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Hornby is the first hobby company to sign a lucrative deal to produce a huge range of London 2012 Olympic toys. The Airfix brand will produce kits of the Olympic Stadium, Scalextric will produce a velodrome cycling set (sounds fantastic, can I justify buying a set!?). The Hornby train set brand will produce miniature Olympic Park train sets.
Hornby is in need of a boost after profits plunged 32% last year.
My brother and his girlfriend have come down to visit us in Devon for a few days. We are planning on visiting a few of the local watering holes of the coming days but will this be possible?read more...»
Walking around Dartmouth yesterday the cafes and chip shops were rather busy but this is not the case throughout the whole of the UK.read more...»
I am always keen when away to find stories from the local economy. Local meat producers have found an interesting way to keep there produce cool by insulating with wool from local rare breed animals. Owners of rare breed sheep, goats and alpacas get as little as 5 pence per kilo of fleece as the wool is often an unsuitable colour for the wool industry. By selling the fleece to meat producers incomes of the rare breed farmers will hopefully rise.
A great example of an of a local economy story. The full article can be read here.
I am down in Devon enjoying the varied English coastline. I am staying near to the naval town of Dartmouth and making regular use of the car ferry to cross between Kingswear and Dartmouth. A new ferry arrived on the route last month and almost doubled the capacity of each sailing. Although the multi million pound ferry was built in Holland it was fitted out in Falmouth. The increased capacity will bring an increased number of tourists to an already popular spot. The original investment in the ferry and the increased passenger numbers are likely to bring significant regional multiplier effects to the south west economy.
There is a video clip on the new ferry here.
An article from the Dartmouth Chronicle about the new ferry.
The Printed Blog, a series of printed newspapers compiled from handpicked blog content, has ceased publication, citing a lack of investment.
The San Francisco Chronicle has become the biggest newspaper in the USA to outsource all of its printing. Critics question how essential new presses are when readers are abandoning print for the Internet, and the paper is losing tens of millions of dollars a year.
The Swiss postal service have announced plans to redired mail from your mail box to your in-box. This new service enables subscribers to receive a scan of unopened envelopes and then to choose if they want them opened or to be recycled.
Why purchase a DVD when you can order it online and have it mailed to your home? When you have watched it, you just need to mail it back to the company in a pre-paid envelope. The brainchild of Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph has a lot to answer for in this case.read more...»
The Economist is profiling the product life cycle of the DVD. Sales figures have been declining since 2006 but the fall has been much steeper recently.read more...»
The New York Times is considering returning to a policy that was in place until 2007…...charging readers to access nytimes.com, a scheme which generated the business $10 million before making the website free access. Times Co. is contemplating additional sources of revenue as marketers slow spending on the Internet. Ad sales at the publisher’s sites, also including about.com and boston.com has fallen.read more...»
The BBC website has an interesting posting today on the fact that women are earning more than men in some public sector organisations .......... but mainly in lower grade positions.read more...»
I am still looking to fill a vacancy for September. Do get in touch if you are interested.
Calling all Business Studies and Economics teachers: If you are looking for a job from September I would be very interested to hear from you. I have a vacancy in the department for a full time teacher. We offer GCSE, A Level and IB Economics and Business Studies.
Email me directly if you are interested and would like further details, I would be delighted to hear from you (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The school website.
Schools broke up for the summer hols this week in HK, so here’s the final CAQ for the academic year…read more...»
Do you know your Dongs from your Ringgits? And what currency do they use in Belarus? Try this starter quiz to test your knowledge on foreign currencies.read more...»
This is a fascinating discourse on the ways in which communication technology has changed and how it now has the potential to aid / create real change. Reading the discussion blogs underneath it also proves interesting for debate.
click here for the link to Clay Shirky’s How Twitter can change history.
A link provided by the BBC website today for all their podcasts relating to business and economics. A useful one to save on your bookmarks bar.
The BBC economics editor Staphanie Flanders guest presents the Bottom Line tonight on Radio 4 at 5.30pm. The program will explore the economics behind the airline industry. Worth tuning in.read more...»
Some current affairs questions from the last seven days for IB Diploma students around the world…read more...»
I have just been to buy a selection of today’s newspapers to use with my L6th IB economists later this morning. With only a few weeks to go until the end of term I am keen to get them to complete first drafts of their first two pieces of coursework. The four economic commentaries need to cover three, but ideally four distinct areas of the syllabus. I will be getting them to complete a macro and a micro piece.
