Mike, eschewing the label of a journalist, as you are quick to do, does not excuse you from neglecting to mention that the patent also covers snow kitty and puppy variants. This could be important to some readers who wish to avoid infringing.
"Instead, what's wrong with just letting the market price decide how trustworthy the debt is?"
I can tell you what's wrong with that in two words: Bear Stearns. Here are some market prices for a share of Bear Stearns common stock:
Jan 2007 - $172
Feb 2008 - $93
Mar 12, 2008 - $60
Mar 14, 2008 - $2
The market had no idea of the real value of Bear Stearns. Any existing theory of efficient market pricing was utterly invalidated in 2008. While Bear Stearns is the most egregious example of this failing, it is not alone.
The value revealed by markets merely indicate the price level at which trades will be made. Those trading levels are often wildly unrelated to the underlying value of the thing being traded. In fact, the trade levels are also opinion. They are the current opinions of the buyers and sellers. Those opinions in aggregate ("the market") are no more prone to valuation accuracy than the opinions of the rating agencies. In fact the ratings agencies can at least expose their algorithms and methodologies to the scrutiny of an auditor. The motivations behind most trading is a mystery.
Mike IS right in that the detailed investment approaches for those acting on behalf of the public should not be dictated by statute. However, perhaps the best investment advice and guidance for pensions and trusts would be caveat emptor.
I agree that most of the cyberwarfare hyperbole is unwarranted. However, you've written about your interest in the Stuxnet story. Wouldn't you classify that incident as a cyberwarfare attack, and isn't that the prototype attack of the future that we should begin to seriously contemplate? That is: an attack conducted via computer code that causes damage in real life?
Tons of websites reporting gobs of Facebook generated traffic. News organizations observing the wild popularity of Facebook and the new importance of social media. Investors jumping over each other to jam money into the pockets of Facebook equity holders...and you say "stunning that Facebook has not implemented its own fix"? Yeah, "stunning" that Facebook hasn't shut that loop down.