatwave, caused temperatures to soar to all-time highs. At least March seems to be returning to normal with a series of storms! It’s […]


The Swinging Sixties

11 March 2019

The United Nations estimates the current population of the world is 7.3 billion and is projected to reach a rather crowded 9.7 billion by 2050. However, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), between 2015 and 2050 the proportion of the world’s population over 60 years old will increase significantly from 12% to 22%. Improved […]


Getting Lost

4 March 2019

Make a note for 6th April, it’s a rollover. No, not the National Lottery but the anniversary for older satnav devices whose weekly counters roll over from 1023 to zero. This means older devices will not be able to use Global Positioning System (GPS) from 6th April 2019, unless they have been updated. A ‘Y2K’ […]


Catfishing – Avoid Getting Hooked

25 February 2019

Catfishing is the act of pretending to be someone you are not online. Creating a false identity to lure the unsuspecting, can have sinister consequences. Data protection and personal security on social media are a hot topic these days, but are the social media platforms doing enough to protect us? Some app settings have been […]


A Safe Pair of Hands

18 February 2019

That save, from Pele at the 1970 World Cup. Everyone with a knowledge of football, considers it one of the greatest. RIP Gordon Banks OBE, the safest pair of hands. Banks’ career spanned 15 years, but was sadly cut short by injury. In comparison, today’s Premiership club managers are staying in their jobs for increasingly […]


Going Ballistic

11 February 2019

The US and Russia have suspended a crucial nuclear weapon ban raising the spectre of another Cold War. The Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces or INF Treaty, prohibits the production or testing of ground-launched missiles with a range of up to 3,400 miles. The INF Treaty has kept nuclear-tipped cruise missiles off the European continent for over […]


Reversing the Flow

4 February 2019

The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) recently published oil production forecasts which could alarm the Middle Eastern oil producers as well as other members of OPEC. The EIA forecasts the US is set to become a net exporter of crude oil and refined products by the end of 2020. Soaring US production, driven by the […]


A Barking Idea

28 January 2019

Climate change – the link between humans eating meat and the associated CO2 and methane emissions from cattle and pigs, is now well established. We never fail to be amazed by the innovative idea’s entrepreneurs come up with – dog food using black soldier flies. Start-up pet food manufacturer Yora, claims that 40% of its […]


The Chinese Way

21 January 2019

The IMF has flagged sub-Saharan Africa as home to several of the world’s fastest-growing economies. However, almost 40% of the sub-Saharan Africa countries are in danger of slipping into a major debt crisis according to the Overseas Development Institute. The IMF is also concerned that Africa is heading towards a new debt crisis, with the […]


Frozen Out

14 January 2019

China is showing little inclination to let things go. In fact, the world’s second largest economy rarely seems out of the news these days as it continues to flex its muscles globally. In recent weeks Beijing has been accused of a worldwide campaign of cyber-attacks against the US, Britain and their allies, aimed at stealing […]


2018 was a dog’s breakfast. What does the future hold?

7 January 2019

2018 was the year of the Dog in the Chinese Zodiac. China’s stock market proved to be a dog with the largest fall in 2018 of over 24%. However, it wasn’t much better for many other markets. Those markets more exposed to global economic slowdown suffered the most, with Germany down over 18% and Japan […]


No Way Huawei

17 December 2018

Huawei (pronounced Wah Wey) is one of the world’s biggest makers of smartphones and networking equipment. The New Zealand government is the latest to prevent Huawei supplying a local mobile network with 5G equipment. Three members of the Five Eyes intelligence alliance have now acted against the Shenzhen-based company whilst Canada is carrying out a security […]


A Warmer but Wetter Outlook

10 December 2018

The UK is a world leader in tackling climate change – with emissions reduced by more than 40% since 1990. However, in its first major update on climate change in almost 10 years, the Met Office has warned of significant temperature rises in the decades ahead. The UK Climate Projections 2018 or UKCP18 study suggests summer […]


