For those of us in civilized countries, it can sometimes come as a shock to deal with American hard currency. The US one and five cent coins are still in circulation, despite containing more than their own face value in metal. (Nickels contain seven cents worth of metal; pennies a fraction more than one cent.) All their notes are the same size and colour, making it a nightmare for the blind and partially-sighted people, not to mention a boon to counter-fitters. And the government still throws hundreds of millions of dollars away each year by making short-lived paper $1 notes. Given this background, the Reality-Based Community's Michael O'Hare's The Sad Story of the Dollar Coin makes interesting reading.