Tim Harford

Are England Actually Under-Achievers?
June 29, 2010

A good question! Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski suggest not. Their argument, summarised by Tim Harford, runs more or less like this: - England do about as well as you’d expect, given their size, economic power, proximity to football’s “core” in Western Europe, and footballing history. That is, you’d expect them to usually make the last 16, sometimes make the last 8, occasionally make the last 4 and make the final very rarely. And they do. - Managers don’t make much difference to a team’s expected performance.

Who Needs Time Zones?
May 29, 2010

Out in Dunhuang in western China, it's still fairly bright out at 10 o'clock at night, thanks to the fact that there's only one time zone in the entire country—everyone is synched to Beijing time. No one I've talked to here seems to mind; freakishly late sunsets are just a fact of life. (The one exception is in the autonomous Xinjiang region in the far west, where people wake up for work two hours later.) And when I try to explain the logic behind multiple time zones, I realize I have no real idea why, say, the U.S.