Space porn: These images are (quite literally) out of this world
What can we learn about the Great Recession from Friday’s release of state unemployment numbers? Overall, not a whole lot changed in August from July: 26 states reported unemployment rate increases, 12 states recorded rate decreases, and 12 states reported no change at all.
But a look inside the numbers, at the five worst and five best states, is unhappily revealing. The states with the five highest unemployment rates are Nevada (13.4 percent), California (12.1 percent), Michigan (11.2 percent), South Carolina (11.1 percent) and Florida (10.7 percent.) Nevada, California, Michigan and South Carolina all registered unemployment increases in August, compared to July. Florida held even.
The states with the lowest unemployment rates are North Dakota (3.5 percent), Nebraska (4.2 percent), South Dakota (4.7 percent), New Hampshire (5.3 percent) and Oklahoma (5.6 percent.)
The combined population of the five worst states: 73,864,261.
The combined population of the five best states: 8,380,933.
The unavoidable conclusion: Unemployment is bad and getting worse in some of the most highly populated regions of the United States.
What does the geographical distribution of the hardest hit areas tell us? Again, not a whole lot that’s new. California, Florida and Nevada were among the three states hit hardest by the housing collapse, with Nevada getting the extra negative bonus of depressed Las Vegas tourism. Michigan, battered by globalization and the woes of the auto industry, has long been near the top of the unemployment charts. (Although the state had been improving quickly until about four months ago, when unemployment started rising again.) South Carolina’s high unemployment rate has been something of a mystery for years. Perhaps the most that can be said is that as a relatively low-tax state dominated by some of the most conservative Republican politicians in the country, it is certainly no advertisement for conservative orthodoxy, at least as far as boosting employment goes.
And what about the political implications? If we accept RealClearPolitics’ list of Florida, Ohio, Virginia, Wisconsin and Colorado as the five most important “swing states” of 2012, we see that unemployment held even (at high levels) in Florida and Ohio (9.1 percent) and ticked up in Virginia (6.3 percent), Wisconsin (7.9 percent) and Colorado (8.5 percent.)
It’s worth remembering that economic discontent undoubtedly contributed to the recent election of conservative governors in Florida, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin. Prognosis for the White House? Bad.
NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins
On December 28, 2013, Expedition 38 crew member Mike Hopkins participating in the second of two space walks to replace a degraded pump module on the International Space Station. (NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio is reflected in his helmet!)
The Soyuz TMA-10M
The Soyuz TMA-10M headed towards the International Space Station with crew members from Expedition 37 onboard.
40 years ago the Apollo 8 mission flew up to the moon, orbited it ten times and then returned to Earth. This picture was taken from that flight and shows the Earth as it seemingly rises in similar fashion to a sunrise.
Sunrise from Expedition 36
NASA Flight Engineer Karen L. Nyberg of Expedition 36 took this photo of the sun rising -- a sight they saw nearly 16 times per day due to the speed of the International Space Station's orbit around the earth.
A pair of NanoRacks CubeSats -- nanosattelite spacecrafts carrying experiments -- were launched by Expedition 38.