Remember that the commentaries must be based on articles from four distinct sources. I will be getting them,to read, discuss and cut out articles they think will be off use. Once they have chosen suitable articles they will be jotting the pieces of economic theory that will best help them in their analysis.
Later today I will update the blog with a selction of articles they have chosen.
There is an excellent article on the BBC website today that could be used when evaluating the economic effectiveness of aid.read more...»
One of the modules I found most interesting during my university days was The Economics of Social Policy. One of the topics we studied was how economists place a value upon human life.read more...»
Analysis on Radio 4 this evening at 9.30pm may well be worth a listen (or via iplayer over the next 7 days).
In 2008 one of the world’s most respected economic observers, Martin Wolf, the chief economic commentator of the Financial Times, forecast that the global downturn could be even worse than most experts realised. A year on, he returns to examine the current state of the global financial markets and talks to a range of financial experts to analyse what the future may hold.
Schools around the world are working with BBC World Class and their partners, The British Council, to share their opinions on the credit crunch in the build-up to the G20 London Summit.read more...»
Simon & Schuster are reacting to the importance of innovation in an era of rapid technological change by making digital editions of more than 5000 titles available for purchase on the Scribd.com website. This is a useful resource for the teaching of marketing (4.3 and 4.6) and e-commerce (4.8).read more...»
Some current affairs questions from the last seven days for IB Diploma students around the world…read more...»
Manchester United Football Club has secured a new shirts sponsor for the 2010-2011 season. Why would a sponsor pay £80 million over four years to have their name on MUFC football shirts? Does sponsorship really work?read more...»
I have just given the attached document to my L6th IB students. It relates to the economic commentaries that form the basis of their internal assessment. The internal assessment is worth 25% of the standard level course and 20% of the higher level course. I am getting them to submit the first draft of their first two pieces by the end of this term, the remaining two pieces by the end of next term. Remember that the portfolio is marked as a complete piece of work so I do not give them feedback on their first drafts until all four pieces have been submitted. Feel free to amend for your groups as you see fit.read more...»
A head’s up to a Radio 4 program that is on today at 11am, that may be of interest. Ireland:Boom to Bust.
Synopsis: Olivia O’Leary tells the story of the biggest economic crisis Ireland has ever known and its search for a post-crash identity.
For the last 20 years the Irish economy was the pride of Europe. If the rush to riches was very un-Irish, Olivia tries to find out if her country is now reverting to a more familiar state of penance. William Butler Yeats described the indigenous character trait as an abiding sense of tragedy that sustained people through temporary periods of joy.
For many younger people, who were told that they had more money and more freedom than any previous generation, the maudlin emigration songs with their tales of yearning and aching loneliness felt like stories from a distant era. Suddenly, though, they no longer feel so remote. As the shutters are pulled down on job opportunities at home, the harsh prospect of having to find work abroad is all too real for thousands of young people.
Olivia finds that Ireland’s economic crisis is far from over and finds out how the country is re-imagining itself anew.
There is also an article to accompany the program on the BBC website.
The program will also be avaliable for seven days on BBC iplayer.
An article on the BBC website today would make my mother proud. In these downbeat economic times people are making extra money by selling homemade items on the internet.
The UK classified adverts website Vivastreet.co.uk has reported a 123% increase in the number of adverts for homemade goods on the three months to May compared with the previous quarter. There is a rise in adverts for cakes, candles, wedding stationary and even rocking horses.
There has also been a rise in adverts from people offering home-based services such as private tuition and dance lessons.
A nice resource from the BBC could form the basis of a new wall display for your department on development economics.
The Indian seafood industry is under threat after demand from the US and Europe has fallen. Demand for Black Tiger shrimps known as the dollar crop has plummeted (this variety of shrimps accounts for half of India’s seafood exports to the US). Fishing ports along the east Indian coast are felling the effects. Trawlers and their crews are are now looking for alternative forms of employment. Amazingly there are 10 million Indians employed in the seafood exporting sector. There is clearly much at stake.
The global downturn has seen many large and small firms file for bankruptcy and cease trading. It has become a common scene to see streets that were once full and bustling to go into decline in both the number of consumers and number of stores in existence. The negative multiplier effect of these scenes are being witnessed in towns, cities and countries over the last number of months. Closing firms lead to unemployment and reduced disposable income.read more...»
An important section of the IB B&M course is the ability to consider how firms respond to changing markets. This blog is a very good example from Richard Dolan from The Portsmouth Grammar School. The USA has a very high proportion of private universities and it is important that they react to the market and are able to offer courses that will meet the demand of graduates and future employers. This article is complementary to strategic decisions of change that are occurring in within firms at the moment.read more...»
