Thursday, October 31, 2013

Not Merely Freedom

Democracies need not merely freedom to think and talk, but universal information and vigorous mental training

-- Herbert George Wells (1866-1946), British writer, in a 1937 essay first published in The Strand Magazine, 1 November 2013

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


We're really screwed now.  You know things are bad when the few friends you've got disappear without a trace in the dead of night and leave no forwarding address.

-- An unnamed NSA official, reacting to a statement by Senator Dianne Feinstein, 28 October 2013

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Not Satisfactorily Informed

Unlike NSA's collection of phone records under a court order, it is clear to me that certain surveillance activities have been in effect for more than a decade and that the Senate Intelligence Committee was not satisfactorily informed.  Therefore our oversight needs to be strengthened and increased ....  Unless the United States is engaged in hostilities against a country or there is an emergency need for this type of surveillance, I do not believe the United States should be collecting phone calls or emails of friendly presidents and prime ministers.  The president should be required to approve any collection of this sort.

-- Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), statement on reports the National Security Agency has conducted surveillance on leaders of foreign countries, 28 October 2013

Monday, October 28, 2013

RIP Lou Reed

One chord is fine.  Two chords are pushing it.  Three chords and you're into jazz.

-- Lou Reed (2 March 1942 - 27 October 2013), American rock singer-songwriter and guitarist

Thursday, October 24, 2013

This Would Be Paradise

Man can now fly in the air like a bird, swim under the ocean like a fish, he can burrow into the ground like a mole.  Now if only he could walk the earth like a man, this would be paradise.

-- Tommy Douglas (1904-1986), Scottish-born Canadian Baptist minister and politician

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Genius Of Memory

The charm, one might say the genius of memory, is that it is choosy, chancy and temperamental; it rejects the edifying cathedral and indelibly photographs the small boy outside, chewing a hunk of melon in the dust.

-- Elizabeth Bowen (1899-1973), novelist

Monday, October 21, 2013


A man who has to be punctually at a certain place at five o'clock has the whole afternoon from one to five ruined for him already.

-- Lin Yutang (1895-1976), Chinese writer and translator, The Importance of Living (1937)

Friday, October 18, 2013


Bipartisan usually means that a larger-than-usual deception is being carried out.

-- George Carlin (1937-2008), American stand-up comedian, social critic, philosopher, and satirist

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Round 2

I'll vote against it.  But that will get us into Round 2.  See, we're going to start this all over again.

-- Representative John C. Fleming (R-LA), referring to the Senate plan to reopen the federal government and raise the debt ceiling

Monday, October 14, 2013

Not Within Your Borders

We have no elected government, nor are we likely to have one, so I address you with no greater authority than that with which liberty itself always speaks.  I declare the global social space we are building to be naturally independent of the tyrannies you seek to impose on us.  You have no moral right to rule us nor do you possess any methods of enforcement we have true reason to fear.  Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed.  You have neither solicited nor received ours.  We did not invite you.  You do not know us, nor do you know our world.  Cyberspace does not lie within your borders.

-- John Perry Barlow (3 October 1947-), American poet, essayist, and co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace (1996)

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Not Unpleasant

You may imagine that this is not unpleasant.

-- Francois Englert, after learning that he was a winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics, New York Times, 9 October 2013

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Deliver Us

We acknowledge our transgressions, our shortcomings, our smugness, our selfishness and our pride.  Deliver us from the hypocrisy of attempting to sound reasonable while being unreasonable.

-- Barry C. Black, chaplain of the United States Senate, in a morning invocation during last week's budget battles, NY Times, 7 October 2013

Monday, October 07, 2013

Rene Cruz On Happiness

Happiness: If you are person i, your happiness function H(i) depends on both your "state of being," X(i), and on other persons' state of being, X(j), for all "n" persons in your social network:

H(i)  = H(j)  [X(1), X(2) ... X(n)]

-- Rene Leonardo Cruz (1959-2013), Network Calculus pioneer, UCSD Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Friday, October 04, 2013

The Interest We Have To Pay

Sleep is the interest we have to pay on the capital which is called in at death; and the higher the rate of interest and the more regularly it is paid, the further the date of redemption is postponed.

-- Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860), German philosopher, Our Relation To Ourselves

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Long Day(s)

Oops, upstream data corrupted the database.

So, yesterday I worked 13:20, starting at about 9am.  And today I went back and worked 11:35, finishing a little past 7:30pm.  So I think I just worked 24 hours and 55 minutes during a period that was only 34 hours and 35 minutes long.

I'll be back in tomorrow, and I expect the day to be much calmer.