March 26, 2012 archive

Today on The Stars Hollow Gazette

Our regular featured content-

These featured articles-

This special feature for March Madness starting at 7 PM EDT

Open Thread: What You Should Know

You Should Know: The names of the 17 murdered Afghan civilians

Up host Chris Hayes and his panel have a list of items “You Should Know” for the upcoming week, including the names of the 17 Afghan civilians allegedly murdered by U.S. Staff Sgt. Robert Bales earlier this month.


Crusader vs. the Pirates

Crusader Rabbit Crusade 2 Episode 17

Open Thread

Glenn Greenwald, Bill Maher, Andrew Sullivan

Adapted from The Stars Hollow Gazette The Rant of the Week

Glenn Greenwald was a guest on Real Time with Bill Maher and exposes just how hypocritical Maher and Sullivan are.

One irony is that it was preceded by a discussion of hate crimes prosecutions (in the context of the Trayvon Martin and Tyler Clementi cases) in which both Maher and Andrew Sullivan insisted that Americans have the inviolable right to express even the most hateful and repellent opinions without being punished for it by the state, yet were both supportive of the Awlaki killing, an act grounded overwhelmingly if not exclusively in the U.S. government’s hatred and fear of his political speech. The discussion also included Brown University’s Wendy Schiller.

The Gold Bug

You know my methods Watson.

“But your grandiloquence, and your conduct in swinging the beetle – how excessively odd! I was sure you were mad. And why did you insist upon letting fall the bug, instead of a bullet, from the skull?”

“Why, to be frank, I felt somewhat annoyed by your evident suspicions touching my sanity, and so resolved to punish you quietly, in my own way, by a little bit of sober mystification. For this reason I swung the beetle, and for this reason I let it fall from the tree. An observation of yours about its great weight suggested the latter idea.”

The problem of fake gold bars

Felix Salmon, Reuters

Mar 25, 2012 16:19 EDT

You don’t need to be a conspiracy theorist to find this worrying: a 1kg gold bar, certified as 99.98% pure by XRF (X-ray fluorescence) tests, turns out to have been drilled out and largely replaced with tungsten. This bar was discovered only because it was 2 grams lighter than it ought to have been: the forgers failed to add quite enough gold to the outside of the bar to make up for the weight lost when they replaced gold with tungsten. But if they’d gotten the weight right, it would probably still be circulating today.

In the case of gold, then, what JK Galbraith famously called “the bezzle” – the amount of wealth that people think they have, which in fact they don’t have – could be truly enormous. If there are 1.3 million salted 400 oz bars in existence, and each one is 75% tungsten, then that makes 390 million ounces of gold which in truth isn’t there. At $1,660 per ounce, that’s over $600 billion which people think they own but don’t. To put that number in context, it’s roughly half the total quantity of subprime mortgages which had been issued at the height of the housing bubble.

In any case, there’s clearly now serious tail risk for anybody in the physical-gold market. And like most tail risks, measuring and/or insuring against it is extremely difficult. Any store of value has problems, be it fiat currency or sovereign debt or bitcoins. This latest discovery just goes to show that the problems with gold aren’t just the obvious ones surrounding things like the risk that the price of gold might plunge. There are non-obvious ones, too, which have the potential to be even bigger.

From the comments by Doly

Just to get people who worry about this slightly more worried: gold-plated tungsten will fail the density test, but this is because tungsten is slightly too dense. Making sure you leave some small hole of the right size, or add the right amount of almost any other metal (most metals are less dense), should solve this problem. This is an example of a very shoddy forgery. Somebody who took their forgery as seriously as they should when we’re talking some decent money, should have no trouble at all producing bars of the right weight and density. As Felix points out, conductivity would still show… but frankly, I think any competent chemist should be able to produce a gold-plated bar that passes most tests except cutting it in half.

As always, I only traffic in the most scurrilous rumors.

On This Day In History March 26

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

March 26 is the 85th day of the year (86th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 280 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1964, the musical, Funny Girl makes its premiere on Broadway.

Funny Girl is a musical with a book by Isobel Lennart, music by Jule Styne, and lyrics by Bob Merrill. The semi-biographical plot is based on the life and career of Broadway, film star and comedienne Fanny Brice and her stormy relationship with entrepreneur and gambler Nicky Arnstein. Its original title was My Man.

The musical was produced by Ray Stark, who was Brice’s son-in-law via his marriage to her daughter Frances, and starred Barbra Streisand.

Don’t Rain On My Parade

Muse in the Morning

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Muse in the Morning

Cyan with Bronze

Late Night Karaoke

Pique the Geek 20120325. Wrist Drop

I apologize for not keeping up with my normal posts, but I have developed a rather serious neurological disorder, the common name being wrist drop.  It has to do with damage to the nerve that serves to flex, in my case, the right wrist and fingers.

It also has a minor sensory component in that the dorsal surface of my thumb and surrounding part of my hand feels pressure poorly but is fully responsive to heat and cold.  It happened literally overnight, as when I awoke Monday morning my hand was fully involved.

I am much improved now, and thought that I should share some of my findings with you.  I also plan to resume My Little Town and Popular Culture next week.

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