Notes From the Fieldby Martin Weil

Archive for the ‘Recommended’ Category

January 6, 2016

The Big Short – a good story well told

The film of Michael Lewis’ book of the same name brings to the screen one of the best overviews of how people really behave on Wall Street since Margin Call. The interplay in particular between the hedgies and their bank risk manager in the new film is spot on.  And what to say about Christian Bale’s bravura performance?

The Big Short does not dumb down the mind-numbing complexities of the CDOs and CDS’ that were central to the financial crisis, apart from several way too cutesy little cameo inserts that I suppose on final cut must have seemed necessary.  It may be too “inside baseball” for the average viewer but The Big Short is highly recommended to anyone with an interest in the investment markets or the housing crisis.

December 20, 2015

If I Were in Charge of the Pulitzer Prizes

November 16, 2015

Your latest privacy concern – ultrasound

Apparently, TV and computer ads can emit inaudible sounds that find and link you at home to your cell phone or other device.  Advertisers then are able to track you more completely across the spectrum of both online and offline activity.  Creepy article here. You have been warned.  Link from Tyler Cowen.

September 28, 2015

You do back up your important data, don’t you?

20012126753_a7af44d995_o If you are somehow not yet convinced that it is critical to back up your personal and other data, or if you just like a good story, I highly recommend Darkode, an excellent podcast from the excellent RadioLab.

Back in the day, the saying was “There are two types of people: those who back up their data already.  And those who will.” This referring to the at-the-time inevitable hard drive crashes that could wipe out all your financial, work, and personal data.

Today, hard drives are not so fallible, but the dangers are so much worse. Just about everything about us is digital, and stored on computers, phones, tablets etc. that are connected to the internet. Hackers, spammers, phishers, botnets and who knows what else are scouring the web looking, and oftentimes succeeding, to cause havoc on these very devices.

With the ease and availability of numerous cloud services, backing- up has never been simpler. Like flossing your teeth, it is basic routine prevention that you may cause you deep regret if you fail to attend to it regularly.

June 26, 2015

Nicely Done









Photo credit NY Times

June 10, 2015

Free Parking

Planet Money gets its groove back with this terrific podcast on the parking dilemmas in urban America and one man’s failed effort to improve the status quo. The podcast has everything a classic PM podcast should have: a core economic theory explained via a real world problem and a human interest story at the same time. Welcome back to the big leagues PM.

May 31, 2015

A Tragic Tale of Racial Hatred Becomes One of Redemption

One of my favorite Ted Talks of the year is Anand Giridharadas’ “parable about the two paths an American life can take, and a powerful call for reconciliation.” It is also a concise narrative of two Americas, one full of promise, one with none.

If you live near a Whole Foods.  If no one in your family has served in the military. If you are paid by the year, not by the hour. If most people you know finished college…. If you are not one of 65 million American with a criminal record. If any or all of these things describe you, then accept the possibility that you may not know what is going on. And you may be part of the problem.

May 20, 2015

“thankyou thankyou thankyou thankyou thankyou thankyou thankyou thankyou thankyou thankyou thankyou thankyou thankyou…”

600 of them in an email from a Credit Suisse lawyer to the US Department of Labor for the latter’s decision to allow CS to avoid notifying its pension clients that the bank had plead guilty to conspiring to help US investors avoid income taxes and was levied with a record $2.6B fine.

As a result, the bank was able to remain in the US pension business.

May 19, 2015

Who Makes Less Than $15 An Hour?

42% of the US workforce is the startling answer according to this chart from Fortune.workers-by-demographic-group

May 17, 2015

How Many People Share Your Name, By Their Ages?

I am not sure why I find this web link quite so interesting.

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