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Thursday, December 2, 2010

How do you measure a life? Part V

Today is the last blog in measuring a life. I'm starting off on a tangent, talking about gold...

Gold is a precious metal, right? A place to stash your wealth when the markets are down and banks are failing. Today the price of gold is $1389 per ounce.

Is gold a color too? (not really, but it seems sort of yellow). The word comes from the Latin word aurum, meaning shining dawn. It has the atomic number of 79. It's relatively heavy and soft. It doesn't corrode or tarnish easily. Gold is found as nuggets and in veins running through other rocks and minerals. Because it's inert in most cases, it can be consumed (eaten) without any ill effect.

According to Wikipedia, all the gold mined in human history could be formed into a cube about 20 meters on a side. That seems too little to me. Although because it is so heavy, that amounts to 5.3 billion ounces! Gold has some industrial uses because it is extremely conductive and reflective. Here's a McLaren F1 engine compartment hood, lined with gold leaf to reflect the engine's heat.

 Gold is mostly formed into jewelry or used in dentistry. It's also used in art. Here's a gilded (gold leaf coated) Russian icon:

Gold symbolizes power, strength, wealth, warmth, happiness, love, hope, optimism, perfection and the sun. In the Biblical book of Revelation, gold is used to describe Heaven. I'll finish this weeks math blog with this song's lyrics. I like to play it when someone I know leaves this earth:

City Of Gold

There is a city of gold
Far from the rat-race that eats at your soul
Far from the madness and the bars that hold
There is a city of gold.

There is a city of light
Raised up in heaven, and the streets are bright
Glory to God, not by deeds or by might
There is a city of light.

There is a city of love
Surrounded by stars and the power above
Far from this world and the stuff dreams are made of
There is a city, city of love.

There is a city of grace
You drink holy water in a sanctified place
No one's afraid to show their face
There is a city, a city of grace

There is a city of peace
Where all destruction will cease
When the mighty have fallen and there's no police
There is a city, a city of peace

There is a city of hope
Across the ravines by the green sunlit slope
All I need is an axe and a rope
To get to the city of hope.

I'm headed for the city of gold
Before it's too late, before it gets too cold
Before I'm too tired, before I'm too old
I'm headed for the city of gold

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