2-12-2018

Did You Know?:

In 2007, the U.S. mint began producing millions of dollar coins, depicting the former Presidents of the United States. The plan was to depict every president dead for at least two years on a coin to rejuvenate the public's interest in dollar coins after the Sacagawea line failed to do so (the Sacagawea coins were themselves a response to the unpopularity of the Susan B. Anthony dollars). Just as its predecessors, the Presidential $1 coin program failed to gain the favor of the populace and, in 2011, the decision was made to cease production of the coins for circulation as nearly 1.4 billion of the coins were sitting unused in the vaults of the Federal reserve. From that point on, only a limited number of coins were produced exclusively for collectors, with all presidential dollar coins for circulation ceasing production. Though they have minted coins through Ronald Reagan, only those through James Garfield were produced in numbers for general circulation. Strangely enough, 39 coins were released even though there were only 38 people who had served as Presidents (and were dead) - Grover Cleveland got two coins for his two non-consecutive terms.

To accompany the Presidential dollar coin program, a First Spouse program coin program was also created which memorialized each President's First spouse on a gold $10 coin (this denomination of currency is called an "eagle"). For Presidents without a spouse, images emblematic of their Presidencies are shown in place of a First Spouse. Just as her husband received two dollar coins for his non-consecutive terms, as did Frances Cleveland receive two coins for hers.

Source 1, Source 2, Source 3, Source 4

2-11-2018

Did You Know?:

The Government Accountability Office estimates that the U.S. Government could save $4.4 Billion over the next thirty years by switching to the dollar coin. This is because, even though dollar coins cost more to produce, they save money in the long run due to their long lifespan - almost thirty years. Still, the dollar coin has failed to gain public support over the dollar bill, perhaps perpetually dooming it to novelty.

Source

2-10-2018

Did You Know?

In 1815, George Wilson, a 50-year-old Englishman, set out to walk 1,000 miles in 20 days for £100 (~£7,000 today); for this, he would later be arrested. Wilson's walk around Blackheath Common was part of a larger trend known as pedestrianism which swept England in the wake of the Industrial Revolution - this pastime mostly consisted of watching people walk long distances, around and around. A common pedestrianist feat at the time was walking 1,000 miles in 1,000 hours, but Wilson's walk was that same distance in less than half that time, 480 hours, a pace made more impressive by his older age. When Wilson began walking, not much attention was paid to him, but as he continued, he garnered more and more interest - attracting even the prolific Times. Thousands came to see him; they brought alcohol, prostitution and gambling with - bettors against Wilson were so distraught when they realized that he might actually complete the feat that men with bayonets had to clear Wilson's path. The local magistrate was dissatisfied with the great ruckus that Wilson was causing, so they executed a warrant for his arrest on the 16th day, after an amazing 750 miles. Though the charges against him were eventually dismissed, the magistrate proved to be effective in dispelling the riotous crowd, who had all but evaporated by the time Wilson had been released. By that time, the 20 day window had all but passed, and thus Wilson's walk, and prize, were forfeited. Nevertheless, he was still able to claim the £100 from a collection which the London Stock Exchange held for him and, just one year later, he was able to complete 1,000 miles of walking in Hull. He would spend much of the rest of his life continuing as a pedestrian, living off of the money which audiences had, in good will, given up for him - this life of moving around and meager pay would prove to be questionable as he failed to provide for his wife and children, with whom he was estranged. Wilson died in 1839 at the age of 73, and is remembered today as the Blackheath Pedestrian.

Source 1, Source 2
11-8-2017

Did You Know?:

Although numerous devices are adorned with stickers and seals covering important joints or seams which state “warranty void if removed” or “warranty void if seal broken,” most of these warnings cannot actually be enforced under U.S. federal law. This all goes back to the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, which prohibits companies from putting “tie-in sales” provisions in their warranties, which would require use of a certain product or service to utilize the warranty. In essence, this means that a company cannot require exclusive use of authorized repairmen or repairment parts in the repair of their product, so long as those repairs are not the cause of the product needing remedy under the warranty. Companies still put the stickers on anyway because the law is not strictly enforced and consumers generally are not aware that these practices are illegal.

Source 1, Source 2

11-7-2017

Did You Know?:

In the book Principia Mathematica, written by Bertrand Russell and Alfred Whitehead, about 360 pages are dedicated to proving the seemingly obvious statement that 1+1=2. While this pursuit may sound frivolous, the goal of Principia Mathematica was to formulate a number of mathematical concepts from a purely logical base, taking extremely tiny steps and starting from only the most basic of propositions to prove definitively wide aspects of math.

Source