The taxi-meter effect, and the benefits of counting your days on earth

ClockAt a new cafe in Shoreditch in London that made the headlines a few weeks back, you don't pay for your coffee or the Wi-Fi; instead, you pay just to be there, at a rate of 3p per minute. Doubtless this innovative approach will go down well in the vicinity of what I believe we're now supposed to think of as Britain's new technology hub, aka the Old Street roundabout. But a pay-per-minute cafe would put me on edge. Being conscious of how my money's dribbling away is the exact opposite of the mindset I hope to achieve while sipping a latte. My goal is to forget the passage of time, however briefly – not to be reminded that the sooner I leave, the more I'll save.

The psychology of morbid curiosity

Varwwwclientsclient1web2tmpphp Oz8tloMainly, I just wish I'd never encountered the website Serial Killers Ink, which showcases terrible artworks by the perpetrators of some truly terrible crimes. I don't like to think about the kind of person who'd pay, say, $175 for a portrait of Jennifer Love Hewitt by Elmer Wayne Henley, who is serving six life sentences for mass murders in Houston in the 70s, or $60 for a cartoon panda by a man with the soubriquet of "the internet's first serial killer". It's all very depressing. But I can't deny it: I kept clicking. The flicker of fascination was there.