Felix Salmon

Information visualization of the day, unemployment edition

December 8, 2009

Latoya Egwuekwe deserves some kind of prize for this. Looking at the unemployment rate is one thing; really seeing it is another. Very, very well done.

Might the consumer banking revolution be coming?

December 8, 2009

I had a fascinating meeting this morning with Anil Arora, the CEO of Yodlee (a firm you’ve probably never heard of), and Josh Reich, of i2π (a one-man consulting shop you’re very unlikely to have heard of). But at the end of it both Josh and I came out with a sense that maybe — just maybe — we might be near the cusp of the long-overdue revolution in consumer banking that millions of Americans have been waiting years for.

The Craggy Range strategy

December 8, 2009

Eric Arnold reports back from a blind-tasting wine stunt:

This fall, at New York restaurant Eleven Madison, six top pinot noirs from California, Oregon and Burgundy (the most expensive of which was $425 per bottle) were served blind alongside six of Craggy Range’s pinots. The two dozen or so tasters were asked to guess where each wine was from, then rank them on taste from one to 12.

How banks fail at foreclosure auctions

December 8, 2009

Buying homes at foreclosure auctions is not for the faint of heart, and James Hagerty’s WSJ article today does a good job of explaining many of the potential pitfalls — up to and including finding concrete poured down the toilet. But what really puzzles me is the degree to which banks seem to be just giving money away here:


December 8, 2009

Jake takes me to task on houses-as-investments. I leave a brief reply in the comments — EconomPic

Where else could Kashkari have gone?

December 8, 2009

A defender of Neel Kashkari writes in:

He worked his butt off at Treasury at great personal cost (both financial, with an 80% pay cut, and otherwise) to help keep catastrophe from happening, and now he’s out and reconnecting with the rest of his life. I seriously doubt that he invited the Post reporter to “hang out with him in the mountains”, as I know he chose not to “do” any press beyond hearings and remarks while heading TARP.

The Andy Warhol Foundation’s motives

December 8, 2009

If you have any interest in art-world machinations, Richard Dorment’s account of the nefarious doings of the Andy Warhol Foundation is a must-read. But there’s one bit which rings false to me:

Capping bank size

December 7, 2009

Simon Johnson joins in the chorus advocating a hard cap on bank size:

There is a strong precedent for capping the size of an individual bank: The United States already has a long-standing rule that no bank can have more than 10 percent of total national retail deposits. This limitation is not for antitrust reasons, as 10 percent is too low to have pricing power. Rather, its origins lie in early worries about what is now called “macroprudential regulation” or, more bluntly, “don’t put too many eggs in one basket.”

The economics of kissing-and-telling

December 7, 2009


Now that it’s obvious that Tiger Woods has had affairs, why would he pay millions of dollars to buy silence from the “Tiger lilies”?