Felix Salmon

Mortgage modification datapoint of the day, Ocwen edition

Shahien Nasiripour does some more digging into the HAMP mortgage-modification figures today, following on from last week‘s analysis. This time he’s looking at the percentage of trial loan mods which have been converted to permanent status, and the numbers are startling, to say the least:

Vehicle emissions datapoint of the day

Vehicle emissions are a major public health issue. We already know that the best thing you can do if you want to bring your crime rate down is to switch to unleaded gasoline and then wait for 20 years. Now we’re learning that if you want to improve the health of babies (and healthy babies become much more productive members of society when they grow up), simply installing an EZ-Pass tollbooth has a large and significant positive effect: the resulting improvements in congestion and emissions more than make up for any excess emissions from cars crawling through the toll plaza itself.

Hobbling Goldman

Andrew Ross Sorkin today picks up the Law of the Excluded Middle and runs with it, in a column headlined “Don’t Fail, or Reward Success”:


Depressing: “Borrowers have sold more than $1 trillion in U.S. corporate bonds in 2009, the fastest pace on record”. — Bloomberg

Chart of the day, underemployment edition

The Atlanta Fed charts how the number of people who work part-time but would like to work full time has doubled since the beginning of the recession. That’s not normal, even by the standards of previous harsh recessions:

Murdoch defeats self, again

One of the best ways for a TV show to drive DVD sales is to stream old episodes online. It worked wonders for Monty Python, and after looking at the numbers, Chadwick Matlin concludes that it probably helped stem a natural decline in DVD sales for Arrested Development, too. Plus, since Arrested Development was on Hulu, there was a decent amount of ad revenue there as well.

The non-ironic Nobel

Isn’t it ironic that Eugene Fama didn’t win the Nobel prize in economics? No, actually, it isn’t, and I’d like to give a special Alanis Morissette award to anybody who thinks it is. (Barry Ritholtz and Dan Gross, I’m looking at you. And you too, Peter.)

How the Sidekick fiasco is Microsoft’s fault

Is there an M&A lesson to be learned from the Microsoft/Danger/Sidekick fiasco? Here’s Dave Methvin:

Jingle-mail datapoint of the day

Time looks at the problem of jingle mail, and explains how “because it underwrites low-cost housing for high-risk groups, the FHA’s problems are particularly acute”: