My morning reads:

• 401(k) breaches undermining retirement security for millions (Washington Post)
• Why The WSJ Got The ‘iPhone Demand Is Crashing’ Story All Wrong (Forbes) but see Apple is the ghost of technology’s present, Google is its future (pandodaily)
Headline of the day: BofA Takes a Mortgage Mulligan (WSJ)
• European Dividends Tumble to Four-Year Low (Bloomberg)
• Recovery in U.S. Saving 8 Million Underwater Homeowners (Bloomberg)
• Facebook Unveils Social-Search Tool Challenging Google (Bloomberg) see also Facebook Unveils a New Search Tool (Bits)
• If we hit the debt ceiling, can Obama choose which bills to pay? (Wonkblog)
• Top Ten Ways to Deal with Behavioral Biases (Above the Market)
• 2 Makers Press the Case for Electric Cars (NYT) see also Would You Drive This Car? (WSJ)
• The ‘Climate Change Debate’ Is Science Versus Snake Oil (ThinkProgess)

What are you reading?


World GDP: Not Exactly Recessionary

Source: The Economist

Category: Financial Press

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

18 Responses to “10 Mid Week AM Reads”

  1. Nick @ PFD says:

    I really liked this story:

    In nutshell: A company noticed they had a VPN connection coming from China. They were worried it might be a security breach, but it turns out one of their employees had outsourced his job to contractors in China and had even fed-exed his VPN key fob. He apparently was holding down jobs with other companies, too, earning several hundred thousand dollars a year while surfing the net and goofing off all day.

  2. swag says:

    A nice starting point for all the garbage-mongering Sandy Hook conspiracy nutjobs on your friends’ friends lists (unbelievable that this crap is gaining such traction) –

  3. efrltd says:

    Regarding the snake oil–there’s lots of snakes in the world. Some are yellow, some are GREEN! So who’s peddling the snake oil.

  4. efrltd says:

    Oh, I loved the latest Green snake oil–climate change causing volcanic eruptions. LOL!

  5. swag says:

    Nick, that story is great. Thanks!

  6. rd says:

    It is interesting that many of the 401k “breaches” occur when people are in their 40s.

    One of the people quoted, Fellowes, has a patronizing comment that people should fund emergency savings before they fund 401ks if they need to be tapping their 401ks. A few comments on this:

    1. These are people in their 40s. Usually by the time they are tapping their 401k, they have already gutted their emergency funds.

    2. People start getting slammed by college bills in their 40s. When we had our kids, I ran the numbers on how much money you had to save to put four kids through college. It is generally not possible to save that amount of money unless you are in the top 10% income wise which most people are not in the early years of raising children. Incomes rising 2% a year while college costs are rising 8% per year is a devastating combination for Middle America. Loans from 401ks are actually a fairly good spot to get temporary cash to meet the huge cash flow demand peaks as long as you think you will be employed for several more years at that company.

    3. Many of the people who have likely had to cash out parts of their 401ks were probably unemployed for a stretch, or had large losses on their house, or multiple other problems over the past decade.

    The solution is to get the country growing again with good jobs for the middle class.

  7. Bob is still unemployed   says:

    There seems to be a flurry of articles popping up lately about the security of devices and systems so important to us, e.g., pacemakers, FAA air traffic control.

    In the example of pacemakers, this article discusses “improvements” to the manner in which the device is programmed, with the new method effectively turning the pacemaker into a remote-controlled killing device.

    Pacemakers from several manufacturers can be commanded to deliver a deadly, 830-volt shock from someone on a laptop up to 50 feet away, the result of poor software programming by medical device companies….

    In a video demonstration, Jack showed how he could remotely cause a pacemaker to suddenly deliver an 830-volt shock, which could be heard with a crisp audible pop.

    As many as 4.6 million pacemakers and ICDs were sold between 2006 and 2011 in the U.S. alone, Jack said. In the past, pacemakers and ICDs were reprogrammed by medical staff using a wand that had to pass within a couple of meters of a patient who has one of the devices installed. The wand flips a software switch that would allow it to accept new instructions.

    But the trend is now to go wireless. Several medical manufacturers are now selling bedside transmitters that replace the wand and have a wireless range of up to 30 to 50 feet. In 2006, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved full radio-frequency based implantable devices operating in the 400MHz range, Jack said….

    Ironically, both the implants and the wireless transmitters are capable of using AES (Advance Encryption Standard) encryption, but it is not enabled, Jack said. The devices also have “backdoors,” or ways that programmers can get access to them without the standard authentication using a serial and model number.

    In another article, the next generation Air Traffic Control (ATC) system apparently has some significant security flaws:

    An ongoing multibillion-dollar overhaul of the nation’s air traffic control (ATC) system is designed to make commercial aviation more efficient, more environmentally friendly and safer by 2025.

