Felix Salmon

Capco: WTF?

Zachery Kouwe has a great article today about Capco, a highly-secretive Vermont-based insurer which looks as though it’s massively insolvent:

Solving the HFT problem: Abolish continuous trading

Michael Wellman has an intriguing idea for solving all the issues surrounding high-frequency trading at a stroke: switch from a market with continuous clearing to a market which clears once per second.

Thursday links go back to where they started

I don’t think that “laughably simple” means what you think it means, Mr Hume

Bringing my bike into my building

The good news is that the bikes-in-buildings law passed yesterday, by 46 votes to 1, and will come into effect in 120 days’ time: Ben Fried calls this “the biggest legislative victory ever achieved by bicycle advocates in New York City”.

Annie Leibovitz, subprime borrower

Gawker’s John Cook has the 17-page complaint which Art Capital Group has lodged against Annie Leibovitz, and it makes for compelling reading, even though the really juicy stuff — the commissions that ACG has decided to pay itself on the sale of Leibovitz’s photographs and real estate — have been redacted.

Newspaper self-cannibalization datapoint of the day

Walter Hussman, the publisher of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, adds an interesting datapoint to the question of self-cannibalization in the newspaper industry:

Conditional probabilities and evil insurers

Mike Konczal picks up on a great Taunter post about conditional probabilities, which comes with a nasty sting in the tail. When you buy health insurance, the main thing you’re concerned about is tail risk: you want to be sure that in the unfortunate event you have stratospheric medical bills, the insurance company will be there to pay them.

Mortage servicers’ perverse incentives

Last month, I wondered whether banks’ seeming inability to effectively modify mortgages was a function of “greed on the part of the banks — that while they pay lip service to the idea of modifying mortgages, they actually make more money by being recalcitrant and obstructive and unhelpful.”

How big is high-frequency trading?

I have a bit more clarity on the $20 billion figure for total profits from high-frequency trading: it comes from the TABB Group. In a recent publication, TABB’s Robert Iati writes: