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Monday, March 30, 2015

BOXING, BOMBS AND BEETHOVEN

Here are a few noteworthy items to start off your Monday:

1.  Floyd Mayweather is expected to earn $180 million for his fight with Manny Pacquiao on May 2 in Las Vegas.  If the fight lasts one minute, that means he will be making $10.8 billion/hour, win or lose.  While most of the revenues will come from pay per view, to cost more than $100 to subscribe, the cheapest tickets for the live performance in the MGM Grand Arena will start at $1,500, and go up to $7,500 at ringside, if you can get them.

2,  When the Chernobyl nuclear power plant exploded nearly thirty years ago on 26April1985, the fallout spread the equivalent of 400 Hiroshima bombs.  However, up to 166,000 might have been killed in Hiroshima, while the direct death toll at Chernobyl was 31.  But subsequent cancer deaths attributed to the accident ranged from tens of thousands to a million.  The current cost to Belarus is around a quarter trillion dollars.

But the Fukushima nuclear debacle of 11March2011 released the equivalent of 6,000 Hiroshima Atomic Bombs.  Cost?  From $1 trillion to $10 trillion.  As a French study pegged a worst case scenario in that country of a nuclear power plant catastrophe at $7.5 trillion, that range seems in order.  That's the Chernobyl sarcophagus being built above, with an expected completion date in 2017.  Russian wordsmiths have named it the New Safe Confinement structure.  Five years ago I wrote in the Huffington Post:  Why Worry About Fukushima When Hiroshima and Nagasaki are Safe?  Now, can you appreciate the horror of your typical nuclear power plant cataclysm?  With terrorists roaming the world, how safe would you feel living close to one of them?


3.  Not a great way to start a Monday, so, tune in to the GoodNewsNetwork, which reported that 220 years ago today, Ludwig van Beethoven, at the age of 24, made his concert debut as a pianist.   The New York Times placed him second to Bach as the greatest composer of all time, with Mozart at #3.   Beethoven began to get deaf around 1796 and finished his First Symphony in 1800.  Some have ranked his 3rd, Eroica, as his best.  
Certainly, the most memorable is the 5th, for during World War II, the short-short-short-long rhythmic pattern corresponded in Morse code to the letter V for Victory.  By his mid-40's Ludwig was almost totally deaf, yet composed some of his greatest works including the 9th Symphony (with Ode to Joy, of course, being the final movement--listen to this one hour six minute version) at the age of 54.  He passed away at 57.    Oh, the life expectancy in 1850 was 38.  When Mozart died at the age of 35 in 1791, that was about the average.  During that period, the life expectancy in India was around 25.  Today, the USA is #36 in the world at 80.  Angola is about half that.


How did I get here?  To close, a typical Beethoven Top Ten.  And another list of ten.

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Typhoon Maysak is now up to 110 MPH, has devastated Chuuk and heads for Yap.   Maysak will strengthen into a Category 4.  The current track should take the eye north of Manila.


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