Chris Fischer: ‘Yes, if all the fsirt and lsat lertets are ucnhnaged, tehn any wrod wtih 3 lertets is esay and wrods with 4 lertets are olny stighly off. But cidsoner scantlifingy lightener lacixel citaniboms wtih recuded particletibidy and tulorbe cloud pilfertorae! (But consider significantly lengthier lexical combinations with reduced predictability and trouble could proliferate.) This has been floating around the Internet for a while.’


Doug Simpkinson: ‘In case you are curious about how much radiation our motorcycle driving heroine is receiving [Monday’s column], she’s being very smart and safe. The level of radiation at Chernobyl varies wildly, and that is why she carries a radiation sensor. When her little meter reads ‘500,’ it is approximately as much radiation as one gets while sitting on an airliner cruising across the country. By sitting in that same place for 12 minutes, she’s getting as much radiation as one gets by eating 10 bananas. So just think about that on your next flight from New York to LA – you could have taken the train and eaten 250 bananas instead, but it’s all the same in the end.’


Prasanth: ‘I just wanted to bring to your attention this troubling article about how the Sinclair Broadcasting Group, which owns a bunch of ABC stations, censored ‘Nightline’ from reading the list of US soldiers killed in Iraq. They gave some lame excuse that doing so would be too ‘political.’ Interesting how these righteous non-political folks have given money only to George Bush. I don’t want to live in a country where the all content I see is dictated by companies like the Sinclair Broadcasting Group. Now I know why everyone raised a fuss about media consolidation.’

☞ A fuss, yes; but with the Republican lock on the White House and Congress, the fuss failed.


According to yahoo, a small backpack maker north of Seattle doubled its sales by adding a sentence, in French, to the little bilingual tag with laundering instructions. The extra sentence reads . . . well, I’ll get in too much trouble with some of you if I say what it reads, so only click the link if you have reservations about our President’s leadership. [Oh, OK. It reads: ‘Nous sommes desoles que notre president soit un idiot. Nous n’avons pas vote pour lui.’ (‘We are sorry that our president is an idiot. We did not vote for him.’)]


[Note on TIPS: When I said yesterday that the 3.375s of 2032, currently 119, would wend their way back down to 100 at maturity, I forgot to explain how TIPS work. Yes, they rise with inflation, but that is not reflected in the price at which they trade. Rather, that is reflected in an inflation ‘factor’ – currently around 5% on that particular bond – that is adjusted periodically. So if they were quoted at 100 instead of 119, each one would actually cost you $1,050 (plus any accrued interest). And 28 years from now, when they mature at 100, the inflation factor may by then be 89% or 193% or who knows what. The point of their trading at 119 today is that they are trading at a 19% premium above their ‘actual’ face value of $1,000 plus the 5% accrued inflation factor. The higher the premium at which they trade, the less attractive they are. Get it? Got it? Good! (Extra credit for anyone who can identify the movie from whence that comes.)]

Tomorrow: Scary Stuff


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