The Wiki Man

How veganism became mainstream

9 November 2019 9:00 am

I have just returned from Canada, which seems to share Britain’s new-found obsession with veganism. There, chains such as Burger…

Plumbers always have the best restaurant recommendations

26 October 2019 9:00 am

Whenever I use the security lane at an airport, I enjoy watching people retrieving their bags and metallic items when…

Why averages don’t add up

12 October 2019 9:00 am

I recently learned from a doctor friend that salt isn’t necessarily bad for you. Yes, there is a minority whose…

Why business is perfectly relaxed about Brexit

28 September 2019 9:00 am

It’s difficult to go into the office nowadays, since most of my colleagues are so distraught by the prospect of…

Business is the only area of human activity where you get paid to change your mind

14 September 2019 9:00 am

In 1891, a 29-year-old man moved from Philadelphia to Chicago intending to start a business. With $32 to his name,…

Why no one ever moves back to London

31 August 2019 9:00 am

In last week’s Spectator, Martin Vander Weyer replied to a couple with a baby who had sought his advice on…

Looking for a new idea? Try borrowing an old one

17 August 2019 9:00 am

Recently I suggested a new approach to commuter-train overcrowding. It simply involved reformulating the problem by accepting that not all…

Is the future of work flexible?

3 August 2019 9:00 am

Today we suffer disillusion, not because we are poorer than we were — on the contrary, even today we enjoy,…

Why extravagant things don’t have to feel expensive

20 July 2019 9:00 am

‘Suppose you bought a case of claret a few years ago for £20 a bottle. It now sells at auction…

Why governments should spend big on tech

6 July 2019 9:00 am

I was talking to a large Silicon Valley video-conferencing firm the other day. ‘Just for interest,’ I asked, ‘what would…

The service station problem: it’s becoming impossible to correct a mistake

22 June 2019 9:00 am

My first award for intelligent design this week goes to Dublin airport for displaying a sign which reads ‘Lounges. Turn…

It’s easy to sex up the business of paying tax

8 June 2019 9:00 am

To fund the war against Napoleon in 1813, Princess Marianne of Prussia invented an ingenious tax-raising scheme. Wealthy Prussians were…

Could my slogan have swayed the Brexit vote?

25 May 2019 9:00 am

People sometimes ask what slogan could have swayed the Brexit vote: the opposite of the touchstone phrase ‘Take back control’.…

Why don’t we see more big infrastructure projects?

11 May 2019 9:00 am

In 2012 I finished a meeting in Berlin and headed to Tegel airport. Apparently mine was a historic flight, since…

Slow road marking on a country road

In defence of inaction: why it’s usually best to do nothing

27 April 2019 9:00 am

I recently came across the Small Robot Company, a British agricultural robotics start-up. Their vision is that with smart, autonomous…

Slow road marking on a country road

The consequences of the new EU car speed limit

13 April 2019 9:00 am

A once famous question posed to job-seekers at Microsoft was ‘Why are manhole covers round?’ The question was revealing not…

The uncountable problems with innumerate Brits

30 March 2019 9:00 am

Alevels, from the perspective of a ‘choice architect’, are a disaster. While pupils are free to pick and mix freely…

Are IQ tests really the best way to measure nature vs nurture?

16 March 2019 9:00 am

I have a dim memory from 1970 of a primly dressed distant relative visiting in a Baby Austin. This, I…

We put a man on the moon before wheels on suitcases. What else are we missing?

2 March 2019 9:00 am

The Romans never invented the stirrup. It took 50 years after the invention of canned food for someone to invent…

Video-conferencing could revolutionise how we work – so why have we failed to invest in it properly? [GETTY IMAGES]

We don’t need more technology, we need better technology

16 February 2019 9:00 am

I’d like to propose a new scientific institution: the IUT, or Institute of Underrated Technology. Rather than trying to invent…

Why HS2 doesn’t stand up to the test of time

2 February 2019 9:00 am

In past years, I have been a critic of HS2. I might now change my mind. One simple tweak might…

Why it’s so much easier not to speak to people

19 January 2019 9:00 am

I recently saw a series of photographs depicting a rural home in China. Pride of place in a grimly furnished…

Identity is just as important as wealth. Why don’t economists get that?

5 January 2019 9:00 am

It has become commonplace for news reports to refer to almost any civic unrest, or even unusual patterns of voting,…

The most underpriced Christmas gift you can buy

15 December 2018 9:00 am

During the second Gulf war, simply out of curiosity, I found myself visiting the website of a giant American mercenary…

Technology wastes as much time as it saves

8 December 2018 9:00 am

I have just spent a weekend planning a family trip to Chennai and Hyderabad. Since some of the flights are…