Lucky 8’s in China
We’ve posted before on the subjects of randomness and luck. Along those lines, there’s a fascinating article by Jim Yardley in today’s N.Y. Times about the Chinese appetite for lucky numbers — well, for 8’s, the luckiest of all numbers — and how the government now auctions off lucky license plates for thousands of dollars. It used to be that government officials and their families and friends got all the good license plates, but this was seen as a corrupt practice. So now the government auctions off the plates — AC6688 recently sold for $10,000 — with the proceeds supposedly going to the victims of automobile accidents. Considering that 100,000 people die each year in auto accidents in China (this is good news only if you are awaiting an organ transplant), this is probably a worthwhile cause. Yardley points out that the Chinese consider 8 to be such a lucky number that the Beijing Olympics are due to open on 8/8/08 at 8 p.m.