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December 14th, 2017

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Cashing In | Government In Action

News of the Weird by Chuck Shepherd

By News of the Weird by Chuck Shepherd

Published August 1, 2016

Cashing In  |  Government In Action

By 2009, when Zimbabwe's central bank gave up on controlling inflation, its largest currency was the 100 trillion-dollar bill -- barely enough for bus fare in Harare and not even worth the paper needed to print it. However, that 100 trillion-dollar note (that's "1" plus 14 zeros) has turned out to be a great investment for several astute traders in London and New Zealand, who bought thousands of them at pennies on the trillion and now report brisk sales to collectors on eBay at US$30 to $40 a note -- a six-year return on investment, according to a May report in London's The Guardian, of nearly 1,500 percent. [The Guardian, 5-14-2016]

U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona, in a May publication deriding the value of certain federally funded research, highlighted several recent National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation projects, such as the $13 million for exploring musical preferences of monkeys and chimpanzees; the $1.1 million judging whether cheerleaders are more attractive seen as a squad than individually; the $390,000 to determine how many shakes a wet dog needs to feel dry; and the $5 million to learn whether drunk birds slur when they sing. (Also strangely included was the actually valuable study by Michael Smith of Cornell University ranking where on the human body a bee sting was most painful. He found, from personal testing, that "on the penis" was only the third worst -- research that brought Smith a prestigious Ig Nobel prize last year.) [Fox News, 5-10-2016] [Sen. Jeff Flake, "Twenty Questions," May 2016]

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