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10 years Ago

The Perfect Argument

Published by marco on

“For once, it would be nice to hear a logical chain of reasoning that doesn’t include any leaps of faith, and isn’t based on the 100%-certainty of a guy whose proof is hidden behind a wall of national security. Especially when that guy’s been wrong every other time he’s opened his mouth. Any discussion that refers to a guy like that is a waste of time for everyone involved.”
me

The Convergence of Postmodernism and Republican Thought

Published by marco on

“The very idea that there is no truth, but only the filter of narrative through which truth is invented is something I learned at the feet of the most leftist professors at Yale and am learning again from Sarah Palin during the Vice Presidential debate, and I find that very disorienting.”
Interview by John Hodgman (The AV Club)

Co-dependency

Published by marco on

“But we are suggesting neither that the human race would voluntarily turn power over to the machines nor that the machines would willfully seize power. What we do suggest is that the human race might easily permit itself to drift into a position of such dependence on the machines that it would have no practical choice but to accept all of the machines’ decisions. … Eventually a stage may be reached at which the decisions necessary to keep the system running will be so complex that human beings... [More]”

11 years Ago

Learning How To Think

Published by marco on

“The point here is that I think this is one part of what teaching me how to think is really supposed to mean. To be just a little less arrogant. To have just a little critical awareness about myself and my certainties. Because a huge percentage of the stuff that I tend to be automatically certain of is, it turns out, totally wrong and deluded.[…] learning how to think really means learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think. It means being conscious and aware enough to... [More]”
Kenyon Commencement Address by David Foster Wallace on May 21, 2005

Fanaticism

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“A fanatic is one who redoubles his effort when he has forgotten his aim.”
George Santayana

Fate

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“I have noticed even people who claim everything is predestined, and that we can do nothing to change it, look before they cross the road.”
Stephen Hawking

Apathy

Published by marco on

“My greatest regret is that, under our Constitution, the American people can have almost anything they want, but it just seems they don’t want much of anything at all.”


The Nader version appears to be a paraphrase of “[t]he people can have anything they want, the only problem is they do not want anything”, which, though possibly more accurate, doesn’t read nearly as well.

Personality Test

Published by marco on

“I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.”
Maya Angelou


As of right now, this author finds that rainy days are good for catching up on inside hobbies, provided there aren’t too many rainy days in a row and that they are suitably interspersed with non-rainy days, which can be used for those lovely outdoor activities that tend to make the inside-hobbies–checklist pile up so much; this... [More]

Advertising’s Purpose

Published by marco on

“It did what all ads are supposed to do: create an anxiety relievable by purchase.”
David Foster Wallace

How to Stay Healthy

Published by marco on

“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”
Unhappy Meals by Michael Pollan (New York Times)

Quick Recovery

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“Suprising, actually. He did quite well, coming back from … from fainting.”
Eurosport announcer, referring to French weightlifter Benjamin Hennequin


To be honest, the audio was much, much better, delivered as it was in a dry, extremely serious tone, with no indication of the comment’s wittiness. his co-announcer seemingly took no notice.

Putin : Georgia :: ____ : Iraq

Published by marco on

“Where on earth did Putin get the idea that he could just manufacture a non-existent crisis, invade a sovereign nation and overthrow its government just because he personally detests that nation’s leader?

“Oh. Never mind.”

What was Putin Thinking? by Ken Silverstein (Harper's)

Majestic Law

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“The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.”

On Writing

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“If only you’d remember before ever you sit down to write that you’ve been a reader long before you were ever a writer. You simply fix that fact in your mind, then sit very still and ask yourself, as a reader, what piece of writing in all the world Buddy Glass would most want to read if he had his heart’s choice. The next step is terrible, but so simple I can hardly believe it as I write it. You just sit down shamelessly and write the thing yourself.”

Citation found in Friend’s: Bright Shiny... [More] by Kevin Kopelson (n+1)

Miracles

Published by marco on

“There are two ways to live – one is to believe everything is a miracle, the second is to believe nothing is a miracle. I belong to the second group.”


Terim coached the Turkish national side in the Euro 2008, where they fought their way through to the semifinals with “late goals helping to secure victories in their games against Switzerland, the Czech Republic and Croatia”.

Bolivian Riddle

Published by marco on

Question: What’s the only country that will never have a coup d’état?

Answer: The United States, because they don’t have a U.S. embassy.”

Jim Shultz on May 31, 2008 (This is Hell)

It’s Just a Ride

Published by marco on

“The world is like a ride in an amusement park. And when you choose to go on it, you think it’s real because that’s how powerful our minds are. And the ride goes up and down and round and round. It has thrills and chills and it’s very brightly coloured and it’s very loud and it’s fun, for a while.

“Some people have been on the ride for a long time and they begin to question, is this real, or is this just a ride? And other people have remembered, and they come back to us, they say, ‘Hey − don’t... [More]”

It's Just a Ride by Bill Hicks

Programming with Feeling

Published by marco on

“Back in my COBOL days I came across a program with three GOTO statements in a row, all to the same place. I asked the original programmer why he did that, and he replied that he wanted to make sure it really went there.

“Oh. I guess he only wrote one GOTO when he didn’t really care if it went there or not.”

Election Frenzy

Published by marco on

“This seizes the country every four years because we have all been brought up to believe that voting is crucial in determining our destiny, that the most important act a citizen can engage in is to go to the polls and choose one of the two mediocrities who have already been chosen for us. It is a multiple choice test so narrow, so specious, that no self-respecting teacher would give it to students.”
Election Madness by Howard Zinn (ZNet)

Margaret Thatcher

Published by marco on

“She ended the Cold War did she? Well good for her. I couldn’t stand her.”

Believing in Communism

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“Yes I called Marxism ‘the sweetest dream’ in one of my books. Then I discovered it was all a load of old socks. It seems incredible now that quite intelligent people believed in it all. What doubts there were were expressed in sly jokes. The jokes contradicted everything we believed in. We used to joke about how we were wrong about everything.”

The 51st State

Published by marco on

“I wish they’d just get it over with and make [Iraq] the 51st state, because I think it’s the perfect red state: religious fundamentalists, lots of weaponry. How could you go wrong? We’re already spending a significant fraction of our gross national product on the infrastructure, such as it is, on Iraq. Make it the 51st state and get it over with. [Laughs.]”


From an interview with the Oscar-winning director of Fog of War (IMDb) and the new Standard Operating Procedure (IMDb).

Poverty

Published by marco on

The curse of poverty has no justification in our age. It is socially as cruel and blind as the practice of cannibalism at the dawn of civilization, when men ate each other because they had not yet learned to take food from the soil or to consume the abundant animal life around them. The time has come for us to civilize ourselves by the total, direct and immediate abolition of poverty. […] The contemporary tendency in our society is to base our distribution on scarcity, which has vanished, and... [More]”
Final Words of Advice by Martin Luther King (Progress.org)

Wasted Talent

Published by marco on

“And you know what? There is something really evil about taking thousands of the world’s smartest young people and using them to sell online text ads more efficiently. Really. Think of all the really interesting and important things that this pool of brainpower could be addressing.”


The whole post is one of his best—on par with this classic about Hill & Bill aka “the Clintstones”: The big secret meeting, complete waste of time by FSJ (The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs).

Being Black

Published by marco on

“And I think that you have to cut some slack – and I’m gonna be probably the only Conservative in America who’s gonna say something like this, but I’m just tellin’ you – we’ve gotta cut some slack to people who grew up being called names, being told “you have to sit in the balcony when you go to the movie. You have to go to the back door to go into the restaurant. And you can’t sit out there with everyone else. There’s a separate waiting room in the doctor’s office. Here’s where you sit on the... [More]”

Soldiers

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“My objective [as a photographer] was not to allow my positive feelings toward [the soldiers] as individuals to cloud the fact that they were prosecuting a genocidal war.”


The author of the article—John Pilger—met Griffiths in Vietnam and continued to work with him through Iraq until Griffiths’ death in March of 2008.

Not Qualified

Published by marco on

“Bottom line, if you are so ignorant or confused that you think Shiite ayatollahs in Tehran are training and arming radical Salafi Sunnis to blow up Shiites in Iraq, you really should not be president.”

Reading the Economist

Published by marco on

“The Economist flatters readers who aren’t quite intelligent enough to realize how shallow it is into thinking that they are more intelligent than they are because they read it.”

Nail. On. The. Head.

On Multiculturalism

Published by marco on

“You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: when men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours.”
General Sir Charles Napier


[1] On the practice of “suttee”—the tradition of burning widows on the funeral pyres of their husbands.

History History

Published by marco on

“History doesn’t repeat itself—at best, it sometimes rhymes.”
Mark Twain