Really?

Travelling increases one’s exposure to common nonsense – here are some examples from my recent trip overseas.

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Let us crack some numbers here. Gold is reasonably scarce which is the main reason it holds its value. But what would happen to the price if we dumped on the market over 100 times more gold than the amount ever mined on the Earth? One does not need to be an Einstein to realise that the price would collapse. This is exactly what the scenario in the HSBC poster amounts to. There are over 20,000,000,000 tonnes of gold in the oceans. At the current market price it would indeed be worth about USD150,000 per every person alive. But a sale of 20,000,000,000 tons of gold would fetch only a tiny fraction of this sum. The Mona Lisa painting might sell for say one billion dollars but one hundred Mona Lisas would not be worth a hundred billion. Additionally, the total wealth of the World is less than one tenth of the sum required to purchase 20,000,000,000 tonnes of gold at the current prices! For a bank, HSBC have shown a poor grasp of economics here.

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This claim sounds exciting but what is the reality? For starters, if you think the “oil gun” wielded by the Arabs in 1970s was bad enough imagine a bunch of Moroccans controlling the light switch of Europe. But, even more importantly, would 0.3% of Saharan solar energy be enough to power Europe … after dusk? Somehow, I doubt it. Da-boss 2 : HSBC 0.

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This is a nutritional info label from a bottle of drinking water purchased in the US. Do Americans really need to be told that pure water is not a source of fat, cholesterol or dietary fibre? Do the authorities requiring this info be put on water bottles not treat their citizens like idiots?

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