Felix Salmon


April 30, 2011

“Recent investments include $3.50 for a controlling stake in the editorial integrity of Forbes.com” — Techcrunch

Why the SEC should look at levered ETFs

April 30, 2011

TBT, the ProShares UltraShort 20+ Year US Treasury fund, is an ETF which returns double the daily decline in an index linked to long-dated government bonds. There are 173 million shares of TBT outstanding, which at a price of $35.65 apiece, means that more than $6 billion is tied up in TBT shares. But average daily volume is just 10.7 million shares — which means that the overwhelming majority of TBT shares are not traded on any given day.

Adam Lindemann and the game of art

April 29, 2011

Adam Lindemann has replied to my post on art as a game. He makes a number of points worth responding to:

Vericrest Financial: homicidally otiose

April 29, 2011

We’ve heard a fair amount about the human toll of the subprime crisis — although, frankly, not enough. So this story deserves wide play: Manuel Lopez and Christina Garcia, and their 12-year-old son Christian Garcia, died in a grisly fire Monday morning, because the building they lived in was full of illegally built walls which blocked access to the fire escape. Who was responsible for looking after the building and making sure it was up to code? The message I get from the NYT‘s Jim Dwyer is that it’s a Dallas company called Vericrest Financial.

Jeff Bezos is secure

April 29, 2011

Michelle Leder picks up on an unfortunate bit of English in Amazon’s latest proxy filing, in the discussion of the $1.6 million that the company spent on security for CEO Jeff Bezos:

Keynes vs Hayek: The ultimate smackdown

April 28, 2011

The long-awaited second round of Keynes vs Hayek is out, and it’s spectacular. As you might imagine from something written by Russ Roberts and funded by the Mercatus Center, Hayek gets the better of the fight — but Keynes gets to make all his best points. And the production values rock.

The uncanny valley of advertising

April 28, 2011

From an economic point of view, improvements in ad-targeting technology seem as though they’re pretty obviously Pareto-optimal: everybody benefits. Advertisers get to waste fewer of their ad dollars putting messages in front of people they don’t want to reach; publishers get to charge more money; and consumers get to see only things which are germane and relevant to them.

Ecuador’s market manipulation: The WikiLeaks cable

April 28, 2011

I’ve posted on the subject of possible Ecuadorean bond-market manipulation in various places over the years, including roubini.com, felixsalmon.com, and portfolio.com as well as reuters.com. So it’s gratifying for me to see the subject come up in an official State Department cable, which has now been published by Ecuador’s El Universo newspaper in conjunction — of course — with WikiLeaks.

The Black Swan of Cairo

April 27, 2011

Go read the essay by Nassim Taleb and Mark Blythe on “The Black Swan of Cairo” — it does a fantastic job of explaining how tail risk works in geopolitics. I’m reminded of this exchange from the film the title references: