Published on in Quotes
I recently saw two definitions of diplomacy that I liked very much. I’ve included them below with the original attributions and have made no effort to ascertain their accuracy. I think the quotes stand on their own, regardless of who is purported to have said them.
“Diplomacy is the art of building ladders to allow people to climb down gracefully.”
“Diplomacy is the art of telling someone to go to hell in such a manner that they look forward to the trip.”
Published on in Books
I found a list of book recommendations I’d made for a friend, tailored to his interests. I’ve republished it here with some minor edits, in case anyone else is interested. The title links to my review and notes.
This is a partial list of books I’ve read since 2013 that I think you might be interested in. I’ve included links to my reviews/notes/citations, if that helps.
I’ve tried to break it up into rough groups. Many straddle categories. They’re all good, but some are work and some are fun.
Published on in Miscellaneous
COVID-19 has made mail-in voting more relevant than ever for US elections. In other countries, this would not be an issue, as mail-in voting doesn’t pose any particular technical, organizational, or bureaucratic hassles or threaten to lead to widespread disenfranchisement. Those are normal countries, like Switzerland, where a majority of the population votes by mail about five times per year.
The US is different: even the simplest tasks become difficult for a nation afraid to commit to... [More]
Published on in Books
I was recently inspired to write about my Kindle’s odd recommendations. Since then, I’ve gotten several more—with seemingly rapidly decreasing quality.
Lady from the Stars
“A woman from another planet crashes on Earth. Her foes track her and plan to enslave Earth. Can she stop them and save Earth and the man she loves?”
I’m going to guess that the author is simultaneously responsible for the cover art and the blurb. If the prose in the book measures up to the quality of the blurb, then... [More]
Published on in Public Policy & Politics
This video from 2015 takes only five minutes to present the results of a Princeton University study of 20 years of data to determine the amount of influence an American had on which laws were enacted. Regardless of whether Americans were completely against or completely for a policy, there was a 30% chance of it being enacted. From the study:
“The preferences of the average American appear to have only a miniscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy. ”
It seems... [More]
Two Days Ago
1 week Ago
Published on in Design
My old weather station finally died. I’d inherited it about 25 years ago from a good friend in New York. It came from my apartment in Kew Gardens to Switzerland, where it was first mounted in my kitchen and then office for many years.
The cord was covered with electrical tape from several incidents involving my first rabbit Oz. After a dozen more years, the plastic casing on the wire leading to the outside thermometer had become very brittle—especially after years of being shut into the... [More]