Wednesday, May 18, 2022

To Do Good

The final end of government is not to exert restraint but to do good.

-- Rufus Choate (1799 - 1859), American lawyer, Whig politician, and orator, Speech in the Senate (2 July 1841)

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

More Anonymous

Every day you waste a chance, many chances in fact, of getting at your innermost consciousness by expressing yourself as you see yourself, and I say it is a pity because it makes you, year after year and day after day, more like anybody else and more anonymous.

-- Ernest Dimnet (1866 - 1954), French priest, writer, and lecturer, The Art of Thinking (1928), p. 250

Monday, May 16, 2022

Responsible For The Evil

Anyone who uses the power at his disposal in such a way that it leads others to do wrong becomes guilty of scandal and responsible for the evil that he has directly or indirectly encouraged.

-- Catechism of the Catholic Church as promulgated by Pope John Paul II (1992), § 2287

Friday, May 13, 2022

Either Or

An aphorism can never be the whole truth; it is either a half-truth or a truth-and-a-half.

-- Karl Kraus (1874 - 1936), Austrian journalist, satirist, aphorist, and poet, Die Fackel no. 270/71 (19 January 1909)

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Pretense

Fraud includes the pretense of knowledge when knowledge there is none.

-- Benjamin Nathan Cardozo (1870 - 1938), long-time Justice of the Court of Appeals of New York; he was appointed to the Supreme Court of the United States in 1932, Ultramares Corp. v. Touche, 255 N.Y. 170, 179, 174 N.E. 441, 444 (1931)

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Not Many

Multum non Multa [Much, not many].

-- Gaius Plinius Caecilius Secundus (61 - c.113) better known as Pliny the Younger, was very active in Ancient Rome's legal system and was a magistrate under the reigns of several disparate emperors.  "A letter from Pliny the Younger to Fuscus", in which he advised a friend regarding the idea of selecting a few books to read deeply rather than glancing at many.

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

In The End

War: first, one hopes to win; then one expects the enemy to lose; then, one is satisfied that the enemy too is suffering; in the end, one is surprised that everyone has lost.

-- Karl Kraus (1874 - 1936), Austrian journalist, satirist, aphorist, and poet, Die Fackel no. 46 (9 October 1917)

Monday, May 09, 2022

A Kind Face

For most of us, our mother is our first teacher.  My mother first showed me compassion and one of the things about her was that she always presented a kind face.  As human beings, our lives begin in the shelter of our mother's care and affection, without which we would not survive.

-- Dalai Lama, via Twitter as @DalaiLama, 8 May 2022

Friday, May 06, 2022

Precedent

PRECEDENT, n. In Law, a previous decision, rule or practice which, in the absence of a definite statute, has whatever force and authority a Judge may choose to give it, thereby greatly simplifying his task of doing as he pleases.  As there are precedents for everything, he has only to ignore those that make against his interest and accentuate those in the line of his desire.  Invention of the precedent elevates the trial-at-law from the low estate of a fortuitous ordeal to the noble attitude of a dirigible arbitrament.

-- Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce (1842 - 1914), American satirist and author,  The Devil's Dictionary (1911)

Thursday, May 05, 2022

Older

You're older than you've ever been
And now you're even older
And now you're even older
And now you're even older.
You're older than you've ever been
And now you're even older,
And now you're older still.

Time!... is marching on, 
And time... is still marching on.

This day will soon be at an end
And now it's even sooner
And now it's even sooner
And now it's even sooner
This day will soon be at an end
And now it's even sooner
And now it's sooner still.

-- John C. Flansburgh and John S. Linnell of They Might Be Giants, "Older" (1999)

Wednesday, May 04, 2022

A Blessing

Every single one of you, whether you like it or not, is a bastion of democracy.  And if you ever begin to doubt your responsibilities.  If you ever begin to doubt how meaningful it is, look no further than what's happening in Ukraine.  Look at what's happening there.  Journalists are risking and even losing their lives to show the world what's really happening.

