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my new theory on PR these days... I'm guessing that google is just using it to perfect its own formula, so eventually everyone will have a PR of 10, and thus everything you search for will give you perfect results.... hm... it's highly possible for them to do that.
to your hosts file, then you can see the PR of one datacenter (in this case www-va.google.com which is now supposed to have the most recent PageRank). The location of the hosts file depends on your OS like
(ignore the 'hosts.sam' file which is just a sample file). After changing that file, close all Internet Explorer (IE) windows and start IE again.
See also: Pagerank instability? Irreproducible results. [webmasterworld.com]