Uncertainty, the Fed, and the Economy

The New York Times published this opinion piece recently, discussing the Fed’s continuing decision to delay raising rates.  While the entire article is interesting, I believe that the final paragraph is the most insightful: Adding to the frustration is that Fed policy is not to blame for the economy’s underperformance. Congress bears much of the blame because of

Hacking the Hackers

Have you ever heard of Hacking Team?  It’s an Italian company specializing in “digital infiltration” products for governments, law enforcement agencies, and large corporations.  Simply put, they sell hacking tools. You might think, given their business model, that they would monitor their own security religiously.  Last year, however, they were hacked.  Majorly hacked.  “Hundreds of Gb” of their internal

What is asymmetric cryptography?

Whitfield Diffie and Martin Hellman were jointly awarded the 2015 ACM A.M. Turing Award today.  Their 1976 paper, New Directions in Cryptography, essentially created asymmetric cryptography.  Today, asymmetric cryptography secures our online communications—from PGP-secured texts, emails, and files, to TLS and SSL-secured websites (including this one).  So how does asymmetric cryptography work, and how is the Diffie-Hellman key

How Stories Drive the Stock Market

I came across this article today in The New York Times written by Robert Shiller.  Shiller is a Sterling Professor at Yale University who studies macroeconomics, behavioral economics, and public attitudes regarding markets, so he’s very qualified to discuss the role of stories in our economy. The general gist of the article, as I understand it, is that

The Panic of 1907

The Panic of 1907 crippled the financial markets, brought ruin to banks and trust companies, all but bankrupted the Treasury of the United States of America, and required the intervention of J.P. Morgan to end.  And it directly led to the founding of the Federal Reserve System in the United States, in 1913.  I was