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March 31, 2006

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Joel Thibault

British? I thought he was Belgian.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dr._Evil

Semantic Compositions

That was his original story, but we know he's really Austin's brother (per Goldmember). Also, while it's hard to pin his accent to any one place, my working assumption is that his pre-freezing adult career was primarily in Britain. But yoou're right, I somewhat overstated the issue of his nationality. On the other hand, even raised elsewhere in Europe, he still would have had the same concept of the relationship between million and billion.

Ben Zimmer

You can read Bialik's column without a subscription here.

The Tensor

Hmm, interesting analysis, but there's one datum that it doesn't explain: why did Dr. Evil originally ask for one million dollars? Even in the late 60's a megabuck would have been chump change to a supervillian.

J. Goard

What on earth is "perverse" about our using a system that makes a set of words far more relevant, outside of astrophysics or the macroeconomics of the largest nations?

And ditto Tensor.

Semantic Compositions

J. Goard: Nothing is "perverse" about it to me! I was trying to mock the description of our system as "an entire perversion" from the OED. Sorry if that didn't come across clearly.

Tensor: We might answer that question by looking at how big a slice of the overall pie Dr. Evil was asking for. A table of CPI statistics for estimating the value of money from 1967 in 2005 dollars can be found here. From it, I calculated that $1 million in 1967 dollars is worth about $4.8 million in 1997 dollars (the year the movie came out), and from the 2005 version of the same table, about $11.2 million. Still chump change, in isolation -- but how about as a percentage of the overall money supply?

Here's the M1 and M2 data set from the Federal Reserve. Using the seasonally adjusted table, I calculate that M3 (the sum of the two) was 708.1 billion (American) in December of 1967, and 5103.9 B in 1997. Both figures suggest a failure of imagination the first time around, being only .00014% of M3 in 1967, and an even more trivial .00002% in 1997.

But we have to remember that he was frozen, which presumably had lingering effects on his mental functions, and someone needed to throw him a frickin' bone. The number might have been pathetic, but it's only because he wasn't thinking clearly. Once Number Two recalibrated his senses, he came up with a scheme truly befitting an evil genius. $100 billion (American) would only have been 2% of M3 -- remember, that's the total money supply of all American dollars, including in foreign accounts -- which would have been painful to scrape together, but far from impossible in such a dire situation. $100 billion (British), however, would be twenty times the number of American dollars in the world at that time, which would have been impossible to pay off. And therefore there would have been no choice but for everyone to agree that he now owned the world, and we were all his slaves.

rate movies

i never thought of it this way. i just love dr evil.

rate new and old movies

russische frau

This theme has interested me! What on earth is "perverse" about our using a system that makes a set of words far more relevant, outside of astrophysics or the macroeconomics of the largest nations?

Summer Glau

I like this. post,On the other hand, even raised elsewhere in Europe, he still would have had the same concept of the relationship between million and billion.GooD luck

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