You realize how amazing it is.  Like in America, you have the right to seek the truth and speak the truth, even if it makes people in power uncomfortable.  Even if it makes your viewers or readers uncomfortable.  Do you understand how amazing that is?

I stood here tonight and I made fun of the President of the United States, and I'm going to be fine.  I'm going to be fine, right?

Like, do you really understand what a blessing it is?

-- Trevor Noah (1984 -), South African comedian, television host, actor, and political commentator, "Remarks at the 2022 White House Correspondents' Dinner", C-SPAN (30 April 2022)

Tuesday, May 03, 2022

RIP Roe v Wade

Supreme Court of the United states

THOMAS E. DOBBS, STATE HEALTH OFFICER OF THE MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, ET AL., PETITIONERS V. JACKSON WOMEN'S HEALTH ORGANIZATION, ET AL.

Justice Alito delivered the opinion of the court.

Abortion presents a profound moral issue on which Americans hold sharply conflicting views.  Some believe fervently that a human person comes into being at conception and that abortion ends an innocent life.  Others feel just as strongly that any regulation of abortion invades a woman's right to control her own body and prevents women from achieving full equality.  Still others in a third group think that abortion should be allowed under some but not all circumstances, and those within this group hold a variety of views about the particular restrictions that should be imposed. 

For the first 185 years after the adoption of the Constitution, each State was permitted to address this issue in accordance with the views of its citizens.  Then, in 1973, this Court decided Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113.

-- Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, writing for the majority in a draft of his opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson which overturns Roe v. Wade, and which was leaked to the press 2 May 2022

Monday, May 02, 2022

Replica

Do not try to make the brilliant pupil a replica of yourself.

-- Gilbert Arthur Highet (1906 - 1978), Scottish-American classicist, writer, and literary historian, The Art of Teaching (1950)

Friday, April 29, 2022

A Struggle

Now we are at ground zero as regards the world we need to build.  A world of respect for international law, the UN Charter, and the power of multilateralism.  A world where civilians have protection.  Where human rights are a priority.  Where leaders live up to the declared values they have committed to.  It is also a struggle, but we must win it for the sake of every country, community, and person around the world.

-- António Manuel de Oliveira Guterres (1949 -), ninth United Nations Secretary General, former Prime Minister of Portugal (1995 to 2002) and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (2005 to 2015), as quoted in "Volodymyr Zelenskyy met with the UN Secretary-General in Kyiv" (28 April 2022)

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Virtual Enfreakment

In "Contours of virtual enfreakment in fighting game characters," we analyze 64 characters who had ties to physical world nationalities and ethnicities from the popular fighting videogames Street Fighter V and Tekken 7.  

Through our analysis, we conclude that the distinct appearances, costumes, attitudes, and powers of these characters often result in a systematic process that we call virtual enfreakment -- the grotesque amplification of identity attributes based on cultural, ethnic, and gender prejudices, which objectifies and demeans some groups for the pleasure and consumption of others.  We propose that enfreakment not only affects the portrayals of underrepresented gender and ethnicities in a detrimental fashion but also that characters who stand in a power position within the hegemony of play (white, male, primarily Western, and secondarily Asian) can become exaggerated or stereotyped in their gender or ethnic identities.  We identify this as a future research direction.  Although our data contains only characters from Street Fighter V and Tekken 7, we argue that the phenomenon of enfreakment can be observed in other games and genres with crowded rosters of characters such as fighting games, looter shooters, multiplayer online battle arenas (MOBAs), and first-person shooter MOBAs.

-- Sercan Şengün, Research affiliate at MIT Center for Advanced Virtuality, Assistant Professor of Creative Technologies - Game Design at Illinois State University, and Visiting Assistant Professor of Game Design at Northeastern University, via Facebook, 27 April 2022

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Environment Of Urgency

Implications of wartime operations for global cybersecurity

The dynamic nature of the armed conflict will introduce a level of uncertainty not seen since the annexation of Crimea in 2014.  As the war progresses, actors with a vested interest in the conflict will operate under increasingly urgent requirements to fill critical intelligence gaps and achieve specific tactical objectives.  How cyber operators choose to meet these requirements may pose significant risk to the global cybersecurity landscape.

