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Current Topic: Miscellaneous

every word that begins with 'every'
Topic: Miscellaneous 6:49 am EDT, Sep 26, 2013


Everything happens so much.

Louis CK:

It's a desperate thing to need everybody to be really happy with everything you say.

Netflix communications director Jonathan Friedland:

We want to continue to have something for everybody. As time goes on, we get better at selecting what that something for everybody is ...

Sean M. Carroll:

Life does go on, even as everything changes; the best we can do is care.

David Cole:

Basically, everything you do now shares information with a third party.

Steve Coll:

As every parent of a nine-year-old has recited at least once, just because "everyone" does something doesn't mean that it's smart.

Mary Meeker and Liang Wu:

Every minute, 100 hours of video content is uploaded to YouTube.

Oxford American:


there's always a story you can tell
Topic: Miscellaneous 6:49 am EDT, Sep 26, 2013

Martin C. Libicki:

Perhaps more than any other form of combat, cyberwar is storytelling.

Matthew O'Brien:

There's always a story you can tell, and we certainly told them.

Paul Ford:

At some level I feel that form is a key to happiness. Meaning identifying a pattern and repeating it until comfort is achieved. This is why people quilt.

Sean M. Carroll:

When you are interested in paranoia and conspiracies, it is important to distinguish signals from noise, and true clues from false leads. This is also the situation in which modern scientists find themselves, searching for significance among countless spurious correlations in a flood of data.

Misha Lepetic:

There need not be a point to what is being recorded, so long as it is being recorded, and the algorithms will take care of the rest.

Alex Williams:

Data has to be a strategic asset.

Straw Man:

Money for me, databases for you.

suddenly you've created an absence that must be filled
Topic: Miscellaneous 10:59 pm EDT, Sep 23, 2013

A Venture Capitalist, to Nikola Tesla:

You're not going to show a Deck, are you?

Paul Ford:

Learning the Python programming language will give you a certain kind of power over computers, but being amazing at PowerPoint is how you gain control over other people.

Horace Dediu:

Padcasting ... is clearly the future of presentations.

Paul Ford:

One day you are putting numbers into spreadsheet cells, and the next those numbers feed into budgets, and the budgets turn into requests to Human Resources, which turn into postings ... Just one number in a cell in Excel, plus human beings with checkbooks, and suddenly you've created an absence that must be filled. Houses are sold and bought. Kids have to move from their schools and attend new schools.

Kieran Healy:

The authoritarian spirit is not much troubled with Bayes; it can barely conceive of any error, let alone multiple Types of Error. Everyone is guilty of something ... It is just a matter of determining what an individual is guilty of, and, then, discretion in stripping that individual of all property, independence and dignity, or selling the privilege of immunity.

Simon Singh:

Among the infinity of numbers, fewer than 100 exhibit narcissism.

Kenneth Cukier and Viktor Mayer-Schönberger:

Robert McNamara relied on the figures, fetishized them. With his perfectly combed-back hair and his flawlessly knotted tie, McNamara felt he could comprehend what was happening on the ground only by staring at a spreadsheet -- at all those orderly rows and columns, calculations and charts, whose mastery seemed to bring him one standard deviation closer to God.

Pope Francis:

We must not focus on occupying the spaces where power is exercised, but rather on starting long-run historical processes. We must initiate processes rather than occupy spaces. God manifests himself in time and is present in the processes of history. This gives priority to actions that give birth to new historical dynamics. And it requires patience, waiting.

Jeff Bezos:

I very frequently g... [ Read More (0.1k in body) ]

make me one with everything
Topic: Miscellaneous 7:54 am EDT, Sep 17, 2013

Michael Hayden:

The problem I have with the Internet is that it's anonymous.

Ron Nixon:

In the Mail Isolation Control and Tracking program, Postal Service computers photograph the exterior of every piece of paper mail that is processed in the United States -- about 160 billion pieces last year. It is not known how long the government saves the images. It enables the Postal Service to retrace the path of mail at the request of law enforcement. No one disputes that it is sweeping.

Orson Welles:

I have all the equipment to be a politician. Total shamelessness.


The office that oversees the most powerful military in history (not to mention the best-funded) is unable to project when its single fax machine will once again be operational.

Nick Bilton:

And then there are the worst offenders of all: those who leave a voice mail message and then e-mail to tell you they left a voice mail message.

