Felix Salmon

How to lose a bet in style, Nick Denton edition

Nick Denton lost his bet with Rex Sorgatz by the narrowest of margins — just 10 million pageviews, or alternatively just four days. But he handed over a check for $100 with a smile, and even threw us a huge party into the bargain! Hence, obvs, my not-entirely-sober status by the time we’d waited for Lockhart Steele to finish his eleven-course dinner and make his way up to the Gawker Media rooftop.

Counterparties

Just a few of our favorite story links today on Counterparties.com

People don’t really trust banks right now — Pro Publica

UK unemployment is at a 17-year high — BBC

Pennsylvania capital city Harrisburg files for Chapter 9 bankruptcy — Bloomberg

Corporate governance chart of the day, Benford’s Law edition

benf_year.jpg

This chart was put together by Jialan Wang, and it shows the degree to which companies’ reported assets and revenues deviate from a Benford’s Law prediction over time. (If you want some good background on Benford’s Law and how it can uncover dodgy numbers from eg the Greek government, Tim Harford had a great column last month on the subject.)

Restaurant histograms of the day

I have a column at Grub Street today looking at some check-by-check level data for five New York restaurants. I got the data from the good people at Bundle, and NY Mag turned it into pretty charts, complete with a red line marking the median amount spent at each place.

Markopolos eyes a fortune from BNY whistleblowing

The suits and investigations into BNY Mellon’s dodgy FX trading just got a lot more cloak-and-dagger: apparently all of them can be traced back, in one way or another, to a secret plan hatched by none other than Harry Markopolos.

Adventures with FDIC secrecy, cont.

Last week, we saw how the Federal Housing Finance Agency was above the law, with the government seemingly having no ability to tell it what to do. This week, it’s the FDIC. In the wake of its obstreporous obstructionism upon receipt of FOIA requests, the FDIC’s smug above-the-law impunity is now coming to light:

Counterparties

EU bank stress tests will be getting a bit more stressful — Reuters

A bond market indicator suggests a 60% chance of another recession — Bloomberg

Charts of the day, WSJ story-length edition

Ryan Chittum has taken a look at the length of the stories on the front page of the WSJ.

Annals of transparent banking, Citi edition

On Saturday, two NYT columnists — Ron Lieber and Joe Nocera — attacked the sorry state of bank checking accounts. And their conclusions were almost identical. Here’s Ron: