Author Archives: brianmlucey

10 things we know more about than the level of serviced land

We don’t know how much serviced land, land ready for housing, there is. The last annual data series end in 2012, with a survey (in a different format) from 2014.. But we do know more recent data on the following 10 things, none of which , I would argue, are more important than solving the housing crisis.

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Talk to Blockchain Ireland on ‘present state of cryptocurrencies ‘

Last week, I was invited and glad to accept the same, talk to Blockchain Ireland, and outline my take on the present state of the cryptocurrencies….a bit of Daniel in the Lion’s Den.

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With just 30 minutes it was a very quick tour d’horizon and I wasn’t able to touch on issues such as stable coins and CBDCs but for what it’s worth here is the slide deck . Thanks to Lory Keogh and all involved for the opportunity to open the debate on their last day. Comments, critiques, offers of help welcome.

TCD, Ukraine and the moral need to speak up

TCD has two formal linkages with Russian universities- one with Moscow State, the other with St Petersburg State. Yesterday I emailed the below to the Provost/President, and to the VP- Chief Academic Officer. I await a reply or indeed an acknowledgement.

Brian Lucey
Sun, 27 Feb, 20:08 (14 hours ago)
to Linda, Provost, Vice

Dear Colleagues,

I imagine that like myself you are horrified at what we see in Ukraine. This is an unprovoked war, and one which has the potential (see the rather disturbed and disturbing posturing tonight on things nuclear) to take us all down. Ireland being militarily neutral and weak can do little directly but I think we can take moral steps.

I would like you to consider making some steps towards TCD showing its moral revulsion at the Russian state’s actions and supporting Ukrainian institutes of higher education. Some things we could do tomorrow include

  • Immediately cease all institutional level cooperation or exchanges with Russian universities. Of course, individual researchers may continue to work with their colleagues there, but at a school, departmental, centre, institute or university level we should cut all ties. It is all well and good saying science should be above politics but we have taken moral stands in relation to divestment and around occupied territories, so we have already “muddied” the waters as it were. Russian civil society must know it is, as a state, isolated.
  • We should offer to host, for as long as needed, displaced Ukrainian researchers and students where there is a fit with our work. A college in exile is better than one in ruins.
  • Issue a statement to our Ukrainian staff and students expressing our support for their national self-determination, and to our Russian colleagues and students urging them to contact family and friends to outline how the reputation of their state is being trashed.
  • Organize a drive for medical, humanitarian support in physical or financial terms, for the ICRC for its Ukrainian actions

TCD can do this. It should, in my view, do it.

Reflections – 30 thoughts on 30 years in academia

Next week, August, I celebrate? remember? reflect on? 30y in full-time academia, all that time (bar visiting stints in various places) spent in the Trinity Business School in Trinity College Dublin. I might do a reflection on how I see TBS, TCD and Irish academia (from my narrow lens) as having changed over time. but this here is a set of 30 thoughts, aphorisms, musings, fortune cookie sayings, whatever you wish, on academia, finance version. In no especial order….

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How dangerous do people think covid actually is??

This morning I found myself in a coffee shop.

Including myself, there were two middle-aged ladies behind the counter, a family two adults and a child in another corner, what can best be described as an ‘aul lad’ in the doorway, and three cyclists-mamils outside

We got talking, as you do, and covid came up, as it does. I asked all six adults ‘what do you think is the fatality rate from C19, in other words of every 1000 people who get it how many people do you think will die?’

The estimates got ranged from the very precise ‘275’, through ‘a few hundred’ to ‘god I dunno but most I’d say’
The perception amongst all of these reasonably randomly selected adults was that this was a incredibly deadly disease the catching of which was near death sentence
Except…it’s not.

UK evidence, and remember it’s the UK that we are supposed to be looking at with horror because there is a hurricane of cases overwhelming their health system and it’s going to come to us, suggests it’s 0.14%

So every 1000 cases even with deadly dangerous delta gives 1.4 deaths. Orders of magnitude less than the coffee House sample suggested

Now this is not scientific and should only be taken as an indication for six people at the side of a coffee house thought. I am not aware of published research on what Irish population perceptions of C19 mortality might actually be….but the concern which we should have is that if there is a perception of this as much more dangerous than it is then political pressure will inevitably move to assuage those fears even if they are not real.

Vaccine Certs – not just for pubs

So the latest cunning plan for our reopening of society is to have a vaccine cert to access “indoor hospitality”

This, lets call it a plan but in reality if you listen to the Minister for CarCrash Interviews and Health, Stephen Donnelly, its more a vague set of aspirations and fudges, is being discussed online and in the media in the sole context of people going for a hape, or even a rake, of pints.

But it is more than that. Its about your local coffee shop. The parents shopping and going to the food court with their teenagers will find themselves having to drop chicken nuggets and taco fries in to the car park to feed the unvaccinated kids. Apparently its also possibly about cinemas and other forms of indoor activity.

So, we have reached the situation where you can work indoors in a crowded setting without a vaccine but cannot access the services of the setting when you come off the clock; you cannot go as a family to the coffee shop but can go abroad; you cannot use a expensive PCR test to show you can go for a coffee or (shock horror a beer) but can to go to Alicante.

How did that prediction pan out, Gerry?

The old joke, and maybe not so funny, is that economic forecasting is there to make astrology seem accurate. To economic forecasting we might consider adding the dire premonitions of ISAG Gerry Killeen, who is a world class expert in malaria (bacterial, insect borne) not covid (viral, aerosol) . was a prediction on 31-March, a month ago.

“Can we afford to reopen schools where we are right now? I would say no,” Mr Killeen said.“There is no good reason to believe that it won’t put us back into exponential growth. There’s no logical reason; it doesn’t add up.” 

Hmmm.. On that day (per the FT tracker we had 11 cases per 100k ; a month later we have 1 case per 100k , 7 day average. There ws exponential growth, downwards.

Then we had this said Ireland is ‘inevitably’ going to be hit with a second Covid-19 wave, which could bring 1,000 deaths a day unless it is stopped.” That was 8 June 2020. “‘I can guarantee that if you follow the plan as New scheduled, even for the five phases, I can guarantee you a second wave, 100% – not 99%, 100%.”

We did get a second wave. But it was 7m later and, thankfully, we didnt get 1000 deaths a day. Despite it being guaranteed.

I get it. When the media come calling to an academic its flattering. There is a temptation to answer regardless. And the more compelling a soundbite, the more they call. Add to that “if it bleeds it leads” and you have a perfect trap. I know. I have been that soldier.

That said, one howlingly wrong prediction is one thing. Happens. Two? Hmm. Time to think about what one’s interactions are with the media.

BTC-Gold Energy comparison – BTC is really really energy intensive!

Bitcoin is not the new gold. On foot of the FT article today on BTC and by extension cryptocurrency energy consumption (TL:DR its a dirty dirty currency) a common thread of commentary is “what about gold, eh, look how energy intensive that is”. Well….lets do that

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Cryptocurrency Uncertainty Index – dataset

This data accompanies the paper “The Cryptocurrency Uncertainty Index” : Lucey, Brian M. and Vigne, Samuel and Yarovaya, Larisa and Wang, Yizhi, The Cryptocurrency Uncertainty Index (March 16, 2021).

Usage of this is free but requires that you cite the above paper.

NOTE: Updated data and commentary on this and other indices can be found at