Ian Leslie:

The Kremlin's security agency ... recently put in an order for electric typewriters. An agency source told Russia's Izvestiya newspaper that ... 'it has been decided to expand the practice of creating paper documents'.

a spectacular case of carelessness
Topic: Miscellaneous 7:47 am EDT, Sep 16, 2013

Teju Cole:

In a spectacular case of carelessness, Ugbo, 75, of Benin, a witch doctor specializing in arrest-evasion amulets, has been arrested.


The Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) had originally said the radiation emitted by the leaking water was around 100 millisieverts an hour.

However, the company said the equipment used to make that recording could only read measurements of up to 100 millisieverts.

The new recording, using a more sensitive device, showed a level of 1,800 millisieverts an hour.

The Economist:

Pigeons form a far richer picture of the world than a person can manage, through three senses unavailable to humans: an instinctive ability to navigate by the sun, an ability to detect magnetic fields that provides them with an inbuilt compass, and an ability to hear infrasound.

Julian Baggini:

What Nespresso has really done is to look at the coffee-making process and systematically remove all that is problematic in it. The result is something flawless, but that is a particular and limited form of excellence or perfection. Perhaps there are peaks above perfection that can be achieved only by accepting a certain amount of imperfection.

deliver us not into exceptionalism
Topic: Miscellaneous 7:47 am EDT, Sep 16, 2013

Daniel Gilbert:

At every age we think we're having the last laugh, and at every age we're wrong.

Vladimir Putin:

It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation.

Jonathan Franzen:

You could argue that America in 2013 is ... another weakened empire telling itself stories of its exceptionalism while it drifts towards apocalypse of some sort, fiscal or epidemiological, climatic-environmental or thermonuclear. Our far left may hate religion and think we coddle Israel, our far right may hate illegal immigrants and think we coddle black people, and nobody may know how the economy is supposed to work now that markets have gone global, but the actual substance of our daily lives is total distraction. We can't face the real problems; we spent a trillion dollars not really solving a problem in Iraq that wasn't really a problem; we can't even agree on how to keep healthcare costs from devouring the GNP. What we can all agree to do instead is to deliver ourselves to the cool new media and technologies, to Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg and Jeff Bezos, and to let them profit at our expense.

Kwame Anthony Appiah:

Clearly many people across the spectrum think that [Obama] hasn't done enough coddling.

Evgeny Morozov:

As smart technologies become more intrusive, they risk undermining our autonomy by suppressing behaviors that someone somewhere has deemed undesirable. These devices can give us useful feedback, but they can also share everything they know about our habits with institutions whose interests are not identical with our own.

Straw Man:

Money for me, databases for you.

the key is to distract yourself
Topic: Miscellaneous 7:47 am EDT, Sep 16, 2013

Woody Allen:

It's just an accident that we happen to be on earth, enjoying our silly little moments, distracting ourselves as often as possible so we don't have to really face up to the fact that, you know, we're just temporary people with a very short time in a universe that will eventually be completely gone. And everything that you value, whether it's Shakespeare, Beethoven, da Vinci, or whatever, will be gone. The earth will be gone. The sun will be gone. There'll be nothing. The best you can do to get through life is distraction. Love works as a distraction. And work works as a distraction. You can distract yourself a billion different ways. But the key is to distract yourself.

Colin Dickey:

Early mountaineers were a product of early modernism; they were nationalists, scientists, and individualists. The current crop are by-products of capitalism and corporate guruism, CEO alpha males (and, less often, females) who've been raised to believe that any obstacle can be overcome with sheer determinism and willpower, Richard Bransons who believe success in business can translate to domination of nature ... Alongside these corporate adventurers are climbers like Ueli Steck and Simone Moro, the men who were involved in the fight on Everest in April 2013. But these athletes, too, are all about business. Steck, a recent New Yorker profile revealed, has been able to live primarily on sponsorships and the lecture circuit by coming up with ever more new climbing feats and stunts, which was what he was attempting with Moro in April when the trouble started. The conflict on the side of Mount Everest was perhaps less about East versus West, or even rich versus working class, than it was two competing business models, both milking the mountain for as much cash as they can get out of it. In this sense, our age gets the mountaineers it deserves.

It is said that from the top of Everest one can see the curve of the Earth. One has to wonder if those who make it up there -- the ones who've been willing to gamble away their humanity, who've come to kill dragons and end up becoming monsters themselves -- can also see the arc of history.

Anil Dash:

People will move mountains to earn a gold star by their name on the Internet.

Ann Friedman, on LinkedIn:

It's an Escher staircase masquerading as a career ladder.

