Stories tagged money


Money makeover: New high-tech threads will be put into U.S. $100 bills that will allow you to test if its real. Little lenses in the threads will make it appear as if Ben Franklin moves when you move the bill.
Money makeover: New high-tech threads will be put into U.S. $100 bills that will allow you to test if its real. Little lenses in the threads will make it appear as if Ben Franklin moves when you move the bill.
Maybe I’m ready to move on to one of MSNBC’s money shows, but here’s more news about science, technology and our money.

The $100 bill will be getting a makeover soon, with special threads being put into the paper that will give it some pretty funky high-tech effects. All of this is to make it harder of counterfeiters to be able to pass off their efforts as real money.

Here’s what’s going to happen to Ben Franklin and the $100 bill. The new threads have tiny lenses built into them – so small that there will be about 650,000 lenses in a single bill. What will they do? When you move the bill from side to side, it will appear that Ben Franklin is moving up or down. Move the bill up and down, and will appear that Ben Franklin is moving from side to side.

This process is already being used in some Swedish high denomination currencies. You should be able to see the new effects in the $100 bill by late next year, when the high-tech bills will go into circulation. Other changes for the $100 include a variety of colors used in the printing of the bills, much like recent changes to $10s, $20s and $50s. Ben Franklin’s face will be getting a little bit of a makeover, as well, on the new bills.

Recently, I posted some other information about possible changes in store for our coins. You can read about that here.

And of course, if you’re tired of the old-fashioned $100 bills we have in circulation right now, I’ll gladly take them off your hands.


Americans with diabetes nears 21 million and is growing 5% per year.

One out of every eight U.S. federal health care dollars is spent treating people with diabetes. A report by Medco Health Solutions Inc. issued last month found that the growing diabetes epidemic and more aggressive treatment could result in soaring costs to treat the disease over the next three years.

An analysis of Medco's 2007 Drug Trend Report found that, by 2009, spending just on medicines to treat diabetes could soar 60 percent to 68 percent from 2006 levels. The sales of diabetes drugs in the United States reached $9.88 billion in 2005, according to data from IMS Health Inc. Yahoo News

Diabetes is deadly.

Over the next 30 years, diabetes is expected to claim the lives of 62 million Americans. Uncontrolled diabetes can result in heart disease, stroke, vision loss, amputation of extremities and kidney disease.

Obesity blamed.

Using data from an ongoing federal health survey of U.S. adults, researchers found that, on average, obese 18-year-old men had a 50.1-percent lifetime risk of developing diabetes, while obese women had a 57.3-percent risk. Diabetes Care, June 2007.

Overweight? Do something.

If we are going to stem the growing burden of diabetes, we must improve our prevention efforts. You can start by reading about diabetes(World Health Organization fact sheet).


Quarters: Found these in my pocket...
Quarters: Found these in my pocket...

With this year's round of state quarters entering circulation, it's enlightening to see how many of the new coins focus on science and nature. The first three quarters of 2007 place wildlife in the spotlight, with a bison head on the Montana coin, a salmon on Washington state, and a peregrine falcon on Idaho. The menagerie of state coins also entails buffalo roaming on Kansas, wild mustangs running across Nevada, and full-bodied bison on North Dakota.

An oak tree takes center stage on the Connecticut currency, and there's plenty of plant life on other coins too. There's a Mississippi magnolia and a Georgia peach—just to name a few. Wisconsin pays tribute to its agricultural heritage, and it's hard to overlook the Rocky Mountains on the Colorado coin. Nature scenes decorate several other state quarters as well.

The 10,000 lakes on Minnesota's quarter have lots of company, with Crater Lake on Oregon, and the Great Lakes surrounding Michigan. Coining itself "The Ocean State," tiny Rhode Island pays homage to the enormous Atlantic, and water scenes flow over more state coins too.

Of the handful of state quarters highlighting people, California singles out conservationist John Muir, while the Missouri coin shows the Lewis and Clark expedition. Two states put money on the Wright Brothers' success, with North Carolina featuring the historic Kitty Hawk flight, and Ohio honoring the birthplace to Orville and Wilbur—along with astronaut Neil Armstrong. Transportation technology travels across many other state quarters, with Indiana giving credit to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Just about every state quarter can have a scientific slant, with a little homework. That one-room schoolhouse on the Iowa quarter comes from an "Arbor Day" painting by Grant Wood. The U.S. Mint launched the first five coins in the 50 State Quarters Program in 1999. The final five coins will enter circulation in 2008.

What would a billion (or a trillion) pennies look like? The Megapennie project shows you.


Two fascinating stories related to the archaeology of Great Britain and the monetary (dollar) value of significant archaeological finds appeared in the news this week. The first story is related to an archaeological find in Lancaster, and the second is related to an Anglo-Saxon coin which was owned by a man right here in Minnesota.

Most professional archaeologists think of their finds as priceless. An archaeologist is concerned with what their finds can contribute to science, history and maybe future museum displays. While it used to be much more common for archaeological finds to come up for sale in public auction, the importance of an artifacts original context has grown ever more important in modern archaeology, making single artifacts not associated with a known archaeological site far-less desirable. While artifacts are sometimes given a monetary value by an insurance company before it goes on loan to another museum - most professionally acquired artifacts never appear at auction.

The news of the find of a Roman gravestone with a clear etching of a solider caused excitement among archaeologists in Great Britain. Archaeologists were excited by the find because it is in such great condition. Those same archaeologists, however, were saddened by the fact that the developer, who owned the land where the artifact was found, had already spoken to Sotheby's, the famous auction house. It is expected to bring about $100,000 (£357,500) at auction.

The second news story appeared in the StarTribune. The story begins, "For a little more than a year, it was his: a small gold coin 1,200 years old and bearing the likeness of Coenwulf, king of the Anglo-Saxon settlement of Mercia, and the first-known coin reference to a marketplace named London." Allan Davisson, the now former-owner of the coin mortgaged his home to pay for the $400,000 bill for the artifact. Davisson recently sold the coin for a considerable profit to an American collector who was willing to pay $600,000 for the specimen. The new owner plans to sell it to the British Museum in London. The article continues, "It is the first gold coin in Great Britain to bear the image of a monarch and the first to include, on the obverse side, a reference -- in Latin -- to London. British authorities say it may be the most important coin in the realm for its numismatic, historical and cultural value."

The study of numismatics, or money in all its forms, is popular among both professional archaeologists and amateurs. Many types of historic coins are viewed as being valuable because they provide so much information for their context right on the coin itself. The image of an important individual can date a coin to within a few years, and a written description can tell numismatists where the coin was minted, or produced. An early reference to the city of London, like in the coin discussed above makes an artifact like this virtually priceless. Sometimes, however, museums and auction houses alike are asked to put a price on the priceless.

What type of questions do sales like the ones described above bring up for archaeology?

If you were in charge of making laws governing antiquties, like priceless archaeological artifacts, what sort of rules would you make surrounding their sale or removal from their country of origin?

Do you think it should be illegal for certain types of artifacts to be owned by private collectors, rather than museums? Why or why not?

Should certain artifacts, or types of artifacts, that have already been removed from their country of origin be returned, or is it "finders keepers"?

For additional information on the coin described in the StarTribune check out the Santa Clara History in pictures website.