Thursday, May 25, 2006

I anagram, I

Twelve plus One = Eleven plus Two
12 + 1 = 11 + 2

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The Spice Trade

Four centuries ago spices and tea had some role in the colonization of India. Come on, spices! When we were there, we went to Kashmir, one of the few places in the world that arguably the most valuable spice, pound for pound, saffron is grown. It can bring in anywhere from $500-$700 a POUND.

What is saffron anyway? It’s the stigma of a flower…this little strand inside bud the flower and there are only 2-4 inside each flower. So that means that 166 flowers have to be hand picked to make a gram (as heavy as a paper clip). Usually, most spices are sold by the ounce, so for those of you keeping track that is 4,700 flowers, hmm…that’s a lot of flowers, can you picture 4,700 flowers in a field, flowers in bloom. If you do the math the numbers just become mind blowing, but there are 16 ounces in a pound which make roughly 75,000 flowers!!!

Imagine 75,000 or so flowers in a field all in bloom...$500 seems like a bargain.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Culture Merchants

Wal-Mart has a laundry list of…alarming, to put it lightly, statistics. Over a quarter TRILLION dollars in sales (~4% GDP), accounts $120B trade deficit with China, roughly 20 lawsuits daily just to name a few…and trust me there are MANY MANY more. There is just no way to really grasp the influence and impact a gargantuan company like Wal-Mart can have on the economy and the country.

The hypnotic effect statistics often have, make us overlook something which may be just as alarming as the numbers that get thrown around. Media. Wal-Mart is America’s largest seller of books, magazines, music, AND dvds. Scary huh? Scary to think that “Will Wal-Mart Buy It” is an important consideration made by companies producing this media. All of it ‘censored’, as it were, by a giant corporation with its own agenda.

How many books, magazines, and movies will you never come across because Wal-Mart doesn’t deem them appropriate to carry in their stores?