Spotlight on Auditors

3 December 2018

Under fire audit watchdog, the Financial Reporting Council, is investigating a growing number of cases involving the UK’s leading accountancy firms. The latest investigation involves alleged misconduct relating to audit work carried out at mattress company Silentnight. This adds to a growing list of other well publicised audit criticisms including Carillion and more recently Patisserie […]


UK Power Vacuum

26 November 2018

Charismatic entrepreneur Sir James Dyson has been a prominent advocate of Brexit and recently insisted that the UK leaving the EU with no deal, would ‘make no difference’. With a massive research and development capability in the UK but a manufacturing presence in Singapore, it is understandable that Dyson would not envisage being impacted by […]


Transforming Construction

19 November 2018

Japan’s ageing population is well documented and is creating many economic challenges. It is also reflective of demographic trends within many other countries. In Japan, a third of construction workers are over 54 years of age and they are not being replaced fast enough by younger workers. Japan’s pool of construction workers is forecast to […]


Lest We Forget

12 November 2018

At a time when we have chance to reflect on the war to end all wars, around 70 world leaders  gathered in Paris to attend a peace conference – the Paris Peace Forum. Recent political disharmony has centred on national interests and spurred increased military tensions. As we approach a new era of independence, where does […]


Golden Dragon

5 November 2018

There are a record number of global billionaires. The recent growth in Chinese super rich has been staggering. According to a report by Swiss bank UBS, the largest communist state, China produced billionaires at the rate of two a week in 2017, with some 373 by the end of the year and an estimated wealth […]


That Sinking Feeling

29 October 2018

Italy’s populist government won this year’s elections with promises to spend big. However, are their promises already underwater? National debt already stands at €2.3trillion which is 131% of the economy. That means that Greece is the only country in the eurozone with a bigger debt burden at 178%. Italy is bound by the EU Stability […]


Red October

22 October 2018

Notorious supervillain Gru is the main character of animated film Despicable Me. Some would say equally accident prone, but far more dangerous is GRU -Russia’s military intelligence unit. What are Putin’s minions up to?   British and Dutch authorities recently named four members of Russia’s GRU caught red-handed trying to infiltrate the inquiry into the Salisbury […]


When Autumn Becomes Fall

15 October 2018

Autumn officially started on the 23rd September. Intriguingly, the season is referred to as ‘Fall’ in America and is roughly marked the recent peak of the US stock market. Along with many other global markets UK equities have taken something of a battering over the last week. While UK media has tended to focus on […]


Final Countdown

8 October 2018

Just in Time is a very simple concept, but one that is essential in modern manufacturing. Global supply chains and tight control of working capital means manufacturers and retailers rely on smooth running logistics, with delivery ‘just in time’ of components and finished goods. We appear to be entering the final countdown in the Brexit standoff. […]


Buzzin

1 October 2018

You may not be surprised to hear that the Met Office has confirmed 2018 was the joint hottest summer on record for the UK as a whole and hotter than the sizzling summer of 1976 for England.  However, according to the British Pest Control Association, the recent heatwave resulted in a significant increase in the […]


Enter the Dragon

24 September 2018

Xi Jinping and Putin – What are you cooking up? At a time of increasing tension between the East and West, Russia recently carried out its largest war game since the fall of the Soviet Union. The military training exercise, Vostok 2018, involved some 300,000 troops, including joint exercises and units from China. As both […]


Auf Wiedersehen, Pet

17 September 2018

Is it goodbye or until the next time? Pub chain JD Wetherspoon is calling time on the infamous Jäger bomb. The German herbal spirit Jägermeister is being replaced, along with a number of well-known European branded spirits, by domestic alternatives. Well known as a champion of Brexit and free trade, Tim Martin, has made a […]


2p or not 2p, That is the Question

10 September 2018

The halfpenny was abolished in 1984 and the value of the 1p coin has subsequently been reduced by inflation. Furthermore, the Treasury estimates that six in ten 1p and 2p coins are only used once before being put in a jar or discarded while one in twelve is thrown into a bin. The government has […]


