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June 10, 2002
Ten is a pretty great number in the most arbitrary sense of the word. Nature hooked ten up. It could have just as easily been 8 or 12 or some other number. There are animals with that 8 fingers. If we only had 8 fingers, the whole universe would look a whole lot more mystical. 8 would be represented as 10, and also 2-cubed. Stoners would stare at their fingers and say “Whoa!” with at least twice the intensity.

In that case however, poor 5 would be more like 7: an awkward prime number, a curmudgeon of the multiplication tables.