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There are great benefits to connectedness, but we haven't wrapped our minds around the costs.

happy bears take no notice of your safe escape
Topic: Miscellaneous 7:56 pm EDT, Oct  8, 2013


People are more likely to notice minor things that are annoying to them whereas they aren't keeping track of who does and does not have access to healthcare unless they are a member of the minority of people who does not have access now.


Please! Please! This is supposed to be a happy occasion! Let's not bicker and argue about who killed who.

Michael Lewis:

You can't forget to bear-proof the garbage cans, and expect the bears won't notice.

Jon Lee Anderson:

The air stinks heavily of raw sewage, but no one seems to notice.

Julian Barnes:

When you change your make of car, you suddenly notice how many other cars of the same sort there are on the road. They register in a way they never did before. When you are widowed, you suddenly notice all the widows and widowers coming towards you.

Horace Dediu:

This is the crux of the incumbent's dilemma: how do you rally a response when you don't feel any pain? It's worse actually: how do you embark on a painful course of action while feeling comfortable and safe?

Nathan Heller:

Providing an escape valve for a system's strongest users lessens the pressure for change.


It's important to understand that it isn't Congress that must change -- it is us.

a journey through the wilderness
Topic: Miscellaneous 6:40 am EDT, Oct  8, 2013

David Foster Wallace:

If you've never wept and want to, have a child.

Paul Ford:

You meet kids with developmental issues, or kids with serious illnesses. The parents have gone a little off, exhausted by the stress. They are tired and often curt. Whatever they're doing is the best they can do, and you think, I can't imagine. But of course you do imagine. When you see the kid with the extra chromosome, you see that it's the same exact love that you know. It's all the same love.

Rachel DeWoskin:

Is it possible to re-imagine what you can't remember?

My friend, the writer Emily Rapp,
who just lost her baby, Ronan, to Tay-Sachs,
likes to respond,
"Yes, you can,"
when people say, "I can't imagine."

Marcel Proust:

We are not provided with wisdom, we must discover it for ourselves, after a journey through the wilderness which no one else can take for us, and effort which no one can spare us.

Michael Chabon:

Art is a form of exploration, of sailing off into the unknown alone, heading for those unmarked places on the map. If children are not permitted -- not taught -- to be adventurers and explorers as children, what will become of the world of adventure, of stories, of literature itself?

This Town
Topic: Miscellaneous 6:40 am EDT, Oct  8, 2013

Nathan Heller:

San Francisco has traditionally been a Dungeness crab of a city, shedding its carapace from time to time and burrowing down until a new shell sets. It has not been an industry town in the sense of New York, which media and finance have shaped for well over a century. It is not like Washington, D.C., or Los Angeles, whose dreams are dominated by one Hydra-headed business. San Francisco has never been dominated by anything, but it's always ended up preeminent in something. Gold, for instance. Free love. Microchips. People do not move to San Francisco as much as swarm to it. Those irked by change rarely stay long.

Lately, the pattern has begun to break. San Francisco is an industry town.

An exchange:

Marge: I'd really like to give it a try!
Homer: I don't know, Marge, trying is the first step towards failure.

Nathan Deuel:

On the radio, a host was talking about a bullet-proof insert available for kids' backpacks. ... On the radio, someone said an A-10 fighter jet had accidentally dropped an inert practice bomb on the parking lot of a bar in Maryland. The barkeep said she knew precisely what time the bomb struck because her outdoor surveillance camera had caught the impact. No one had noticed. Customers were too busy, she said, and the music was too loud.


The Climate Corporation was founded in 2006 by a highly successful team of software engineers and data scientists formerly with Google and other leading Silicon Valley technology companies. Since that time, the company has built the agriculture industry's most advanced technology platform combining hyper-local weather monitoring, agronomic data modeling, and high-resolution weather simulations to deliver a complete suite of full-season monitoring, analytics and risk-management products.

Sasha Frere-Jones:

When are you implicated in the funding around you? Always?

really rather quite nice and clean
Topic: Miscellaneous 11:11 pm EDT, Oct  2, 2013

John Brockman:

Those of us involved in communicating ideas need to re-think the Internet. Many of the people that desperately need to know, don't even know that they don't know.

Evgeny Morozov:

All these efforts … are driven by a pervasive and dangerous ideology that I call "solutionism": an intellectual pathology that recognizes problems as problems based on just one criterion: whether they are "solvable" with a nice and clean technological solution at our disposal. Thus, forgetting and inconsistency become "problems" simply because we have the tools to get rid of them -- and not because we've weighed all the philosophical pros and cons.

William H. Simon:

People have strong tendencies to drift with the status quo rather than opt for change, to succumb unreflectively to rhetoric and imagery, and to excessively discount the future.

Amy Zegart:

This is a policy debate

Tony Judt:

The question is not going to be, Will there be an activist state? The question is going to be, What kind of an activist state?

Bruce Schneier:

The solutions have to be political.

Julian Borger:

Dilma Rousseff called on the UN oversee a new global legal system to govern the internet.

Donald Rumsfeld:

Simply because a problem is shown to exist doesn't necessarily follow that there is a solution.

find a space to lie down
Topic: Miscellaneous 9:17 pm EDT, Oct  1, 2013

Bot & Dolly:

"Box" explores the synthesis of real and digital space through projection-mapping on moving surfaces. The short film documents a live performance, captured entirely in camera. Bot & Dolly produced this work to serve as both an artistic statement and technical demonstration. It is the culmination of multiple technologies, including large scale robotics, projection mapping, and software engineering. We believe this methodology has tremendous potential to radically transform theatrical presentations, and define new genres of expression.

