When I’m 64

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Policy lessons from the Beatles

The Beatles are hailed as icons of the Sixties counter-culture.  But in a lot of ways they were quite conservative.  Economics columnist Neil Irwin looks at their song lyrics and how they handled their money, drawing out what we can learn from the Beatles about taxes, retirement, and change. [Read more…]

Tolkien vs. the Beatles


Once upon a time, the Fab Four—having slain the pop charts—decided to set their sights on the Dark Lord Sauron by making a Lord of the Rings feature, starring themselves. One man dared stand in their way: J.R.R. Tolkien.

According to Peter Jackson, who knows a little something about making Lord of the Rings movies, John Lennon was the Beatle most keen on LOTR back in the ’60s—and he wanted to play Gollum, while Paul McCartney would play Frodo, Ringo Starr would take on Sam and George Harrison would beard it up for Gandalf. And he approached a pre-2001 Stanley Kubrick to direct.”It was something John was driving, and J.R.R. Tolkien still had the film rights at that stage, but he didn’t like the idea of the Beatles doing it. So he killed it,” Jackson said.

via Little-known sci-fi facts: Tolkien killed a Beatles LOTR movie | Blastr.

HT: Joe Carter

How the Beatles increased health care costs

I am greatly intrigued by unintended consequences, odd connections, and strangely related events.  In a book about health care, Thomas Goetz explains how the Beatles were to blame for our rising health care costs.  Back in 1955, a small electronics company named EMI bought Capitol Records, which in 1966 signed a new British group called the Beatles.  EMI made so much money from the Beatles that they hardly knew what to do with it.  What they did was to invest it in some experimental medical technology that developed into the CT-scan, which could give 3-D X-rays.  This, in turn, led to other devices, such as MRIs and PET-scans.

While most technology, such as DVD players and computers, gets cheaper as it develops and gets better, for reasons that Mr. Goetz tries to explain, these medical devices keep getting MORE expensive.  In 1974, a CT-scan rig cost in the $300,000s.  Now it costs upwards of $2.2 million.  And doctors have been ordering super-expensive tests with these machines at a sky-rocketing rate. According to Mr. Goetz, this is a big reason health care costs have gone up so much.

So the next time your health insurance rates jump up, or you have to pay out of pocket for one of those tests that your insurance doesn’t cover completely, blame  John, Paul, George, and Ringo.

From success of the Fab Four, a key driver of health-care costs arose – washingtonpost.com.

Do you know any similar examples of strange series of causation?