The year 2010 is nearly over. What happened? A fair number of celebrities died, a few videos went totally viral, and a few trends were established. That’s what I get from the nooze, at least.
But what happened economically? It turns out to be not much. That is what everyone is complaining about, too. I’ll do my best to explain just what nothing looks like as colorfully as possible because what we all expect from 2011 is something. Not that anyone knows what it is, just that it won’t be this blah.
The end of the year is as good of a time as any to look back and summarize what happened over the last year. In the process of doing that I came across a tidbit of information that clearly deserves a post of its own.
From March 2008 through 2009 the Federal Reserve acted quickly. Most people weren’t even aware of the crisis until October, but the Fed was on it. Emergency overnight loans at low interest rates were the cornerstone of their effort, quietly fronting interest-free scratch to investment houses that were in deep trouble.
How much did they loan out? Sen Bernie Sanders sponsored a bill that forced the Fed to tell us. It turns out it was $9 Trillion – that’s money on top of the $4.7 Trillion that we knew was used to get the economy rolling. All together the total “stimulus” is about 1 year’s total production in the USofA.
A long holiday is more than a few days off, it’s a trip back through time. Reconnecting with family and friends drops us back into conversations and simple glints in the eye that send us back to who we were long ago. To our parents, we will always be the child they lovingly shielded from the darkness or spent hours crafting a perfect holiday for. To our childhood friends we are still the kids who had small adventures together. The traditions that set the scene for all this are as varied as our lives, but they often involve rituals around a television watching a holiday special or sports.
This isn’t a bad thing, necessarily, it’s just what most of us do.
Another snow has blanketed Saint Paul, hushing the gentle breath of the city that sounds around us. It is Christmas Eve and we are all bedded down in the still of a lazy lingering sleep. The problems of the world are all far away, past streets that sleep and houses buried in tight. The isolation is complete and splendid.
Though we live in a very human-made world, we still have animals around as pets. Some are kept for their cuteness or friendliness, a few intrigue us because they seem smart. But how smart are animals compared to humans? Recent research suggests that some, in particular birds, may be a lot closer to our intelligence than we might like to think.