Part of the fun of writing a book is that you get invited to give talks on it at cool places. This Friday evening I'll be talking about my book Banking in Crisis at the Library of Mistakes in Edinburgh. The idea of this library, which was the brainchild of Russell Napier, is that it contains books on business, economic and financial mistakes so that the present and future generations learn not to repeat them. It is a great idea. Hopefully my book on the history of British banking crises contributes something to our knowledge of why crises happen and how they can be prevented (if there is the political will).
The Berkeley Earth Project , an independent study of global warming, has found that the earth has become a degree warmer over the past half century. However, the statistical uncertainty surrounding pre-1920 estimates makes it very hard to say much about long-term trends - click here for graph . This is one of my concerns with the global warming debate - we simply don't have trustworthy long-run data which looks at temperature changes over the last millennium (or two). My second concern with the global warming debate is that it is very hard to prove any sort of casual link between global warming and human activity. The scientists may be able to show correlation between global warming and our production of carbon dioxides etc., but correlation is not causation. My third concern with the debate is that those who are sceptical or agnostic are stereotyped as flat-earthers or intellectually-challenged crackpots. This only stifles debate and the progress of science itself.