Daily Archives: December 14, 2006

Ever Wonder Where Your Tax Dollars Are Going?

Check out the Death and Taxes Poster in this zoomable Flash applet. It’s not the easiest interpretation to decipher, but it is packed with visually interesting information, and does attempt to show relative budgets by the circle sizes. (Also note that this just covers the discretionary budget that is voted on, and approved every year, and does not include service on ongoing programs like Social Security).


Here are a couple excerpts related to some of our recent foreign endeavors:


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And on the domestic front:




If all that doesn’t already depress you, just note that the circle for the national debt of over $9.3 trillion is larger than the entire chart in its expanded form. Wasn’t fiscal discipline supposed to be a fundamental plank of the Republican party? What happened?

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Filed under Economics, Graphics

Ice Layers on Mars

NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has collected some amazing images of complex strata of ice at the Martian poles. Check out this image and the story that follows for more details.

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“The polar layers are at the top of the image, while the darker materials at the bottom might have been deposited as sand dunes. The Martian ice has mixed with dust to give it the reddish hue. (Click on Image for high-resolution version)”

Check out the latest images from mars at the NASA site here.

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Filed under Astronomy

"Think Twice Before Getting in a Car With an Aries!"

Astrology has always ranked somewhere behind phrenology and the study of navel lint in my taxonomy of pseudo-science. I even distinctly remember a crushing blow from many years ago (before I was married) when this smoking blond was purchasing some software ahead of me in line at Comp USA. I mean really, how often does THAT happen? I was in proto-nerd heaven, giddy with the prospect that a technically oriented, yet still hot, young lady might find some common ground with someone in the Physics program. And then I noticed that she was purchasing Astrology software. Sigh.

Had I but known that some real actuarial data might actually back up some astrological claims, perhaps I could have mustered the initiative to ask her out, or at least what her sign was. So take heart, all you technical types. Perhaps those hot astrological chics are still within reach. Be sure to check out this press release. “According to Insurancehotline.com, astrological signs are a significant factor in predicting car accidents. “

The study, which looked at 100,000 North American drivers’ records from the past six years, puts Libras (born September 23-October 22) followed by Aquarians (January 20-February 18) as the worst offenders for tickets and accidents. Leos (July 23-August 22) and then Geminis (May 21-June 20) were found to be the best overall.

“Now, changing postal codes is far less significant to me than drivers of certain astrological signs,” she told Reuters on Wednesday.

Even age, another variable for determining insurance rates, is less of a consideration to Romanov. The cutoff line for being considered a higher risk driver is 24 years of age; 25-year-olds are considered not-high risk. “I’d rather get into a car with a 24-year-old Leo than a 25-year-old Aries,” Romanov said. Leos, described along with the study results, are “generous, and comfortable in sharing the roadway. Aries, on the other hand, “have a ‘me first’ childlike nature that drives Aries into trouble.”

“I wasn’t believing in it before,” said Romanov, “but I would think twice before getting into a car with an Aries.”

It’s in print. It must be true. Ahem.


Filed under Humor