‘A Strange Glow’

A report released Wednesday stated that high powered telescopes have detected a collision of neutron stars that European supercomputers predict could have produced gold, platinum, and other heavy metals. This observation, the AP reports, bolsters the notion that gold was made long before the birth of the solar system about 4 1/2 billion years ago.

Editorial of The New York Sun
July 17, 2013
NY Sun

So what does one figure is the explanation for the fact that when Chairman Bernanke testified before Congress today the value of the dollar began rising? The way the New York Times retailed the news is that the chairman “sharpened his insistence” that “the Fed remains committed to its economic stimulus campaign” and had not intended to signal in recent weeks that it was “lowering its sights.” Yet the dollar finished the day with a higher value — more than a 1,277th of an ounce of gold — than when it started.

Our own theory is that it was the story on the Associated Press about how “a strange glow in space has provided fresh evidence that all the gold on Earth was forged from ancient collisions of dead stars.” We’re not making it up. That’s the story that was being circulated as Mr. Bernanke was speaking. The AP was citing a report Wednesday by researchers. It seems high-powered telescopes have detected a collision of neutron stars that European supercomputers predict could could produce gold, platinum, and other heavy metals.

“The observation,” Alicia Chang of the AP reports, “bolsters the notion that gold in our jewelry was made in such rare and violent collisions long before the birth of the solar system about 4½ billion years ago.” It quotes one Edo Berger of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics as saying that people “walk around with a little tiny piece of the universe.” The AP paraphrased researchers as saying that an infrared light in the glow it detected in intergalactic space “could be evidence that heavy elements like gold had spewed out of the cosmic crash.”

If that seems fantastic, feature the exchange that occurred today between Mr. Bernanke and Congressman Keith Rothfus of Pennsyvania. The Quaker State Republican posed what he called a “simple question” about an individual who is “looking to make an investment” and goes to his bank or broker and purchases a Treasury bill. “Where does the Fed get its money to buy its Treasury bills?” the congressman asked.

“When we buy securities from a private citizen,” the chairman transponded, “we create a deposit in their bank, and it shows up as reserves. So if you look up our balance sheet, our balance sheet balances. We have Treasury securities on the asset side. On the liability side we have either cash or reserves at banks, and on the margin that’s what has been building up as excess reserves at banks.”

“You create the reserves?” Mr. Rothfus rumbled.

“Yes,” the chairman replied.

“Is that printing money?”

“Not literally,” Mr. Bernanke answered in what we predict will be one of the most-remembered of all the remarks he’s made before Congress.

It went over wonderfully with the Committee on Financial Services, we gather. “The shabby condition of the economy has become the constant background for Mr. Bernanke’s public appearances,” the New York Times reported today. It noted that unemployment “remains stubbornly common” and growth is “tepid.” But it quotes Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney as telling Mr. Bernanke, who may have made his last appearance before the committee as Fed chairman, “You have never been boring.” And it quotes the chairman of the committee, Jeb Hensarling, a Republican of Texas, as telling Mr. Bernanke, “You acted boldly and decisively and creatively — very creatively.”

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