For Whom the Bridge Tolls

3 September 2018

Tolls on the bridges across the River Severn between England and Wales will be scrapped by the end of 2018, when ownership passes to Highways England. This will remove the current toll of £6.70 for cars and up to £20 for lorries. This is in line with previous pledges by both the Conservative and Labour […]


Latte Levy

28 August 2018

When it comes to the environment, it appears even mining companies are exploring greener manufacturing options these days. This is in response to interest from major global brand owners who want to ensure consumers view their products and the packaging they are sold in, are as environmentally friendly as possible. Iron, steel and aluminium production […]


The Caspian Sea – Agreement, at Least on the Surface

20 August 2018

Despite the term ‘sea’ being used in its name, the Caspian Sea is the world’s largest inland body of water and technically a salt water lake. Home to the sturgeon and producing between 80%-90% of the world’s caviar, the Caspian Sea is also highly-prized for its vast oil and gas reserves, estimated to be 50 […]


Debt by Another Name

13 August 2018

Despite apparent close government oversight, the sudden collapse of Carillion last year was a surprise to them and sent shockwaves through the UK construction sector. This has led to calls for a review of the government’s policy on outsourcing of public services to the private sector.  Unsurprisingly, Jeremy Corbyn reiterated that a Labour government would look […]


Under the Influence

6 August 2018

Twice as many youngsters are believed to have applied to appear in ITV2 reality show Love Island as applied to attend Oxford and Cambridge Universities. A sad reflection on our country or the new reality of easy money to be made from social media? The winners Dani Dyer and Jack Fincham, besides picking up the […]


Hotting up

31 July 2018

    Those of us of a certain age might well have some fond memories of the golden summer of 1976. Whilst many of us enjoyed the endless days of summer sun, the country was actually in crisis, caught up in the worst drought for 250 years. This led to the appointment of Denis Howell […]


What a waste

23 July 2018

Overnight the UK’s National Audit Office (NAO) has revealed that over half of the packaging reported as recycled, is actually being sent abroad to be ‘processed’. For decades, China was the world’s largest importer of waste — a status that many countries took for granted, However, from January this year in a surprise move, Beijing […]


Disruption Ahead

16 July 2018

The Piccadilly line tube station in Enfield, North London, will be temporarily rebranded Gareth Southgate for 48 hours from Monday, Transport for London has today revealed. Now onto other notable disruptions this morning… Some traditional business models, that have existed for many years, are now under threat from a new age of internet- based disruptors. […]


A Taxing Challenge

9 July 2018

As the UK swelters in a heatwave and the nation’s thoughts turn to Moscow, lets ponder a taxing question. The International Energy Agency (IEA) recently published a report examining the growth of electric vehicles and the repercussions for the oil market. This included looking at the possible impact on the tax revenue of governments globally […]


Cashless High Street

2 July 2018

Our banks and building societies are closing branches at an alarming rate as they seek to reduce costs in the face of changes in consumer banking trends. Last month, Royal Bank of Scotland announced it was to close a further 162 branches bringing the total planned closures so far in 2018 to approximately 800. Half […]


Summer C Oh2 Crisis

25 June 2018

A pan European shortage of CO2 could take the fizz out of our summer celebrations. At least five producers in northern Europe are reportedly closed due to a combination of technical failures and planned repairs causing the worst supply situation to hit the European CO2 business in decades. Carbon dioxide is actually a by-product of […]


A Game of Two Halves

18 June 2018

Just in case you hadn’t noticed, the World Cup is underway, which made us think. Investing can be a bit like a football match. Why? Well, it’s the result that matters, but often it can be ‘a game of two halves’. These days, more companies are issuing trading updates to keep investors up to speed […]


Vanilla Ice

11 June 2018

The term ‘vanilla’ when investing, typically describes a simplistic or basic version of a financial instrument, not exotic or with leverage for those seeking extra spice. Talking of spices, saffron is more valuable than gold. Vanilla, due to the difficulty in cultivating the delicate vanilla orchid flower, is now as expensive as silver. Madagascar, which […]


