On Monday the economics editor Evan Davis turned in a neat little piece for the Ten O'Clock News about the heatwave. It started out as quite a serious concept - "let's say something new about the impact on the economy" - but turned a bit more fluffy.
The question "does the thermometer have an agent?" probably gives a flavour (you can watch the piece by clicking here).
In a roundabout way this illustrates that economists aren't limited to things like J curves and monetary policy. Evan, for example, sometimes does essays for the Today programme about obscurely fascinating pieces of research. And from time to time economists gather somewhere in the world to exchange papers on apparently trivial subjects; a well known one, I hear - and some years ago - is an examination of why people don't sit in the front row at public meetings (that's not just a shyness thing).
But more importantly, the truth is there's pretty much nothing an economist won't take a look at, and often find something new to say about it. The reason being that economics is not just the study of big economy things: look no further than the popularity of the book Freakonomics. And, coming soon on BBC Two, a series called "Trust me, I'm an Economist" - one programme is about love.
Consider too a few recent pieces on radio and TV displaying what you might call the economist's take - why finishing the 2012 Olympic stadium too early would be a costly mistake; more controversially, why closing hospitals or wards can be a sign that NHS reforms are working. Interesting stuff. If you want to hear more about how economics relates to the small things in life as well as the big, maybe we can wheel out Mr Davis here to enthuse...
Reader Reg Davison e-mailed this blog on Wednesday saying:
When Longbridge car plant closed you devoted untold amounts of time to covering that story in the national news bulletins. Whilst I have sympathy for the people who lost their jobs, it was in Britain's second largest city, with numerous opportunites to find other work. [On Tuesday] Imerys, the local china clay producing company in Cornwall, announced 800 job losses. This in a county with a total population of just 500,000, and few other opportunities to find work. It will devastate small communities in a county that is so poor it receives Objective One funding because it is poorer than the eastern European countries who have just joined the enlarged Europe. Did I hear anything on your national news? No, of course I didn't. Does the world exist west of Bristol? In the minds of the people in London, it appears not.
I know that part of Cornwall quite well, and am very conscious of the china clay industry's significance, now and historically. Here in the business unit the job cuts were discussed pretty fully that morning in the early editorial meeting.
I'm afraid it's just not the case that the news went unreported. Radio, in particular, covered it extensively, from the moment the company announcement came out. The first voiced report from Sarah Ransome in Plymouth was on Five Live at 1000, unions and company were in later news summaries, and Sarah did a much longer piece for the six o'clock and midnight news on Radio 4. Looking back at the day's output it looks to me as if the news was broadcast, in one form or another, every hour on the radio between 1000 and about 1900. And the next morning Today had an interview with a representative from the county council.
On television, News 24 carried the story several times during the day, including a report from a correspondent in the region.
It has to be said the papers give it pretty scant coverage as well. It's one of the mysteries of news, how one story fizzles out and another soars.