We assess that such an environment of urgency may incentivize the use of sensitive capabilities that will allow threat actors to gain assured access to networks or manipulate aspects of information systems to achieve strategic objectives.  Highly reserved capabilities such as zero-days, critical infrastructure attacks, supply-chain attacks, and other novel techniques will almost-certainly be showcased in the medium-term. 

-- Tom Burt, Corporate Vice President, Customer Security & Trust at Microsoft, The hybrid war in Ukraine, 27 April, 2022 

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Credo Of Empowerment

All my life I have made it a rule never to permit a religious man or woman take for granted that his or her religious beliefs deserved more consideration than non-religious beliefs or anti-religious ones.

I never agree with that foolish statement that I ought to respect the views of others when I believe them to be wrong.

-- Chapman Cohen (1868 - 1954), English atheist and secularist writer and lecturer, The Credo of Empowerment, as quoted in David M. Mandell Atheist Acrimonious (Vervante, 2008), p. 176

Monday, April 25, 2022

Impossible Without Humility

Perfection is impossible without humility.  Why should I strive for perfection, if I am already good enough?

-- Lev Nikolayevitch Tolstoy [usually rendered Leo Tolstoy] (1828 - 1910), Russian writer, philosopher, and social activist, A Calendar of Wisdom, P. Sekirin, trans. (1997)

Friday, April 22, 2022

Earth Day 2022

Our way of walking on the Earth has a great influence on animals and plants. We have killed so many animals and plants and destroyed their environments. Many are now extinct. In turn, our environment is now harming us. We are like sleepwalkers, not knowing what we are doing or where we are heading. Whether we can wake up or not depends on whether we can walk mindfully on our Mother Earth. The future of all life, including our own, depends on our mindful steps.

-- Thích Nhất Hạnh (1926 - 2022), expatriate Vietnamese Buddhist monk, peace activist, and author, The World We Have : A Buddhist Approach to Peace and Ecology (2008), Ch. 1 : The Bells of Mindfulness, p. 3

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Start With The Truth

You have to start with the truth.  The truth is the only way that we can get anywhere.  Because any decision-making that is based upon lies or ignorance can't lead to a good conclusion.

-- Julian Paul Assange (1971 -), Australian computer programmer, and founder of WikiLeaks in 2006, "Julian Assange, monk of the online age who thrives on intellectual battle", The Guardian (1 August 2010)

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Smashing Things

Other people say that their parents are the same way whenever there's bad news from whatever patch of dirt they came from, but being common still doesn't mean it makes any sense.  After all, it was twenty years ago, and if the adults were going to get so upset about having everything smashed up, they shouldn't have had a war or tolerated AIDS for so long that they gave it the chance to turn into mutAIDS, or allowed the climate disequilibration to get so far out of hand.  Honestly, they remind me of the three-year-olds in the nursery, smashing things to bits and then crying because they're broken.  I certainly hope I'm not that kind of a moron when I'm that old.

-- John Barnes (1957 -), American science fiction author, in his Nebula Award-nominated Orbital Resonance (1991), Chapter 2 (pp. 22-23)

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Who Am I?

So who am I? 

I am a straight, white, Christian, married, suburban mom, who knows that the very notion that learning about slavery or redlining or systemic racism somehow means that children are being taught to feel bad or hate themselves because they are white is absolute nonsense.

No child alive today is responsible for slavery. 

No one in this room is responsible for slavery. 

But each and every single one of us bears responsibility for writing the next chapter of history.  Each and every single one of us decides what happens next and how we respond to history and the world around us. 

We are not responsible for the past. 

We also cannot change the past. 

We can't pretend that it didn't happen or deny people their very right to exist. 

-- Democratic Michigan state Senator Mallory McMorrow (1986 -), in response to accusations made by Republican Lana Theis in a fundraising letter, 19 April 2022

Monday, April 18, 2022

Long And Difficult Art

Few persons care to study logic, because everybody conceives himself to be proficient enough in the art of reasoning already.  But I observe that this satisfaction is limited to one's own ratiocination and does not extend to that of other men.

