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

Topic: Miscellaneous 8:01 am EST, Mar  4, 2014

Quinn Norton:

It's ok to take breaks. In fact, it may be essential to take breaks.

Craig Mod:

As anyone working in a creative field knows, the perspective gained by spending time away from work is invaluable.

Lorne Michaels:

What I discovered after the first five years was that talented people tend to move on and less talented people tend to be the most loyal. It's rare that you find both.

David Brooks:

The tragedy of middle-aged fame is that the fullest glare of attention comes just when a person is most acutely aware of his own mediocrity.

Saundra Pelletier:

If you've got to make a tough decision about somebody, make it fast. Do it quick. If you need to replace people, let them go, because the good people you have are never going to respect you if you keep passengers. You've got to have drivers. Don't let passengers stay.

the romance of impact
Topic: Miscellaneous 8:12 am EST, Mar  3, 2014

John Nack:

Merlin Mann once asked me, "What do you want ten times more of?" I knew the answer: Impact.

Tyler Cowen:

The value of living in either New York City or Washington, D.C. -- for those who seek influence -- is going up.

Nick Denton:

Don't you ever get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of bullshit? I came to this country because I thought it was something, you know? And yet I'm more in love with the idea of the United States than I am with the reality.


Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.

Michael Ignatieff:

The romance of politics is what ceaselessly draws people in. Sometimes to their destruction. But without that sense of the romance of politics, no one would step up at all.

the iron realities
Topic: Miscellaneous 3:48 pm EST, Feb 23, 2014

Richard Betts:

In times of change, people wonder more consciously about how the world works.

Benjamin Wallace-Wells:

If Ricky Donnell Ross sensed that he had been a pawn for forces he could barely understand, he probably wasn't wrong. The question was: What forces?

Adam Sternbergh, on "House of Cards":

It's a vision of American government not as we wish it were, but as we secretly fear it is.

Mark Danner:

Though we have become accustomed to President Obama telling us, as he most recently did in the State of the Union address, that "America must move off a permanent war footing," these words have come to sound, in their repetition, less like the orders of a commander in chief than the pleas of one lonely man hoping to persuade. What are these words, after all, next to the iron realities of the post–September 11 world?

Rebecca Solnit:

It's as though death came riding in on a pale horse and someone said: "What? You don't like horses?"

an imperfect grasp of the new way of thinking
Topic: Miscellaneous 3:48 pm EST, Feb 23, 2014

Commander Steven Caluris, who works on the Chicago Police Department's predictive policing program:

If you end up on that list, there's a reason you're there.

David Cole:

The threat is no longer a matter of science fiction. It's here.

Freeman Dyson:

Science is not concerned only with things that we understand. The most exciting and creative parts of science are concerned with things that we are still struggling to understand. Wrong theories are not an impediment to the progress of science. They are a central part of the struggle.

The more brilliant the enterprise, the greater the risks. Every scientific revolution requires a shift from one way of thinking to another. The pioneer who leads the shift has an imperfect grasp of the new way of thinking and cannot foresee its consequences. Wrong ideas and false trails are part of the landscape to be explored.

Semil Shah:

Real risk is about falling down in a way where it's hard to get back up. We should not be fooled by how hard this all is in a day when the word is just thrown around. It is about exploring, about going somewhere (and in some fashion) only a few will know, with no guarantee of a return ticket.

stop taking lemons for granted
Topic: Miscellaneous 7:50 am EST, Feb 10, 2014

Molly Crabapple:

So much of the difference between the experiences of rich and poor comes down to kindness. Kindness is scarce. Kindness must be bought.

Christopher Matthews:

44% of Americans are living with less than $5,887 in savings for a family of four. 56% percent of us have subprime credit.

Mehrsa Baradaran:

Approximately 88 million people in the United States, or 28 percent of the population, have no bank account at all, or do have a bank account, but primarily rely on check-cashing storefronts, payday lenders, title lenders, or even pawnshops to meet their financial needs.

Natalie Angier:

41 percent of babies are now born out of wedlock.

David Cole:

Americans face a one in 3.5 million chance of being killed in a terrorist attack, but a one in 22,000 chance of being murdered.

Alain de Botton:

Our desire to have luxury cheaply is the real problem. If the route to your table were dignified and ethical at every stage, a lemon would cost more, of course. But maybe then we'd stop taking lemons for granted and find their zest all the keener.

I have my certainty
Topic: Miscellaneous 7:50 am EST, Feb 10, 2014

Richard Biehl, Police Chief of Dayton, Ohio:

I want them to be worried that we're watching.

I want them to be worried that they never know when we're overhead.

Simon Critchley:

We always have to acknowledge that we might be mistaken.

When we forget that, then we forget ourselves and the worst can happen.

Louis Menand:

We fall in love with our hunches, and we really, really hate to be wrong.

We are not natural falsificationists: we would rather find more reasons for believing what we already believe than look for reasons that we might be wrong.

An exchange from "Doubt", with Philip Seymour Hoffman:

Father Brendan Flynn: You haven't the slightest proof of anything!

Sister Aloysius Beauvier: But I have my certainty!

life on the water wheel
Topic: Miscellaneous 2:00 pm EST, Feb  1, 2014

Joan Didion:

The apparent ease of California life is an illusion, and those who believe the illusion real live here in only the most temporary way.

James Temple:

San Francisco changes because the world changes. It was formed in a gold rush and reshaped by every one that followed.

Paul Rogers, on California:

Less rain fell in 2013 than in any year since California became a state in 1850.

Danielle Steel, on San Francisco:

It's all shorts and hiking boots and Tevas -- it's as if everyone is dressed to go on a camping trip.

Jenna Wortham, on Twitter:

It's less about drifting down the stream, absorbing what you can while you float, and more about trying to make the flashiest raft to float on, gathering fans and accolades as you go. We're all milling about, infinitely hovering, waiting for our chance to speak, to add something clever to conversation, even when we're better off not saying much at all.

David Graeber:

It's as if someone were out there making up pointless jobs just for the sake of keeping us all working.

Josh Bryant:

Some of the biggest companies in the world have security that is only as good as a minimum-wage phone support worker who has the power to reset your account. And they have valid business reasons for giving them this power.

David Foster Wallace:

The capital-T Truth is about life before death. It is about making it to 30, or maybe 50, without wanting to shoot yourself in the head. It is about simple awareness -- awareness of what is so real and essential, so hidden in plain sight all around us, that we have to keep reminding ourselves, over and over: "This is water, this is water."

the ability to be silent
Topic: Miscellaneous 7:20 am EST, Jan 27, 2014

Tim Harford:

Nothing about Facebook makes sense until you view it as a well-honed system for persuading you to check Facebook one more time.

Maureen O'Connor:

Unfollowing is a joy. Everyone should try it.

Pope Francis:

What is it, then, that helps us, in the digital environment, to grow in humanity and mutual understanding? We need, for example, to recover a certain sense of deliberateness and calm. This calls for time and the ability to be silent and to listen.

Barack Obama:

There is a reason why BlackBerrys and iPhones are not allowed in the White House Situation Room.

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.

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