The Universe is beautiful.
Which is interesting. It doesn’t have to be; it could be all colorless and weird and lumpy. Instead, it’s bursting with color, sculpted by vast forces, molded into fantastic shapes that please our eyes and delight our brains—especially once we understand what we’re seeing.
Every December I pick my favorite images from the previous year to display, a task that is extraordinarily difficult. I always wind up with a list of about 60 or 70, and I have to cull it down mercilessly. Such is the case this year again, and I could pare it only to 21, a score and more of gorgeousness for you to soak in. I choose the pictures not just for their beauty but also because they are interesting, and different—ones that stand out from the crowd somehow. I usually put them in order with my favorite one last, but this year I just can’t. I’ll let you know my favorite when you get to it—I expect you’ll agree—but other than that it’s just a dead tie.
I couldn’t pick just one, so click the link and enjoy them all.
Astronomers have discovered what may be five planets orbiting Tau Ceti, the closest single star beyond our solar system whose temperature and luminosity nearly match the sun’s. If the planets are there, one of them is about the right distance from the star to sport mild temperatures, oceans of liquid water, and even life. Don’t pack your bags just yet, though: The discovery still needs to be confirmed.
“People are freaking out about the world coming to an end—I totally get that,” said the Google C.E.O. Larry Page in a conference call with reporters. “But at Google we view the Apocalypse as a unique opportunity. This company was founded with the goal to ‘organize the world’s information’ and we see the next three days as our chance to get that done.”As for the marching orders that Page gave to Google’s team of designers: “The world is going to be destroyed and mankind will cease to exist. Make Google the last page they see, and give us one last chance to serve them tracking cookies.”
Wide-scale tax evasion in Greece accounts for 28 billion Euros in unreported taxable income –just among the self-employed, according to a new study, “Tax Evasion Across Industries: Soft Credit Evidence from Greece,” by Adair Morse, a visiting assistant professor of finance at Berkeley-Haas.
At a tax rate of 40 percent, that’s a revenue loss responsible for nearly one-third of Greece’s deficit in 2009 or almost 50 percent of the deficit in 2008, according to the study co-authored by Margarita Tsoutsoura, assistant professor, University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and Nikolaos Artavanis, PhD candidate, Virginia Tech Pamplin College of Business.
Using bank data on household borrowing, the paper finds that highly paid, highly educated professionals are at the forefront of tax evasion in Greece: doctors, engineers, private tutors, financial services agents, accountants, and lawyers. Morse contends the findings are troubling from a perspective of inequality in the financially struggling country.
You’re meant to be your country’s elite. Pay your taxes, people!
The missing maple syrup strategic reserve has been recovered by quick-witted police forces.