Astronomical Numbers, Geeky Barbie, Wind Farms And Craigslist
May 7, 2010 by Chip Wood
*U.S. debt—bigger than the galaxy? Thanks to an alert reader who sent me the following quote by Nobel Laureate Richard Feynman: “There are 1011 stars in the galaxy. That used to be a huge number. But it’s only 100 billion. It’s less than the national debt. We used to call them astronomical numbers. Now we should call them economical numbers.” Not to make you feel worse, but Feynman wrote that more than two decades ago. Now our debt is greater than the stars in 1,000 galaxies.
*Helping Barbie get her Geek on. Mattel recently ran a contest to pick a new career for Barbie. The company gave visitors to the Barbie.com website five choices: architect, anchorwoman, computer engineer, environmentalist and surgeon. In the month the contest ran more than 600,000 votes were cast. Although you could only vote once, female computer engineers launched a worldwide effort to get out the vote—with the result that computer engineer won the popular contest. The new Barbie will have a ponytail, black leggings, and a top decorated in binary code—and the same impossible body. Who says geeks can’t have fun?
*Hey, that’s our ocean out there, buddy! Last week, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar overrode the objections of many folks on Cape Cod, Mass., including representatives of its most famous family, the Kennedys, to approve the construction of a billion-dollar offshore wind farm. Among other ploys opponents used, they tried to get the Atlantic Ocean added to the National Register for Historic Places. Seems Bay State liberals love renewable energy—so long as it’s produced where they can’t see it.
*That’s an awful lot of lechery. Craigslist, one of the most popular web sites in the country, says its ad revenue from blatantly sexual offers will more than triple this year, to $36 million. Organizations opposing human trafficking for sex say the site remains the single biggest hub for selling women against their will. And you thought Craigslist was only an electronic yard sale.