Virus that targeted Iranian nuclear sites

Based on [this](http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2010/11/26/secret-agent-crippled-irans-nuclear-ambitions/) article it sounds like some really talented developers (NSA) wrote a virus that targetted specific computers in Iran and had enough knowledge to target specific computer controlled equipment.

At Natanz, for almost 17 months, Stuxnet quietly worked its way into the system and targeted a specific component — the frequency converters made by the German equipment manufacturer Siemens that regulated the speed of the spinning centrifuges used to create nuclear fuel. The worm then took control of the speed at which the centrifuges spun, making them turn so fast in a quick burst that they would be damaged but not destroyed. And at the same time, the worm masked that change in speed from being discovered at the centrifuges’ control panel.

US Military Budget

I was arguing about military spending with some friends and wanted to verify numbers. My basic point was that US military spending almost matches what the rest of the world spends. We are at 43% of worldwide expenditures. The US and NATO account for 2/3 of the world’s military spending. China spends 1/8 what the US does and 1/12 what the US+NATO spend.
Iran’s annual budget is less then the US spends in 3 weeks in just Iraq and Afghanistan. China’s military budget would only finance 6 months of Iraq and Afghanistan.
This graph is the comparison between the US 2008 budget and the rest of the world from Center for Arms Control:
Global_Spending_Graph.jpeg
From Laicie Olson at the Center for Arms Control is this graph showing US military spending over the past 10 years. These are expressed in constant 2010 dollars. The budget has increased since 2001 to 2011 by 67%. US GDP (Gross Domestic Product) has increased 18% in that time period $13.2T vs $11.3T from forcasts.or
FY2001-2011 Defense BA Graph.jpeg

Unemployment won’t recover for 157 months (2021)

If we look at employment prior to the Great Recession compared to now there is a difference of 11.3 million jobs (from Bookings institute). Now how long is it going to take to return to that level? If you take the best job growth of the 2000’s it’ll be 157 months or 11years. That’s not until 2021!

If you take the best rate from the 1990’s it’s down to about 8 years! Here’s the chart with how many months it’ll take based on the rate with a couple note worthy rates highlighted.

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More exonerations for Climategate researchers

Yet another report says Michael E Mann is cleared of any wrongdoing related to his climate research.

An investigative panel at Pennsylvania State University, weighing the question of whether the scientist, Michael E. Mann, had “seriously deviated from accepted practices within the academic community for proposing, conducting or reporting research or other scholarly activities,” declared that he had not.

This is the second report from Penn St. clearing him and joins two others in Britain clearing related researchers.

Senator Robert Byrd

From Frank Rich’s column about Senator Robert Byrd.

These senators were in the tradition of Thurmond, not Byrd — indeed, they are Thurmond’s direct heirs. Like Byrd, Thurmond had been an ardent Democratic foe of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Unlike Byrd, he left his party in disgust that year and endorsed Goldwater, jump-starting the migration of the Democrats’ racist cadre and their political toxins to the G.O.P. and setting the stage for the Republican “Southern strategy.” That strategy isn’t dead.

The NY Times had an interesting obituary about Senator Byrd including his Ku Klux Klan membership, title as “King of Pork”

Mr. Byrd’s perspective on the world changed over the years. A former member of the Ku Klux Klan, he filibustered against the 1964 Civil Rights Act only to come to back civil rights measures and Mr. Obama. A supporter of the Vietnam War, he became a fierce critic, decades later, of the war in Iraq. In 1964, the Americans for Democratic Action, the liberal lobbying group, found that his views and the group’s aligned only 16 percent of the time. In 2005, he got an A.D.A. rating of 95.

Budget Deficits

Deficit1

Here’s how future US budget deficits are apportioned to various legislation and events from Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Remember, the budget for 2000 was in surplus; in 2009 the deficit was $1.4 trillion. It’s not the stimulus spending that dominates deficit spending.

12 16 09bud rev6 28 10 t11

In the meantime, employment is still terrible. If the employment rate stayed at the same rate as 1999 67.1% then there are four million fewer jobs then 10 years ago. That’s a lot of unhappy people.

Unemployment

Here’s is Calculated Risk’s version of the scariest chart. It shows the change in employment as a percent since the peak employment near the beginning of the recession; for this recession, that’s Dec 2007. Don’t forget that the years up to 2007 weren’t particularly good as there was no net gain of jobs in spite of increasing population.
Inflation is at 2.2% which is lower then usual.
The dotted line is employment with the census workers taken out.

Employment an Recessions May 20101

High tax rates and economic growth

From Paul Krugman is this interesting chart about the upper tax rate. I don’t think (and I doubt anyone else does) that high taxes/high regulation cause growth but it is clear that low taxes/low regulation are not the be-all/end-all of economic policies.

The blue line, left scale, shows median family income in 2008 dollars; the red line, right scale, shows the top marginal tax rate, a rough indicator of the overall stance of policy. Basically, US postwar economic history falls into two parts: an era of high taxes on the rich and extensive regulation, during which living standards experienced extraordinary growth; and an era of low taxes on the rich and deregulation, during which living standards for most Americans rose fitfully at best.

taxes-growth.png
The Krugman post was inspired by Richard Green who got the data from US Dept of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis
And I still like the earlier comic I posted from The Politics in Deficits & Taxes
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