Thursday, April 27, 2017

He Had Me At Bacon

I had rather be shut up in a very modest cottage with my books, my family and a few old friends, dining on simple bacon, and letting the world roll on as it liked, than to occupy the most splendid post, which any human power can give.

-- Thomas Jefferson (1743 - 1826), third president of the United States (1801–1809), Letter to Alexander Donald (7 February 1788)

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Selling Miracles

We are selling miracles.  I don't care how old you get, how much technology advances, people will always be enamored with other people flying and doing daring things.

-- Johnathan Lee Iverson, the last ringmaster of the 146-year-old Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, which will have its final show on May 21, New York Times, 10 April 2017

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Most Terrible Thing

The weapon is to be used against Japan between now and August 10th.  I have told the Sec. of War, Mr. Stimson, to use it so that military objectives and soldiers and sailors are the target and not women and children.  Even if the Japs are savages, ruthless, merciless and fanatic, we as the leader of the world for the common welfare cannot drop this terrible bomb on the old capital or the new [Kyoto or Tokyo].

He [Stimson] and I are in accord.  The target will be a purely military one and we will issue a warning statement [known as the Potsdam Proclamation] asking the Japs to surrender and save lives.  I'm sure they will not do that, but we will have given them the chance.  It is certainly a good thing for the world that Hitler's crowd or Stalin's did not discover this atomic bomb.  It seems to be the most terrible thing ever discovered, but it can be made the most useful.

-- President Harry Truman, writing in his diary, 25 July 1945

Monday, April 24, 2017

Happy Birthday, Dad!

My father passed away in 2013 at the age of 95 years and 10 months.  He was born 24 April 1917, and had he lived, he would have been 100 years old today. 

Happy birthday, Dad!

Friday, April 21, 2017

All Must Die

It has sometimes happened to me that when everything's all right, and every one's cheerful, it suddenly strikes one that one's sick of it all, and all must die.

-- Count Nikolay Ilyich Rostov, in Leo Tolstoy's novel War And Peace, Part 7, Section X, pg 477

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Wings Off Of Flies

Who wrote this statute?  Someone who takes pleasure in pulling wings off of flies?

-- Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., on a case before the Supreme Court about where Civil Service and discrimination claims may be filed, New York Times, 17 April 2017

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Not So Easy

After listening for 10 minutes, I realized it's not so easy.  I felt pretty strongly that they had a tremendous power [over North Korea] ... but it's not what you would think.

-- President Donald Trump, on China's Xi explaining to him the history of the relationship between China and the Korean peninsula and whether China could easily help on North Korea, as Trump had previously asserted, Wall Street Journal, 12 April 2017

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

A Reality Of Consumer Life

Our protection against the worst corporate abuses is our smartphone videos.  That is a reality of consumer life right now.  It's kind of crazy.

-- Emily Bazelon, on Slate's Political Gabfest podcast, discussing the forcible re-accommodating of a passenger on a United Airlines flight, 13 April 2017

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Setting Man Free

Civilization is the progress toward a society of privacy.  The savage's whole existence is public, ruled by the laws of his tribe.  Civilization is the process of setting man free from men.

-- Ayn Rand (1905 - 1982), Russian-born American novelist, philosopher, playwright, and screenwriter, The Soul of an Individualist, For the New Intellectual, p 84

Friday, April 07, 2017


A new malware strain called BrickerBot is bricking Internet of Things (IoT) devices around the world by corrupting their storage capability and reconfiguring kernel parameters.

The end result is a bricked IoT device that will stop working within seconds of getting infected.  Experts call these attack PDoS (Permanent Denial of Service), but they are also known as "phlashing."

All in all, BrickerBot isn't like anything we've seen before in the landscape of IoT malware.  Most IoT malware strains try to hoard devices in massive botnets that are then used as proxies to relay malicious traffic or to launch DDoS attacks. 

BrickerBot could ... be the work of an Internet vigilante that wants to destroy insecure IoT devices.

-- Catalin Cimpanu, in an article at, 6 April 2017

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Nuclear Option

The power you give a politician you love today, to do something you want, is a power that will be used tomorrow by a politician you loathe, to do things you’ll hate.

-- Jim Babka (1968-), American writer and activist, in reference to the end of the 60-vote filibuster rule in the Senate for SCOTUS nominees, 6 April 2017

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Not Spending Money On That

As to climate change, I think the president was fairly straightforward: We're not spending money on that anymore.

-- Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget, New York Times, 17 March 2017

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

All Points

As long as one does not call his own position into question but regards it as absolute, while interpreting his opponents' ideas as a mere function of the social positions they occupy, the decisive step forward has not yet been taken ... the general form of the total conception of ideology is being used by the analyst when he has the courage to subject not just the adversary's point of view but all points of view, including his own, to the ideological analysis.

-- Karl Mannheim (1893 - 1947), Hungarian-born social philosopher and sociologist, Ideology and Utopia (1929), as translated by Louis Wirth and Edward Shils (1936)

Monday, April 03, 2017

Two Ways

There are two ways of confronting the country's problems.  One is through a management style based on adventurism, instability, play-acting, exaggerations, wrongdoing, being secretive, self-importance, superficiality and ignoring the law.  The second way is based on realism, respect, openness, collective wisdom and avoiding extremism.

-- Mir-Hossein Mousavi Khameneh (1942-), Iranian reformist politician, painter and architect, reformist candidate for the 2009 presidential election and eventual opposition leader, currently under house arrest, as quoted in "Ahmadinejad lashes out at Iran's ex-presidents", CNN (4 June 2009)