What have FedEx, Hewlett-Packard, Advanced Micro Devices and The New York Times got in common?
Richard Dolan, Head of Economics and Business Studies at The Portsmouth Grammar School, sheds light on the answer…read more...»
Some current affairs questions from the last seven days for IB Diploma students around the world…read more...»
Do you have what it takes to be The (junior) Apprentice? Thanks to Richard Dolan, Head of Economics and Business Studies at The Portsmouth Grammar School, for sharing this blog.read more...»
Is academic success more important for success as an entrepreneur than drive, common sense and intuition?
Richard Dolan, Head of Economics and Business Studies at The Portsmouth Grammar School, looks at this question…
David Yarwood, B&M teacher in Thailand, shares an interesting article about social marketing (Unit 4.1)...read more...»
I blogged a couple of week’s ago about the BBC world service food price index which tracks the cost of a basket of food across 7 major cities around the globe (Moscow, Brussels, Delhi, Washington, Nairobi, Buenos Aires and Jakarta).
The latest data has just been published on the BBC website.
Over the coming days I will be compiling a summer reading list for IB economists. I would very much welcome your suggestions from both teachers and students alike.
A recent tweet from Penguin Books on Twitter has made me aware of the inaugural Spear’s Book awards (from finance to fiction). Two categories of particular interest being the ‘Financial Book of the Year’ and ‘The Financial History Book of the Year’. The awards will be made on June 30th, so time for you to read a couple of the nominations! No doubt some of the short listed books will appear on the summer reading list.
Martin Hartnett, from KCCIS in Hong Kong, presents some B&M TOK questions for us…read more...»
At Sha Tin College, we use CAQ as a starter activity to get both IB Economics and IB B&M students thinking about the global business and economic issues that can be applied to their studies. Students really like the competitive nature of these quizzes (who gets the most answers correct – without using the Internet), which serve to make the subjects a little more ‘real’ and engaging.
Feel free to adapt to suit your own country / teaching groups.
So, here we go…(answers at the foot of the page)read more...»
I lived in London for 17 years before moving over to Hong Kong in the summer of 2000. According to the 2009 Knight Frank World Cities Survey, London has topped the charts for the world’s most desirable place to live; HK is ranked 14th! However, which of these cities has higher residential property prices?read more...»
An interesting piece from Adam Shaw on the BBC website that looks at the issue of choice and utility theory by considering the decisions faced by children in a sweet shop and the potential disappointment they may experience by picking the wrong sweet. A short but sweet article!
I am delighted to be working with tutor2u on developing resources for the IB B&M programme.
Shatin College, Hong Kong
One of my favourite radio programs yesterday featured the economist Robert J Shiller and editor-in-chief of The Economist John Micklewait.read more...»
An extreme example of wasteful government spending coupled with poor economic conditions in this video clip fro the BBC. Yangyang Airport in South Korea cost $400m to build and yet has not seen a single passenger in the last six months. The country is suffering from airport over capacity- 11 of the countries 14 airports are operating below capacity. Two new airports currently being built (one at 80% completion) have now been postponed.
In an economic environment dominated by terms such as recession and deflation rising food prices for households in developing economies still remains a problem.read more...»
Internet searches for luxury brands on Google have soared since January. Is the worst of the recession over?read more...»
A useful development economics video clip from the BBC. Hugh Pym, Economics Editor, has travelled to Accra, the capital of Ghana and reports from West Africa’s largest shopping centre. The country is going against gloabl trends with consumer spending growing strongly. He reports that indirectly the UK government provided the funds to get the project off the ground. Certainly one to save for your teachibng of development next year.
Dan Gilbert questions whether we will actually be unhappy if we don’t get what we want.read more...»
I blogged a couple of weeks ago about the declining number of honey bees and the impact upon global food production. There is a program on BBC 2 this evening at 7pm that that investigates the problem further.read more...»
Well for U6th economists it is all over. The last paper was sat yesterday and already papers have arrived on my doorstep to be marked.
My students seemed to think the papers were very fair and with very few surprises. I would love to hear teachers and students comments alike on how it all went. It may well help us drive forward future resources.
We are more likely to remember emotionally loaded images than emotion neutral ones. We are also more likely to remember things if we are in an emotional state ourselves. This article also briefly looks at flashbulb memories - those ones where we remember exactly what we were doing when a certain event happened- eg the Twin Towers collapsing, Lady Diana and so on.
This is an interesting read with enough technical information without being too dry or boring.