We come to the full possession of our power of drawing inferences the last of all our faculties, for it is not so much a natural gift as a long and difficult art.

-- Charles Sanders Peirce [pronounced like purse] (10 September 1839 - 19 April 1914), American philosopher, chemist, and polymath, now remembered as a pioneer of the field of semiotics and, with the formulation of the pragmatic maxim, the founder of the philosophies of Pragmatism and Pragmaticism, "Illustrations of the Logic of Science" First Paper -- The Fixation of Belief", in Popular Science Monthly, Vol. 12 (November 1877)

Friday, April 15, 2022

Impact

A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.

-- Jack Roosevelt Robinson (1919 - 1972), American professional baseball player who became the first African American to play in Major League Baseball (MLB) in the modern era.  Robinson broke the baseball color line when he started at first base for the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, 1947.  I Never Had It Made (1972) by Robinson, as told to Alfred Duckett; excerpted in "Why 'I Never Had It Made': Jackie Robinson's Own Story," Newsday (5 November 1972)

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Learning Proceeds

Learning proceeds until death and only then does it stop. ...  Its purpose cannot be given up for even a moment.  To pursue it is to be human, to give it up to be a beast.

-- Xún Zǐ or Hsün Tzu (c.312 BC - 230 BC), Chinese Confucian philosopher, Readings in Classical Chinese Philosophy (2001), p. 258

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Manifestly And Undoubtedly

[J]ustice should not only be done, but should manifestly and undoubtedly be seen to be done.

-- Lord Chief Justice Hewart in R v Sussex Justices, ex p McCarthy (1923)

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Official Stamp

[O]ne of the greatest dangers to the freedom of the individual to worship in his own way lay in the Government's placing its official stamp of approval upon one particular kind of prayer or one particular form of religious services.

-- Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black, writing for the majority in Engel v Vitale (1962), ruling that New York State's requirement that all students recite the "Regent's Prayer" each day violated the establishment clause of the First Amendment (h/t vox.com)

Monday, April 11, 2022

Tally Redux

This is a tally, 25,000 at a time, of cumulative US deaths from covid.  Some of these 25Ks are much too close together.  And it's worrisome that the most recent single-digit span of days with 25K deaths was just 60 days ago.  

And, of course, it's at least a little concerning that more than one million Americans have already died of covid.



 30,051   4/14/20 (~90)       526,588   3/03/21  (13)
 50,269   4/23/20  ( 9)       550,394   3/21/21  (18)
 76,496   5/07/20  (14)       575,098   4/18/21  (28)
100,145   5/26/20  (19)       600,004   5/20/21  (32)
126,216   6/25/20  (30)       625,106   7/28/21  (69)
150,230   7/27/20  (32)       650,786   8/28/21  (31)
175,726   8/19/20  (23)       675,652   9/13/21  (16)
200,883   9/17/20  (29)       701,312   9/24/21  (11)
226,178  10/21/20  (34)       727,357  10/08/21  (14)
250,393  11/15/20  (25)       750,369  10/22/21  (14)
275,027  12/01/20  (16)       775,853  11/12/21  (21)
300,188  12/11/20  (10)       801,168  12/03/21  (21)
325,550  12/21/20  (10)       827,664  12/23/21  (20)
350,837  12/31/20  (10)       850,647   1/10/22  (18)
377,718   1/09/21  ( 9)       877,846   1/21/22  (11)
402,005   1/15/21  ( 6)       902,465   2/01/22  (11)
425,783   1/24/21  ( 9)       927,504   2/10/22  ( 9)
450,271   2/01/21  ( 8)       950,407   2/22/22  (12)
475,424   2/09/21  ( 8)       976,406   3/09/22  (15)
500,586   2/18/21  ( 9)     1,000,145   4/08/22  (30)

Friday, April 08, 2022

Forgotten The Problems

Tradition is a set of solutions for which we have forgotten the problems.  Throw away the solution and you get the problem back.

