Felix Salmon wins the ASA 2010 Excellence in Statistical Reporting Award

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American Statistical Association:

ALEXANDRIA VA, MAY 14, 2009 – Felix Salmon, a well known financial blogger who writes extensively about statistics, has been named the recipient of the 2010 Excellence in Statistical Reporting Award (ESRA) of the American Statistical Association (ASA). Salmon does quantitative, statistically minded reporting on topics ranging from the costs of counterfeiting to bank fraud to Nigerian spammers

ASA’s ESRA Committee selected Salmon &#8220-for his body of work, which exemplifies the highest standards of scientific reporting,” according to the award citation. “His insightful use of statistics as a tool to understanding the world of business and economics, areas that are critical in today&#8217-s economy, sets a new standard in statistical investigative reporting.&#8221-

Salmon came to the United States in 1997 from England, where he worked at Euromoney magazine. He also wrote daily commentary on Latin American markets for the former news service Bridge News, freelanced for a variety of publications, helped set up the New York bureau of a financial web site, and created the Economonitor blog for Roubini Global Economics. He has been blogging since 1999 and wrote the Market Movers blog for Portfolio.com. Salmon currently blogs at Thomson Reuters. ( http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/ ). He is a graduate of the University of Glasgow.

Previous winners of the ESRA include Sharon Begley, Newsweek magazine- Mark Buchanan, freelance science writer- Gina Kolata, New York Times- and John Berry, Bloomberg News.

The ESRA was created to encourage and recognize members of the communications media who have best displayed an informed interest in the science of statistics and its role in public life. The award can be given for a single statistical article or for a body of work. In selecting the recipient, consideration is given to:
Correctness, clarity, fairness, brevity, and professionalism of the communication
Importance, relevance and overall effectiveness in impacting the intended audience
Impact on the growth and national or regional exposure of statistics
Appreciation and emphasis of the statistical aspects of a particular issue or event
Excellent coverage of research on statistics or statistical issues

About the American Statistical Association
The American Statistical Association (ASA), a scientific and educational society founded in Boston in 1839, is the second oldest continuously operating professional society in the United States. For 170 years, ASA has been providing its 18,000 members serving in academia, government, and industry and the public with up-to-date, useful information about statistics. The ASA has a proud tradition of service to statisticians, quantitative scientists, and users of statistics across a wealth of academic areas and applications. For additional information about the American Statistical Association, please visit the association’s web site at http://www.amstat.org or call 703.684.1221.

The value of prediction market journalism, which doesnt produce any scoop, is zero.

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Felix Salmon (in a piece about the ROI of web publishing):

As real-money prediction markets become legal in the US, there’s surely going to be a lot of money in writing about them and driving rich readers to them.

Total bullshit.

Carlos Graterol [*] and Ben Shannon both tried to popularize their prediction market blog (featuring InTrade 95% of the time), and they never managed to take off. The fact that InTrade needs websites to drive people to its betting operation does not mean that readers will appreciate prediction market journalism.

Prediction market journalism (which sums up news and probabilities harvested from newspaper sites and from InTrade) does not produce any scoops. You need scoops to draw readers into your blog. No scoops, no readers.

[*] He is a smart and sociable young man with a bright future.

Felix Salmons hastily written NYT Op-Ed about the Cantor Exchange and MDEX

You will learn nothing.

Watch the US House video instead. You will have more facts and more arguments.

UPDATE: Mike Giberson has a remark on Felix&#8217-s piece.

Felix Salmon is cautiously bullish on prediction markets.

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QUESTION: Tell me what you think of the (public, real-money) &#8220-prediction markets&#8221- (a.k.a. betting markets) without citing the names of either Robin Hanson or Justin Wolfers. Thanks. Are they useful, really? If not, then why are econ bloggers in love with them?


I used to be a bigger fan of them, before I discovered their enormous transaction costs:
If and when somebody makes an easy legal and cheap prediction market, I think it will be very useful indeed. For the time being, they&#8217-re interesting and fun.

Which industry is more detrimental to society – finance or gambling?

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Felix Salmon (#):

Finance, at least in its virulent form of the past 20 years or so. Macau is in much better shape than Iceland, or Dubai. Millions of people genuinely believe they can and will get rich by day-trading stocks and options and whatnot- the ranks of professional gamblers are much smaller and much less delusional.

Worlds #1 finance blogger withdraws all his money from InTrade… and blogs about it -detailing his negative customer experience to his thousands of Wall Street readers.

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Market Movers:

Dec 3 2008 5:52PM EST
The Problem With InTrade

I recently withdrew money from an InTrade account I&#8217-ve had for some years. The total cost of withdrawing the money was $53.10: A $20 fee to InTrade for &#8220-processing the bank wire&#8221-, a €10 ($13.10) wire-transfer fee to National Irish Bank, and a $20 fee to Bank of America, the intermediary bank via which the money arrived in my Citibank account. If Citi had charged their customary $25 incoming wire fee, the total would have been $78.10.

You need to have a very large balance at InTrade, or an incredibly successful trading strategy, to make trading there worthwhile if it costs the best part of $80 just to withdraw your money. And prediction markets need a critical mass of users, otherwise they die. InTrade, for one, can count me out.

[Felix Salmon]

Posted: Dec 03 2008 6:24pm ET
I&#8217-ll definitely use the check option next time &#8212- but there&#8217-s no indication on their website as to which one is cheaper, and I stupidly thought that a wire transfer would be cheaper than printing and posting a check.
By Felix [Salmon]

Posted: Dec 04 2008 04:46am ET
PayPal will not process transactions to online gambling sites (including Intrade) from the US. After the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act none of the payment providers will process these transactions, that is why you are stuck with check and wire transfers.

I expect that Antiguan sports books offer free withdrawal because they have much higher margins than Intrade and therefore can absorb the costs elsewhere.
By nigeleccles [Nigel Eccles of HubDub]

Previously: Why did John Delaney shut down TradeSports?

Previously: The InTrade predicton markets on the viability of InTrade won&#8217-t reveal *ANYTHING* about the future of InTrade.

Previously: on TradeSports death – on InTrade&#8217-s viability

Felix Salmon rebuts Mark Gongloff.

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Previous blog posts by Chris F. Masse:

  • Become “friend” with me on Google E-Mail so as to share feed items with me within Google Reader.
  • Nigel Eccles’ flawed “vision” about HubDub shows that he hasn’t any.
  • How does InTrade deal with insider trading?
  • Modern Life
  • “The Beacon” is an excellent blog published by The Independent Institute.
  • The John Edwards Non-Affair… is making Memeorandum (twice), again.
  • Prediction Markets = marketplaces for information trading… and for separating the wheat from the chaff.

Felix Salmon slams Wall Street Journals Justin Wolfers -but not Chris Masse.

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Felix Salmon:

[…] And thirdly, if you&#8217-re Justin Wolfers, it&#8217-s probably smart not to make unhedged statements saying that Barack Obama has &#8220-better than a nine-in-ten chance of winning&#8221- the New Hampshire primary. […]

Previously: Prediction markets are forecasting tools of convenience that feed on advanced indicators.

What happens if you did an opinion poll, but instead of asking each individual how they intended to vote, you asked each individual what they thought the outcome of the election would be?

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Felix Salmon (from the RGE Monitor):

The really irrational thing would seem to be why we still place so much faith in opinion polls. Opinion opinion polls would be much more accurate.

Prediction Market Forum:

Global Imbalances – (Start of the Thread = &#8220-DISCUSSION&#8221-) — NewsFutures and RGE Monitor