February 2009
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Day February 13, 2009

The Stimulus Bill? Oh, That Thing We Approved Yesterday

From US News:

E-mails one key Democratic staffer: “K Street has the bill, or chunks of it, already, and the congressional offices don’t. So, the Hill is getting calls from the press (because it’s leaking out) asking us to confirm or talk about what we know — but we can’t do that because we haven’t seen the bill. Anyway, peeps up here are sort of a combo of confused and like, ‘Is this really happening?’” Reporters pressing for details, meanwhile, are getting different numbers from different offices, especially when seeking the details of specific programs.


If anyone needs me: I’ll, like, be slamming my head repeatedly against my desk. Last post on this topic for awhile. In case you’re (morbidly?) interested, the full text of the stimulus bill is online at THOMAS under the title HR1: The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (stimulus bill).

Nassim Taleb and Daniel Kahneman Reflect On Crisis At DLD

Nassim Taleb and Daniel Kahneman discuss the current financial crisis: how we came to it and what to do next. As usual, Taleb is on target with respect to banks: they’re utilities and shouldn’t be taking extreme risks.

Taleb was interviewed along with Benoit Mandelbrot by the NewsHour in 2008 — just after the current crisis erupted. It’s a good introduction to his ideas.

(Side question: Is there a video of the talk Taleb gave at Davos 2009? I’m in the mood to hear him utterly destroy the reputations of some bankers and economists.)

The Long Way Home


Bookmarks for February 13th

1964 Voskhod 1 Stamps


These stamps appear to depict the crew of the 1964 Voskhod 1 space flight: Vladimir Komarov, Konstantin Feoktistov, and Boris Yegorov. This was the first multi-person space flight.

Notice the strong left-to-right diagonal composition in both of these stamps. In cultures which parse lines of text from left to right, a line angled such that the left is lower than the right is interpreted as rising and emotionally uplifting.

This compositional approach is useful when an artist or designer wishes to intimate a positive future.

When reversed — such that the left is higher than the right — this is useful to intimate a positive past.

(Take a look at the last few posts regarding these vintage CCCP stamps — you may notice this compositional approach repeated quite a lot.)