Thursday, December 27, 2012

Gold Bars Are Designed to Snap Apart Into 1-Gram Wafers; Could This Be the Future of Currency?

You may be looking at a clever novelty item or the future of world currencies. A Swiss refining company is set to introduce to the U.S. market a smartly designed 50-gram gold bar that can be easily broken into 1-gram segments, much like a chocolate bar. At today's gold price, the complete bar has a value of $2,922 and the 1-gram segments are worth about $58.45 each.


Gold has always been the go-to safe haven for investors in times of high inflation, currency devaluation and other economic disturbances. Recently, it's been on a tear.

Worldwide sales of gold bars and gold coins rose to $77 billion in 2011, compared to only $3.5 billion in 2002, according the World Gold Council. Meanwhile, the value of gold has increased about five-fold since 2001.


Thanks to the famous Swiss refiner, Valcambi, the average consumer can own the "Combibar," a portable, easily segmented gold bar that could be gifted to family members or potentially used as currency in times of crisis.

“The rich are buying standard bars or have deposits of physical gold. People that have less money are buying up to 100 grams,” Valcambi CEO Michael Mesaric told Reuters. “But for many people a pure investment product is no longer enough. They want to be able to do something with the precious metal.”

The company already has had success in the Swiss, Austrian and German markets, as skittish consumers worry about the future of the Euro. Now the company is looking to expand its reach to the North American, Indian and Japanese markets. In Japan, the company will sell platinum and palladium versions of the Combibar.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Tire Chain Installer Searches Snowy Highway Shoulder in Darkness to Recover Stranger's Lost Wedding Band

On a snowy and desolate stretch of Interstate 80 halfway between Sacramento, Calif., and Reno, Nev., a tire chain installer named Douglas Benedetti — in a remarkable display of selflessness — searched for a stranger's lost wedding band in the middle of the night.


Even though his chances of success were slim to none, Benedetti was determined to recover the beloved piece of jewelry — on foot, at 1 a.m., in the freezing cold. Incredibly, he succeeded. Now he just needs to find the owner.

Benedetti's amazing story was highlighted in a televised report by the CBS-TV affiliate in Sacramento.

The tire chain installer had been working the eastbound side of Interstate 80 late on Friday night when he noticed a man jogging up and down the shoulder with his cell phone light aimed at the snow. The panicked man told Benedetti that he lost his wedding ring while putting chains on his tires.


“His hands got cold and it slipped off. He went back looking for it and had no luck,” Benedetti told CBS13. “He was disappointed, definitely disappointed.”

After the man and his wife drove off toward Reno in their white SUV, Benedetti decided he was going to help. Once his shift was over at 1 a.m., he was then free to help the stranger. He started his mission on foot, shining a powerful LED light into the snow on the side of the road. The man had given Benedetti a general idea of where the ring was lost and told him what was inscribed in the band: “Lisa 5th June 2010.”


Despite the long odds, Benedetti was completely confident that he would succeed. "I told myself, 'I’m gonna find that ring; I’m gonna find it tonight,' and I did.”

Benedetti said that he picked up a lot of chain links along the route. "There was a lot of trash, but when I saw it, it was perfectly round and sunk in the snow. I scooped it up and once I saw Lisa’s name on it, I knew I had a wedding band for sure. I had the right ring,” said Benedetti.

Unfortunately, Benedetti didn't get the couple's name or phone number, so now he's hoping that the power of the media and social networks will help bring the owner and the ring back together.

"A sentimental piece [of jewelry] for a special time in their life, and they [didn't] need to have it lost on the side of the highway,” said Benedetti. “I was able to do for him what he couldn’t do for himself, and I’d like to give it back to him; and he, in return, can pay it forward to someone else later in life.”

Monday, December 24, 2012

Flash Mob Elf, With Assist From Santa, Proposes to Surprised Dancer During Mall Performance

When Natessa Renee Bybee agreed to participate in a flash mob performance at the Gateway Mall in Salt Lake City last Saturday she hadn't a clue that an elf named Johnny Murdock was about to give her the surprise of her life.


Both Bybee and Murdock had lead roles in the flash mob that delighted holiday shoppers and included a guest appearance by Santa Claus. As the mob is about 2 minutes and 15 seconds through its choreographed interpretation of Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas Is You," Murdock, dressed in full elf regalia, bounds down the expansive mall stairway and joins Bybee on the lower level.


Without missing a beat, Murdock gets down on one knee and proposes to Bybee with an engagement ring as a jubilant Santa and 40 dance team members share their special moment. Bybee says, "Yes." Murdock hugs her and lifts her off the ground in a romantic spin. And then the couple quickly regroups to finish the number with the rest of their team.

Murdock told The Huffington Post that he was trying to think of a unique way to propose to Bybee when he remembered the flash mob he and his video production company were organizing. "It hit me that this would be the most epic way to propose," Murdock said.


"Her reaction was priceless," Murdock told The Huffington Post. "She had absolutely zero idea. Then she said it was hard for her to stay in step for the rest of the dance."

Enjoy the romantic holiday flash mob proposal below, and be sure to pay special attention to Bybee's priceless reaction at 2:26.