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    Friends are like snowflakes

    “Friends are like snowflakes: beautiful and different,” read the sign at the Starbucks coffee shop on Forty-Second and Sixth in New York City, writer Adam Gopnik reported in the New Yorker, January 3, 2011. But Gopnik wondered, “Are snowflakes really different?”He set out to find the answer and discovered that snowflakes “start out more or less the same.” In the clouds above Wisconsin, Nancy Knight, a cloud scientist with the U.S. National Centre for Atmospheric Research, in 1988 photographed two identical snow crystals.

    But snowflakes change as they fall from the clouds, as people change as they go through life.

    Gopnik concludes:

    “The sign in Starbucks should read, ‘Friends are like snowflakes: more different and more beautiful each time you cross their paths in our common descent.’ For the final truth about snowflakes is that they become more individual as they fall—that buffeted by wind and time, they are translated as if by magic, into ever more strange and complex patterns, until, at last, like us, they touch the earth. Then, like us, they melt.”

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