September 11, 2008

Python Maze Generator

Chris Stakor of Mucho Mazes wants, of course, mucho mazes, and asked for help making our PDF maze generator output multiple mazes at once. Sure thing! The updated python maze generator code now accepts a page count argument.

Here is the form:

width in points
height in points
cell size
curvy straight
crossings not

Warning that if you try more than about a dozen pages on my website, my CPU limits will stop the script from completing. Of course, you can run the script on your own server if you want hundreds of pages.

It occurs to me that I never bothered to write something to draw solutions. Any volunteers?

Posted by David at 09:07 AM | Comments (5)

September 19, 2008

Capital Elephant

Isn't it clear that the current financial crisis is a consequence of our national debt?

The huge, one trillion dollar pile of questionable mortgage debt that is punishing markets today is puny compared to our national debt - about nine trillion dollars borrowed by the federal government alone. Nine trillion dollars of public debt backed by an administration that has been incapable of raising taxes or cutting spending to meet its debt obligations for the last eight years.

Our national debt means that every citizen starts off $30,000 in the hole. How many people have 30k in their bank account to make up for this investment shortfall? It is a price of citizenship: Americans are all borrowers.

How is this connected to the collapse of our debt markets?

Continue reading "Capital Elephant"
Posted by David at 06:06 AM | Comments (1)

Wanted: Tough Talk on Debt

I've been hoping for Obama to give another "tough talk" speech to Americans about debt, like he has done in the past to tell us to educate our children. I haven't heard the message I want to hear yet. But the current debt crisis seems like a perfect time.

Continue reading "Wanted: Tough Talk on Debt"
Posted by David at 04:45 PM | Comments (1)

September 23, 2008

Paying Our Way

In Wisconsin yesterday, Obama said he wants Washington to "take responsibility for every dime that it spends," and he listed a dozen different ways he wants to cut spending. I'd still want to hear more about making a balanced budget a priority, but to my ears he sounds far more credible than McCain.

Posted by David at 06:01 AM | Comments (0)

How to Sweep $2m Under The Rug

The top news story of the day should be how Rick Davis, McCain's campaign manager, was discovered to have earned $2 million over the years peddling influence on behalf of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

It is a perfect example of the sort of quiet corruption that contributed to this trillion-dollar mess. A deregulated FNMA and FLHMC created the "mortgages and sauerkraut" distortions that sped up the debt crisis.

But instead, the top news story is about how McCain is mad at the New York Times for reporting on this relationship?

Continue reading "How to Sweep $2m Under The Rug"
Posted by David at 07:18 AM | Comments (2)

An Era of Inflation Begins

Oil prices explode.

Posted by David at 07:37 AM | Comments (0)

Canon to Reshape Media

Canon is about to introduce a very interesting digital camera that will dramatically lower the cost of producing professional-quality motion picture footage. Vincent Laforet points out that what used to take half a million dollars of professional video equipment can now be accomplished by Canon's new $2700 EOS 5D Mk II.

What did Canon do? They added 30fps video capture to their full-frame digital SLR camera. The result blows away traditional video cameras in its ability to capture full-resolution video with no noise at very low light. It also lets you shoot movies using an array of spectacular and inexpensive still-frame lenses. Laforet has posted a demonstration movie shot mostly at night without special lighting - it is amazing.

The technology puts professional filmmaking tools in the hands of everybody. If Napster redefined the music industry, this product from Canon promises to redefine video and film.

Posted by David at 07:07 PM | Comments (1)

September 24, 2008

What's the Rush?

Instead of just handing Paulson the keys to the economy, we should understand how we're going to make our debt markets more sane. What happened to the old-fashioned idea that you're supposed to trust the borrower before you hand him the cash?

Bert Ely says "the banks can handle it and clean up their own mess.... The housing bubble has to be allowed to collapse in order to clear the markets."

Posted by David at 04:49 PM | Comments (0)

September 25, 2008

Letterman's Best Non-Guest

Letterman can put you on his show even if you don't show up.

Posted by David at 11:56 AM | Comments (2)

September 29, 2008

Do-Nothing Republicans

It is bizarre to me that middle-class-unfriendly Republican policies continue to be popular in the red states that would benefit the most from Democratic policies.

It is also bizarre to me that here in the Northeast, the Republican party is seen as the "party for rich folks." I think the willingness of twelve Republican congressmen to send the stock market down by $1.2 trillion today in the name of "less government" should make rich people realize that Republicans aren't really on their side.

Continue reading "Do-Nothing Republicans"
Posted by David at 06:41 PM | Comments (6)