Click here for the link to the BBC Radio 4 transcript
Horizon: How Violent Are You? Tuesday BBC2 9pm
The programme is an attempt to have a look at the brain and its relationship to violence.
A lot of the programme is devoted to the Milgram Experiment, which is worth knowing about if you haven’t already come across it. The experiment is part of a study of obedience to authority. Participants think they are administering electric shocks to a stranger.
There are also interviews with a child soldier and a former football hooligan. click here for the link to BBCiplayer
Just what you want after your paper 1 and 2 this afternoon! I have produced a mock data response question for you to get your teeth into tonight before your paper tomorrow.read more...»
Five top tips before the first two papers this afternoon…read more...»
A quick 10 questions from section 4 (International economics).read more...»
A quick quiz on macroeconomics from section 3 to aid your evening revision.read more...»
Whilst reading The Sunday Times today I came across this article that highlights the ever increasing problem of rising Spanish unemployment. Unemployed Spanish workers are resorting to desperate measures to make ends meet by selling their kidneys in return for much needed funds. Although depressing by nature it does highlight the social cost of unemployment and would be a unique article to base a coursework portfolio piece on.
A topic from section 2 that is on both the higher and standard level syllabus.read more...»
Ten questions for higher level students on section 2 from the syllabus.read more...»
A quick 10 questions from section 2 of the syllabus aimed at higher and standard level students.read more...»
With only 24 hours to go before the first IB economics exam I will post through the day a series of 10 question quizzes to see how well you have revised. The first one is from section 1 of the syllabus and is suitable for both higher and standard level students.
There is an interesting video clip in the magazine section of the BBC website that puts the UK economy’s current position into scalable context. The UK economy becomes Fred! Worth a watch.
An interesting piece on the BBC website this morning examining how the fall in global trade has forced many ship owners to take their ships off the sea an mothball them at ports.read more...»
Unrelated to economics but well worth watching in one of your breaks from revision.
Arthur Benjamin combines his love of maths and magic to make a mind boggling presentation. He races a team of calculator to work out complicated sums. He then tells you how he did it.
A new book has just been published about the firm Innocent. It has been written by Dan Germain the Head of Creative at the company.read more...»
I have just met with the pupils that I will be supervising for the extended essay in economics. Here are some of the key points that I stressed to them.read more...»
I am now a twitterer. Fellow twitterers do feel free to get in touch and tweet away.
A mini diagram quiz that I am going to get my L6th to do this morning. I will then get them up the front to draw their diagrams on the board.read more...»
This is the final paper for standard and higher level students and the most important. The data response paper is worth 40% of the final grade for higher level students and 50% of the final grade for standard level students. A paper you just have to get right.read more...»
The short answer paper is paper No 2 for Higher-level candidates and is worth 20% of their final mark.
This is the first paper for both higher and standard level students. Candidates have a choice of four questions and they are required to write an answer to one of them in one hour.read more...»
Earlier today I looked with one of my classes at an area from the higher level syllabus that makes a regular appearance on the short answer paper.read more...»
I am just about to have one of my final diagram quizes with my U6th IB class. With only a matter of days until the exam it is vital that students know and understand the importance of diagrams.read more...»
Emily Levine talks about science, maths, society and they way that everything connects. As a philosopher/comedian the discussion that results is very funny. Her work, whilst being hilarious, also makes serious connections between hard science and pop culture, between what we say and what we secretly assume.
The content is a little risque in parts- be warned.
Bruce Buene de Mesquita uses mathematical analysis to predict events such as war, political power shifts and so on. A consultant to the CIA and the Department of Defense, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita has built an intricate computer model that can predict the outcomes of international conflicts with bewildering accuracy- 90%!
He is a scholar of rational choice theory, which says that maths underlies the nation scale consequences of individual acting for personal benefit.
This is important because if you can predict what people will decide then surely you can go some way to altering their decisions and therefore changing the world.
“If you listen to Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, and a lot of people don’t, he’ll claim that maths can tell you the future” (Michael Lerner, Good Magazine)read more...»
There are now only two weeks to go until the first paper for IB higher and standard level students. On Monday 11th May higher levels students will sit Paper 1 (essay) and Paper 2 (short answers) and standard level students will sit their Paper 1 (essay).
I will be doing some final revision of key topics and exam technique with my groups over the next few days. I will post the material on the blog. Do get in touch though if you need some last minute help or advice, it would be great if the blog content was driven by you over the next 2 weeks.
The current Channel 4 series Unreported World is proving a useful (but depressing) source of development economics material.read more...»
