filthy with miracles

August 3, 2004
Article of the Moment
Scientific American on how The Law of Large Numbers guarantees that "miracles" happen 295 times a day in America. Or as "Uncle Al" put it, "There are 27O million Americans. The US is filthy with one-in-a-million events." (In the SciAm article I also like the thought "during the time that we are awake and actively engaged in living our lives, roughly for eight hours each day, we see and hear things happening at a rate of about one per second. So the total number of events that happen to us is about thirty thousand per day, or about a million per month." 30,000 events per day...huh.)

Photoshopping of the Moment
--Some amazing art hackery going on in Worth1000's Modern Mod Ren contest, modern celebrities as the subjects of slightly less modern art...

Quote and Essay of the Moment
This experience was only part of a larger process of edification. Living in Europe, I gradually came to appreciate American virtues I'd always taken for granted, or even disdained--among them a lack of self-seriousness, a grasp of irony and self-deprecating humor, a friendly informality with strangers, an unashamed curiosity, an openness to new experience, an innate optimism, a willingness to think for oneself and speak one's mind and question the accepted way of doing things. (One reason why Euro- peans view Americans as ignorant is that when we don't know something, we're more likely to admit it freely and ask questions.)
It's worth reading (even though at least on my browser, quotation marks and other puncuation display as question marks and accented characters as Chinese...) -- it's a right leaning, spirited response to some books that provide a much more negative view of the United States.

News of the Moment
Statue of Liberty has re-opened for tourists. Huh, I hadn't realized it had been shutdown. Bummed to hear it's only up to the pedastal top, though: "The rest of the statue continues to be off-limits because it cannot accommodate large numbers of tourists and does not meet safety codes." I'm glad I got the view from the crown (even if I never got to go up to the torch...) Of course my memories of the place will always be tempered by the time I went up with my then girlfriend and she got the WORST cramps ever...watching her roll on the floor of halfway up the pedastal, and not being able to do a ton to help...)