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The Last Female Face on U.S. Print Currency

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Yesterday, U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew announced that a woman would be replacing Alexander Hamilton on the $10 bill.

"We have only made changes to the faces on our currency a few times since bills were first put into circulation, and I'm proud that the new 10 will be the first bill in more than a century to feature the portrait of a woman," Lew said. The last female face on U.S. print currency was Martha Washington, who was on the one dollar Silver Certificate in the 1890s.

The switch will be made in 2020 in honor of the 100th anniversary of the Constitution's 19th Amendment. There's no word yet who the woman will be—the decision won't be made for at least a few more months. But the Department of Treasury's website offers some clues: "Democracy is the theme for the next redesigned series and the Secretary will select a woman recognized by the public who was a champion for democracy in the United States," the site states. "The person should be iconic and have made a significant contribution to—or impact on—protecting the freedoms on which our nation was founded." Additionally, only deceased people can be put on U.S. currency.

According to the website, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) typically provides "advice on themes, symbols and concepts to be used on currency," but this time, the treasury is asking the general public for their input. They're using the hashtag #TheNew10 on social media to poll opinions, and will be having roundtables and town halls this summer.

If you're looking for inspiration for who the new face of the $10 bill should be, we have some recommendations, and here's what other people have been saying:

Of course, you can't please everybody: Hamilton, the first secretary of the U.S. Treasury, has been securely positioned on $10 bill since 1929 (he replaced Andrew Jackson, who was placed on the $20 bill). Although many had been campaigning to have a woman on the $20 bill, the treasury had already pegged the $10 as the next bill to be updated due to security reasons—and some people are little annoyed that the creator of the first bank of the United States is getting bumped from its currency.

And from Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator of the much-lauded Hamilton musical, soon to make its Broadway debut:

But there's still hope for Hamilton: According to the New10 website, Hamilton will still be honored in some way. One option is to feature him on the $2 bill. 

[h/t: Money.CNN.com]

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Switzerland Flushes $1.8 Million in Gold Down the Sewer Every Year
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Switzerland has some pretty valuable sewer systems. As Bloomberg reports, scientists have discovered around $1.8 million worth of gold in the country's wastewater, along with $1.7 million worth of silver.

Scientists at the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology examined sewage sludge and effluents, or discharged liquid waste, from 64 water treatment plants and major Swiss rivers. They did this to assess the concentrations of various trace elements, which are "increasingly widely used in the high-tech and medical sectors," the scientists explained in a press statement. "While the ultimate fate of the various elements has been little studied to date, a large proportion is known to enter wastewater."

The study, which was recently published online in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, revealed that around 94 pounds of gold makes its way through Switzerland's sewage system each year, along with 6600 pounds of silver and high concentrations of rare metals like gadolinium and niobium. For the most part, these metals don't harm the environment, researchers say.

With gold and silver quite literally flowing through their sewers, is there any way that Switzerland could turn their wastewater into wealth? Scientists are skeptical: "The recovery of metals from wastewater or sludge is scarcely worthwhile at present, either financially or in terms of the amounts which could be extracted," the release explains.

However, in the southern canton of Ticino, which is home to several gold refineries, the "concentrations of gold in sewage sludge are sufficiently high for recovery to be potentially worthwhile," they conclude.

Switzerland is famous for its chocolate, watches, and mountains, but it's also home to major gold refineries. On average, around 70 percent of the world's gold passes through Switzerland every year—and judging from the looks of it, much of it goes down the drain. As for the sewer silver, it's a byproduct of the chemical and pharmaceutical industry, which is a cornerstone of Switzerland's economy.

[h/t Bloomberg]

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14 Things You Owned in the '70s That are Worth a Fortune Now
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From old toys and housewares to books and records, these pieces of '70s memorabilia have aged (and increased in value) like fine wine.

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