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See Inside August 2006

Monumental Error

Apparently, to paraphrase Gertrude Stein, when you come here, there's no here here
Steve Mirsky



FRANK VERONSKY
On May 31 the Department of Homeland Security announced their 2006 anti¿terrorism funding grants to U.S. cities.

The New York Hall of Science. The New York Academy of Sciences. The New York Academy of Medicine. Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. Weill Medical College of Cornell University. Mount Sinai School of Medicine. New York University School of Medicine. State University of New York Downstate Medical Center College of Medicine.

New York City had its funding cut by 40 percent from last year.

Nobel laureate Eric Kandel. Nobel laureate Richard Axel. Nobel laureate Roderick MacKinnon. Nobel laureate Harold Varmus. Nobel laureate Paul Greengard. Nobel laureate Joshua Lederberg. Nobel laureate Rosalyn Yalow.

Homeland Security officials said that they determined the amount of each grant based on a formula.

Ellis Island. The Brooklyn Bridge. The Throgs Neck Bridge. Linda Evangelista's neck. The Triborough Bridge. The 59th Street Bridge. Paul Simon. The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. The George Washington Bridge.

The formula counts the presence of "national monuments or icons." Homeland Security officials determined that New York City had no such national monuments or icons.

The Statue of Liberty. The angel statue in Central Park. Belvedere Castle in Central Park. Central Park. Prospect Park. Van Cortlandt Park. Park Avenue. "Don't even THINK about parking here." Opera in the Parks. The New York Philharmonic. Derek Jeter. Grand Central Terminal. The Museum of Modern Art. The American Museum of Natural History. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Metropolitan Opera. The Mets. The rest of the Yankees. The rest of Linda Evangelista. Yankee Stadium. Madison Square Garden. Oh, okay, the Knicks and Rangers. Okay, even Shea Stadium. Coney Island. The bull statue on Wall Street. Wall Street. The Prometheus statue at Rockefeller Center. The skating rink at Rockefeller Center. Rockefeller Center. The Rockefeller University. Columbia University. New York University. The City University of New York. The New School. The Cooper Union for Advancement of Science and Art. The American Academy of Dramatic Arts. The Bronx High School of Science. Scientific American. Stuyvesant High School. Brooklyn Technical High School. Hunter College High School. The Juilliard School. The Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts. Lincoln Center. Carnegie Hall. The Zieg¿feld. David Letterman. Kurt Vonnegut. Ground Zero.

Scientists also develop formulas.

LGA. JFK. The FDR. The IRT. The IND. The BMT. The U.N.

When a formula produces results that are obviously nonsense, scientists examine the data.

The Empire State Building.

Responding to a hurricane of criticism, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff explained that the Empire State Building was purposefully placed in the "large office building" category rather than the icon category because that designation helps to generate a higher risk score. Here's a flash for the folks gaming their own formula: the Empire State Building is a large office building and an icon.

The Chrysler Building. The Flatiron Building. The Woolworth Building. St. Patrick's Cathedral. The New York Botanical Garden. The Brooklyn Botanic Garden. The New York Aquarium. The Queens Zoo. The Prospect Park Zoo. The Central Park Zoo. The Bronx Zoo.

When a formula produces results that are obviously nonsense, scientists may also scrutinize, modify or even discard the formula itself. It's not easy, but somebody has to do it. Seriously, somebody has to.

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