Smaug’s Real Desolation: The Economy

I finally had the chance to see The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug the other day, and when Bilbo found himself inside the Dwaft kingdom in the Lonely Mountain staring at the dragon Smaug and his horde of gold, all I could think was, “My god. If all that gold is released back into the economy the inflation will be catastrophic.” So that’s a big change from when I was a kid reading The Hobbit and thinking, “Just put the damn ring on, Bilbo!”

Smaug economics

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I Want My DTV

February 17, 2009, came and went without anyone freaking out because their TV channels mysteriously went away. That was the day that TV broadcasters in the United States had originally been mandated to switch to digital over-the-air signals from the analog signals they’ve been using for over 50 years. That date was pushed out to June 12 by Congress, and as best as I can tell, they did that primarily because it turns out that U.S. citizens are really good at procrastinating.

I know what you’re thinking: “Jeff, this whole digital TV thing totally snuck up on everyone. It was so frakking sneaky that it could have slit our throats in our sleep! We’re lucky to still be alive!” Continue reading