Wednesday, September 26, 2012

We Would Have

We would have killed many of them already, but our commanders are cowards and don't let us.

-- Abdul Hanan, an Afghan soldier, on American military advisers, New York Times, 26 September 2012

Monday, September 24, 2012

LEGO Great Ball Contraption (GBC)

A conspiracy to destroy the productivity of the United States (or something like that).

LEGO Great Ball Contraption (GBC) Layout 2012.9

So here's this video that someone posted a week ago (I recommend the video).  It runs 7 minutes long.  And it was watched 3 million times during the first week.  So that's 21 million minutes (35,000 hours (14,500+ days (~40 years))) spent watching that video, in just the first week.  That's an average of 2000+ people viewing this video at any given time throughout the week.  That's +100,000 views since I first watched the video earlier today.

And according to the video, it took ~600 hours to produce the Rube  Goldberg device in the video.  So that's a viewing payback of almost 60:1 in  just the first week.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

I don't pay more [taxes] than are legally due, and, frankly, if I had paid more than are legally due, I don't think I'd be qualified to become president.

-- Mitt Romney to ABC News regarding his 2010 taxes, July 2012, prior to releasing his 2011 tax returns on which he deliberately overpaid to avoid having a ~10.5% income tax rate

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Crooked Papyrologists

It's hard to construct a scenario that is at all plausible in which somebody fakes something like this. The world is not really crawling with crooked papyrologists.

-- New York University's Roger Bagnall, on a scrap of papyrus that has Jesus uttering the words "my wife", New York Times, 19 September 2012

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

As the certainty that legislation violates the U.S. Constitution increases, so does the probability of predictions that severe harm or death will come to Americans if the proposal is not swiftly enacted.

-- Declan McCullagh, US journalist, programmer, and photographer, McCullagh's Law of Politics,, 11 October 2007

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

I think the reward for conformity is everyone likes you but yourself.

-- Rita Mae Brown (1944-), American writer, Bingo (1988)

Monday, September 17, 2012


Machines which ape people are tending to encroach on every aspect of people's lives, and that such machines force people to behave like machines.  The new electronic devices do indeed have the power to force people to "communicate" with them and with each other on the terms of the machine.  Whatever structurally does not fit the logic of machines is effectively filtered from a culture dominated by their use.  The machine-like behaviour of people chained to electronics constitutes a degradation of their well-being and of their dignity which, for most people in the long run, becomes intolerable.  Observations of the sickening effect of programmed  environments show that people in them become indolent, impotent, narcissistic and apolitical.  The political process breaks down, because people cease to be able to govern themselves; they demand to be managed.

-- Ivan Illich (1926-2002), Austrian-born Christian anarchist & author, Silence Is A Commons (1982)

Friday, September 07, 2012

The Success Of Others

Failure is not the only punishment for laziness; there is also the success of others.

-- Jules Renard (1864-1910), French author

Thursday, September 06, 2012


In countries and epochs in which communication is impeded, soon all other liberties wither; discussion dies by inanition, ignorance of the opinion of others becomes rampant, imposed opinions triumph. ...  Intolerance is inclined to censor, and censorship promotes ignorance of the arguments of others and thus intolerance itself: a rigid, vicious circle that is hard to break.

-- Primo Levi (1919-1987), Italian chemist and author, holocaust survivor, The Drowned And The Saved (1986)

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Second Place

The political spirit is the great force in throwing the love of truth and accurate reasoning into a secondary place.

-- John Viscount Morley of Blackburn (1838-1923), British statesman, writer, and newspaper editor, On Compromise (1874)