Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Alright, you try to think of something to write about every day

I had a strange dream last night, based on the following fact: there is exactly one way to flip a coin one million times and have it come out heads every time. There are one million ways to flip a coin a million times and get exactly one tails. In other words, your chances of getting one tails and 999,999 heads are one million times as great as your chances of getting one million heads. That's a fact! And yet your chance of getting exactly one tails is so small as to make it, for all practical purposes, impossible. The total number of possible ways to flip a coin one million times is 2^1,000,000, a number with more than 300,000 digits.

My brain usually produces bizarre dreams, but every once in a while reality intrudes in a straightforward way. Believe it or not, last night I also dreamed that I had a private conversation with Senator McCain. I told him exactly what I'm sure all of you would have: that he's highly unlikely to become president, and he needs to be thinking about something much more important right now, that is his place in the national discourse after November 4 and his place in history after he is gone. Right now, he's destroying his own reputation and turning his historic legacy into one of disgrace and shame. Is that really worth it? Naturally, he was completely impervious.

What have you dreamed about lately?

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