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Florida Is Weird

Dave Barry in the Miami Herald covers the newest game in Florida: The Python Challenge.

The game is covered at the official web site, www.pythonchallenge.org. If you put Python Challenge into Google it will send you to www.pythonchallenge.com, which is a game for programmers learning the Python language.

Florida has a python hunting season in an attempt to keep down the number of pythons that have infested the Everglades, and to reduce the number of people in the state to who think wading in a swamp that is known to be infested with constrictors that can swallow them is a reasonable thing to do. Every contestant who is swallowed improves the gene pool and save the lives of the native animals that inhabit the ‘Glades.

They are offering cash prizes for the biggest python caught, and the most pythons caught, but discriminate by not offering anything of value to the pythons, other than a possible free meal.

January 13, 2013   12 Comments

Coin Of The Realm

One of the ways that an individual can acquire precious metals is by buying the bullion coins of national mints. The US Mint produces bullion coins for silver, gold, palladium, and platinum. If you go to the Mint’s website for the one ounce platinum coin you will see this:

All American Eagles are legal tender coins, with their face value imprinted in U.S. dollars. Although their face value is largely symbolic, it provides proof of their authenticity as official U.S. coinage. The one-ounce platinum coin displays the highest face value ($100) ever to appear on a U.S. coin.

Given that an ounce of platinum is currently selling for over $1600, it should be obvious that the amount imprinted has no connection to the value of the metal used. If you tried to use one of these coins to pay your taxes, you would only get $100 for it, not the value of the metal.

That small paragraph establishes two important facts: the value of the metal and the amount on the coin are not connected, and the coin is “legal tender”.

Digby reads the New York Times and reports that the White House is telling Krugman that they are refusing to mint the coin “as a way to put the onus for avoiding default entirely on the GOP.”

Mattbastard at the Agonist notes that Kevin Drum is happy with Zero dumping the coin, but if the White House thinks that the Republicans are going to get all of the blame, they should read Athenæ.

If the coin is minted and has $1,000,000,000,000 stamped on it, it is legal tender and the Fed has to accept it at face value.

This move has made the debt limit, and possible shut down of the government, a petty political battle on both sides. No one seems willing to act like an adult and solve problems when they can have an artificial crisis that will screw up the lives of a lot people who don’t need any more stress.

January 13, 2013   Comments Off on Coin Of The Realm

Rivet Ball

In the early hours of January 13th, 1969 I was forced to accept something that I had known for a while, but had pushed to the back of my mind: I was mortal and was going to die.

This was the first of several incidents when my chance of survival was a good deal less than 1 in 2. This wasn’t the scariest, but it was the first, and following on the heels of the terrible events of 1968, it had the biggest impact.

In the end the only “death” was an airplane, Rivet Ball, the Air Force’s only RC-135S. The military version of the Boeing 707, the fuselage broke in half, like an eggshell, on impact. A very talented pilot, John Achor, the aircraft commander, was responsible for that miracle.

I provide more detail on my other site.

January 13, 2013   2 Comments