Saturday, September 6, 2008

Buy a stealth bomber for each panda

For the price of the Iraq War, we could've bought each of the world's pandas their own stealth bomber.

Using the highest estimates, there are 3000 giant pandas in the wild, and 266 in captivity. The unit cost of the stealth bomber (at the prices that the US government was initially quoted when a larger order of bombers was planned) is $737 million each. Equipping every giant panda with their own stealth bomber would cost $2.4 trillion, which is less than Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes' estimate of $3 trillion for the cost of the Iraq War.


George Mulcaire said...

One post I would be really interested to see would be how much you could do with solar panels for 3 trillion. Maybe how much roof space, or how many homes, or what percent of national consumption could be supplied with $3,000,000,000,000 in solar panels.

Neil Sinhababu said...

I've done a little research on it, and it seems that if you bought the cheapest solar panels, you could provide a bit more than a third of national energy consumption.

Here it says that the average American consumes 10 kilowatts of energy:

Here the cheapest solar panels cost $3 per watt:

So that's 100 million Americans. The Southwest contains 80 million people if you include all of California and Texas. Does 'providing electricity to the whole Southwest' sound impressive enough?

Neil Sinhababu said...

Oh, except that you could only get full sunlight for something like 6 hours a day. So you probably couldn't even power California.

BrooklanDC said...

I can't believe no one else has mentioned that the photo is superb.

Christopher M. said...

I want to say that the picture and alt tag alone made my day.