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Red and blue all over again

Kevin Drum is understandably upset that the so-called 'red-states' in general spend more in federal tax money than they generate in tax revenue than the so-called 'blue-states'. And California, being of course one of the blue-states, is a net loser in this federal redistribution of taxes. How infuriating it must be to be a Californian.

Kevin concludes from this data that "red America is living on welfare, and the payments are coming from us commie symps in blue America." Read more »

Cancun editorial roundup

NY Times - The Cancun Failure

Washington Post - Cancun Collapse

New Zealand Herald - Breakdown at WTO dire for NZ

New Straits Times (Malaysia) - Triumph and defeat in Cancun Read more »

The falling man

Although the anniversary has come and gone, I just noticed this article in Esquire about what has become one of the most famous photographs in history. For me, the most poignant memory of 9/11 was the people jumping out of the buildings. What goes on in a person's mind in that moment of decision, when the choice of jumping appears preferable to staying put? Read more »

Delong channels Krugman

The usually reasonable and moderate Brad Delong makes an uncharacteristically harsh observation: Read more »

Network Effects

Alex Taborrok of the excellent Marginal Revolution blog discusses some of network effects associated with public-key cryptography: Read more »

Quote of the Day

On newspapers and soda cans

Thoughts on this question asked below. Props to grant, Kevin White, and Spoonie Luv for stepping up to the plate. grant essentially nailed it.

When I am done reading a newspaper, a second newspaper is essentially useless to me. A second newspaper does not give me any new information. If my friend wants to know the news, I can give him that same newspaper; neither he nor I need a second newspaper. Read more »

Secret <STRIKE>Agent</STRIKE> Bearded Man

I don't often agree with contemporary French intellectuals (certain exceptions notwithstanding), but this NYTimes piece on Tzvetan Todorov contains some interesting observations:

"We have gone from the world of George Orwell, where large empires confronted each other, to the universe of Ian Fleming and James Bond, where a megalomaniac billionaire hidden in a cave sends planes against American cities."

Manned vs unmanned space flights

From today's NY Times Letters to the Editor:

Re "The Rush to Resume Shuttle Flights" (editorial, Sept. 9):

You support manned space flights. Why? There's simply no evidence that manned spaceflight will do anything to contribute to our understanding of planets outside our own.

In fact, almost every single advance in our understanding of the cosmos has come from unmanned space flights and space probes.