When all is said and done, cheap gas is an illusion, because our reliance on gas creates a whole series of costs that aren't factored in to the pump price - among them congestion, pollution, and increased risk of accidents.
The value of a currency is, ultimately, what someone will give you for it - whether in food, fuel, assets, or labor. And that's always and everywhere a subjective decision.
To be sure, if you watch CNBC all day long you'll pick up some interesting news about particular companies and the economy as a whole. Unfortunately, to get to the useful information, you have to wade through reams of useless stuff, with little guidance on how to distinguish between the two.
Standards wars involve lots of variables, and understanding them often seems more an art than a science. They generally involve just two big players, and end in a winner-take-all situation.
The fundamental problem with banks is what it's always been: they're in the business of banking, and banking, whether plain vanilla or incredibly sophisticated, is inherently risky.
In confusing stock options with ownership, corporations confuse trappings with substance.