Friday, November 30, 2007

Wars Begin Where You Will

Wars begin where you will, but do not end where you please.

-- Machiavelli; cited in Patrick Goldstein, "Rocky Road Paves Path to Iraq Drama" Los Angeles Times, 12 December 2006

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Judicial Review

Climate change has ushered in a whole new era of judicial review.

-- Patrick Parenteau, environmental law professor, on an appeals court decision striking down Bush administration fuel economy standards as too lax, New York Times, 16 November 2007

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


The humourless as a bunch don't just not know what's funny, they don't know what's serious. They have no common sense, either, and shouldn't be trusted with anything.

-- Martin Amis (August 25, 1949-) British novelist

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


When terrorism finally ends, some people are going to be very disappointed. They will no longer have an excuse for expressing the distrust of others that they had all along.

-- Comment by RC, November 21, 2007 07:15 AM

Monday, November 26, 2007

Unreliable Parts

Software developers have become adept at the difficult art of building reasonably reliable systems out of unreliable parts. The snag is that often we do not know exactly how we did it.

-- Bjarne Stroustrup, creator of C++

Friday, November 23, 2007

Some Good

That some good can be derived from every event is a better proposition than that everything happens for the best, which it assuredly does not.

-- James Kern Feibleman, philosopher and psychiatrist (1904-1987)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A Moment Of Intersection

A meal, however simple, is a moment of intersection. It is at once the most basic, the most fundamental, of our life's activities, maintaining the life of our bodies; shared with others it can be an occasion of joy and communion, uniting people deeply.

-- Elise Boulding, professor, author, peace activist

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


It has always been the prerogative of children and half-wits to point out that the emperor has no clothes. But the half-wit remains a half-wit, and the emperor remains an emperor.

-- Neil Gaiman, Sandman

Monday, November 19, 2007

Not A Problem

I don't have a problem. Seventeen hours a day online is fine.

-- Lee Chang-Hoon, 15, at a camp for compulsive Internet users in South Korea, New York Times, 18 November, 2007

Friday, November 16, 2007

Resolving Technosocial Problems

Democratic societies, at least, have a right to expect that experts will help them, experts from all parts of academia and all the professions. I would even go so far as to say that there is at least an implicit social contract between professionals and the democratic societies in which they live, giving rise to this expectation that professionals will shoulder their responsibilities to improve the societies in which they live and work.

-- Paul T. Durbin, emeritus professor, University of Delaware, ACM Ubiquity, 11/13/07

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Moral Order

The order of the universe that we live in is the moral order. It has become the moral order by becoming the self-conscious method of the members of a human society. The world that comes to us from the past possesses and controls us. We possess and control the world that we discover and invent. And this is the world of the moral order. It is a splendid adventure if we can rise to it.

-- G. H. Mead, cited in Ubiquity, November 2007

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Yeah, Right

The emergency is to ensure elections go in an undisturbed manner.

-- General Pervez Musharraf, regarding his refusal to lift martial law in Pakistan prior to new elections, New York Times, 14 November 2007

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Not At The Library

Earth to parents: No. If you have to call the library and ask if your child is here, the answer is no. I know your child probably told you he'd be at the library, but what that really means is he didn't want to tell you where he was going to be, either because he hadn't decided yet, or because he just doesn't want you to know. This is true for children of all ages, but of course it goes double for teenagers.

Almost all kids who come to the library come with their parents. If you aren't here, then your kids almost certainly aren't here either. Yes, we do have kids in the library all the time who are not accompanied by their parents, but it's the same two or three dozen kids all the time. If your child were one of them, you would know.

Let me reiterate that: if your child were one of the ones who comes to the library, you would know. If you have to ask, then he's not here. Please stop calling the library and asking if your child is here. Your child is not here.

-- Rant by librarian Jonadab, 5/23/2007 04:35:00 PM

Monday, November 12, 2007

RIP Norman Mailer

Every moment of one's existence one is growing into more, or retreating into less. One is always living a little more, or dying a little bit.

-- Norman Mailer (31 January 1923 - 10 November 2007) American novelist, journalist, playwright, screenwriter and film director, in "Hip, Hell, and the Navigator", Western Review No. 23 (Winter 1959)

Friday, November 09, 2007

There Was A Time

There was a time when we expected nothing of our children but obedience, as opposed to the present, when we expect everything of them but obedience.

-- Anatole Broyard

Thursday, November 08, 2007

What The General Says

How do you function as a lawyer when the law is what the general says it is?

-- Babar Sattar, on Pakistani lawyers' protests against President Pervez Musharraf, New York Times, 7 November 2007

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Through The Looking Glass

Paradoxically, while the drumbeat for bombing Iran grows increasingly loud, there is a stunning silence in response to the pre-eminent risk for nuclear terrorism. Washington's Faustian pact with General Musharraf is now unraveling, yet we are blithely assured that Pakistan's weapons and nuclear materials will remain safe, whoever rises to power. We have seemingly entered a Through-the-Looking-Glass world where nuclear weapons that do exist are less dangerous than those that can be imagined.

-- Paul Woodward of the War in Context website, 3 November 2007

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Endless Money

Endless money forms the sinews of war.

-- Marcus Tullius Cicero, statesman, orator, writer (106-43 BCE)

Monday, November 05, 2007

No Money In Poetry

There's no money in poetry, but then there's no poetry in money, either.

-- Robert Graves, poet and novelist (1895-1985)

Friday, November 02, 2007

Never Happened

Democracies don't prepare well for things that have never happened before.

-- Richard A. Clarke, former White House counter-terrorism chief

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Perfect Order

Perfect order is the forerunner of perfect horror.

-- Carlos Fuentes (1928-)