Bernanke defends Fed Actions, Fed Predictions Gloomy

Fed Chief Defends Steps Taken to Contain Crisis
Switching from political cartoons to the economy…
The chairman of the Federal Reserve, Ben S. Bernanke, vowed on Wednesday to do whatever it took to pull the economy out of its downward spiral, even as he acknowledged that the most recent indicators were “dismal.”
Mr. Bernanke defended the central bank’s efforts and tried to allay concerns that it had been printing money at a dangerous pace.
“The Federal Reserve has done, and will continue to do, everything possible within the limits of its authority to assist in restoring our nation to financial stability,” he said.

The real kicker is down in the piece:
The “central tendency” of forecasts by the presidents of the Federal Reserve’s district banks and of governors on the Federal Reserve Board showed that they expected unemployment to reach 8.5 to 8.8 percent in 2009. Last October, policy makers expected unemployment to top out at 7.1 to 7.6 percent.
Fed policy makers also expect the economy to shrink this year in a range of 0.5 to 1.3 percent, which mainly reflects deepening gloom about the severity of the downturn in the first half of this year. Last October, most Fed officials had predicted that the United States would come out of the recession quickly enough to end this year with a small gain.

Anecdotal note. The Fed’s meetings are expanding from 1 to 2 days through 2010.
The Head of the Chicago Fed so has a recent speech on the state of the economy–his own view, not the consensus of the FRB system.

Books Read this Year to Date

13. Kitty and the Silver Bullet, Carrie Vaughn
12. Kitty Takes a Holiday, Carrie Vaughn
11. Kitty Goes to Washington, Carrie Vaughn
10. Kitty and the Midnight Hour, Carrie Vaughn
9. History Revisted the Great Battles, Mike Resnick
8. The Planiverse, AK Dewdney
7. The Accidental Time Machine, Joe Haldeman
6 Fables #1: Legends in Exile, Bill Willingham
5. The Domino Men, Jonathan Barnes
4. Chariot, Arthur Cotterell
3. The Story of Mathematics, Ian Stewart
2. Pushing Ice, Alistair Reynolds
1. Gladiatrix, Russell Whitfield

Book Reviews 2009 #10-13: Carrie Vaughn’s Kitty Novels

Disclaimer: I received these four books (and two more, as yet unread) from the publisher in exchange for reading and reviewing them.
Kitty and the Midnight Hour, Kitty Goes to Washington, Kitty Takes a Holiday and Kitty and the Silver Bullet are the first four books in a series about a talk radio host who is a werewolf, written by Carrie Vaughn.

Continue reading Book Reviews 2009 #10-13: Carrie Vaughn’s Kitty Novels

A ailurophile’s nightmare in Minneapolis

The Animal Humane Society says all of the some 120 cats removed from a St. Anthony mobile home had to be euthanized.
Spokeswoman Deb Balzer says the cats had diseases ranging from feline AIDS and herpes to upper respiratory infections and ringworm. She says the cats, which had been living in a 500-square-foot mobile home, were “very damaged animals.”
Humane Society officials removed 118 cats from the mobile home last Tuesday. Police found more cats and brought them to the society’s facility in Golden Valley.
Animal control officers say they removed 72 cats from the couple’s previous home in Coon Rapids in 2002.
This is a crime and a tragedy to keep so many cats, and in such poor condition.

Cosmologists ‘See’ The Cosmic Dawn

Cosmologists See the Cosmic Dawn
big_bang.jpg
Via Bob Collins at MPR The images, produced by scientists at Durham University’s Institute for Computational Cosmology, show the “Cosmic Dawn” – the formation of the first big galaxies in the Universe.
The Cosmic Dawn began as galaxies began to form out of the debris of massive stars which died explosively shortly after the beginning of the Universe. The Durham calculation predicts where these galaxies appear and how they evolve to the present day, over 13 billion years later.