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Planet Money

Why Gold? A Chemist Explains

The periodic table lists 118 different chemical elements. And yet, for thousands of years, humans have really, really liked one of them in particular: gold. A chemist explains.

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The last bubble: A neighborhood laid out in in the 1970s in Charlotte County, Florida, for a subdivision that never got built. DigitalGlobe hide caption

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Planet Money

Before Toxic Assets Were Toxic

Back in the day, Planet Money's pet toxic asset seemed like a benign way to help more people buy houses.

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Planet Money

How To Stop Sea Captains From Killing Passengers

A story about 17th century sea voyages gets at the heart of economics: Get the incentives right, and you can do anything.

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Planet Money

How To Spend $1.25 Trillion

In a matter of months, the Federal Reserve bought up a huge chunk of the nation's mortgages. Here's what it looked like on the inside.

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Richard Koenig, 81, defaulted on a $300,000 loan. "I don't have horns," he said. Chana Joffe-Walt/NPR hide caption

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Planet Money

Inside Our Toxic Asset: An 81-Year-Old Man With A Dog Named Muffin

We bought a toxic asset full of mortgages gone bad. Then we went to Florida to find some of the people behind the mortgages.

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