As the squabbling continues in Washington over the debt ceiling, and the dollar falls worldwide, there was actually a good and unexpected bit of economic news. These stories and more (Who really owns America’s debt? Why are hackers targeting small firms?) in today’s link roundup.
The US dollar has fallen against other major currencies as talks continue over how to reach a deal to avert a US debt default.
The US dollar was at $1.6391 against the UK pound, from $1.6280 late on Monday. The dollar was also down against the euro, to 1.4465 from 1.4378, and against the Swiss franc.
The US risks default without a deal to raise the borrowing limit by 2 August.
Confidence among U.S. consumers unexpectedly rose in July from an eight-month low, led by a rebound in the outlook for jobs over the next six months. The Conference Board’s index climbed to 59.5 from a revised 57.6 reading in June that was lower than previously estimated, figures from the New York-based private research group showed today. Economists predicted the July gauge would fall to 56, according to the median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey.
Who owns America? Hint: It’s not China — CNN (via Global Post)
Many— politicians and pundits alike — prattle on that China and, to a lesser extent Japan, own most of America’s $14.3 trillion in government debt.
But there’s one little problem with that conventional wisdom: it’s just not true. While the Chinese, Japanese and plenty of other foreigners own substantial amounts, it’s really Americans who hold most of America’s debt.
When Patents Attack — NPR
But Myhrvold’s company has a different image among many Silicon Valley insiders.
The influential blog Techdirt regularly refers to Intellectual Ventures as a patent troll. IPWatchdog, an intellectual property site, called IV “patent troll public enemy #1.” These blogs write about how Intellectual Ventures has amassed one of the largest patent portfolios in existence and is going around to technology companies demanding money to license these patents.
Patents are a big deal in the software industry right now. Lawsuits are proliferating. Big technology companies are spending billions of dollars to buy up huge patent portfolios in order to defend themselves. Computer programmers say patents are hindering innovation.
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York released a study Thursday arguing that small businesses experienced steeper job declines than large firms during the recession due mainly to weakand economic uncertainly.
Hackers are expanding their sights beyond multinationals to include any business that stores data in electronic form. Small companies, which are making the leap to computerized systems and digital records, have now become hackers’ main target.
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