October12014

Wyly Slapped with “Staggering” Sanction

Wyly Slapped with “Staggering” Sanction

Back in June I wrote about the Securities and Exchange Commission’s must-win case against Dallas businessman Sam Wyly. Well, win the SEC did, and now a federal judge has slapped penalties of more than $300 million on Wyly and the estate of his late brother, Charles — sanctions that even the judge herself characterized as “staggering.”

Here’s my update for Texasmonthly.com: 

After he was warned…

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September292014
Patent trolls of the Piney Woods

In my latest Texas Monthly column, I discuss how the tiny East Texas town of Marshall became a haven for patent trolls.

Patent trolls of the Piney Woods

In my latest Texas Monthly column, I discuss how the tiny East Texas town of Marshall became a haven for patent trolls.

September182014

Why Footnotes Are Becoming Obsolete

Why Footnotes Are Becoming Obsolete

CarnetvinchaudThe footnote, the holdover of documentation from the pre-digital era, continues to be a mainstay in the online world, but should it be? Tim Parks ponders that question in the New York Review of Books blog, arguing that in many cases, footnotes have become tedious and unnecessary.

Parks points out that the widely accepted rules for footnoting — citing a particular edition of a work and a page…

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September92014

Why Bitcoin Is More Like a Penny Stock Than a Real Currency

Why Bitcoin Is More Like a Penny Stock Than a Real Currency

shutterstock_176573198-690x377Last week, Vox writer and Bitcoin evangelist Timothy B. Lee wrote a piece entitled “Why I’m Investing in Bitcoins.” By the end of the day, he wasn’t.

Lee, a former Washington Post reporter, has long been a Bitcoin believer, and he acknowledged that he had bought Bitcoins in early 2012 for about $7 apiece. He sold them in May 2013, for $120 each, when he joined the Post, in accordance with the…

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September82014

You’ve Got Ultra High Speed Internet. Now What?

You’ve Got Ultra High Speed Internet. Now What?

(Photo: Paul Sableman, Flickr)

(Photo: Paul Sableman, Flickr)

Back in February, I wrote about Google’s efforts to bring ultra high speed internet service to Austin and how competitors, such as AT&T and Time Warner Cable were responding. A New York Times piece this weekend takes a look at Kansas City, Mo., the first place where Google rolled out its Google Fiber service, which offers Internet speeds of one gigabit per second.…

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September52014

Back on the Bitcoin Beat: KUHF’s “Houston Matters”

Back on the Bitcoin Beat: KUHF’s “Houston Matters”

Last week, I was interviewed by KUHF’s Craig Cohen for “Houston Matters.” We were discussing Bitcoins and whether the virtual currency is really catching on in Houston and across Texas. Will it become a mainstream form of money or remain a virtual pipe dream?

The discussion centered on my column in the August issue of Texas Monthlyabout the rise of virtual currency and how Texas has become the…

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September42014

A New Column for Energy Voice

A New Column for Energy Voice

A Yukos station before the government targeted the company a decade ago.

A Yukos station before the government targeted the company a decade ago.

This week marks the debut of my new energy column for Energy Voice, a website devoted to the global energy industry. My first topic: an interview with former Yukos executive Bruce Misamore about the recent ruling by the European Court of Human Rights. The ECHR ordered Russia to pay $2.5 billion related to the seizure Yukos a…

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August222014

Hastening the End at Hasting’s?

Hastening the End at Hasting’s?

On the record: There was something about those rows of albums....

On the record: There was something about those rows of albums….

I have a short piecein the latest Texas Monthly on the sale of Hasting’s, the music and entertainment store chain that was prominent in many small towns in Texas and the Midwest. The Amarillo-based chain was bought out recently by a New Jersey financier. The sale brought back memories of my adolescence and the role that Hasting’s…

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August202014
Overstock Takes Bitcoin International

A big online retailer is going to start accepting Bitcoin on international transactions, according to the New York Times’ Dealbook site. 

Overstock Takes Bitcoin International

A big online retailer is going to start accepting Bitcoin on international transactions, according to the New York Times’ Dealbook site. 

August42014

Bitcoin Bonanza: Why Texas Can’t Get Enough of Virtual Currency

Bitcoin Bonanza: Why Texas Can’t Get Enough of Virtual Currency

ILLUSTRATION BY ROCCO MALATESTA

ILLUSTRATION BY ROCCO MALATESTA

In my latest Texas Monthly column, I take a look at the state’s hottest new cottage industry: Bitcoins. The virtual currency took the online world by storm a few years ago, and while it still has plenty of skeptics, Texas has become one of the leaders in developing rules and applications for virtual currency.

Texas,” says Jeremy Kandah, “is the most…

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