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Current Topic: Miscellaneous

an inevitable bias
Topic: Miscellaneous 8:15 am EST, Jan 22, 2014

Evgeny Morozov:

Many of us have bought into the simplistic narrative -- convenient to both Washington and Silicon Valley -- that we just need more laws, more tools, more transparency.

Thomas Powers, in 2005:

More is what Congress is ready to support and fund, more is what the President wants, and more is what we are going to get.

President Barack Obama, in 2014:

There is an inevitable bias not only within the intelligence community, but among all of us who are responsible for national security, to collect more information about the world, not less.

Garry Wills:

Keeping up morale in this vast, shady enterprise is something impressed on [the President] by all manner of commitments. He becomes the prisoner of his own power.

Jeff Jarvis:

I am less concerned with what government knows about me than what we don't know about government.

scale and scalability
Topic: Miscellaneous 2:51 pm EST, Jan 19, 2014

Tony Judt:

Evil, above all evil on the scale practiced by Nazi Germany, can never be satisfactorily remembered. The very enormity of the crime renders all memorialisation incomplete. Its inherent implausibility -- the sheer difficulty of conceiving of it in calm retrospect -- opens the door to diminution and even denial. Impossible to remember as it truly was, it is inherently vulnerable to being remembered as it wasn't. Against this challenge memory itself is helpless.

Donald Rumsfeld:

Everything seems amazing, in retrospect.

Arundhati Roy:

To love. To be loved.
To never forget your own insignificance.
To never get used to the unspeakable violence and the vulgar disparity of life around you.
To seek joy in the saddest places.
To pursue beauty to its lair.
To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple.
To respect strength, never power.
Above all, to watch.
To try and understand.
To never look away.
And never, never to forget.

bear with me
Topic: Miscellaneous 2:51 pm EST, Jan 19, 2014

Winston Churchill:

The essential aspects of democracy are the freedom of the individual, within the framework of laws passed by Parliament, to order his life as he pleases, and the uniform enforcement of tribunals independent of the executive. The laws are based on Magna Carta, Habeas Corpus, the Petition of Right and others. Without this foundation there can be no freedom or civilisation, anyone being at the mercy of officials and liable to be spied upon and betrayed even in his own home. As long as these rights are defended, the foundations of freedom are secure. I see no reason why democracies should not be able to defend themselves without sacrificing these fundamental values.

Steve Ballmer:

You just had to be with the bear, otherwise you would be under the bear.

Matt Higgins:

There are bears that peel and bears that don't peel. We target peeling bears.

George Szirtes:

The translator was tracking the bear but kept wondering why the bear was wearing his shoes. Bears are thieves, he muttered.

Haruki Murakami:

If you can't understand it without an explanation, you can't understand it with an explanation.

Robert Ito:

An earlier version of this article incorrectly described imagery from "The Shining." The gentleman seen with the weird guy in the bear suit is wearing a tuxedo, but not a top hat.

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.

the overall trajectory
Topic: Miscellaneous 7:23 pm EST, Jan 16, 2014

John Gruber:

When your own employees don't use or support your product, the problem is with the product, not the employees.

Metafilter Wisdom:

If you are not paying for it, you're not the customer; you're the product being sold.

Donald Rumsfeld:

Today can sometimes look worse than yesterday -- or even two months ago. What matters is the overall trajectory: Where do things stand today when compared to what they were five years ago?

Eric Schmidt, in 2009:

If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place.

Marco Arment, in 2014:

Google won't break into your home. You'll invite them in.

Mat Honan:

In a few years, we might all be Glassholes.

the power of possibility
Topic: Miscellaneous 2:29 pm EST, Jan 12, 2014

Jean-Luc Godard:

It's not where you take things from -- it's where you take them to.

Nicholas Watt:

Britain has won the right to export pig semen to China in a deal worth £45m a year. Pigs will not be flying but their seed will take to the air.

Sarah Zhang:

All the unknowns around exploding hog manure foam suggest being careful about unintended consequences.

Noah Rayman:

Walmart customers in China who purchased "Five Spice" donkey meat can be reimbursed because the product may contain fox meat.

Pete Wells:

When we hear the words Donkey Sauce, which part of the donkey are we supposed to think about?

you'll always feel it
Topic: Miscellaneous 12:32 pm EST, Jan 12, 2014


This is it. This is what matters.

The experience of a product. How it will make someone feel.

Will it make life better? Does it deserve to exist?

We spend a lot of time on a few great things, until every idea we touch enhances each life it touches.

You may rarely look at it, but you'll always feel it.

This is our signature, and it means everything.

Evgeny Morozov:

The benefits to consumers are already obvious; the potential costs to citizens are not.

Steven Aftergood:

Somebody is going to be unhappy at the end of this process. I hope it's somebody else.

without a shadow of a doubt
Topic: Miscellaneous 7:47 am EST, Jan 10, 2014

Mike Tyson:

I've learned that when people congratulate me, that's when I focus on my flaws. That way I don't allow my narcissism to fly sky-high and allow me to think that I can act out without any consequences.

Tyler Cohen:

I think of humility as a virtue, a practical virtue that's making a comeback.


No man who says I'm as good as you believes it. He would not say it if he did.

an asset in disguise
Topic: Miscellaneous 8:05 am EST, Jan  9, 2014

Sasha Weiss:

... Underneath the pomp and idealism our political leaders are con men, telling us a story about ourselves that may not be true.

Jonathan Chait:

But it feels true, and that is the important thing.

James Surowiecki:

It seems that con artists, for all their vices, represent many of the virtues that Americans aspire to. Of course, the fundamental difference between entrepreneurs and con artists is that con artists ultimately know that the fantasies they're selling are lies.

Tom Nichols:

Your political analysis as a layman ... probably isn't -- indeed, almost certainly isn't -- as good as you think it is.

Michael Hobbes:

We're just magnifying what we know, zooming in on the crumbs as if it will reveal where they lead.

Evgeny Morozov:

No laws and tools will protect citizens who, inspired by the empowerment fairy tales of Silicon Valley, are rushing to become data entrepreneurs, always on the lookout for new, quicker, more profitable ways to monetise their own data – be it information about their shopping or copies of their genome. These citizens want tools for disclosing their data, not guarding it. Now that every piece of data, no matter how trivial, is also an asset in disguise, they just need to find the right buyer.

how hard you sprint!
Topic: Miscellaneous 8:17 am EST, Jan  6, 2014

Dwight Garner:

I'd never own one, even if I could. But I miss it already.

Jenna Brager:

Are you really that guilty about your guilty pleasures? What exactly were you hoping for anyway?

Molly Crabapple:

Winning does not scale. Don't pretend that everyone can win.

Alexis Madrigal:

No matter how hard you sprint for the horizon, it keeps receding. There is always something more.

Ta-Nehisi Coates:

That the enemy is us, is never easy to take.

these impossible promises
Topic: Miscellaneous 3:26 pm EST, Dec 28, 2013

Tony Hoagland:

In the big store window of the travel agency downtown,
a ten-foot sign says, WE WILL NEVER FORGET.

The letters have been cut with scissors out of blue construction paper
and pasted carefully to the sign by someone's hand.

What I want to know is, who will issue the ticket
for improper use of the collective pronoun?
What I want to know is, who will find and punish the maker
of these impossible promises?

Rebecca Brock:

You can't even remember what I'm trying to forget.

Kellan Elliott-McCrea:

Don't let your design make promises you can't keep.

Richard Holbrooke:

Only with hindsight can one look back and see that the smartest course may not have been the right one.

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