Thursday, December 23, 2010


PeopleThe 2010 US Census results are in. The official population of the US (as of 1 April) reached 308,745,538, an increase of 9.7% since 2000, though this is the slowest growth rate since the Great Depression.

12 seats in the House of Representatives will move, with Texas the biggest winner, gaining four seats, bringing its delegation up to 36 seats. Florida gained two seats. Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Georgia, Washington and South Carolina will each gain a single seat.

New York and Ohio will lose two seats each. Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Missouri, Iowa, and Michigan will each lose a seat.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Compound Interest

Shows the effect of compound interest at 5% per annumGood and evil both increase at compound interest. That is why the little decisions you and I make every day are of such infinite importance.

-- C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), Irish author, scholar of medieval literature, and Christian apologist, Mere Christianity (1952)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Unpopularity Is Not A Crime

There is no doubt that WikiLeaks is in an unpopular position right now. Many feel their publication was offensive. But unpopularity is not a crime, and publishing offensive information isn't either. And the repeated calls from members of Congress, the government, journalists and other experts crying out for criminal prosecutions or other extreme measures cause me some consternation.

-- House Judiciary chair John Conyers (D-MI), 16 December 2010

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Doubly Dangerous

Greek road sign advising of double dangerous curves aheadPower always has to be kept in check; power exercised in secret, especially under the cloak of national security, is doubly dangerous.

-- William Proxmire (1915-2005), US senator, reformer

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


XKCD Wikipedian protesterLying increases the creative faculties, expands the ego, and lessens the frictions of social contacts.

-- Clare Booth Luce (1903-1987), US diplomat, dramatist, journalist, and politician

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

How Is It?

Question BookHow is it that judicial approval is required when the United States decides to target a U.S. citizen overseas for electronic surveillance, but ... judicial scrutiny is prohibited when the United States decides to target a U.S. citizen overseas for death?

-- Federal Judge John Bates, raising an unanswered question in the case of Anwar al-Awlaki, who is targeted for death by the US; Bates dismissed the suit after finding that Awlaki's father does not have legal standing to bring a case concerning his son, 7 December 2010

Monday, December 13, 2010

Like Ants

Meat eater ants feeding on honeyLike ants, they gather in colonies, sometimes underground in basements, and work long and hard.

-- Zhou Xiaozheng, sociology professor at Renmin University in Beijing, on recent college graduates flooding into China's big cities, New York Times, 12 December 2010

Friday, December 10, 2010

What Exactly

Human Rights Watch logoIn a sense, it is easier, strategy-wise, to be opposed to a full totalitarian regime than it is to try to counter a more sophisticated, strongly authoritarian one. There is some freedom. How do you explain to people what exactly they are lacking?

-- Tanya Lokshina, deputy director of the Moscow office of Human Rights Watch, on post-Soviet Russia, 12 January 2010

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Thinking Men Are Few

Auguste Rodin. Grubleren (Thinker)If thinking men are few, they are for that reason all the more powerful. Let no man imagine that he has no influence. Whoever he may be, and wherever he may be placed, the man who thinks becomes a light and a power.

-- Henry George (1839-1897), American political economist, Social Problems (1883) Ch. 21

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

If You Believe In It

Peace dove[Y]ou feel alone if you're the only one thinking "wouldn't it be nice if there was peace and nobody was getting killed." So advertise yourself that you're for peace if you believe in it.

-- John Lennon (9 October 1940 - 8 December 1980), Interview on The David Frost Show, 14 June 1969

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Test Of Progress

Progress barThe test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much, it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.

-- Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945), 32nd President of the United States, second inaugural address, 20 January 1937

Monday, December 06, 2010

Truth Becomes Treason

Treason GraffitiIn a free society we're supposed to know the truth. In a society where truth becomes treason, then we're in big trouble. And now, people who are revealing the truth are getting into trouble for it.

-- Representative Ron Paul (R-TX) speaking to Fox Business host Judge Napolitano in a television appearance defending whistleblower website WikiLeaks, 2 December 2010

Friday, December 03, 2010

Questions And Answers

Question marksSometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.

-- Dr. Seuss (Theodore Seuss Geisel) (1904-1991), American author and cartoonist, quoted in Looking Tall by Standing Next to Short People, And Other Techniques for Managing a Law Firm (2007) by H. Edward Wesemann

Thursday, December 02, 2010


WikiLeaks Helping Hand logoThe more secretive or unjust an organization is, the more leaks induce fear and paranoia in its leadership and planning coterie. This must result in minimization of efficient internal communications mechanisms (an increase in cognitive "secrecy tax") and consequent system-wide cognitive decline resulting in decreased ability to hold onto power as the environment demands adaption.

Hence in a world where leaking is easy, secretive or unjust systems are nonlinearly hit relative to open, just systems. Since unjust systems, by their nature induce opponents, and in many places barely have the upper hand, mass leaking leaves them exquisitely vulnerable to those who seek to replace them with more open forms of governance.

Only revealed injustice can be answered; for man to do anything intelligent he has to know what's actually going on.

-- WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, "The non linear effects of leaks on unjust systems of governance", 31 December 2006

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Myths And Shibboleths

Shibboleth (logo)Public opinion rarely considers the needs of the next generation or the history of the last. It is frequently hampered by myths and misinformation, by stereotypes and shibboleths, and by an innate resistance to innovation.

-- Theodore C. Sorensen (1928-2010), presidential advisor, lawyer, and writer