How They Did by the Numbers

These numbers are from Budget of the United States Government: Historical Tables Fiscal Year 2008, specifically Table 1.3 — Summary of Receipts, Outlays, and Surpluses or Deficits (-) in Current Dollars, Constant (FY 2000) Dollars, and as Percentages of GDP: 1940–2012

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The conditional formatting and president names were my additions. The blue formatting shows the trend of budget surpluses and deficits for the past 5 presidents. The green formatting shows the top 10% and red the bottom 10% in the list.

A word of caution to the wise: these are mere statistics. As Disraeli once said, there are lies, damned lies and statistics. So look at this as one view; one piece of a jigsaw and no more.

No apathy for politics among the Indian electorate

This factoid from an article on Six myths about Indian elections on the BBC News website was an interesting eye opener:

In advanced democracies, as you come down the various tiers - from national to local elections - the turnout of voters goes down.

In India, it is exactly the opposite: the turnout in federal elections tends to be around 60%, in the state elections it is around 70% and when it comes to village council elections it is anything upwards of 80%

Apple Mighty Mouse trackball not working?

I had some trouble with the Mighty Mouse scroll functionality suddenly not working. It'd scroll up but not down. I'm running the beta Boot Camp and Windows Vista, so figuring it to be an Apple driver bug I booted into OS X - which I rarely do. Well the same scrolling issues showed up there. That led me to suspect a hardware issue, likely related to a foreign object stuck in the receptacle under the trackball. A little bit of searching later, I came across this tip for cleaning the Mighty Mouse which worked like a charm!

PS: I've never had this happen on either of the 2 Microsoft scrollwheel mice that I use on my other computers. Perhaps something for Apple's trackball design dept. to revisit.