Paul Graham in a 2008 essay:
Great cities attract ambitious people. You can sense it when you walk around one. In a hundred subtle ways, the city sends you a message: you could do more; you should try harder.
The surprising thing is how different these messages can be. New York tells you, above all: you should make more money. There are other messages too, of course. You should be hipper. You should be better looking. But the clearest message is that you should be richer.
What I like about Boston (or rather Cambridge) is that the message there is: you should be smarter. You really should get around to reading all those books you’ve been meaning to.
When you ask what message a city sends, you sometimes get surprising answers. As much as they respect brains in Silicon Valley, the message the Valley sends is: you should be more powerful.
Read the whole essay. It’s a very thought provoking. What does Munich tell you, what Shanghai, what Saigon?
German artists Wolfgang Aichner and Thomas Huber went on a 4-week art performance, carrying an oversized pen painting a virtual rectangle over the scenic landscape of three US states.
Thomas Huber painted the Buntschwein I bought in 2014.
In a famous test of human character, Reader’s Digest intentionally left 1,100 wallets around the world. Each wallet contained the equivalent of $50 in local currency, plus a name and phone number. In Britain 65% of the wallets were returned, in the USA the figure was nearly 70%, while Norway stole the “honesty prize” with 100% returns.