Li Po:

We sit together, the mountain and me,
until only the mountain remains.

the new normal
Topic: Miscellaneous 11:52 am EDT, Sep 14, 2013

Mary Meeker and Liang Wu:

In the US in 2012, 30% of people were considered obese.

Bruce Schneier:

This is not going to improve anytime soon.

Tara Parker-Pope:

Even though we burn more calories when we stay awake, losing sleep is not a good way to lose weight.

Kevin Mandia:

I think you have to view this as the new normal.

J. Bradford DeLong:

It looks as if the U.S. economy, when all is said and done, will have faced certainly one lost decade, and perhaps even two.

Mark Bittman:

We finally have the proof we need for a verdict: sugar is toxic.

Mark Zuckerberg:

We are not at the end of this.

tailored especially for your personal delight
Topic: Miscellaneous 11:52 am EDT, Sep 14, 2013

Jordan Lieberman:

The technological leap we've made is matching that voter file to the Internet so online ads can be as accurate as the phone calls, mail and knocks on your front door. Instead of buying ads on websites, we're buying audiences. The technology is spreading, but you won't notice the difference. While you're seeing an ad for Christine Quinn, your unlikely-voting neighbor sees a Neiman Marcus ad. At the exact same time, an outside independent expenditure group that's supporting Christine Quinn may have determined that your other neighbor, who is likely to vote but not for Ms. Quinn, might be seeing an ad for Bill de Blasio or against Bill Thompson, if the strategists and buyers have determined that a pro-Bill D or anti-Bill T vote helps Ms. Quinn's goal.

Ron Horning:

What could be better than exercising one's freedom of choice, over and over again, to get new and exciting things, to have novel experiences tailored especially for our personal delight?

To facilitate the shift in emphasis to data collection -- and obfuscate the poorly aligned incentives between dating sites and their users -- online dating ... is rebranding itself as "social discovery." Social discovery denotes a kind of commodified serendipity that emphasizes the joy of users' perpetually meeting people on the basis of a wide variety of ever-shifting interests -- that is, opportunistically consuming them for their novelty.

To capitalize on convenience and autonomy in a consumer marketplace, we must first allow our desires to be commodified and suppress the desires that don't lend themselves to commodification.

For online dating sites, the optimal customer is an oversexed solipsist addicted to novelty. But interacting with the sites doesn't have to be a matter of sitting alone at your computer (or staring into a phone) and attenuating your personal predilections as if they came entirely from within and existed independently of social relations. Instead, it can be a confrontation with how little we know about ourselves and how we might aspire to be sure of even less.

Charles Stross:

To Generation Z's eyes, the boomers and their institutions look like parasitic aliens with incomprehensible values who make irrational demands for absolute loyalty without reciprocity. Worse, the foundational mythology and ideals of the United States will look like a bitter joke, a fun house mirror's distorted reflection of the reality they live with from day to day.

Generation Z will arrive brutalized and atomized by three generations of diminished expectations and dog-eat-dog economic liberalism. Most of them will be so deracinated that they identify with their peers and the global Internet culture more than their great-grandparents' post-Westphalian nation-state. The machineries of the security state may well find them unemployable, their values too alien to assimilate into a model still rooted in the early 20th century.

avatars of the the political process
Topic: Miscellaneous 11:52 am EDT, Sep 14, 2013

James Bridle:

Drones are avatars of the the political process: they are instantiations of a set of ideologies and beliefs, made visible by their reification in electromechanical systems. When we talk about drones, we are really talking about the politics that demand, shape, and deploy them, and the politics which are made possible by them. This politics reflects the drones themselves: it is a politics of violence, of obfuscation, of radical inequality of sight and action, and it is sustained by that obfuscation and that inequality.

No wonder then that politicians are afraid of even artistic representations of the drone. No wonder they cite feelings of "discomfort" at even mentioning them, although in projecting this discomfort onto an immigrant population -- without consultation -- they reveal even more clearly the complicity of the technology in war and social oppression.

The Victor:

Poor fools! Didn't I tell you that with me what you see is what you get? No? I must have forgotten. Well, what you see is what you elected. Here I am -- your own facile galoot.

The swaggering message machine, the cliché with the rictus grin you saw on your screens -- it is I. Ah, you say, but a robot can't be unctuous? Wrong again! Robots have come a long way.

Bruce Schneier:

We need to relearn how to recognize the trade-offs that come from risk management, especially risk from our fellow human beings. We need to relearn how to accept risk, and even embrace it, as essential to human progress and our free society. The more we expect technology to protect us from people in the same way it protects us from nature, the more we will sacrifice the very values of our society in futile attempts to achieve this security.

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