The Real Problem with High-Frequency Trading

Originally posted on Uneasy Money:

Everybody seems to be talking about Michael Lewis’s new book (Flash Boys), which has been featured on 60 Minutes and reviewed twice by the New York Times. The book is about something called high-frequency trading, which, I will admit, with some, but not too much, embarrassment, I know almost nothing about. Actually, the first time I heard of the existence of high-frequency trading was from a commenter on a post I wrote almost two years ago, about which I will have something more to say in a moment. Michael Lewis’s book is a polemic against high-frequency trading, alleging that it enables high-frequency traders to rig the stock market and exploit ordinary traders. Lewis makes his case by telling the story of a group of hedge-funds that have banded together to create an alternative trading platform IEX, thereby avoiding contact with the high-frequency platforms, which, according to Lewis…

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The Virtual Genius of Oculus Rift


Long piece but very worth it…

Originally posted on TIME:

To understand why Oculus Rift matters, it helps to know who John Carmack is. You already know his work, even if you don’t know his name: Carmack is the programmer who in the early 1990s cracked the problem of how to write a video game that takes place in three-dimensional space. He’s the reason that when you play a state-of-the-art game, you’re not leaping from platform to platform or wandering through a two-dimensional dungeon, you’re running and jumping around in proper space-time, all six axes in play, backward and forward, side to side, up and down. He’s responsible for Quake, the first true 3-D game, which begat Halo and Call of Duty and all the rest of it. Carmack did for computer games what Masaccio did for painting: he turned a plane into a space.

As such, he’s the principal architect of a medium that has generated literally billions of…

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An early rebuttal of the ‘representative consumer’ – and what it teaches us


The notion of the representative consumer:

Originally posted on Real-World Economics Review Blog:

Around 1900 John Bates Clark introduced the mythical ‘representative consumer’ , the idea that you can model the sector households as if it is one person, as well as the idea that the ‘social utility’ (his phrase) experienced by this entity is the ultimate standard of social welfare (emphasis added):

>”If each man could measure the usefulness of an article by the effort that it costs him to get it, and if he could attain a fixed unit of effort, he could state the utility of a number of different articles in a sum total. Similarly, if all society acts in reality as one man, it makes such measurements of all commodities, and the trouble arising from the fact that there are many measurers disappear. A market secures this result, for society acts as a unit—like an individual buyer (chapter XXIV.14).

Interestingly, the economist Charles E. Persons, citing the last sentence…

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Nine Timeless Insights on Journalism From Gabriel Garcia Marquez


some clear thoughts on conversations across all of business, not just journalism:

Originally posted on Wonder Sonder:

“I’ve always been convinced that my true profession is that of a journalist.”

During an interview held at his house in Mexico City with the Paris Review, for the Winter 1981 edition of the literary magazine, Gabriel Garcia Marquez berated interviewer Peter H. Stone for bringing along a tape recorder to harness the accuracy of the exchange.Marquez

The interview, which occurred over the course of three late afternoon meetings spanning approximately two hours each, involved the Colombian artist speaking mostly in Spanish, with his sons translating much of his words.

Through it, Marquez provides illuminating insights into how a novel and a piece of journalistic literature are conditioned by the expectations of editors. Writing for newspapers versus novels impedes the flow of creativity, suggests Marquez, when he writes:

“I had to condition my thoughts and ideas to the interests of the newspaper. Now, after having worked as a novelist…

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Joan Robinson’s Critique of Marginal Utility Theory


A great summation:

Originally posted on Fixing the Economists:


In her excellent book Economic Philosophy (available as a PDF here) Joan Robinson undertakes an extensive discussion of marginal utility theory. Here I will be more so interested in her technical criticisms. But before going into these it should be noted that Robinson characterises the impetus of marginal utility theory in a way many might find unusual.

Basically, she claims that it is a revolutionary leftist doctrine. The reason she makes this claim is because if we apply the law of diminishing returns to income it soon becomes clear that radical egalitarianism — indeed, some sort of socialism or communism — is the best manner in which to maximise the utility of society as a whole. Robinson points out that the early marginalists — many of whom, like Walras, were socialists — recognised this full well. She quotes Alfred Marshall in this regard,

Next we must take account…

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House of Cards Isn’t The West Wing’s Polar Opposite — It’s Its Younger Cousin


Political TV drama from the perspective of the millennials:

Originally posted on jordan fraade:

Been working on this Think Piece-y essay for awhile. I got a late start watching Season 2 of House of Cards, but after watching it and mulling it over, I think the similarities with West Wing are more striking than many people realize.

Also, thanks to the Twitter-er who pointed out that this needs a SPOILER ALERT for HoC.


House of Cards has already earned its place in history. Even if the series itself were an artistic disaster, the fact that it’s Netflix’s first original series, available for streaming and binging on the viewer’s own terms, signals an important shift in the way we watch and analyze TV. But what’s not new about the show is the way it creates a hermetically sealed D.C. Fantasyland for viewers to lose themselves in. Everything about the show furthers the impression that you’ve stepped into a different universe. The show is heavily…

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The faces of highly followed philosophers on Twitter


Will we be reading about any of these guys in the next century?

Originally posted on Lucretius, ver. 21c:

Below are the profile images of philosophers on Twitter who have over 1,000 followers as of 25 Feb 2014, ordered by number of followers (descending, read left to right, top to bottom). Tweet list additions to @Lucretius21c .

Click an image to access the user’s feed.

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