    But some white-hat hackers are questioning the safety part. The Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) will rely on Global Positioning Systems (GPS) instead of radar. And so far, several hackers have said they were able to demonstrate the capability to hijack aircraft by spoofing their GPS components. …

    The hacking exploits are not new. National Public Radio’s “All Tech Considered” reported last August that Brad Haines, a Canadian computer consultant known online as “RenderMan,” noted that the radio signals aircraft will send out to mark their identity and location under NextGen, called automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B), were both unencrypted and unauthenticated….

    The sad part about both of these examples, is that nowadays security measures such as encryption and authentication are both well-understood and easy to implement. The lack of these basic security measures appears to be little more than laziness on the part of the manufacturers.

  8. me says:

    @rd Does anyone ever notice how these articles always slam the employee? Talk about the on your own society. What ever happened to family values? Companies like IBM stole the pension, stole retiree healthcare benefits, and now they won’t match the 401K unless you are employed December 15. Get fired, and they do fire thousands of US employees every year, and you lose your years match. But it saves IBM 800 million a year and everybody says look how great IBM is managed. Ever notice annual sales? Never an increase there. Just earnings manipulation.

  9. robertso2020 says:

    Great articles as usual. Thanks for posting the Global Warming article…Since it’s a 2010 Article I’m assuming you posted b/c of the dialogue yesterday….Much appreciated. The groups on the “Fraud” side are predictable and almost laughable. That being said, I would love to see the track record for the Organizations on the “FACT” side.

  10. rtalcott says:

    World GDP: Not Exactly Recessionary

    maybe looking at the global economy via one number isn’t a very good idea…

  11. swag says:

    Cato conservative Leon Hadar asks, a la Bartlett and Frum,

    Is Barack Obama a Republican Realist?


    BR: That sounds vaguely familiar Barack Obama is a Liberal Republican

  12. willid3 says:

    devolution in banking?

    hm. maybe that where all of the fraud came from. the bankster is a devolution of previous forms. or maybe its a return to old form, from 1930s and before? back when folks couldnt trust the banks and wouldnt, which lead to runs. but today we fixed that so that people dont have to worry so much about just how stable their bank is. but maybe the FDIC needs to be a lot more aggressive with the banks to make sure they dont lead us back to the brink again. and maybe they should also increase the insurance fees to cover the banks

  13. willid3 says:

    fracking and tour home

    some times wonder about those who are suppose to protect us?

  14. rj chicago says:

    I am NOT a fan of Elizabeth Warren by any stretch of the imagination – however her contribution to the Frontline piece on the United Airlines bankruptcy 10+ years ago is worth a look here:

    And then this piece from Reuters via UBS this very morning – an interesting take on pensioners. (Makes me question if what we are indeed doing is just bass ackwards!!!)

    The then and now of pensions

    By Edward Hadas

    LONDON, Jan 16 (Reuters Breakingviews) – What is the right size for pensions? That question can be approached in two ways: “then” and “now”. Pensions, and other economic arrangements to support elderly people, may be considered repayments for what they did back then, when they were young. Alternatively, these payments may be considered as a share of output right now. In rich countries, the two approaches are in conflict. The “then” logic, which is based on promises made long ago, supports higher pension payments than the “now” logic, which is mindful of rapidly ageing populations. Politicians struggle to find acceptable compromises between the two approaches.

    Until 60 or 70 years ago, politicians did not have to worry much because governments played a minimal role in supporting the few people who lived long enough to be unable to earn their keep. The elderly mostly relied on their own families for support. Moralists provided a “then” justification for this obligation: children had a duty to the parents who gave life, the young owed the old more than could ever be repaid for the provision of nurture and wisdom.


  15. willid3 says:

    left out of that story on 401k (aka .000200.5k) is that as companies moved out of pensions that companies also were able to keep labor costs so low than even low inflation eats up what employees make. making savings more difficult. and thats without even considering how they worked so far. it appears that f you are lucky (extremely) you might have savings. if not, you might loose it all (ala 2008 stock market crash. and before the 2001-2001 wall street delusions crash)


    BR: Thats a different story, about a different problem.

  16. slowkarma says:

    I stumbled upon Celebrity Net Worth…

    The #3 richest lead singer in the world…Jimmy Buffett, at $400 million. Wouldn’t have guessed that in a hundred years.

  17. DeDude says:

    Nutcase elect himself to be the sole supreme court justice with power to decide what is or is not constitutional – 59,000 morons applaud claiming to be defenders of the constitution.

  18. Biffah Bacon says:

    Fascinating thing about volcanos, climate change, and so on is that the fact that volcanic eruptions occur seasonally.
    The hard version:

    The world is a system and events have ripple effects