Felix Salmon

When online editors spew jargon

The history of the news business has no shortage of legendary larger-than-life straight-talkers with vision and drive and a bottle of whiskey in their desk drawer. The top editorial staff at newspapers, magazines, and television news shows might be well versed in the dark arts of office politics, but they nearly always make sure that their public face is a simple and often friendly one. They can be trusted, is the message.

The unique Paul Volcker

I like John Cassidy’s piece on Paul Volcker: it gives a great sense of how he’s managed to use his independence to great and important effect.

Good news from Hungary

Remember the storm-in-a-teacup Hungary crisis, back in June? Global markets all tumbled on fears about Hungarian austerity, of all things. It was all a bit weird for two reasons: firstly, the crisis was caused by remarks from a brand-new and wholly inexperienced incoming government, which had yet to find its legs or implement any policies at all. And secondly, Hungary is not a part of the eurozone, so there was no chance of a broader euro crisis resulting from what went on there: in the worst case scenario, the forint would simply weaken. The obvious conclusion was that markets were just looking for any excuse to plunge.


Someone put the proton on a diet! — NatGeo

There are five reasons to drink sake. — Language Log

A kid called Felix Salmon, in Melbourne, showing off his mad scooter skillz while wearing a Felix the Cat t-shirt — YouTube

Fraud settlement datapoints of the day

Announcing the SEC settlement with Goldman Sachs yesterday, Robert Khuzami started waxing hyperbolic:

The value of a strong brand, Apple edition

Steve Jobs did a great job at his press conference today, in classic Stevenote style. He showed that the “death grip” problem is endemic to the entire smartphone space, rather than being something unique to the iPhone 4. He talked a lot about how most of his customers love the phone, and how its return rates are a fraction of the equivalent number on the iPhone 3GS. He put up cool photos of Apple’s formerly-secret anechoic chambers. He announced that the iPhone will soon be available in white, and in 17 new countries, including Canada, Italy, and Spain. And he’s throwing in a free case for anybody who wants one, or a full refund. (Which existed all along, but it still sounds good.)

Basel III: The incomplete capital buffer proposal

The Basel Committee has started producing pretty detailed documents: today it released what it calls a “a fully fleshed out countercyclical capital buffer proposal“.

When checking fees replace overdraft fees

The NYT has a look at the new sources of revenue that banks are turning to now that the financial reform bill has killed off (or will kill off) many of their old cash cows. From a consumer perspective, the new old thing is fees on checking accounts:


Goldman had $27 billion in cash and short-term securities on March 31 — Footnoted