Daily Archives: January 3, 2012

Galactic Views (19)


Active Galaxy Centaurus A
NASA – Resembling looming rain clouds on a stormy day, dark lanes of dust crisscross the giant elliptical galaxy Centaurus A.

Hubble’s panchromatic vision, stretching from ultraviolet through near-infrared wavelengths, reveals the vibrant glow of young, blue star clusters and a glimpse into regions normally obscured by the dust.

The warped shape of Centaurus A’s disk of gas and dust is evidence for a past collision and merger with another galaxy. The resulting shockwaves cause hydrogen gas clouds to compress, triggering a firestorm of new star formation. These are visible in the red patches in this Hubble close-up.

At a distance of just over 11 million light-years, Centaurus A contains the closest active galactic nucleus to Earth. The center is home for a supermassive black hole that ejects jets of high-speed gas into space, but neither the supermassive black hole or the jets are visible in this image.

This image was taken in July 2010 with Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3. Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration


Campaigning over, Iowa Republicans prepare to caucus

By Stephanie Condon – After withstanding months of a turbulent campaign season, Republican voters on Tuesday will finally start weighing in on who deserves the GOP presidential nomination.

Technically speaking, the caucuses are largely symbolic — the results will represent the viewpoints of just a fraction of the American population. Iowa will send just 28 delegates to the Republican National Convention in Florida, where a candidate will need the support of at least 1,143 to win the presidential nomination. On top of all that, the delegates aren’t officially chosen on caucus night — they’re selected at the state convention in June. more> http://is.gd/GqZupT

What Should the Financial System Actually Look Like?

By Nathan Lewis – What are banks’ role in society today? First, they operate a payments system. These are your checking accounts and so forth. Second, they are conduits of capital, making loans mostly to small entities like households and small businesses. In the U.S. in particular, businesses of any considerable size use direct corporate bond finance instead. In Europe and Asia, banks still have a role providing loans to large businesses.

Statistics on corporate bonds show the process of disintermediation that has occurred. In the U.S., corporations have $4,967 billion of corporate bonds outstanding, and $1,395 billion of bank loans. This compares to the eurozone, where corporations have €4,761 billion of bank loans, and €882 billion of bonds. In 1968, U.S. corporations had $139 billion of bonds and $105 billion of bank loans. more> http://is.gd/5Wcyzy

Top 12 Hot Design Technologies for 2012


By Rick Merritt, Peter Clarke, Nicolas Mokhoff – Our friends at EETimes put together their list of the top 20 areas they see as big movers in 2012. more> http://is.gd/BlHw0x


The biggest driver of income inequality: capital gains

By Suzy Khimm – A new report (pdf) from the Congressional Research Service — the nonpartisan public policy branch of Congress — takes a closer look at the drivers of income inequality between 1996 and 2006, the last period of moderate economic growth before the latest boom-bust cycle.

Changes in income from capital gains and dividends were the single largest contributor to rising income inequality between 1996 and 2006. Changes in tax policy also made a significant contribution to the increase in income inequality. more> http://is.gd/j2YuPz


CONGRESS WATCH Debt Burden Threatens American Families, US Congress