Men with unusually long ring fingers are more likely to be either a successful stock trader, or gay. So what does that tell us about the government's wise men patching up the economy?
A background on the science: Men typically have longer ring fingers than index fingers, while women's fingers are even. But excess testosterone in utero has been found to lengthen ring fingers (and turn women lesbian). The ring-finger characteristic, in turn, has been linked to traits like success in hypercompetitive fields like Wall Street and professional sports. As you study the finger length of Washington's moneymen, new and old, the question to ask: Having gotten into this mess by people taking outsized risks, do we really want a bunch of damn-the-torpedoes macho men fixing it?
The old team:
Bush Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson's ring finger is freakishly long, which could explain his impulsive behavior with the government's bailout money.
Federal Reserve chair Ben Bernanke's ring finger is cocked here, but extended, he seems to fit the profile.
Neel Kashkari, the Ferrari-loving head of the Treasury bailout program, has a relatively normal hand.
The new team:
President-elect Barack Obama's index finger is almost as long as his ring finger, which fits with his reputation as a cool cat, but not his reputation as a studmuffin.
Paulson's replacement at Treasury, Tim Geithner, is an eerie match for his spidery fingers.
As Harvard's president, Obama economic advisor Larry Summers got in trouble for suggesting women were no good at science. But did his critics take into consideration his womanly hands?
Called to account for the collapse of his firm, Lehman Brothers CEO Dick Fuld could invoke a novel defense: With that stubby ring finger, how could he possibly be a wild and crazy type who'd risk his entire company on bad mortgage-bond bets?