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Archive for the tag “gold”

The Secrets of Alchemy

The world of alchemy is shrouded in mystery. Alchemists tirelessly sought the recipe for the Philosophers’ Stone — a substance that could turn any base metal into pure gold. The Philosophers’ Stone would give its user untold wealth and power, so alchemists were known to operate under total secrecy. They worked in codes and symbols — to reserve their great knowledge for only those who were deemed deserving. Instead of the chemical formulas used today, alchemists created elaborate, fantastic illustrations of dragons, warriors, and monsters to represent the chemical experiments they carried out.

Centuries passed, and many historical alchemical texts and images remain undeciphered. Luckily for the history of science, we have brilliant minds like Larry Principe of Johns Hopkins University.

Here’s a look at Larry’s work: digging deep into ancient manuscripts and texts, trying to find clues and cues as to what it was that alchemists really were up to. In addition to an enormous book collection in his office, Larry has a lab where he performs ancient alchemical experiments, helping to set the record straight on the history and development of alchemy. Is he a historian of alchemy or a get-rich-quick schemer in search of the legendary Philosophers’ stone? You decide.

What Is the Gold Standard?

Before 1974, U.S. dollars were backed by gold. This meant that the federal government could not print more money than it could redeem for gold. While this constrained the federal government, it also provided citizens with a relatively stable purchasing power for goods and services. Today’s paper currency has no intrinsic value. It is not based on the value of gold or anything else.

Under a gold standard, inflation was really limited. With floating value, or fiat, currency, however, some countries have seen inflation reach extremely high levels—sometimes enough to lead to economic collapse. Gold standards have historically provided more stable currencies with lower inflation than fiat currency. Should the United States return to a gold standard?

Messy US Collapse Predicted

The Dollar Vigilante’s Jeff Berwick is back chatting about a myriad of economic and stock market-related issues with Cambridge House Live’s anchor Bridgitte Anderson. He predicts a messy collapse of the US economy a few years from  now, but says Japan could experience a massive upheaval even sooner. He recommends avoiding US investments, while otherwise diversifying, especially in precious metals.

How Low Will Gold Go?

As gold prices continue to crash, the question on everyone’s mind is “Will they go lower?” and if so, how much lower? RBC’s George Gero is here to tell us why he believes gold prices could definitely continue to drop lower.

Rebels After Gold in Congo

The United Nations says a Ugandan defense minister is behind a rebel group that has seized control of a large swatch of the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. The minister, James Kabarebe, and his group, the M23 rebels, shorthand for the March 23 Movement, could be making a play to control the region’s vast mineral resources, including large deposits of diamonds and gold. M23 has an estimated 1,500 men and has been charged with war crimes, including rapes, abductions and sexual slavery. Jonathan Rugman from Channel4 News in Great Britain reports.

Thar’s Gold in Them Vials

Scientists at Michigan State University have fulfilled the dream of ancient alchemists by unlocking the secret to create gold. In an effort to reproduce what they believe happens in nature, the researchers gave bacteria lots of liquid gold chloride in a glass bioreactor and after about a week, it turned into 24 carat gold. 

“Microbial alchemy is what we’re doing — transforming gold from something that has no value into a solid, precious metal that’s valuable,” said Kazem Kashefi, assistant professor of microbiology and molecular genetics who worked on the project with Adam Brown, associate professor of electronic art and intermedia at Michigan State University.

The process is too cost-prohibitive for mass gold production but the achievement certainly raises new questions on the nexus of science, environment and greed. H/T Geobeats

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