Felix Salmon

Bad news, good news

September 14, 2009

The bad news is that the NYC xkcd book party is happening on the same day as the opening for my wife’s super-cool pirate project at the South Street Seaport. The good news, however, is that (a) the number of tickets to the book party is strictly limited; that (b) it probably won’t start until well after 6pm, when the pirate opening will have ended; and (c) the pirate opening is free, which, if Chris Anderson is to be believed, gives it an unbeatable advantage.

Dick Fuld: My part in his smouldering resentment

September 14, 2009

From the WSJ’s Fuld profile:

The U.S. government had supported J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.’s purchase of Bear Stearns months before Lehman collapsed, and, just days later, funded a massive bailout of American International Group. Mr. Fuld couldn’t believe the government couldn’t find a way to save Lehman.

Tasting wine blind

September 12, 2009

I got a wonderful email from Bob Millman, of Executive Wine Seminars, on Wednesday, and I knew I had to meet him, so I did just that, this evening*. Bob’s been running blind wine tastings for decades now, and so he knows just what they’re good for and also what they’re really bad at. Here’s a bit of what he wrote to me:

Late links, September 11

September 11, 2009

David Einhorn is short both Moody’s and McGraw-Hill, S&P’s parent. NB Buffett is selling down his Moody’s stake. (Market Folly)

Criticizing TARP

September 11, 2009

I’ve finally got around to reading the Vanity Fair TARP investigation, and there are some good bits, like this:

Would you trust someone who never uses email?

September 11, 2009

Remember this?

Jackie Speier (D-Calif): Do you use email?

Hank Paulson: Do I use email? No, I don’t use it, personally.

JS: You don’t use it personally, or professionally?

HP: Yeah, I just don’t. So I’ve never used it for any business communications. Just never use it.

Good news of the day, infant mortality edition

September 11, 2009

Unicef reports:

UNICEF today released new figures that show the rate of deaths of children under five years of age continued to decline in 2008.

Chart of the day: Harvard donations

September 11, 2009

Well done to Jane Mendillo for increasing the transparency of the Harvard endowment, moving from a relatively terse “John Harvard letter” to a more discursive “Endowment Report”. Whence comes this chart:

One problem with newspaper micropayments

September 11, 2009

As a blogger, Barry Ritholtz ought to be super-alert to one obvious consequence his proposal that newspapers charge micropayments for their content: that content will simply migrate to free blogs. One way of building a large following on a blog (I’m thinking Mark Thoma or Yves Smith, here) is to marry analytical added value with long quotes from newspapers which obviate the need to click through to the actual article. If all those articles disappear behind firewalls, I can guarantee you that thousands of new blogs will spring up featuring extremely extensive quoting from MSM sources which have now walled themselves off from the blogosphere.