-- Donald MacDonald Kingsbury (1929 -), American-Canadian science fiction author, Courtship Rite (1982)

Thursday, April 07, 2022

Confirmed

On this vote, the yeas are 53, the nays are 47, and this nomination is confirmed.

-- Vice President Kamala Harris, presiding over the Senate as Ketanji Brown Jackson was confirmed as the first Black female on the US Supreme Court, 7 April 2022

Wednesday, April 06, 2022

We Have All Seen

We have all seen the atrocities that have been committed in Bucha and other places in Ukraine.  This reveals the true nature of President Putin's war, and the targeting and killing of civilians is a war crime and therefore, NATO allies are supporting the international efforts to establish all the facts, to investigate, and to make sure that perpetrators are punished.  We are now in a critical phase of the war.  We see that Russia is moving forces out of the north to reinforce them, to resupply them, to rearm them and then to move them into the east where we are expecting a major offensive.  President Putin's aim is to try to control the whole of Donbas and to establish a land bridge [...].  We have seen no indication that President Putin has changed his ambition to control the whole of Ukraine and also to rewrite the international order.  So we need to be prepared for the long haul.  We need to support Ukraine, sustain our sanctions, and strengthen our defences and our deterrence, because this can last for a long time and we need to be prepared for that.

-- NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in a statement ahead of the meeting of NATO Ministers of Foreign Affairs, 6 April 2022 

Tuesday, April 05, 2022

Time Is

Time is the substance I am made of.  Time is a river which sweeps me along, but I am the river; it is a tiger which destroys me, but I am the tiger; it is a fire which consumes me, but I am the fire. 

-- Jorge Luis Borges (1899 - 1986), Argentine writer, poet, critic, and translator, Other Inquisitions (1952)

Monday, April 04, 2022

Philosophical Eyebrows

The term knowledge raises philosophical eyebrows (strictly speaking, it should be called belief).

-- Zenon Walter Pylyshyn (1937 -), Canadian cognitive scientist and philosopher, and Professor of Psychology and Computer science at the University of Western Ontario, Computation and Cognition (1984) p. 130

Friday, April 01, 2022

50 Years Hence

A brief note in remembrance of my mother, Jane B Appleman, 20 September 1925 - 1 April 1972.  50 years feels like a long time, and like no time at all.

Thursday, March 31, 2022

Shared

Sins which would terrify us if they were peculiar to ourselves alone cease to frighten us when they are shared. The sinner sleeps soundly when he finds himself surrounded by a multitude, as though God were obliged to spare him.

-- Pierre Nicole (1625 - 1695), French Jansenist, L'esprit de M. Nicole, ou: Instructions sur les vérités de la religion, p. 461, in The Bourgeois: Catholicism vs. Capitalism in Eighteenth-Century France (1968), p. 94

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Forces Of Emotion

Human history is not the product of the wise direction of human reason, but is shaped by the forces of emotion -- our dreams, our pride, our greed, our fears, and our desire for revenge.

-- Lin Yutang (1895 - 1976), Chinese writer and translator, Confucius Saw Nancy and Essays about Nothing (1936), p. 95

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Antilynching Act

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the “Emmett Till Antilynching Act”.

SEC. 2. LYNCHING; OTHER CONSPIRACIES.
Section 249(a) of title 18, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:

“(5) LYNCHING.—Whoever conspires to commit any offense under paragraph (1), (2), or (3) shall, if death or serious bodily injury (as defined in section 2246 of this title) results from the offense, be imprisoned for not more than 30 years, fined in accordance with this title, or both.

“(6) OTHER CONSPIRACIES.—Whoever conspires to commit any offense under paragraph (1), (2), or (3) shall, if death or serious bodily injury (as defined in section 2246 of this title) results from the offense, or if the offense includes kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, be imprisoned for not more than 30 years, fined in accordance with this title, or both.”.

-- H.R.55 - Emmett Till Antilynching Act, signed into law by President Biden on 29 March 2022

Monday, March 28, 2022

Hindsight

Hindsight is notably cleverer than foresight.

