Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Do Democracy

If we are to be a great democracy, we must all take an active role in our democracy.  We must do democracy.  That goes far beyond simply casting your vote.  We must all actively champion the causes that ensure the common good.

-- Martin Luther King III (1957-), human rights advocate and community activist, first son of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., Speech at the Democratic Convention (28 August 2008)

Tuesday, October 25, 2016


I need a beer and my wife right now.

-- Ultramarathon runner Pete Kostelnick, after completing a record-setting run across the United States

Kostelnick kept a rigid routine, sleeping in an RV on the route until 3 a.m.  He would then run 40 miles in roughly seven hours -- a nine- to 10-minute per-mile pace.  He'd take a short break for lunch, then continue for 30 miles or more into the night.  He spent upwards of 14 hours running each day for six straight weeks.

The 29-year-old from Lincoln, Nebraska, left San Francisco's City Hall on September 12 -- his birthday -- at 8 a.m.  He then headed east for 3,067 miles, completing the trek in 42 days, 6 hours, and 30 minutes.  The feat is unprecedented, and ends one of the oldest ultrarunning records recognized by Guinness World Records [by more than 4 days].

Runners World, 24 October 2016

Monday, October 24, 2016

Fail Forward

The conceit of "data journalism," at least as I see it, is to apply the scientific method to the news.  That means observing the world, formulating hypotheses about it, and making those hypotheses falsifiable.  (Falsifiability is one of the big reasons we make predictions.)  When those hypotheses fail, you should re-evaluate the evidence before moving on to the next subject.  The distinguishing feature of the scientific method is not that it always gets the answer right, but that it fails forward by learning from its mistakes.

-- Nate Silver (1978-), American statistician and writer, How I Acted Like A Pundit And Screwed Up On Donald Trump (18 May 2016)

Thursday, October 20, 2016


CHRIS WALLACE: But, sir, there is a tradition in this country -- in fact, one of the prides of this country is the peaceful transition of power and that no matter how hard-fought a campaign is, that at the end of the campaign, that the loser concedes to the winner -- not saying that you're necessarily going to be the loser or the winner, but that the loser concedes to the winner and that the country comes together, in part for the good of the country.  Are you saying you're not prepared now to commit to that principle?

DONALD TRUMP: What I'm saying is that I will tell you at the time.  I'll keep you in suspense.  OK?

-- Exchange between the moderator and the Republican candidate during the 3rd and final Presidential Debate, 19 October 2016

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

2.7 Inches Per Year

Australia moves 2.7 inches a year because of its position on a remarkably active tectonic plate.  The country has issued a reset of its official coordinates four times in the past 50 years and will issue a fifth at the end of the year. 

The next adjustment, due at the end of the year, will be about 1.5 meters (4.9 feet).

-- New York Times, via Walt Hickey in Significant Digits,, 13 October 2016

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Fire In A Dark Night

The idea for a novel is like a little tiny fire in a dark night.  And, one by one, the characters come and stand around it and warm their hands.

-- Thomas Williams (1926-1990), American novelist, as quoted by Stephen King in an interview with Jeffrey Brown at the Library of Congress National Book Festival, NewsHour Bookshelf, 6 October 2016

Monday, October 17, 2016

Poetic Expressions

The Nobel Prize in Literature for 2016 is awarded to Bob Dylan "for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition".

-- Statement of the Nobel Academy, 13 October 2016

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

At A Deeper Level

The best that most of us can hope to achieve in physics is simply to misunderstand at a deeper level.

-- Wolfgang Ernst Pauli (1900 – 1958), Austrian-Swiss physicist, one of the pioneers of quantum physics, and recipient of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1945, to Jagdish Mehra, in Berkeley, California (May 1958), as quoted in The Historical Development of Quantum Theory (2000) by Jagdish Mehra

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

I'm The Slime

I may be vile and pernicious
But you can't look away
I make you think I'm delicious
With the stuff that I say
I'm the best you can get
Have you guessed me yet?
I'm the slime oozin' out
From your TV set

You will obey me while I lead you
And eat the garbage that I feed you
Until the day that we don't need you
Don't go for help . . . no one will heed you
Your mind is totally controlled
It has been stuffed into my mold
And you will do as you are told
Until the rights to you are sold

-- Frank Zappa (1940-1993), excerpt from the lyrics to "I'm The Slime" (1973)

Monday, October 10, 2016

Tic Tac

Tic Tac respects all women.  We find the recent statements and behavior completely inappropriate and unacceptable.

-- Tweet by @TicTacUSA in response to comments made by Donald Trump in 2005 during a taping of Access Hollywood, 2:03 PM - 8 October 2016

Wednesday, October 05, 2016


The really sad part is that in the United States we accept 35,092 people dying on the roadways and thinking that's okay.  It should be unacceptable.

-- Mark Rosekind, the head of NHTSA, NPR, 5 October 2016

Tuesday, October 04, 2016


Gentlemen, the people at home cannot understand either one of you when you speak over each other.  I would please ask you to wait until the other is finished.

-- Moderator Elaine Quijano of CBS News, after the first part of the Vice Presidential debate was marked by the candidates frequently interrupting and talking over each other, 4 October 2016

Monday, October 03, 2016

Doomsday Scenario

That is the doomsday scenario, in some respects, of having an eight-member court.

-- Carter G. Phillip, a lawyer, describing the possibility that a deadlocked Supreme Court might face a dispute over the outcome of the presidential race in its next session, New York Times, 2 October 2016