Lightning Strike

4 June 2018

The spring Bank Holiday weekend saw thunderstorms and torrential rain sweeping across parts of Britain, with dramatic lightning flashes across the sky. Around 15,000 lightning strikes were recorded in the early hours of Saturday morning. This week we expect more lightning. However, this is the long-awaited arrival of the first £100m new ‘game changer’ F-35 […]


Bright Sparks

29 May 2018

Napoleon famously described us as a nation of shopkeepers. However, Britain is rapidly becoming an island of inventors and entrepreneurs. London is Europe’s leading start-up economy, despite the uncertainty around Brexit. Encouragingly, according to a recent research report small business survival rates are over 90% after one year of trading, although after five years just […]


Four Candles or Fork Handles?

21 May 2018

  Technological change seems to be moving at an even faster pace these days and where America leads the rest of the world tends to follow. The Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) has previously had extremely tight rules on the use of drones but has selected ten commercial drone projects to test new ways for unmanned […]


Death of the Nile

14 May 2018

Oil recently hit a 3-year high as tensions in the Middle East have escalated and President Trump has pulled out of the Iranian nuclear deal. However, this has distracted attention from elsewhere in the resource rich region. A major geopolitical crisis involving Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan has erupted over who controls the Nile, the world’s […]


Smart Applications

8 May 2018

Car workers at BMW in Germany are wearing ‘smart’ gloves that can scan objects when they put their thumb and forefinger together and the data is sent wirelessly to a central computer. The smart gloves have replaced hand-held barcode readers and allows the workers to keep hold of items with both hands speeding up the […]


Living Like Sardines

30 April 2018

A recent study by structural warranty provider, LABC Warranty, has revealed that over a 50-year period new houses built in the UK have been shrinking in size.  Along with the size, the number of houses has diminished, as regulations and guidelines for new housing developments have increased. The analysis concluded that house sizes are smaller […]


Gravity

23 April 2018

The 2013 multi-Oscar winning film ‘Gravity’, featured two American astronauts attempting to return to Earth after the mid-orbit destruction of their shuttle by space debris. After 60-years of space exploration the Earth’s atmosphere has a mass of debris, ranging from old rocket bodies and defunct spacecraft to screws and even flecks of paint. The average […]


Top Trumps

16 April 2018

Top Trumps may be fondly remembered from its original heyday in the playgrounds of the 1970’s and 1980’s.  In the digital era, how has the game ensured its longevity? It appears to have attracted young players by offering a broad range of popular subjects from volcanoes and dinosaurs to bugs and predators. It has further […]


CoD – Call of Duty

9 April 2018

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is responsible for environmental protection and food production – covering both agriculture and fishing. Defra covers arguably the two most nationally sensitive and certainly well publicised links between the UK and the EU, the Common Agricultural Policy and the Common Fisheries Policy. Defra also oversees £3bn […]


Made in Britain

3 April 2018

‘Rules of Origin’ might sound like the sequel to ‘Game of Thrones’ but with under a year to go to the Brexit Article 50 deadline could prove significant. It is effectively how you define where a product comes from and whether we can say ‘Made in Britain’. For some industries, this could prove quite a […]


Trade War, What is it Good For?

26 March 2018

Absolutely Nothing! The global economy is growing nicely. Having done their job, central banks are starting to withdraw previous stimulus measures and some have embarked on the longer-term path to normalising interest rates. Central banks have to manage inflation, but not choke off growth, given the high level of global debt. Their challenge has suddenly […]


A Toxic Atmosphere

19 March 2018

MPs have demanded an end to the UK’s ‘poisonous air’ in an unprecedented report from four Commons Committees. The Environment, Health, Transport and Environment Audit Committees want a new Clean Air Act along with a clean air fund financed by the transport industry. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders have responded, by saying that […]


Bring on the Clowns

12 March 2018

US President Donald Trump is in the eye of a storm – ‘Stormy’ Daniels. However, it’s not just the US ‘actress’ that is stormy or that Donald Trump is provoking a legal fight with. In a calculated move, Trump has raised the spectre of a trade war by implementing a 25% tariff on steel imports […]


Donald, the Pest from the West

5 March 2018

Emma and the ‘Beast from the East’ caused havoc across most parts of the UK. On one hand it has seen great community spirit with 4×4 drivers taking nurses to hospitals and people handing out hot drinks and food to drivers stranded in their cars. On the other hand, despite the herculean efforts of gritting […]


A Taste of Things to Come?

