Specifically, for starters, Boone Pickens’ $12 billion Texas wind farm projected to be powering the equivalent of 1.3 million homes by 2011.


He’s been saying since 1983 we should tax gasoline more each year to keep that revenue here (and the revenue to lower the payroll tax), thereby to encourage fuel efficiency and all the good that flows from that.

Actually, a lot of us have been saying this; some of us even longer.

Why don’t we do it now? To make it politically palatable, maybe give people two or three years’ notice before it kicks in. Time for many to switch to more fuel efficient cars that, in turn, make the tax ‘zero.’ (Up your mileage from 20 mpg to 30 mpg and the extra cost of driving a mile with $2 extra tax tacked onto a $4 gallon is: zero . . . even as the lower payroll tax might save you several hundred dollars.)

Not everyone will be able to buy new fuel-efficient cars in the next two or three years. But even so, there may be quite a few mutually (and environmentally) advantageous real-world trades to be made. Someone who drives a gas guzzler 20,000 miles each year might swap with someone who drives a fuel-efficient car just 1,500 miles a year. The 20,000-mile-driver would save a fortune on gas, allowing him to offer his (nice!) vehicle at an attractively low price.


Mark Budwig: ‘Imagine that right after you choose door A, Monty offers you the choice of keeping it or exchanging it for both doors B and C, giving you 2 out 3 chances to win. Because that’s essentially what he’s doing, except that he’s helpfully eliminating the booby prize door first.’


Aaron Long: ‘I live in a co-op with 21 other people and three of them have the exact same birthday. We had a party for them and there was much exclaiming about how unlikely their coincidental birthday was. I brought up the famous old bar bet that if you have 23 people together there is a better than 50% chance that two have the same birthday and to my surprise none of them had heard of this and to boot none of them seemed to really believe me, so maybe that bet has some life in it yet.’

☞ Ah, but what are the odds of THREE out of 23? I am quite sure one of our esteemed readers will have the answer to us faster than you can say ‘free year’s subscription extension for the first correct answer.’

Bonus points: how many people have to gather before it’s likely three will share one birthday (i.e., more likely than not). How many before it’s very likely (90%)? How many before you can all but assume it (99%)?


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