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Double Your Pleasure, Double Your Fun

I am in Hong Kong for a few days, and have run into two mysteries, the first major, the second minor.

1. China is long trillions of US dollars. China is poor and its citizens are in need of many things. Why don’t they spend the money on their needs? There must be things the US or the rest of the world makes that they could use. I don’t get it.

2. I always thought peppermint was a flavor, and have just discovered that it’s also a tactile sensation. To confirm this surprising fact, try taking a shower while you wash yourself with Dr Bronner’s Peppermint Liquid Soap, an experiment I accidentally performed in Hong Kong, the fragrant bay. You can tell peppermint even when it’s not in your mouth. (What evolutionary advantage for our ancestors led to this sensitivity to peppermint’s molecules? And what happens to the risk preferences of traders who chew peppermint gum or eat Tic Tacs? Worthy topics for future investigation in neuroeconomics, but for now, believe me, it’s strange.)

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