Another cracking video clip from the BBC this time a report from the port of Felixstowe. In previous recessions trade into and of the port has grown (although at times slowly) but with the current global crisis there has been a 20% drop in the amount of traffic into and out of the port. A pretty serious sign as to the magnitude of the current downturn. The report also looks at the regional multiplier effects of reduced activity at the container port.
“If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe then man would only have four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man.”read more...»
Some interesting recession based facts from The Times yesterday.
Since last year’s budget in the UK:
Domino’s Pizza profits are up by 25%
Computer games sales are up by 20%
Sales of Argo’s cheapest sewing machines are up by 500%
Sales of turnips are up by 75%
Lunch box sales are up 75%
The average amount left under the pillow by the tooth fairy has gone down by 30%
Another interesting fact I discovered the other day whilst in conversation with a friend is that demand for osteopath’s are up (I thought that this would be an income elastic product) as people are keen to miss as few a days as possible from work because they fear for the security of their jobs.
Marcus du Sautoy discusses the secrets of the Fibonacci numbers. He also looks at the work of Virahanka, who discovered that these numbers also count rhyming patterns, and Le Corbusier, who applied these numbers to architecture. This is an excellent over view.
click here for the link to the article
Amongst other things Marcus du Sautoy discusses the emotional attachment people have with maths.
click here to find out more about the relationship between maths and emotion, maths and the web, maths and rubics cubes, and even maths and McDonalds!
A great video clip from the BBC website that looks at the market for apples and why prices for English apples have fallen by a fifth this year. Two of the major reasons are the cheaper imported apples into the UK from countries such as Chile and the falling demand for English apples overseas as recession takes hold - english apples are seen as a more luxury variety.
English producers have previously had their hand forced by supermarkets driving prices down and as a result more orchards in the UK are now independent growers who provide produce to the local market rather than national supermarkets.
Last night saw one of the classical music events of the year, a special performance of Handel’s Messiah from Westminster Abbey to mark the 250th anniversary of his death. Even if you are a non- classical music fan it is worth listening to the concert which is available on the BBC iplayer.
A short piece in The Times today says that spam emails are responsible for as much greenhouse gas emissions each year as 3.1m cars. Globally spam uses 33 billion kilowatt hours a year- enough to power 2.4million homes. The UK was the joint fourth biggest emitter of C02 from spam in the world with 50,000 tonnes a year. A interesting example of negative externalities.
Renny Gleeson talks about the fact that what we experience now is far less interesting than what we’ll tweet about it later. As we lose the context of our identity then it becomes clear that the context that we share our identity through in fact become the reality of it. People aren’t projecting identity they are creating it. The language they are using, and the forms in which they communicate it are becoming increasingly important in constructing our reality.
His take on the subject lasts 3 mins and is an excellent thought point.
Click here for the link to the TED talk
Singapore is in the midst of a serious downturn. The economy shrank by 19.7% in the first quarter of 2009 compared with the previous three months. Its biggest ever quarterly contraction.read more...»
There was an excellent program that I stumbled across on Friday night that would be a useful resource when teaching development economics, especially barriers to economic development.read more...»
There is far more to mathematics than the rigid application of formal rules to meaningless systems of symbols. For some, it is creative, imaginative, deeply satisfying and in some ways similar to those disciplines sometimes considered diametrically opposed to mathematics, the arts.read more...»
An excellent video clip from the BBC that looks at one of the world’s largest container ships.
Following on from my earlier blog it seems that not all Easter eggs will be a bargain this year.
Apologies for the brief break in blogs I have moved house and jobs in the last week so it has been somewhat manic! With only three weeks to go until the IB exams start there will be plenty of revision material and advice posted over the coming days and weeks. Do get in touch with material you would like to see on the blog that will help you with your revision.read more...»
Here is a link to a revision presentation on some of the current macroeconomic challenges facing eastern European countries who have joined the EU single market over the last five years.
If you are heading off for an Easter break it may be worth setting you video for a new series that begins on Channel 4 this Thursday at 10pm- Around the World in 80 Trades.read more...»
My lower sixth have been sent away over the Easter break to find an article that will form the basis of their first piece of coursework on microeconomics.
Remember candidates have to produce four economic commentaries (650 -750 words) based on news articles form within the last 6 months. These pieces must cover different areas of the IB syllabus. There is an article on the BBC website today that deals with tea prices and would be a an excellent basis for a micro commentary.read more...»
Following on from my earlier blog today with the essay bank I have put together a selection of short answer questions from previous IB higher papers that focus on the theory of the firm. The short answer paper is Paper 2, lasts one hour, and candidates have to answer three ten mark questions from a choice of five.read more...»