I always enjoy reading Matt Ridley in the Times.

Lord Ridley, as he is correctly known, is a clear headed-thinker on science, the economy and the environment.  He’s well known as a promoter of shale gas and fracking.  In fact he was one of the first people to draw attention to the importance of shale gas, saying in 2011 “shale gas will undoubtedly prove to be a significant new force in the world energy scene, with far-reaching consequences.”

Today in the paper he’s talking about broadband and the countryside.  The government has just decided to halt the rollout of superfast broadband to the last 5% of the population.  Big deal?  His Lordship certainly thinks so.

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Why am I so good looking?

Come on folks, we’ve all been wondering. But don’t think I’m challenging Kylie for the title of fairest Aussie export of them all. I’m talking about rare metals.

Because without them the picture gracing the home page of this blog – which a lot of you are reading on your iPhones – wouldn’t look half so good.

Europium and terbium help make the brilliant colours on your phones stand out and cerium buffs the glass so I don’t look any more craggy than usual. The fact you can see me at all so long after your last charge is thanks to lithium, without which the battery would be so heavy it would make your suit sag like one of Les Patterson’s cast-offs.

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Last week I laughed out loud listening to the BBC Radio 4 series with the brilliant British comedian David Mitchell. Its subject was whether manners are still important.  It was hilariously funny but tackled a rather important subject.

As a kid growing up in Oz my father made sure we understood that manners meant something.  Rudeness to elder relatives would be met with a wallop.  Quite rightly so.  In those un-PC days, it was not common to have your father dragged into court for giving a kid a damn good hiding for stepping severely out of line.

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If you’re not in Vegas this week at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) I suggest you have a good look.

Because there are big shifts underway, folks, that are going to transform our lives.

The show is always an extraordinary mash up of techies, fans, business-leaders, and hacks.  And every year there’s a load of hype about this or that new gizmo.

Last year everybody was obsessing about wearable tech, as the world waited for the launch of Apple’s smartwatch.

But the challenge, as ever, is to cut through the hype about gadgets, and to focus on the trends that are genuinely going to change our lives.  Let’s not forget that CES was the venue for the launch of CDs, DVDs and 3D printers.

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Cuba’s internet is changing fast (it needs to).

I’m no fan of state owned telecoms companies.  They’re generally where ambition goes to die.  They stifle innovation.  And customers never get a good deal when there’s a monopoly.

But Cuba’s Telco chief Maya Arevich Marin, President of ETECSA, has rather impressed me.

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