Monday 21 January 2013
A while back, at the entrance of a gym, there was a picture of a very thin and beautiful woman. The caption was "This summer, do you want to be a mermaid or a whale?"
The story goes; a woman (of clothing size unknown) answered the following way:
"Dear people, whales are always surrounded by friends (dolphins, seals, curious humans), they are sexually active and raise their children with great tenderness.
They entertain like crazy with dolphins and eat lots of prawns. They swim all day and travel to fantastic places like Patagonia, the Barents Sea or the coral reefs of Polynesia.
They sing incredibly well and sometimes even are on cds. They are impressive and dearly loved animals, which everyone defend and admires.
Mermaids do not exist.
Wednesday 2 January 2013
In the United States, the "fiscal cliff" refers to the economic effects that will result from tax increases, spending cuts, and a corresponding reduction in the US budget deficit, potentially beginning in 2013. The deficit—the difference between what the government takes in and what it spends—is projected to be reduced by roughly half in 2013. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that this sharp decreases in the deficit (the fiscal cliff) will likely lead to a mild recession in early 2013 with the unemployment rate rising to roughly 9 percent in the second half of the year.
The laws leading to the fiscal cliff include the expiration of the 2010 Tax Relief Act and planned spending cuts under the Budget Control Act of 2011. Nearly all proposals to avoid the fiscal cliff involve extending certain parts of the Bush tax cuts or changing the 2011 Budget Control Act or both, thus making the deficit larger by reducing taxes or increasing spending. Because of the short-term adverse impact on the economy, the fiscal cliff has stirred intense commentary both inside and outside of Congress.
The Budget Control Act was a compromise intended to resolve a dispute concerning the public debt ceiling. Some major programs, like Social Security, Medicaid, federal pay (including military pay and pensions), and veterans' benefits, are exempted from the spending cuts. Spending for defense, federal agencies and cabinet departments will be reduced through broad, shallow cuts referred to as budget sequestration.