Saturday, April 22, 2006

The Weekend News

If you want to keep your fingers from getting inky, here's my need-to-read guide to some interesting money-related stories in this weekend's NY Times:

On the front page:
For $2.4 million, 7 Racing Yachts Get Parking Spot: a state agency is spending $2.4 million to dredge the North Cove marina so several boats that are participating in an around-the-world race can dock there. The racers will only be in New York for 2 days and the event is unlikely to have much economic benefit for the city. Some residents of Battery Park City, where the marina is located, would prefer to see the money spent on parks.

Gas Guzzlers Find the Price of Forgiveness: If you are worried about global warming (as I am), or just about the environment in general, you've probably thought about ways to save energy and lessen your greenhouse gas emissions (beyond avoiding baked beans). More and more people are talking about being "carbon neutral" by calculating their personal carbon emissions, and trying to reduce them-- but of course it's impossible to reduce them to zero, so the only way to be "carbon neutral" is to buy credits for "carbon offsets," basically paying for the right to feel better about consuming energy, driving an SUV, etc. The money paid for these offsets goes to support research into alternative fuels, etc. That's all very well but there is debate as to whether this is really an effective solution, as people will just feel like it's okay to waste energy and spew pollution as long as they've donated a few bucks to make up for it.

In the Metro section:
Sudden Millionaire Hoped to Gamble a Little Longer: an 84-year old woman won a $10 million slot machine jackpot in Atlantic City. She had only been playing the slots for a few minutes and felt like her fun had been prematurely ended-- she wanted to keep playing but thought "Everybody will think I'm greedy." When asked how her life had changed since winning big, she said "I'm more tired," and was only willing to be interviewed by telephone because she wanted to take her nap.

In the Business section:
A Penny for your Thoughts and 1.4 Cents for the Penny: it costs the United States Mint .8 cents for the materials to make a penny and .6 cents for the manufacturing and distribution.
And n the "What's Offline" column, they mention that in a survey by the Consumer Federation of America and the Financial Planning Association, 21% of respondents said that "winning the lottery" was the most practical strategy for accumulating wealth.

In the Travel section:
Affordable Europe: tips on how to lower the cost of visiting 15 European cities.

And one final item:
The Arts section calls Gay Talese "America's nattiest author." Tom Wolfe must be really steamed about that... I don't even want to try to guess how much they each spend on custom-made clothes.


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