Thursday, July 1

Amazing. Try this. Next time you have a random idea flitting through your brain, try googling it. I did, and there it was, waiting for me to find it.

On the wall in my office, I have the following Emily Dickinson poem circled on a faxed page from a book. Emily is an alumna of the college where I work, and since I do statistics that go into college guidebooks and are used to promote the institution at times, the associate dean of faculty and I agreed that this poem was apt to describe what we do:

Tell all the Truth but tell it slant--
Success in Circuit lies
Too bright for our infirm Delight
The Truth's superb surprise

As Lightning to the Children eased
With explanation kind
The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind.

Apply this to admit rate calculations in the context of the size of the early decision pool, and, well, sometimes the Truth's superb suprise can be a little too bright. I'm not saying we're lying, we're just telling the Truth (actually, it should probably have small t) the best we can.

So what does this have to do with google? As I glanced at this poem, I thought, gosh, wouldn't it be nice to have a random poetry engine, where you could get a new Emily Dickinson poem whenever you needed one? And knowing the web as I do, I googled random poetry engine. This led me to a yahoo directory that deserves much more attention than I can spare right now, called Randomized Things. A quick trip to the subdirectory for poetry got me to not only a randomized poetry generator, but one that delivers a random Emily Dickinson epigram (and I learned that they're called epigrams too!) upon each page loading.

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