Sunday, June 22, 2008

Martian Skies

Collected by the Boston Globe, these photos of Martian skies are without peer. There is a romance to exploring the unexplored, about going somewhere new simply because that's what's next.

It reminds me of President Reagan's speech, quoting from the poem High Flight, later cribbed by The West Wing, on the night of the "Challenger" disaster. Scheduled to give his state of the union, he spoke in lieu from the West Wing:

For the families of the seven, we cannot bear, as you do, the full impact of this tragedy. But we feel the loss, and we're thinking about you so very much. Your loved ones were daring and brave, and they had that special grace, that special spirit that says, "Give me a challenge and I'll meet it with joy." They had a hunger to explore the universe and discover its truths. They wished to serve, and they did. They served all of us.

And I want to say something to the school children of America who were watching the live coverage of the shuttle's takeoff. I know it is hard to understand, but sometimes painful things like this happen. It's all part of the process of exploration and discovery. It's all part of taking a chance and expanding man's horizons. The future doesn't belong to the fainthearted; it belongs to the brave. The Challenger crew was pulling us into the future, and we'll continue to follow them.

The crew of the space shuttle Challenger honored us by the manner in which they lived their lives. We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved good-bye and "slipped the surly bonds of earth" to "touch the face of God."

Slipped the surly bonds of earth to touch the face of God.

Anyhow, beautiful pictures.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Growth, Inflation, Politics, and Mistakes

Mankiw on the corporate income tax:

The ultimate payers of the corporate tax are those individuals who have some stake in the company on which the tax is levied. If you own corporate equities, if you work for a corporation or if you buy goods and services from a corporation, you pay part of the corporate income tax. The corporate tax leads to lower returns on capital, lower wages or higher prices—and, most likely, a combination of all three.

Krugman on embedded versus non-embedded inflation:

Imagine that there are two entrepreneurs, Harry and Louise, both of whom change prices only at fairly long intervals—say, once a year. Other things equal, Harry want his average price over the next year to be about the same as Louise's; Louise wants her average price to be about the same as Harry's. But their price setting takes place on different dates. (This is a metaphor for the real economy, in which people setting prices have to think about the prices of many competitors and suppliers that will prevail until they revise the price again.) In this situation, inflation can feed on itself: Harry raises his price above Louise's, because he expects her to raise her price in the future, and she does the same thing when it's her turn.

Love on the 2008 US Presidential election:

Clinton, citing Puerto Rican victory, soldiers on ... PR cannot vote in general ... Obama 48 delegates shy of lock

Biz Stone on why the above is so damn slow:

We currently use one database for writes with multiple [sources say two] slaves for read queries. As many know, replication of MySQL is no easy task, so we've brought in MySQL experts to help us with that immediately. We've also ordered new machines and failover infrastructure to handle emergencies.