-- Fleet Admiral Chester William Nimitz (1885 - 1966), fleet admiral of the United States Navy, as quoted in The Magnificent Mitscher by Theodore Taylor, p. 266

Friday, March 25, 2022

Mastery Through Adaptation

Softness triumphs over hardness, feebleness over strength.  What is more malleable is always superior over that which is immoveable.  This is the principle of controlling things by going along with them, of mastery through adaptation.

-- Lao Tzu, as quoted in "Zen In The Martial Arts" (1979) by Joe Hyams, p. 67

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Provisional Measures

THE COURT,
Indicates the following provisional measures:

(1) The Russian Federation shall immediately suspend the military operations that it commenced on 24 February 2022 in the territory of Ukraine

(2) The Russian Federation shall ensure that any military or irregular armed units which may be directed or supported by it, as well as any organizations and persons which may be subject to its control or direction, take no steps in furtherance of the military operations referred to in point (1) above

(3) Both Parties shall refrain from any action which might aggravate or extend the dispute before the Court or make it more difficult to resolve.

-- Order of the International Court of Justice, in Ukraine v Russian Federation, Allegations of Genocide under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, 16 March 2022

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

RIP Madeleine Albright

In early 2000, I became the first senior U.S. official to meet with Vladimir Putin in his new capacity as acting president of Russia. ...  I have been reminded in recent months of that nearly three-hour session with Mr. Putin as he has massed troops on the border with neighboring Ukraine.  After calling Ukrainian statehood a fiction in a bizarre televised address, he issued a decree recognizing the independence of two separatist-held regions in Ukraine and sending troops there.

Mr. Putin's revisionist and absurd assertion that Ukraine was "entirely created by Russia" and effectively robbed from the Russian empire is fully in keeping with his warped worldview.  Most disturbing to me: It was his attempt to establish the pretext for a full-scale invasion.

Should he invade, it will be a historic error. ...  Instead of paving Russia's path to greatness, invading Ukraine would ensure Mr. Putin's infamy by leaving his country diplomatically isolated, economically crippled, and strategically vulnerable in the face of a stronger, more united Western alliance. ...  Ukraine is entitled to its sovereignty, no matter who its neighbors happen to be.  In the modern era, great countries accept that, and so must Mr. Putin.

-- Madeleine Jana Korbel Albright (15 May 1937 - 23 March 2022), American politician and diplomat who served as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and the 64th U.S. Secretary of State from 1997 to 2001 under President Bill Clinton.  She was the first female secretary of state in U.S. history.  "Putin Is Making a Historic Mistake", New York Times, 23 February 2022

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

The Way Of Life

A man is born gentle and weak. 
At his death he is hard and stiff.
Green plants are tender and filled with sap.
At their death they are withered and dry.
Therefore the stiff and unbending is the disciple of death.
The gentle and yielding is the disciple of life.
Thus an army without flexibility never wins a battle.
A tree that is unbending is easily broken.
The hard and the strong will fall.
The soft and weak will overcome.

-- Lao Tzu, as quoted in "Zen In The Martial Arts" (1979) by Joe Hyams, p. 123

Monday, March 21, 2022

Equal Justice Under Law

During this hearing, I hope that you will see how much I love our country and the Constitution, and the rights that make us free.  I stand on the shoulders of many who have come before me, including Judge Constance Baker Motley, who was the first African American woman to be appointed to the federal bench and with whom I share a birthday.  And like Judge Motley, I have dedicated my career to ensuring that the words engraved on the front of the Supreme Court building -- "Equal Justice Under Law" -- are a reality and not just an ideal.  Thank you for this historic chance to join the highest Court, to work with brilliant colleagues, to inspire future generations, and to ensure liberty and justice for all.

-- Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson's opening statement at her Supreme Court confirmation hearing, as prepared for delivery, 21 March 2022

Friday, March 18, 2022

Cause And Effect

In the notice that our senses take on the constant vicissitude of things, we cannot but observe that several particular, both qualities and substances, begin to exist, and that they receive this their existence from the due application and operation of some other being.  From this observation we get our ideas of cause and effect.  That which produces any simple or complex idea we denote by the general name, cause, and that which is produced, effect.  Thus finding that in that substance which we call wax, fluidity, which is a simple idea that was not in it before, is constantly produced by the application of a certain degree of heat; we call the simple idea of heat, in relation to fluidity in wax, the cause of it, and fluidity the effect.

