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Friday, March 13, 2009

I have been to the top of the Willis Tower many times...

... and perhaps you have too. If you don't recognize the name, maybe it is because the Willis Tower, until just now, was know as the Sears Tower in Chicago, the tallest building in the United States. The Willis Group, a very large London-based insurance broker, is the new owner. So goes another trademark location, the same as almost every newly named sports arena in American.

This, however, reminds me of one of the most interesting phenomena I have ever personally experienced. While riding down from the Sears Observation Tower on the 101st floor a number of years back, a strange thing happened. The large elevator had an active graphic display of its descent that was the outline of the number, 101. As the elevator ascended or descended, the 101 number would either fill with light, as if you were pouring milk into a glass, or empty in similar fashion.

There were probably 30 people in that elevator as it descended, never stopping, on it's 90 second ride to the street. Yet, the display started to empty, then, half way down, fill up again. All of us passengers knew the elevator never stopped, but every one of us fully expected the doors to open out to the observation area when it came to a halt. There was a big gasp of surprise as the doors opened to the street, then laughter as our senses had been completely fooled... like a magician making an elephant disappear... but for real.

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