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god as the history of chance

[Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon]'s wife seemed to agree, although she admitted to more pre-flight jitters than her husband.

"This is definitely exciting--it seems like a dream," she said in an interview before the mission. "I don't want to talk about fear. We're not talking about fear. I'm sure NASA is doing everything that is possible not to take any risks and chances," she said, adding, "The most calm and relaxed person is Ilan."

Of course nothing will go wrong, nothing ever goes wrong: every time you step onto an airplane you tell yourself this. The chance exists, but we are conditioned to ignore infinitesmal chances. One in ten thousand might as well be zero. But probability is a weird beast and a bad fit with the deterministic idea of the universe; every so often the subjunctive has a nasty way of turning indicative, and .01 percent shoots up to 100. The dice finish their roll, the roulette ball falls into its slot. The wave function collapses. The shuttle is lost.

 

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