the sum of the facts does not constitute the work or determine its esthetics

The Lightning Field measures one mile by one kilometer and six meters.
There are 400 highly polished stainless steel poles with solid, pointed tips in the work.
The poles are arranged in a rectangular grid array (16 to the width, 25 to the length) and are space 220 feet apart.
A simple walk around the perimeter of the poles take approximately two hours.
The primary experience takes place within The Lightning Field.
Each mile-long row contains 25 poles and runs east-west.
Each kilometer-long row contains 16 poles and runs north-south.
Because the sky-ground relationship is central to the work, viewing The Lightning Field from the air is of no value.
Part of the essential content of the work is the ratio of people to the space: a small number of people to a large amount of space.

Some facts, notes, data, information, statistics, and statements:

The Lightning Field is a permanent work.
The land is not the setting for the work but a part of the work.
The states of California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona and Texas were searched by truck over a five-year period before the location in New Mexico was selected.
The region is located 7,200 feet above sea level.
The Lightning Field is 11 ½ miles east of the Continental Divide.
The sculpture was completed in its physical form on November 1, 1977.
An aerial survey, combined with computer analysis, determined the positioning of the rectangular grid and the elevation of the terrain.
The poles’ concrete foundations, set one foot below the surface of the land, are three feet deep and one foot in diameter.
Engineering studies indicated that these foundations will hold poles to a vertical position in winds of up to 110 miles per hour.
The shortest pole is 15 feet.
The tallest pole height is 26 feet 9 inches.
The total weight of the steel used is approximately 38,000 pounds.
Diagonal distance between any two contiguous poles is 311 feet.
If laid end to end the pole would stretch over one and one-half miles (8,240 feet).
The plane of the tips would evenly support an imaginary sheet of glass.
During the mid-portion of the day 70 to 90 percent of the poles become virtually invisible due to the high angle of the sun.
Only after a lightning strike has advanced to an area of about 200 feet above The Lightning Field can it sense the poles.
On very rare occasions when there is a strong electrical current in the air, a glow known at St. Elmo’s Fire may be emitted from the tops of the poles.
No photograph, group of photographs or other recorded images can completely represent The Lightning Field.
Isolation is the essence of Land Art.


the year in numbers

Statistics just in via my hosting service:  this little ol’ blog you’re currently reading was viewed on average 52,000 times a week across 2011. If it was a concert at the 2,700-seat Sydney Opera House, it would take a week crammed with 19 sold-out performances for that many people to see it – which sounds like a really good week at the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular, to put a local spin on the numbers.

In 2011, there were 398 new posts, growing the total archive to 820 posts. The busiest day of the year was October 26th with – get ready - 34,500 views! The most popular post that day was History Meets Mystery in Moscow.

While most visitors came from the United States, the UK and Canada were not too far behind.  Plus, now I’ve got the stats to back up what I’ve known for so long:  I’m huge in Asia.

So that’s the year in blogging.  Many thanks to you, faithful readers, for coming back again and again and continuing to share my curiosity. Stay tuned for a few tweaks and treats to come in 2012.


newsflash: women pack too much

File under amusing-consumer-research-undertaken-in-a-lame-attempt-to-masquer-ade-product-placement: the average woman over packs her vacation suitcase with 26 extraneous items that will never see the light of day, according to research. One of the secondary dangers of such over-packing, apparently, is that you run the risk of losing even more if your luggage is lost or stolen. (And in case you’re curious, you can compare up to 27 travel insurance providers at should you happen to be one of those unfortunate souls who frequently fall into the categories of luggage loser or victim of theft.) The detailed study – no doubt conducted using copiously inflated insurance claims – found that a woman typically needs 34 separate items for a weeklong break but packs 60 “just in case”. Which means almost half of the contents of her suitcase will remain entirely untouched. Even more frivolous facts: 58 percent of women find it nigh on impossible to keep their luggage within designated weight limits, while 77 percent claim they like to pack extras of everything in case they can’t decide what to wear. Unsurprisingly then, 65 percent usually find it hard to close their suitcase once they have decided what to pack. And yet 42 percent are still planning to go shopping for clothes while on their break. Jeremy Cryer, openly misogynistic – and spectacularly unaware – head of travel at, actually went on record to say: “Women are notoriously bad for making decisions on what to wear day to day, let alone for a seven day break.” My own informal research would advise Cryer to skip the travel cover and just plain duck.


live blog: statistically speaking

For anyone caught up in the current transportation paranoia, here are a few sobering statistics to cheer you up.

Data comes from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics and is inclusive over the ten-year period  from October 1999 through September 2009.

total number of commercial flights:


total number of terrorist attacks:  6

total number of successful terrorist attacks:  4

total number of miles:  69,415,786,000


one attack per 11.5 billion miles flown; the equivalent of 1,459,664 trips around the equator or 24, 218 trips to the Moon and back, or two round trips from Earth to the planet Neptune.

total airborne time (425 mph average):

18 millenia, 6 centuries, 32 years, 276 days, 13 hours, 28 minutes, 24 seconds


one attack per 27.2 million hours airborne.

(that’s 3,105 years)

{3,100 years ago the New Kingdom in Egypt comes to an end}

total number of passengers:


that’s 23 times the population of the United States of America.

number of passengers killed :  647

647 is also the total population of Muscoda, WI.

odds of being a terrorism victim in flight:  one in 10,408,947

odds of being killed by lightning:  1 in 500,000


Proudly powered by WordPress
Theme: Esquire by Matthew Buchanan.