Volume 91, Issue 78

Wednesday, February 18, 1998

aspartame pop


Cliff finally makes some cents

Cliff's mailbag is a column which attempts to answer the myriad of questions inquiring Western students are going out of their minds trying to figure out. From Western questions, to science questions, to inane trivial nonsense – intrepid Cliff will ferret out the answer...or DIE TRYING!!! Send questions to UCC, Rm. 263 c/o Cliff or email gaznews@julian.uwo.ca.

Let's all join together and give our man Cliff a hearty welcome back. Yes, that peerless practitioner of perilous ponderances has positioned his pen to pound your questions into answers with his big, rusty mallet. Bang! Today, Cliff tackles a question from Norman Mah (a chap who has more questions than a golf course has old people).

Hey Cliffy! From 1982 to 1996, the penny was dodecagonal, or 12-sided. The new 1997 penny has returned to being round. Can you tell me why? Thanks buddy.

Cliff, busy with other matters that desperately needed his immediate attention (i.e. Jerry Springer Uncut), sent one of his many office temps to gather this information.

Cliff's helpful temp contacted Pierre Morin, spokesperson for the Royal Canadian Mint, who had some wonderful penny tidbits for your reading pleasure. Normy was correct – from 1982 to 1996 the penny was dodecagonal (coincidentally the Cliffy word of the day). Good eye Norm!

Not surprisingly, the change was due to cost. In 1995, the government decided to change the metal composition from pure bronze to copper-plated zinc. The bronze penny was costing the government 1.4 cents per penny.

Realizing a coin that costs more than its worth is a major black eye for the government, they decided to switch to the cheaper copper-plated zinc model, a retail cost of 0.8 cents. The change saved the government $5 million in 1997 – a major feather in the federal cap! That's YOUR MONEY!

But the question remains – why the shape change? Tell us Pierre Morin! "Copper made it much harder to produce a multi-sided coin. The zinc makes it much easier to produce." Thank you Pierre!

Morin added the switch of shape was confirmed with major financial and vending corporations as well as the council for the blind.

Cliff still wants your questions kids. And Norm, Cliff promises that he will get to your other questions in due time. That goes for all you other crazy kids that wrote in. Cliff will answer the most asinine questions you can think up in your Ross Rebagliati-inspired pot stupor! Cliff has been somewhat AWOL as of late but promises from now on he will be appearing with the regularity of an all-bran diet. Ciao!

To Contact The News Department: gaznews@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1998