Tuesday, November 25, 2008

News bits

One of my many obscure interests is precious metals, especially as related to numismatics (the study or collection of monetary objects). The physical properties of currency fascinates me sometimes, the security features, and the designs of foreign currencies and what they say about the culture that produced them.

In today’s New York Times, there’s an interesting story about the launch of a new U.S. gold coin, produced at the U.S. Mint in West Point. The coin is a $20 face value solid gold coin (worth about $900) that is a reproduction of a century-old design called the double-eagle – considered to be one of, if not the most beautiful U.S. coins ever made. When the coin was originally struck, technology was not able to make it commercially feasible, plus the director of the Mint at that time didn’t want to support the design favored by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. There are less than two dozen of the original coins remaining, making them among the most prized of U.S. coins, fetching prices into the millions of dollars. For the full story, see below:

"Century Later, Gold Coin Reflects Sculptor’s Vision" - Nov. 25, 2008

Also in my morning media sweep, I found a very compelling debate on gay marriage between Chicago Tribune blogger Eric Zorn and Allan Carlson, president of the Rockford-based Howard Center for Family, Religion and Society and Founder and General Secretariat of the World Congress of Families. What’s great about this online debate is how both sides are able to make their points in a civilized and intelligent way, without devolving into the name-calling and hysterics that the issue tends to engender among bloggers and their audiences. It’s a very interesting read for anyone who wants to understand some of the core points on both sides of the issue.

The great online gay-marriage debate

Tara came over last night for dinner and we settled in to watch one of my favorite movies, Se7en, directed by David Fincher, who went on to direct The Game, Fight Club and Zodiac. He also directed Alien 3 previously. Like Hitchcock, Truffant, de Mille and other auteur filmmakers of the past, I've admired Fincher's ability to redefine a genre, in this case, the modern thriller movie. I'm looking forward to his take on a different kind of movie next month with the release of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.