26 February 2018

#Chickengate A lack of chickens is a serious issue for a company whose business model relies on selling fried chicken! Delivery problems meant that at the peak of the chicken crisis, more than 600 KFC outlets were forced to close last week, while others offered a reduced menu or shortened hours. KFC recently switched its […]


Political Own Goals

19 February 2018

As the FA sells off the latest batch of broadcasting rights to Premier League matches, we look at the politics of business. In the UK, there is still a chance that divisions within the Conservative party could lead to another leadership contest. Would this in turn lead to another general election? In its shift to […]


An American Dream or an 8th Wonder?

12 February 2018

If Trump manages the US economy like his former Atlantic Casino, then, then we all have a problem. Last year, Channel 4 aired a critical 4-part documentary about Donald Trump’s life. In summary, a ‘story of audacious deals, enormous gambles, catastrophic misjudgements, wives, mistresses, ego, dynastic ambitions, politics and celebrity’. This included the collapse of […]


RIP RPI?

5 February 2018

‘There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics’. In the UK, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has recently admitted it had made mistakes in the way it had measured the telecoms sector between 2010 and 2015. The Deputy Chief Economist for the ONS, highlighted just how far the current statistics could […]


A Clear and Present Danger

29 January 2018

The world remains a dangerous place with ongoing geo-political tension in the Korean peninsula and fighting in many parts of the Middle East.  In addition, there is China’s build-up in the South China Sea disturbing smaller neighbours and Russian military training exercises making former eastern-bloc countries increasingly uneasy. Increased Russian spy plane and submarine activity […]


Turning the Tide on Plastic

22 January 2018

New York City has filed a lawsuit against five major oil companies – BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell –  to recoup money spent on protecting the City from the effect of climate change.  The suit requests a judgement to determine, the current and future costs incurred by the city and what […]


Pushing Buttons

15 January 2018

2018 looks as it is starting where 2017 ended, with President Donald Trump pushing the buttons. Cancelling his high-profile visit to London, a suggested pay off to an ‘adult entertainer’, defending racist accusations, and of course tweets about North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un. Trump has tweeted ‘Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger and more powerful one than his, and my Button works’. Latterly, North Korea has agreed to send a delegation to the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea, in February. The North and South have also agreed to hold military talks to defuse border tension.


2018…. What Does the Future Hold?

8 January 2018

2018 will see some important milestones, most notably the 100th anniversary of end of the Great War. In addition, for the UK, it will be the 70th anniversary of the foundation of the NHS. In the field of entertainment, it will mark Led Zeppelin’s 50th anniversary.  In sport, 2018 will see the Winter Olympic Games […]


Reindeer, Gorillas & Unicorns

18 December 2017

With the festive season finally here, retailers have revealed the top selling toys. The biggest seller this Christmas appears to be unicorns! This could well be due to the success of the 3D computer-animated comedy film series Despicable Me. Why is a unicorn special? Well, ‘it’s so fluffy’.


50,000 Shades of Debt

11 December 2017

The University of Bristol has submitted an outline planning application for its new £300m city centre campus which will transform the landmark seven-acre site next to Bristol Temple Meads railway station. The campus will include a new £43m Quantum Technologies Information Centre as well as an innovation hub based on the successful Engine Shed, with the aim of helping more start-up businesses. When opened in 2021, some 3,500 students will be catered for initially with teaching and research focused on digital technologies.


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