Monday, December 22, 2014


In the ancient days when gods played their own games, and had their own celebrations, tossing lightning bolts between mountaintops, hurling great boulders -- Festivus came out of that.  It's a holiday that celebrates being alive at a time when it was hard to be alive.

There was no Christ yet, no Yahweh, no Buddha.  There were great ruins and raw nature.  But there was a kindling spark of hope among men.  They celebrated that great thunderous storms hadn't enveloped them in the past year, that landslides hadn't destroyed them.  They made wishes that their crops would grow in the fields, that they'd have food the next year and the wild animals wouldn't attack and eat them.

There's something pure about Festivus, something primal, raw in the hearts of humans.

-- Jerry Stiller (1927-), American comedian and actor, foreword to Festivus: The Holiday for the Rest of Us (2005) by Allen Salkin

Friday, December 19, 2014

Christmas Gift Suggestions

Christmas gift suggestions:
To your enemy, forgiveness.
To an opponent, tolerance.
To a friend, your heart.
To a customer, service.
To all, charity.
To every child, a good example.
To yourself, respect.

-- Oren Arnold (1900-1980), American novelist, journalist, and humorist

Thursday, December 18, 2014

True Nobility

There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.

-- Ernest Hemingway (1889-1961), American author and journalist, For Whom The Bell Tolls (1940)

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

History Will Judge Us

History will judge us by our commitment to a just society governed by law and the willingness to face an ugly truth and say "never again".

-- Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), after the release of a Senate report condemning C.I.A. interrogations, New York Times, 10 December 2014

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


I would do it again in a minute.

-- Former Vice President Dick Cheney, defending his advocacy of interrogation techniques that a Senate report last week condemned as inhumane and ineffective, NY Times, 15 December 2014

Monday, December 15, 2014


Imagine if we didn't go down that road.  Imagine.  We played into the enemy's hand.  Now we have American hostages in orange jumpsuits because we put people in orange jumpsuits.

-- Ali H. Soufan, a former F.B.I. agent who clashed with the C.I.A. over its interrogation tactics, New York Times, 11 December 2014

Friday, December 12, 2014

Thursday, December 11, 2014


If there is no solution to the problem then don't waste time worrying about it.  If there is a solution to the problem then don't waste time worrying about it.

-- Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama (1935-), born Lhamo Dhondrub, renamed Jetsun Jamphel Ngawang Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso (Holy Lord, Gentle Glory, Compassionate, Defender of the Faith, Ocean of Wisdom) upon being officially recognized as the Dalai Lama

Wednesday, December 10, 2014


Congrats to Ray Ozzie for his success and his inclusion on this list.  But the article ...  Perhaps the most blindly uninformed and reductionist view of PLATO ever expressed in print:

UIUC: Amazing Tech Visionaries Who Went To School There
Business Insider - 1 December 2014

Ray Ozzie -- Lotus Notes

Ozzie was a computer science student at UIUC when he started working on PLATO system, which later evolved into Lotus Notes, one of the earliest enterprise collaboration software tools.  Lotus was later sold to IBM for $3.5 billion.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

News Is A Business

Indeed.  News is a business, and it is, by and large, an advertising business.  In other words, the viewer isn't the customer, the advertiser is.  And the predominate marketing strategy for the news business for the last several decades has been to scream at us "WATCH OUR PROGRAM OR YOU WILL DIE!!!  AND YOUR CHILDREN WILL BE EATEN BY DINGOS AND SOMEONE WILL KICK YOUR DOG!!!!"

-- Comment on an article about media coverage in Ferguson, MO, by taustin on Slashdot, 3 December 2014 @12:13PM

Monday, December 08, 2014

Young Men Have A Passion

Young men have a passion for regarding their elders as senile.

-- Henry Brooke Adams (1838-198), US historian, journalist, and educator, The Education of Henry Adams (1907), Chapter XI The Battle of the Rams

Friday, December 05, 2014

32-Bit Overflow

The Korean pop star PSY's viral music video "Gangnam Style" has reached the limit of YouTube's view counter.  According to YouTube's Google+ account,

"We never thought a video would be watched in numbers greater than a 32-bit integer (=2,147,483,647 views), but that was before we met PSY.  'Gangnam Style' has been viewed so many times we had to upgrade to a 64-bit integer (9,223,372,036,854,775,808)!"

-- From Slashdot, 3 December 2014

I think wrote about this once before.  As of this morning, the 4 minute 13 second Gangnam Style video had been viewed 2,158,281,339 times.  This adds up to 6,288,349 days, or 17,216 years total viewing time.  Since this morning, it's been watched another 1,548,865 times, racking up another 12.4 years of viewing.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Stick To The Facts

Give It To Them Straight.  You've probably heard your professors tell you over and over again, "stick to the facts".  And they're right: there's no better way to make your point and win your argument.  And even those who disagree with your conclusion will respect you for being honest and having the guts to tell it like it is.

-- Michael Bloomberg (1942-), former New York City mayor, Tufts University commencement address (2007)

Wednesday, December 03, 2014


We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful what we pretend to be.

-- Kurt Vonnegut (1922-2007), American novelist and satirist, Mother Night, Introduction (1961)

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Business Plan

This appears to be the business plan.  It appears to be, you do whatever you have to do, and you know that eventually you will pay fines, but you will pay the fines and still make a lot more.

-- Eric G. Campbell, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, on conflicts of interest between doctors and the drug industry, New York Times, 28 November 2014

Monday, December 01, 2014

World AIDS Day

The AIDS crisis is evidence of a world in which nothing important is regional, local, limited; in which everything that can circulate does, and every problem is, or is destined to become, worldwide.

-- Susan Sontag (1933-2004), American essayist, literary critic, cultural theorist, and political activist, AIDS and Its Metaphors (1989), p. 180.