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14 posts from May 2010

This Week in Internet: Kittens, Kit Kats, and the Greatest Movie You Never Saw

I have definitely eased into lax summer blogging mode; fortunately, there are still some people out there making Internet.

Great Literature Retitled to Boost Website Traffic.  (Example: 7 Awesome Ways Barnyard Animals Are Like Communism)

Maybe I need to move to Europe.  They just give dinosaurs away!

Somehow there was a movie (starring actual famous persons Matthew McConaughey and Kate Beckinsale) about lying to your significant other about being from a family of little people, AND WE ALL MISSED IT.  (thx, Stephanie)

Kitten and fennec fox, together and proving that Internet dreams do come true.

Looking for something to do this weekend?  Why not make a gigantic Kit Kat, or a Popsicle stick guitar?

Presidents Who Are Worth Less Than Justin Bieber

Today I read this very interesting article, in which The Atlantic calculated the net worth of each U.S. president* and then converted it to 2010 dollars. 

The net worth figures range from less than $1 million to nearly $1 billion, and the list is an interesting conversation piece that lends itself to many questions: How much should a president be worth?  Do richer people make better leaders?  Do they at least have better hair?  Do we even want our presidents to be rich?  Weren't politics way more interesting when we had guys like Lincoln who could be born in a log cabin and end up on the five dollar bill, anyway?

These are all interesting questions, and I have no intention of even beginning to answer them.  That would take hours!  Instead, I have set my sights on a far simpler question: How many presidents were worth less than Justin Bieber?

Before I give you the answer, take a minute to make a guess.  Forty-three men have served as president of our country; how many do you think possessed wealth in excess of what Justin Bieber has attained at his current age (16) and life status (hair comma ridiculous; singing talent comma questionable)?  Conversely, how many presidents have failed to achieve a net worth of Bieberian proportions? 

Please wager a guess while I dutifully insert a graphic with the intention of filling up a little space between this sentence and the answer.



According to my calculations, history has given us 27 presidents who were richer than Justin Bieber, and 16 who were not.

Let's break it down, shall we?

First off, I should explain that for the purposes of this blog post, I am using a figure of $5.5 million as Justin Bieber's estimated net worth.  That is the figure provided by, which is a good enough source for me.  However, it may or may not be even remotely accurate, so take it with a presidential grain of salt.

That being said, here is a list of the 16 presidents who lived their lives under the Bieber line.  (Actually, one is still alive, so "lived" does not represent an entirely accurate choice of tense, but there but for the sake of not employing awkward constructions like "presidents who lived and/or are alive" go I.)

The Definitive List of Presidents Who Are Not Worth More Than Justin Bieber
(in Chronological Order)

1. William Henry Harrison (9th president; estimated net worth: $5 million)
2. Millard Fillmore (13th president; ENW: $4 million)
3. Franklin Pierce (14th president; ENW: $2 million)
4. James Buchanan (15th president; ENW: less than $1 million)
5. Abraham Lincoln (16th president; ENW: less than $1 million)
6. Andrew Johnson (17th president; ENW: less than $1 million)
7. Ulysses S. Grant (18th president; ENW: less than $1 million)
8. Rutherford B. Hayes (19th president; ENW: $3 million)
9. James A. Garfield (20th president; ENW: less than $1 million)
10. Benjamin Harrison (23rd president; ENW: $5 million)
11. William McKinley (25th president; ENW: $1 million)
12. William Howard Taft (27th president; ENW: $3 million)
13. Warren G. Harding (29th president; ENW: $1 million)
14. Calvin Coolidge (30th president; ENW: less than $1 million)
15. Harry Truman (33rd president; ENW: less than $1 million)
16. Barack Obama (44th president; ENW: $5 million)

Some observations:
  • The award for "Longest Unbroken Streak of Presidents Being Worth Less Than Justin Bieber" goes to presidents 13-20.  From 1850 to 1881, no president was worth more than Justin Bieber.
  • Justin Bieber's current net worth exceeds those of James Buchanan, Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Johnson, Ulysses S. Grant, and James A. Garfield combined.
  • While Obama stands a good chance of crossing the $5.5 million mark in the near-ish future, it is unlikely that Bieber's money-making days have ended.  We will all have to wait and see which man comes out on top when history has run its course.
  • Presidents are, of course, privy to all kinds of things that Justin Bieber is not.  I just can't think of any right now.
*As the article explains: "Because a number of presidents, particularly in the early 19th Century, made and lost huge fortunes in a matter of a few years, the number for each man is based on his net worth at its peak."

This Week in Internet: Haters, Henson, and Hamsters

Scientific/mathematical bad-assery of the week: Hubble captures huge exoplanet as it is slowly, scorchingly devoured by the star it orbits; scientists create a synthetic cell (!); Boltzmann equation is solved.  Well, damnnn.

Improv Everywhere's latest stunt involves Ghostbusters and the NYPL/is hilarious.

If the names Wenlock and Mandelville mean nothing to you, I suggest you get familiar with your 2012 London Olympic mascot-blobs.

The question you should be asking yourself right now is, "Why have I never sailed across a lake on a moon bounce castle?"  (And the answer is that you have not yet truly lived.)

I enjoyed this YouTube compilation of people addressing all their haters.  Until my brain melted.

The guy who created the Chipwich died this week!  Rest in peace, good sir.

This article about the catastrophic dental injuries in NHL hockey will make you crinnnnge.

Wired ran a tribute to (fellow Terp!) Jim Henson on the 20th anniversary of his death.

Something called the New York Times picks up on the hamster hotel story that LMNOP was all over, like, months ago. (thx, matt)

Because I must subconsciously have something against children with cancer, I neglected to actually link to this story when I mentioned it last week.  Here it is, and I apologize for any delay in heartwarmingness you may have experienced. 

Every country is the best at something!  This chart breaks it down.

One last thing: the Apocalypse is near.  Huggies makes fake denim diapers.


Yesterday was my birthday, making me 27.  The day was great, except for when I Googled "27 years old" and the first result was about dying at the age of 27.  I could have done without that.  But that's what I get for continuing to use Google to try and make sense of all major life events.

Anyway.  My friends and family were kind enough to ensure that I had cakes and cupcakes to eat pretty much continuously for several days leading up to my birthday.  The first cake was made by my dear pal Caitlar:  IMAG0074Since I love board games, she frosted it to look like a Trivial Pursuit piece.  Great, right?  And the inside was Funfetti, also known as Take That, Sliced Bread, I'm the Best Shit Ever cake.  My thanks go out to her, my other friends, my family, and pretty much everyone/everything but the first Google search result for "27 years old."

This Week in Internet: Minesweeper, Pancakes, and Burnt Food

Finally, a museum I could get my work into.

Minesweeper: the Movie. Best viewed from a couch with these minesweeper pillows, methinks.

10 Amazing Slow Motion Bird Videos.  Birds are crazy.

Dog videos of the week: Lazy Dog Rides Turtle and Techno Dancing Dog.

So much easier: a great blueberry infomercial for people who are sick of the hassle of picking up a package of blueberries at the store.

You must see these awesome pancakes.  Mandatory.

Jupiter lost a belt, but don't worry--it'll be back.

12 Things the World Should Toss Out.

Oh--and here's your adorable, tear-jerking, "boy with cancer gets to be a superhero" story of the week.  (Very cute--thx Mayor)