At LACMA, through April 2014:

James Turrell: A Retrospective explores nearly fifty years in the career of James Turrell, a key artist in the Southern California Light and Space movement of the 1960s and 70s. The exhibition includes early geometric light projections, prints and drawings, installations exploring sensory deprivation and seemingly unmodulated fields of colored light, and recent two-dimensional work with holograms. One section is devoted to the Turrell masterwork in process, Roden Crater, a site-specific intervention into the landscape just outside Flagstaff, Arizona, presented through models, plans, photographs, and films.

Morgan Meis:

I'd like to suggest that the best way to approach and interpret James Turrell's installation at the Guggenheim is to say it is a Quaker meeting. Observe, if you will, what happens when people enter the ground floor of the museum. They stop and look up. They see that the spirals of the Guggenheim have been transformed into a glowing light installation. They roam around for a minute or so looking up. Then they find a space to lie down on the floor. Generally, they stop talking. They watch the glowing lights and the luminescent egg. This silent watching goes on for many minutes. More than ten minutes. More than fifteen minutes for many people, and more than that for others.

In other words, James Turrell has managed to get people in New York City to lie on the floor silently meditating for more than ten minutes. Most of these people have never meditated in their lives. Many of them would not sit still silently for ten minutes if you paid them to do so. But the power of the egg compels them.

Michiru Hoshino:

Oh! I feel it. I feel the cosmos!

something you've always wanted
Topic: Miscellaneous 9:16 pm EDT, Oct  1, 2013

Jorge Luis Borges:

Time is the substance I am made of. Time is a river that carries me away, but I am the river; it is a tiger that mangles me, but I am the tiger; it is a fire that consumes me, but I am the fire.

Stefany Anne Golberg:

There is a little arrogance in every clock. Clocks count time, but they also seize time, control it, put its power into the hands of people.

Mary Meeker and Liang Wu:

In the US in 2012, 42% of time spent in media was spent watching TV. In China, the figure is 26%.

Tyler Cohen, on the future:

The good jobs will be about branding. They're all about figuring out how to get other people's attention ...

Drew Herdener, a spokesman for Amazon:

This is a big win for customers and, frankly, it's about time.

Richard Friedman:

It's simple: if you want time to slow down, become a student again. Learn something that requires sustained effort; do something novel. Put down the thriller when you're sitting on the beach and break out a book on evolutionary theory or Spanish for beginners or a how-to book on something you've always wanted to do. Take a new route to work; vacation at an unknown spot. And take your sweet time about it.

Tom Bissell:

The GTA games, despite their mayhem, can be highly tedious, with nothing in particular happening over long periods of time. One mission in GTA V involves driving your family to therapy. In another, you mop a floor. What other game allows you to screw up while mopping? What other game even has mopping?

no longer enough
Topic: Miscellaneous 6:52 am EDT, Oct  1, 2013

Philip Hammond, UK Minister of Defense:

[Cyber] is the new frontier of defence. For years, we have been building a defensive capability to protect ourselves against these cyber attacks. That is no longer enough.

You deter people by having an offensive capability.

Undersecretary of Commerce Mark Foulon:

It has become clear that Internet access in itself is a vulnerability that we cannot mitigate. We have tried incremental steps and they have proven insufficient.

Tyler Cohen:

Information isn't what's scarce; it's the willingness to do something with it.

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.

a wakeup call from space
Topic: Miscellaneous 6:52 am EDT, Oct  1, 2013

James Comey, FBI Director:

I'm not crying wolf. I'm not playing a game. This is the FBI.

Edward Lu:

This is a wake-up call from space. We've got to pay attention to what's out there.

On Finite and Infinite Games:

A finite game is a game that has fixed rules and boundaries, that is played for the purpose of winning and thereby ending the game.

An infinite game has no fixed rules or boundaries. In an infinite game you play with the boundaries and the purpose is to continue the game.

J.G. Ballard:

Is the entire universe no more than an infinitely vast space terminal?

the climb
Topic: Miscellaneous 6:49 am EDT, Sep 30, 2013

Maciej Ceglowski:

It can be uncomfortable not to have a name for the thing you do. You have to make sure you plant your feet, and take care to pick the right spot to stand on. You can work on a lot of projects, but you will only get a couple of opportunities to work on something long-term. So I would say pick those carefully, do things that are intrinsically rewarding, and be very loath to abandon them.


Be careful what you get good at.


If man is an iron-balance that weigh pains and pleasures, the scales are sadly askew.

Doing well is not enough: we also want to do better than our peers.

An Everest Guide:

The most dangerous thing about Everest is everyone else who's trying to climb it.

Colin Dickey:

Our age gets the mountaineers it deserves.

like ants on a sphere
Topic: Miscellaneous 6:49 am EDT, Sep 26, 2013

Caroline Tell:

As smartphones continue to burrow their way into our lives, and wearable devices like Google Glass threaten to erode our personal space even further, overtaxed users are carving out their own device-free zones with ad hoc tricks and life hacks.

Lesley M. M. Blume:

Disconnecting is a luxury that we all need.

J.G. Ballard:

We rest briefly at fixed intervals, but despite our steady passage we sense that we are not moving at all, and may well be trapped within a small waiting-room whose apparently infinite dimensions we circle like ants on a sphere. Paradoxically, our instruments confirm that we are penetrating a structure of rapidly increasing mass. Is the entire universe no more than an infinitely vast space terminal?

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