Facebook Wants to Redline Your Friends List. Facebook recently filed a patent for its technology tracking how users connect within a network. Three of the uses described focus on how this information could be used to filter spam, tailor search results, or determine access to a third-party website. The fourth use explains how the credit ratings of those in a user's social network could be used to determine loan eligibility. This is raising concerns about data discrimination.
Democratic presidential candidate Martin O'Malley has a plan for providing debt-free access to a college degree for all students within five years. [more inside]
Income based repayment is touted as a solution to rapidly rising college costs in the US. But there is a hefty tax bill looming for people who take advantage of this program.
The American Library Association fires the latest response in its tussle with publishers over e-books in public libraries, while in England, a government review of e-books in public libraries is announced.
Curt Schilling, a former Major League Baseball pitcher, retired with an eye toward making games. His 38 Studios bought Big Huge Games, some big-name talent, and got started with Kingdoms of Amalur... with the help of a $75 million guaranteed loan from the state of Rhode Island (not without controversy). The game was good but not great and sales were likewise good but not great. Not great enough to cover the payments on a $75 million loan, anyway, not to mention payroll, and Rhode Island is likely on the hook.
Professor Herwig Schlunk of Vanderbilt University explores whether a law degree is a good investment today. (SSRN link) [more inside]
Solyndra used to make thin-film solar cells, but they could not make any money. The Department of Energy tried to help with a $535 million “Green” loan guarantee but the DOE missed the memo that says EBITDA needs to be in the black if they expect to keep taxpayers out of the red. Private investors kicked in another $70 million eventually but only after the DOE primed itself. As White House economic advisor Larry Summers noted, “…[government] is a crappy vc [venture capitalist]…" Thanks to the DOE though, 40 employees and 150 contractors got to keep their jobs for an extra week last year according to the WaPo.
Homeowners are using a little known loophole in the bankruptcy laws to shed their second mortgages.
Kelli went to Northeastern University and got loans to pay for her sociology degree. Her repayment schedule is featured in the article and it is not pretty. [more inside]
Wajahat Ali, a solo practitioner from California, takes on Wells Fargo in an attempt to get his clients' home loan modified. Lots of ball dropping and passing of the buck ensues. He describes the Kafka-esque nature of the experience.
I'm Ed Whitacre from General Motors. We want to make this a company all Americans can be proud of again.
Remember the General Motors bailout? You may have seen the commercial GM has been airing where GM CEO Ed Whitacre brags about paying back this loan "in full with interest, five years ahead of the original schedule". Ever wonder how that was possible? Reason.tv explains. [more inside]
According to the latest biweekly numbers released last Thursday by the Federal Reserve, for the two weeks that ended January 16th American banks had negative $1.3 billion in non-borrowed reserves. This is, historically, extremely unusual; just two months ago they had $30 billion (positive, of course) in non-borrowed reserves. The only reason some banks haven't been shut due to insufficient -- negative! -- reserve requirements is that the Federal Reserve is currently loaning them enough money through the brand new TAF (Term Auction Facility) program (also running in Canada and Europe) to make up their shortfalls. Today's TAF press release says that 52 American banks or institutions are currently receiving loans totaling ~$40 billion -- but the Fed refuses to name who they are. [more inside]
Zeitgeist, the movie [Google Video link embedded] - An interesthing, if bizarre, mix of buffed-up comparative mythology, 9/11 conspiracy theories and New world order rambling about banks, loans, debts and war. Is paranoia the spirit of our times?
UAL asks for a 2$ billion loan from the Feds. And it looks like AMTRAK will get their couple hundred million bucks as well. Transportation seems to be a losing proposition all over. So where's the bailout for the cruise lines?