Monday, April 19, 2010


I submit that this is the greatest lede ever (on MLB not allowing manager Joe Maddon to wear a hoodie): “Baseball's fashion police have raided Joe Maddon's hood.” Well done, unnamed AP writer.

New York Magazine has a fun piece on New York City’s tech entrepreneurs.

This article on a variety of cancer drug is interesting: the drug targets tumors that produce certain kinds of proteins; to see if that tumor does, you have to test it. Unfortunately, about 20% of tests yield false positives. Since the drug has serious side effects (stomach damage, apparently), there are pretty serious consequences to getting it wrong. Now, this issue seems to be partially a technological one (i.e. the test itself isn’t great) and partially a training one (interpreting the test requires training), but it’s an example of the kind of issue we’re going to need to tackle: tests in theory sound great; tests in practice often produce false positives and cause problems that way.

How companies are adapting to global warming by hedging their risk (and not with insurance; by changing their business model).

Goldman Sachs-SEC dump. The Awl’s Choire describes the investigation as a joke, targeting an activity that may-or-may-not be legal but is certainly not going to bring down serious consequences onto the company. The Wall Street Journal contributes two pieces. The first is the no-duh headline that the composition of the CDO went bad, and delves into greater detail by noting that 100% of the underlying bonds were downgraded. Fun! The second similarly buries the lede—it purports to be focused on how the SEC may have dissension in its ranks due to Republican commissioners voting against the investigation (like everywhere else, the SEC has partisanship? NO WAI!), but contributes this helpful detail:
Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal learned new details about the 2007 mortgage deal under attack by the SEC. The deal was quickly approved by a panel of about a dozen senior executives, including people that helped to manage Goldman's mortgage, credit and legal operations, said people familiar with the situation.
Read into this what you will--you can stare at this evidence and conclude that it’s a) evidence for the proposition that the investigation is a slap on the wrist focusing on one douchebag who refers to himself in the third person with the adjective “Fabulous” or b) the SEC is using the time-honored work-your-way-up-the-food-chain strategy or c) someone’s out to turn it into that strategy with the nice leak!. a) or b) are more-or-less mutually exclusive and I’m undecided on that, but c) is definitely true, in my opinion. Naked Capitalism appears to be in camp b), speculating who might be next for the SEC.

Why portions of Blanche Lincoln's finance bill are crazy.

Meanwhile, in other economic news: more weakness for the Eurozone—will Greece default? is Portugal next (and if it is, is there enough money to rescue them too?)?. Well, the cost of insuring Greek debt went up today.

I think this is an idea worth exploring: a video game review asks whether it’s possible to be too faithful to the real thing (baseball, in this case). My answer, as with most art, is yes.

More speculation that mobile is going to a pay-per-traffic internet model. Frankly, this makes a lot of sense to me (regrettably). All the speculation in the iPhone-AT&T tension is that AT&T is dragging the iPhone down through its shitty network, but I wonder if this is just an induced traffic issue, and whether whenever iPhone becomes open to Verizon, we’ll see similar problems on their network too.

On future-of-media front: a short story publisher on the iPhone (cool!) and Ken Auletta asks the tired question—can the iPad save the media (books, this time around)? Since Auletta is fairly good, I trust that he’ll make the question wake up a little bit. Haven’t read it yet though, so don’t know. But I'd love a piece that told me how the iPad will save the epic poem.

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