Jewish World Review Jan. 6, 2003 / 12 Teves, 5764
The reason behind the coin ridges; where 'baby corn' comes from; more
http://www.jewishworldreview.com | Q: Why do some coins, like quarters and dimes, have ridges on the sides? - John Lilley, Charlotte
A: For the answer to this question, let's turn to our friends at the U.S. Mint.
(Hey Mint guys, can I have some money? PLEEEEEEEEASE. Do you know what it costs just to buy shoes for my kids? Who's gonna miss, say, seven grand? I'll sweep up around the Mint, empty the trash, everything. Just leave me the keys.)
As I was saying. The stingy people at the Mint, who won't even share a LITTLE, say the dollar coin, half dollar, quarter and dime were originally made of gold and silver. Some people would file the edges off the coins to get shavings of the precious metals.
Some coins in circulation were reduced to about half their minted weight. Merchants took to weighing every coin they were passed, which slowed down business.
The grooved, or "reeded" edges prevented shaving, and also made counterfeiting more difficult. The penny and nickel never contained precious metals, so reeding wasn't necessary. None of the coins now contain precious metals.
Quarters, dimes and half dollars have a copper core and an outer layer made of copper and a copper-nickel alloy. Nickels are made from that same alloy. The golden dollar has a copper core, and the alloy layers on each side are copper, zinc, manganese and nickel. The penny, once a copper coin, is now composed of copper-plated zinc.
The Mint continues to use reeded edges because it helps the visually impaired identify the coins. For example, ridges make it easy to identify a dime from a penny.
There are 188 ridges on a dime; 119 on a quarter.
Last year the country produced 7,288,855,000 pennies; 1,230,480,000 nickels; 2,567,000,000 dimes; 3,313,704,000 quarters; 5,600,000 half dollars and 7,597,610 golden dollars.
It costs 10.03 cents to make a golden dollar; 9.63 cents to make a half dollar; 4.29 cents to make a quarter; 1.88 cents to make a dime; 3.13 cents to make a nickel; and 0.81 cents to make a penny. And I'll give anyone those rates in exchange. PLEEEEEEEEASE.
Know why the Mint workers went on strike? They wanted to make less money.
Q: Where do the tiny ears of corn that you find in Chinese restaurants come from? Who grows them? Where? What does a field of tiny cornstalks look like? - George Meyer, York, S.C.
A: George, first you get yourself a little farmer, about the size of GI Joe or Barbie. (You could put `em together and play mini "Green Acres"!) Then you get `em a little tractor...
Actually, baby corn is not mysterious at all. It's just what it sounds like: the ear of the plant harvested young, as the corn silks are emerging, and before pollination. Baby corn is normally harvested, by hand, when the plants are about 2 months old. Corn grown for grain is harvested at about four months.
The little guys are grown all over the world. Most of the li'l huskers we get in the United States are imported in cans from Thailand. Thailand's made one heckuva business out of baby corn. They export about $1.74 million worth of the stuff each year. Whoooee! That's a lot of baby corn.
TIME FOR A FEW QUICK ANAGRAMS
dormitory - dirty room.
"Glad You Asked" - "Ask Leo dad guy." (I'm both a Leo and a dad.)
The check is in the mail - Claim, "Heck, I sent it!" (heh).
Snooze alarms - Alas! no more Z's.
Time for our quiz, this week, this time on Broadway show tunes. Name the show the following lyrics are from.
1. "Ev'ry night my honey lamb and I sit alone and talk and watch a hawk makin' lazy circles in the sky."
2. "Tote that barge. Lift that bale. Get a little drunk and you land in jail."
3. "Would it spoil some vast, eternal plan if I were a wealthy man?"
4. "Touch me. It's so easy to leave me. All alone with the memory of my days in the sun."
5. Last question is a little different. The brilliant chief of research and archives at The Charlotte Observer is named Marion. Her name and profession are reminiscent of a character in what great American musical?
3. "Fiddler on the Roof"
5. Marian the librarian in "The Music Man"
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