-- John Locke (1632 - 1704), English philosopher and social contract theorist, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1689), Of Cause And Effect, And Other Relations

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Fight For Peace

We -- Russia -- want to be a nation of peace.  Alas, few people would call us that now.

But let's at least not become a nation of frightened silent people.  Of cowards who pretend not to notice the aggressive war against Ukraine unleashed by our obviously insane czar.

I cannot, do not want and will not remain silent watching how pseudo-historical nonsense about the events of 100 years ago has become an excuse for Russians to kill Ukrainians, and for Ukrainians to kill Russians while defending themselves.

It's the third decade of the 21st century, and we are watching news about people burning down in tanks and bombed houses.  We are watching real threats to start a nuclear war on our TVs.

I am from the USSR myself.  I was born there.  And the main phrase from there -- from my childhood -- was "fight for peace."  I call on everyone to take to the streets and fight for peace.

-- Alexei Anatolievich Navalny (1976 -), Russian opposition leader, lawyer, and anti-corruption activist, We - Russia - want to be a nation of peace, Twitter thread (2 March 2022)

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Created Twice

Everything a person does is created twice -- once in the mind and once in its execution -- ideas and impulses are pre-incident indicators for action.

-- Gavin de Becker (1954 -), American author and security specialist, The Gift Of Fear -- Survival Signals That Protect Us From Violence (1997)

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Adaptive Benefits

Making correct inferences about the imminent behavior of others has adaptive benefits, and misunderstanding what another individual intends can seriously impair survival.

-- H. Clark Barrett, et al., "Accurate Judgements of Intentions From Motion Cues Alone: A Cross-Cultural Study", Evolution and Behavior #26 (2005), p. 314

Monday, March 14, 2022

Human Universals

1) Humans are creatures of habit.  In a study conducted by Northeastern University network scientists, it was determined that human behavior, regarding patterns of movement and mobility, is 93% predictable.

2) Humans are lazy.  Humans are generally lazy, and will take the path of least resistance.

3) Humans are lousy liars.  Humans have significant cognitive limitations. 

4) Humans will run, fight, or freeze.  Humans are driven by fight-or-flight responses, which translate into certain autonomic responses and behaviors. 

5) Humans telegraph their intentions.  Emotions are difficult to control, and are often spontaneous responses to a situation. 

6) Humans are predictable.  Humans are not generally spontaneous or random. 

7) Humans are not good at multitasking.  In general, humans only look natural when naturally focused on doing one thing. 

8) Humans are generally clueless.  Humans in general lack situational awareness.

9) Humans can't do very many different things.  There are a limited number of dimensions in human behavior.

-- Patrick Van Horne and Jason A. Riley, Left of Bang, How The Marine Corps Combat Hunter Program Can Save Your Life (2014)

Friday, March 11, 2022

Costs Are Understated

Projects coming down from the top are approved first, and the cost estimates are inflated to make sure that enough money is budgeted. And with projects coming up from the bottom, costs are understated to give the projects a better chance of being approved.  Later on, the costs go up -- the people involved say that they "forgot this, forgot that."

-- Arthur Y. Chen, Taiwanese politician, Minister of Public Construction Commission (PCC) 1995 - 1996, cited in "Constructive Criticism" on Taiwan Today, 1 May 1996

Thursday, March 10, 2022

Time And Leverage

The way the process of collective bargaining is designed to work under the statute, it's really driven by two things: time and economic leverage.  No agreement comes together before those two things play out in a way that you find common ground.  I think we made an agreement when it was possible to make an agreement.

I do believe -- I hope -- that the players will see the effort we made to address their concerns in this agreement as an olive branch in terms of building a better relationship.

-- MLB commissioner Rob Manfred at a press conference announcing the end of a 99-day, owner-imposed lockout that threatened the 2022 baseball season, 10 March 2022