Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Missouri Middle-Schooler Whips The FDA

The Wikipedia entry for Seneca, Missouri (pop.2,135) has no mention of Taylor Gaines or Bisphenol A, but before this all shakes out it just might. Gaines, a precocious 13 year-old native of the town, just kicked the Food and Drug Administration in the nuts after showing in a Middle School Science fair that BPA, the controversial chemical banned in Canada, Target and Walmart, causes deformities in planarian worms.

She's a star, a bright young scientist and a social activist, even if she doesn't realize it. For her science project, she gets a whole sheet of stickers and extra credit. Somebody get her a scholarship before Dow Chemical buys her off.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Wait a second...

Did the Daily Show deliberately rip off the Vapors? Cue to 2:45 if you have any doubts.


Turning Japanese

Bernanke looking at cutting rates again.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Half a quadrillion dollars

The number $530 trillion is getting bandied about as an estimate of the size of the derivatives market. We are now in figures normally reserved for astrophysicists.

Today's Washington Post makes the astonishing claim:

The global derivatives market topped $530 trillion as of June 30 this year, including $55 trillion in the suddenly popular credit-default swaps; that $530 trillion represents all contracts outstanding. The total dollars at risk is a much smaller, but still a hefty $2.7 trillion, according to an estimate by the International Swaps and Derivatives Association.

UPDATE: Slate has an article in the explainer (using $596 trillion!). I still don't understand.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Sarah Palin is the GOP's adjustible rate mortgage-backed security

She's a good earner when times are good, but when they're bad, she's radioactive, and can bring the whole rotten structure down with her.

Time to cut military spending

OK America, you have a choice: Either cut military spending or cut Medicaid/Medicare and Social security. As far as the chitlins are concerned, the answer is pretty clear. We've done the math for you, right here on the back of a napkin.

I'll use pictures to help you out:

The crown jewel of the American military: the awesomely fast, powerful and stealthy F-22, which just celebrated its 100th edition. At an average cost of $137 million a pop, plus $62 billion in production cost, we arrive at a gag reflex-inducing $76 billion tab. Even without accounting for upkeep, storage, and operation, that figure alone outstrips the defense spending of any other country in the world. Number two on the list, the peace-loving France, spends $74 Billion.

The crown jewel of al Qaeda, the sturdy, useful and ubiquitious Stanley Utility Knife, available at a corner hardware store near you for $15.99, plus $2.99 for a pack of blades.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Who's in charge?

The world's on fire, and I'm not really sure whom to blame for it. Who is in charge?