Felix Salmon


Debt is “like a drug” in Europe’s second-most indebted nation — Der Spiegel

Fact and fiction about student loans

Post updated, see below

USA Today’s Dennis Cauchon has a very odd story today, headlined “Student loans outstanding will exceed $1 trillion this year”:

Why congestion pricing will always be unpopular

Traffic expands to fill the space available. This is known as Down’s Law of Peak-Hour Traffic Congestion, and has been known since 1962; new research shows that it’s true even more generally than previously suspected.


Some of the best links from Counterparties.com:

The S & P downgrades twenty-four Italian firms — Reuters

Not to be outdone, Moody’s cuts Spanish sovereign ratings two notches — Reuters

Should we be worried about stock-market illiquidity?


When volatility rises, so do bid-offer spreads. That’s entirely natural — volatility means danger, and a higher chance that the market will move against you if you’re a market-maker. So you require a bigger spread between your bid and offer prices before you’re willing to trade.

Mortgage refinance doesn’t belong in the settlement talks

The WSJ has the latest mortgage-settlement trial balloon, and it’s pretty weak tea: under the terms of the deal, if (a) you’re underwater on your mortgage, and (b) you’re current on your mortgage payments, and (c) your mortgage is owned by the bank outright, rather than having been securitized, then you would be given the opportunity to refinance your mortgage at prevailing market rates.

The Abacus sign


Ben Furnas only has 325 followers on Twitter, but that’s all it took to make this photo of his go seriously viral over the past few days. He posted it on Twitter at 5:42pm on Saturday, with no commentary other than the hashtags #ows and #win. It didn’t take long (I’m a little bit unclear about the timezone of BoingBoing timestamps) before Xeni Jardin posted it on her hugely popular blog. And from there it went, well, everywhere.


A few of the links available on Counterparties.com:

Schauble admits that banks will take bigger losses on Greek loans — Guardian

Bag-check datapoint of the day, AA edition

In March 2010, I had the bright idea — stolen shamelessly from Eric Joiner — that airlines might charge a negative bag-check fee.