Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Wildest Dreams

If the government can round up someone and never be required to explain why, then it's no longer the United States of America as you and I always understood it.  Our enemies have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. They have made us become like them.

-- Garrison Keillor (1942-), American novelist, humorist, and public radio personality, "Congress's Shameful Retreat From American Values", Chicago Tribune, 4 October 2006

Monday, September 29, 2014

Spring Cleaning

Over the weekend, I accomplished 2 things:

1) I reached 10,000 total miles on my current road bike.  That took a few years.  John, you and your bike probably have me trumped by a significant multiple.

2) I cleared out all the old computer equipment I had been hoarding, unwilling to let them go because of their ~$10,000 cumulative cost.  I managed to recyle 7 PCs, 5 CRT monitors, 4 inkjet printers, and an old TiVo box, along with a box of CD/DVD drives, and a ton of cables.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Seek Not To Follow

Seek not to follow in the footsteps of men of old; seek what they sought.

-- Matsu Basho (1644-1694), Japanese poet, from "Words by a Brushwood Gate"

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Not A Lost Art

Teaching is not a lost art, but the regard for it is a lost tradition.

-- Jacques Barzun (1907-2012), French-born American scholar, historian, critic, and teacher, Teacher In America (1945)

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Unspoken Order

Apparently there is an unspoken order to deny losses and hide graves.

-- Lev Shlosberg, a lawmaker who was beaten and hospitalized after he began documenting the deaths of Russian soldiers in Ukraine, New York Times, 22 September 2014

Monday, September 22, 2014


If I have seen further than others, it is because I am surrounded by dwarfs.

-- Murray Gell-Mann (15 September 1929-), American physicist who received the 1969 Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on the theory of elementary particles, as quoted in "Wilson vs Watson: The blessing of great enemies" by Amanda Gefter in New Scientist (10 September 2009)

Friday, September 19, 2014


We hope we're wrong.

-- Bryan Lewis, epidemiologist at the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute at Virginia Tech, who worked on calculations to project the extent of the Ebola crisis, NY Times, 13 September 2014

Thursday, September 18, 2014

There's Some Pizza Waiting For Me

I am extremely proud to be joining all the iconic riders that have beaten this record before me.  My name is now among the greats.

-- German cyclist Jens Voigt, age 43, upon setting a new record of 51.115km (31.77 miles) in one hour on a 250-meter track at Velodrome Suisse, Grenchen, Switzerland, besting the old record by 1.1415 km, 17 September 2014

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Work And Love

Freud's prescription for personal happiness as consisting of work and love must be taken with the proviso that the work has to be loved, and the love has to be worked at.

-- Sydney J. Harris (1917-1986), London-born American syndicated essayist and drama critic, Pieces of Eight (1982)

Monday, September 15, 2014

Kill Bad Bills

It is much more important to kill bad bills than to pass good ones.

-- John Calvin Coolidge Jr. (4 July 1872 - 5 January 1933), 29th Vice President and 30th President of the United States, Letter (6 September 1910) to his father, John Coolidge, who had been elected to the Vermont State Senate

Friday, September 12, 2014

Something Better

He knew the truth and was looking for something better.

-- William Saroyan (1908-1981), Armenian American author, Jim Dandy: Fat Man in a Famine (1947)

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Isn't Worth It

I can't hate for long.  It isn't worth it.

-- William Saroyan (1908-1981), Armenian American author, The Bicycle Rider In Beverly Hills (1952)

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A Chance To Inquire

Instead of insight, maybe all a man gets is strength to wander for a while. Maybe the only gift is a chance to inquire, to know nothing for certain. An inheritance of wonder and nothing more.

-- William Least Heat-Moon (27 August 1939-), American travel writer and historian, Blue Highways, Part Six, Chapter 9 (1982)

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

"Just War"

The term "just war" contains an internal contradiction.  War is inherently unjust, and the great challenge of our time is how to deal with evil, tyranny, and oppression without killing huge numbers of people.

-- Howard Zinn (1924 - 2010), American historian, political scientist, playwright, and social activist, Terrorism and War (2002)

Monday, September 08, 2014

Silly Things

If people did not sometimes do silly things, nothing intelligent would ever get done.

-- Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889 - 1951), Austrian-born philosopher, Culture and Value (1980)

Friday, September 05, 2014

More To Life

There must be more to life than having everything.

-- Maurice Sendak (10 June 1928 - 8 May 2012), American illustrator and children's book author, Higglety Pigglety Pop! or, There Must Be More to Life (1967)

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Today I received my copy of the new book "what if?  Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions", by physicist and ex-NASA robotics engineer Randall Munroe, the Internet cartoonist behind xkcd (http://www.xkcd.com).

From the back cover:

Humans can't digest the cellulose in paper, but if we could, eating this book would give you about 2300 calories (including the cover). ...

Hidden Feature: The inside of this book has words and pictures. It answers many other important questions, including whether you could jump from a plane with a helium tank and inflate balloons fast enough to slow your fall and survive (yes) and whether you could hide from a supersonic windstorm in Finland (yes, but it won't help).

I started reading the first question / answer, What would happen if the Earth and all terrestrial objects suddenly stopped spinning, but the atmosphere retained its velocity?

I am entertained.  I recommend the book (and the on-line comic).

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Ordinary Business

The American public is expecting the Justice Department to hold the banks accountable for its misdeeds in the mortgage meltdown.  But these tax write-offs shift the burden back onto taxpayers and send the wrong message by treating parts of the settlement as an ordinary business expense.

-- Phineas Baxandall, analyst with the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, a consumer advocacy group, criticizing settlements between big banks and the federal government, New York Times, 22 August 2014

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

A Long Way

It's a long way from being closed.

-- General John F. Kelly, leader of the United States Southern Command, on the Guantanamo Bay detention center, which still houses 149 inmates, New York Times, 1 September 2014

Monday, September 01, 2014

The Biggest Risk

The biggest risk is not taking any risk ....  In a world that's changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.

-- Mark Zuckerberg (14 May 1984-), Founder of Facebook, in a talk at Y Combinator's Startup School, 29 October 2011