Felix Salmon

Why the AGs are right to leave second liens alone

Jesse Eisinger has a conspiracy theory about the way that second liens are treated in the proposed mortgage settlement:

Counterparties

Google Offers Advanced Chat for Collaborative Doc Editing — Wired

Goldman’s selling Litton. You could probably get it for 15 cents if you asked nicely — NYT

FX markets deal Japan another blow

If FX moves were measured on the Richter scale, this one would be a monster — the yen managed to strengthen by 4% against the dollar and almost 6% against the Australian dollar in a matter of minutes.

How blogs have changed journalism

Benzinga’s Laura Hlebasko sent me some questions about blogs and online media for a feature she’s writing. Here they are, along with my answers:

Give covered bonds a chance

It’s good news that Tim Geithner is throwing his weight behind efforts to build a US market in covered bonds. This made sense back in 2008, when I did my best to explain what exactly covered bonds are, and it makes sense today as well. The more different ways that mortgages can be funded, the less pressure there is on the US government and government-owned agencies like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to fund just about everything.

Donating to Japan, cont.

Stephanie Strom has a fantastic article in the NYT today, which actually reports out the whole issue of why it’s silly to donate money to Japan. Go read the whole thing, but here’s some choice bits:

Disrupting the banking system

I enjoyed moderating my SXSW panel yesterday on whether and how Internet startups are disrupting the banking system. There was a good range of small, tech-savvy panelists, and they’re attacking the financial giants in very different ways.

The gastronomics of bad service

My first monthly Gastronomics column is up at NYMag, on the subject of the economics of bad service. Why are restaurants which do the best job of maximizing discomfort, inconvenience, and noise also the ones which are the most popular? My theory is that it’s all about signaling: that if restaurants succeed at manufacturing crowds and long waits, people reckon that the place must be good, otherwise everybody else would never put up with such things. And so they become self-fulfilling.

Counterparties

What it looks like when you combine serious and unserious news stories — someecards