Non-Washington Bullets

  • The above image (and a larger version which you can zoom in on and thereby read) tells a story about the collapse of Iceland's economy, with a few other Iceland facts thrown in as well. From my passing familiarity with the topic, it seems pretty accurate to me, though it's odd to leave out the possibility of market manipulation, unless subsequent reporting has debunked those suspicions. However, I'm not linking to it because of the information, but rather because it's an amazing example of how not to use graphics. If you read it, you'll find that the information contained therein (except for a joke in #10) suggests absolutely nothing about a cycle. It's just an ordered list in which two follows one, three two, and so on. Presenting it as a cycle (e.g. the nitrogen cycle) is fundamentally misleading and people will either consciously or subconsciously come away with a badly mistaken impression of the facts it relates.

  • A brief, witty take on the Big 3's plight. Not the whole story, but a useful corrective to an over-abundance of UAW bashing.

  • Glenn Greenwald worries whether Obama and Democrats in Congress are serious about passing laws commanding the CIA not to torture people. I'm cautiously optimistic, though Greenwald is correct to note retreat by Feinstein and Wyden from their previous statements. Relatedly, I'd like to read this book.

  • It seems to me that either the Israeli or British press publishes a story about Israeli strikes on Iran being imminent every three months or so. Which isn't to say such stories are meaningless, see Blake Hounshell's take on the most recent story. I actually wrote the previous two sentences before reading the most recent story myself, which it turns out isn't particularly alarmist and is more about the fact that Israel is making plans for how it would execute an attack without U.S. cooperation, something it should certainly have plans for and then never do. In the same sense, I hope the U.S. military keeps War Plan Red up to date.

  • Finally, the 1993 William Langewiesche Atlantic Monthly article “The Turn” on the development of the ability to fly an airplane without a visible horizon (in clouds, in darkness, and when coming out of a cloud already in a banked turn), and the obstacles in the way of doing so, is absolutely fascinating and everyone should read it. Comparatively, everything above is crap. This should probably not be the last bullet, since you probably will have stopped reading before it. In case you haven't, and are turned off by the fact that the article isn't properly formatted for readability (if you haven't clicked, it's a far too narrow column of text for an article that long), here's the same article reformatted as a google document.

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