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« March 2014 | WILLisms.com | May 2014 »

Forgotten Time Capsule From 1966 Discovered During Home Renovation. What Happened Next Will Make You Cry.

First off, apologies for the obnoxious Upworthy/Buzzfeed type of headline.

But this really is a bit of a tear-jerker, in many ways.

A woman in Arizona created a time capsule in 1966 and buried it in the walls of her home. Nearly fifty years later, it was discovered during a home remodel.

A few things about this jumped out at me.

First, it is a sad story, obviously, because the woman died tragically in the 1970s, and the husband (who had moved out of the home long ago) had no idea the time capsule even existed until just now.

Now, maybe the political contents of the letter might have made the otherwise emotional/nostalgic/heartwarming/tear-jerking story less viral to a wider audience, but I would have loved to read the whole thing.

It's entirely possible that the full political context, glossed over in the video, might have made it even more emotional.

The woman, Betty Klug, age 33 at the time, was clearly an ardent Republican and huge Barry Goldwater fan. The family apparently even lived down the street from him. Here's a screenshot from the video:


And here's something about the Constitution (again, I would have loved to read the whole thing):


Maybe this is completely weird, and perhaps my mind is entirely too political, but if she was an enormous Barry Goldwater fan, I find it even more wistful and touching that she died just a couple of years after Nixon resigned in disgrace but before Ronald Reagan, Barry Goldwater's most effective advocate in 1964, was elected President in 1980.

Obviously, Betty loved her husband Bruce, he loved her (Did you watch the video? His comments about their marriage are extremely sweet and touching.), and her untimely death is truly what makes this time capsule discovery so compelling, but in a sense, it is more complex than that.

In some ways, that she never got to experience her political team's greatest late-21st-century triumph in what seemed like a great and central passion in her life gives the story even more pangs of tragedy and nostalgia.

It's almost like finding a time capsule from someone who yearns above all for his team to win the Superbowl, and instead, his team goes winless (Nixon resigning) and is the laughingstock of the NFL at the time of his death. Then, just a few short years later, the team goes on a dynastic run, breaking records and winning multiple championships in a row, leaving behind a legacy of success that some would later argue was among the greatest of all time.

Again, it's not as meaningful or touching as the spousal relationship, but it makes the already nostalgic time capsule discovery even more emotional.

And it makes me want to create a physical time capsule meant to be discovered by someone else, long in the future.

Posted by Will Franklin · 3 April 2014 05:50 PM · Comments (0)

Paul Krugman Versus Milton Friedman.

Paul Krugman, from 1998, on the internet:

The growth of the Internet will slow drastically, as the flaw in "Metcalfe's law"--which states that the number of potential connections in a network is proportional to the square of the number of participants--becomes apparent: most people have nothing to say to each other! By 2005 or so, it will become clear that the Internet's impact on the economy has been no greater than the fax machine's.

Meanwhile, in this National Taxpayers Union video from 1999, Milton Friedman describes what would become Bitcoin more than a decade before it ever existed:


We need more Friedman and less Krugman in our public policy today.

Hat tip to this great Freakonomics podcast on Bitcoin.

Posted by Will Franklin · 3 April 2014 04:27 PM · Comments (0)

Midland's Oil Boom.

Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 979 -- The Oil Boom In Midland, Texas-

Stumbled across some interesting numbers in this news report on the oil and gas business from the Midland Reporter-Telegram:

By the numbers

Mining/quarrying/oil and gas extraction in Midland County

Year Gross sales

2002 $187,872,186

2003 $233,649,194

2004 $262,799,261

2005 $400,325,985

2006 $689,784,460

2007 $803,041,212

2008 $1,062,513,372

2009 $747,580,419

2010 $1,063,064,890

2011 $1,745,241,081

2012 $2,351,415,984

Source: Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts

Here's what that looks like (click for larger version):


Now, in 2013, the value of oil and gas production in Texas grew about 25-30%, based on early numbers. So the 2013 numbers for Midland County would be literally off the chart here, likely at or above $3 billion.

For one industry. In one county. That's like the entire annual GDP of Guyana or Eritrea.

It's no wonder that Midland has a 3.0% unemployment rate and, in one sense, at least, is the wealthiest place in America.

And as amazing as all this is, it's a relative drop in the bucket in terms of Texas' total oil and gas production, which was worth in the neighborhood of $110 billion in 2013.

In January 2014, Texas, with just 8.2% of the nation's population, accounted for 36.2% of America's crude oil production, a new record (records only go back to 1981).

Moreover, if Texas were its own country, it would already rank in the top 10 of oil-producing countries, and "the state could soon surpass Kuwait, UAE, Iraq, Iran and even Canada to move up in the international oil production rankings to become the world’s No. 5 or No. 6 oil producer within the next few years."

Contrast all that with California, which is still in decline despite abundant deposits of oil and natural gas under the ground and offshore.

It turns out that policies matter, and Texas can't afford to allow someone like liberal Democrat Wendy Davis, better known for her staunch advocacy of elective late-term abortion after 5 months of pregnancy and for falsifying her biography, to harm Texas' oil and gas jobs boom.

Moreover, it's about time for a new President.


Previous Trivia Tidbit: Texas Has America's Best Graduation Rates.

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Posted by Will Franklin · 1 April 2014 04:54 PM · Comments (0)