Crazy things on which to spend money

Modern society is full of marvels. Computers with more storage and processing power than existed 50 years ago are available to everyone. Flying across the world may not be “cheap”, but it’s doable. We take a lot of these things for granted and don’t stop to wonder about it. If you ever find yourself with some extra money, here are some ways to get rid of it.

Play with some construction equipment

Dig This offers a “playground for adults”. I love swings and slides as much as the next guy, but operating some heavy equipment for an hour and a half is a bit more intense. Not too much, price-wise, if you’re already in vegas, at a mere $250.

The Rosetta Disk

The 13,000 pages in the collection contain documentation on over 1500 languages gathered from archives around the world. For each language we have several categories of data—descriptions of the speech community, maps of their location(s), and information on writing systems and literacy.

Each disk is a repository of human languages which lasts many thousands of years. It can be read with only optical technology, ensuring that even if society collapses the information is not lost. Last time I talked to the people at LongNow, each one cost about $5k. Not sure if they’re still making and/or selling them, but it would be worth an email.


Getting up into space will set you back about $15 million, a bit out of my price range. The Zero G Corporation has a slightly more cost-effective option:

On our specially modified Boeing 727, parabolic arcs are performed to create a weightless environment allowing you to float, flip and soar as if you were in space.

For the low low price of $4950 (+5% tax), 8 minutes of weightlessness can be yours.

Whole genome sequencing

As far as I know, there aren’t any companies out there offering this as a product. But they do it as parts of studies, so with a few phone calls one could likely get their entire genome sequenced. According to some coworkers, the cost would be around $5k. If one reallywants genetic information but is hardup for cash, there are cheaper options:
0. 23andMe. What they do isn’t whole genome sequencing, rather they look for the presence of common mutations. Fast, convenient, and only $100.
1. The Personal Genome Project. Your entire genome is sequenced, and other medical data collected (including your medical records), to advance medical knowledge. The catch is that all of this data is made public. It’s not attached to your name, but whether genetic information can ever be anonymous is somewhat debatable[1]. I applaud the people who join this project, and believe it could do a lot of good. But I won’t be signing up soon. Maybe on my deathbed.
  1. [1]By which I mean it almost certainly can’t but that’s an unpleasant truth
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