by Henry Foy, ‎Automotive Correspondent

Henry Ford, the grandfather of the car industry and Tesla CEO Elon Musk, its current saviour (or enfant terrible depending on your point of view and stockholding) had similar views on spreading warm and fuzzy love around with rivals.

“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself,” Ford once said. “A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business,” another Ford pronouncement, is certainly a view shared by Musk – who has said making electric cars successful is more important to him than making his company successful.

But Ford would be turning in his Detroit grave at Musk’s latest decision to make all of Tesla’s patents availble, free of cost, to its rivals.

Ford — who ironically broke the famous Selden patent monopoly that allowed the US car industry to get off its feet — loved patents. He racked up more than 150, and liked to be in control of every aspect of his cars. That control has percolated throughout the car industry since, as rivals look to corner emerging technologies.

But what exactly is in the box of secrets that Musk has opened to the world — and to his competitors? Read more

On the back of intervention by central banks the returns across a range of asset classes are the least volatile for nearly a decade.

In particular the so-called Wall Street fear gauge, the Vix index, which attempts to measure volatility in the S&P 500 is hovering around its lowest level since 2007. Shortly after, volatility returned with a vengeance thanks to the aftermath of the financial crisis.

Market volatility is mean reverting, it is more likely to go higher when it is currently low, and it has a tendency to spike dramatically upwards — when markets become volatilie, they become very volatile.

So the lack of volatility is making headlines due to worries about complacency. On Monday a chart showing the Vix over the last ten years was on the front of the print edition of this newspaper.

But what is the Vix actually measuring? Read more

736 players have travelled to Brazil for the World Cup. The diagrams below show how their individual skillsets help create their national team’s identity. Read more

Burkina Faso, which has gross domestic product per capita of about $700 (just under $1600 in purchasing power parity terms), launched its Open Data Institute yesterday, adding to the number of African nations which have made government data available to the public. Read more

As an aid to debates about the referendum on whether Scotland should be independent from the UK, Britain’s Office for National Statistics has published a compendium that allows for comparisons to be made between the four countries of the UK.

Thanks, in part, to devolution, the UK has four organisations that produce official statistics: the Office for National Statistics, the Scottish Government, StatsWales and the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency who all release different surveys that gather data in different ways.

 Read more

Does knowing more about finance lead to making better investment decisions?

It might if you believe a working paper from the US National Bureau of Economic Research, published yesterday. By matching records from an unnamed company’s pension scheme and responses to a survey asking some basic questions about finance, they “find that risk-adjusted annual expected returns are 130 basis points higher for the most financially knowledgeable employees.” The questions used in the survey can be found in the quiz below. Read more