Ungoogleable was launched after a great, drunk argument I had with friends on the world’s gold supply.
|BACKGROUND INFO: Most people believe that gold is rare, the same way diamonds and oil are rare- meaning that, it is scarce and therefore valuable, yet still found all over the world, and pumped out of the Earth daily. This is not, however, true. Gold is unimaginably scarce. Every day, for example, we pull-out a volume of oil that is 300 times larger than all the gold ever mined (308 mil gals of oil each day / 1 mil gals of gold, ever). National Geographic once noted that all the gold on Earth could not fill two Olympic swimming pools.|
There is no way to know (like everything at a bar) how we got started on this topic, but I made the following comment:
You know, in all those spy movies, they use a convoy of trucks to rob Fort Knox, but the truth is: you could empty it with a brief case.
Sure. There can’t be more than a couple of bars there. It would be like stealing two very heavy VCRs.
“What are you talking about, Flannery? There are rooms, ten feet high, filled with gold at Fort Knox. It’s an entire base, of gold!”
No… there isn’t that much gold, in the world.
Hell, I could probably fit all the gold in the world, in my car.
People are now starting to become angry: “what kind of car do you drive?” / “Honda Civic”. Fury. Strangers join the argument:
- “what about gold coins? Jewelry?”
They’re diluted- not pure gold.
- “they say the jewelry is all gold, in commercials”
Impossible. Pure gold bends like warm chocolate- you wouldn’t even want it, as jewelry
|ADDITIONAL BACKGROUND INFO: Unlike most people, when I encounter resistance during an argument, I actually increase the absurdity of my point, rather than tame it, in order to find a middle ground. People are normally so perplexed by this move –like a cop who just heard a driver insist on a harsher ticket– they drop all balance (dumbfounded, in fact), and the argument is then mine to close as I wish.|
- “what about the California Gold Rush?”
I could fit all the gold found during that rush in my mouth.
No one was able to find a google query that settled the question, so the debate continued until closing time; the old fashion way: with us yelling at each other. And, say what you will about the bad facts that were probably being thrown around that night, but –by the end of the evening– every one at the bar knew each others name… and a rough idea of their thoughts on metallurgy
When I arrived home, I started this email chain (Time Stamp = 2 AM):
Thanks, to Prescott Tolk, Adam Burke, CJ Sullivan, Nick Vatterott and (my beautiful wife) Jessica for letting me reprint this exchange…