Tim Harford’s long-running column in the Financial Times, “The Undercover Economist,” reveals the economic ideas behind everyday experiences. His first book, The Undercover Economist, was published in 30 languages and sold…
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This week, we’ve twice the storytelling fun for you: two Cautionary Tales shorts, previously only available to Pushkin+ subscribers.
A Monkey for Mayor: It was supposed to be a publicity stunt, but when the man who dressed as Hartlepool United’s monkey mascot stood in a mayoral election… he won. Actual politicians predicted disaster – since thousands of workers and millions of dollars were now in the hands of a complete novice.
But H’Angus the Monkey proved to be a more effective leader than anyone had predicted, raising interesting questions about how we select the best people to be our managers and our mayors.
A Screw Loose At 17,000 Feet: Can you tell the difference between an A211-7D bolt and an A211-8C? Well, nor could the tired and stressed engineer fitting a cockpit windshield to Flight 5390. The difference is tiny, but the consequences of muddling them up – which played out at 17,000 ft – were dramatic.
Such design flaws are common – and result in far more loose aircraft windows than you would imagine.