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something extraordinary comes your way

Loren Brichter:

Some remarkable stuff throughout history has been accomplished by individuals -- part of the trick is standing on the right shoulders.

Richard Hamming:

Pasteur said, "Luck favors the prepared mind." The prepared mind sooner or later finds something important and does it. The particular thing you do is luck, but that you do something is not.

Lauren Clark:

It's good to have a plan, but if something extraordinary comes your way, you should go for it.

Werner Herzog:

Always take the initiative.

the fear of a negative result

Marc Rogers:

Let's face it -- most of today's so-called "cutting edge" security defenses are either so specific, or so brittle, that they really don't offer much meaningful protection against a sophisticated attacker or group of attackers.

Lee Berger:

Any time a scientist says 'we've got this figured out' they are probably wrong.

Lawrence Krauss:

The "null hypothesis" is most often the default hypothesis in science. We reject the null hypothesis (namely that what we think is significant is simply an accident, or noise) only when we have clear evidence to back it up.

Paul Basken:

Randomized trials now account for about 20 percent of the $30 billion annual budget of the National Institutes of Health. Private drug companies spend more than $30 billion on them. Yet drug trials fail at a rate of about 90 percent. The trials' high failure rate is driven in part by companies' pushing for trials before they've taken the time to test their theories more thoroughly in the lab. That may seem shortsighted, but executives sometimes appear motivated more by the short-term career boost from a trial announcement than by the fear of a negative result many years down the line.

Peter Orszag argued that far too many commonplace medical practices and procedures lack grounding in a scientifically rigorous test of their effectiveness. It's therefore critical to make trial practices more efficient, so that the many questions needing answers in medicine can be thoroughly vetted.

Ignorance is bliss:

Ernie: Is there anything fluffier than a cloud?

Big Tom: If there is, I don't want to know about it.

the full package

Mark Danner:

We know where we came from, and we know where we are. We do not yet know how to get back.

Quinn Norton:

As the legal system drifts further out of sync with reality, the danger slowly but surely grows.

Brad Heath:

At least 50 U.S. law enforcement agencies have secretly equipped their officers with radar devices that allow them to effectively peer through the walls of houses to see whether anyone is inside, a practice raising new concerns about the extent of government surveillance.

The radars were first designed for use in Iraq and Afghanistan. They represent the latest example of battlefield technology finding its way home to civilian policing and bringing complex legal questions with it.

Amar Toor & Russell Brandom:

Bill Marczak, a research fellow at CitizenLab and the co-founder of Bahrain Watch, calls FinFisher just the latest step in "productized surveillance," an approach pioneered by companies like Gamma and Milan-based Hacking Team that aims to make digital intrusion as easy and full-service as any other government technology package.

Leslie Gelb:

The world of 2030 will be an ugly place, littered with rebellion and repression. Societies will be deeply fragmented and overwhelmed by irreconcilable religious and political groups, by disparities in wealth, by ignorant citizenry and by states' impotence to fix problems. This world will resemble today's, only almost everything will be more difficult to manage and solve.

pointer power

Emma Stone:

I made a PowerPoint presentation for my parents when I was 14. I asked them to let me move to L.A.

Steve Coll:

When I asked, in a skeptical tone, about this passionate use of PowerPoint, General Petraeus responded in the staccato of the medium: "It's how you communicate big ideas -- to communicate them effectively."

Verlyn Klinkenborg:

As for those poor people trapped in PowerPoint presentations -- well, for them there is no help.

Peter Norvig:

Using PowerPoint is like having a loaded AK-47 on the table: You can do very bad things with it.

Stephen Caldwell and Laurel Tripp

Bullet-point people traffic in the meaningless business-speak of the management consultant, language that eschews equally the nuance and hard numbers of reality.

Ken Armstrong:

At least 10 times in the last two years, US courts have reversed a criminal conviction because prosecutors violated the rules of fair argument with PowerPoint.

In America, gun violence sets its sights on kids every 30 minutes.

In America, gun violence sets its sights on kids every 30 minutes.

In America, gun violence sets its sights on kids every 30 minutes.

the arc is down

Samuel Moyn:

If the arc is down, those who miss Tony Judt cannot take solace in the thought that it will someday bend toward justice. The facts have not changed enough.

Mark Danner:

The process, which has never been described more intimately or more convincingly, resembles nothing so much as a postmodern globalized version of the Salem witch trials: zealous inquisitors, untroubled by doubt, applying a relentless violence to conjure up a fantasy world born of the collective terrors of their own imaginations.

When the suffering of the untried and unconvicted becomes nothing more than collateral damage, America has crossed a gulf.

Mark Ames:

As Otis Pike put it, in Watergate the American people were asked to believe that "their President had been a bad person. In this situation they are asked much more; they are asked to believe that their country has been evil. And nobody wants to believe that."

Belle Boggs:

If American citizens are to have any chance of speaking truth to power, they will need to have a better handle on the truth part.

the real monster is society

David Carr, on Black Mirror:

In all of the episodes, the act of watching -- not doing -- implicates the viewer.

Josh Dzieza:

This is the paranoia at the heart of Black Mirror: we're building systems the full repercussions of which we don't yet understand, and the idea of opting out of them is a myth.

Mallory Ortberg:

A woman falls out of a plane and wakes up to find that it wasn't a plane at all. It was her seven-year-old daughter, who she had murdered because she kept blocking the screen while she (the mother, that is) was trying to watch reality television. Now she's trapped inside of reality television, and all of the judges are seven-year-old girls with cattle prods. The real monster is society.

it was acceptable in those days

Nick Paumgarten:

Before 4 Times Square and the decade or so at 20 West Forty-third Street, the magazine spent more than fifty years at 25 West Forty-third Street. It was acceptable in those days to pass a woman on the street and say, "Great hat."

L.P. Hartley:

The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.

Liliana Segura, in 2014:

The truth is, yes, even "hello" can feel like an unwelcome demand.

Clarinda Harriss:

The Tragedy of Hats is that you can never see the one you're wearing,
that no one believes the lies they tell,
that they grow to be more famous than you,
that you could die in one but you won't be buried in it.

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