Friday, December 30, 2022

Not Older

We turn not older with years, but newer every day.

-- Emily Elizabeth Dickinson (1830 - 1886), American poet, Letter to Frances and Louise Norcross, late 1872

Thursday, December 29, 2022

RIP Pelé

Every kid around the world who plays soccer wants to be Pelé.  I have a great responsibility to show them not just how to be like a soccer player, but how to be like a man.

-- Edson Arantes do Nascimento (23 October 1940 - 29 December 2022), known as Pelé, Brazilian professional footballer who played as a forward; he is widely regarded as the greatest player of all time; quoted in "SI Flashback: Soccer's greatest genius" Sports Illustrated, (1 June 1999)

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Not Policymakers

But the current border crisis is not a COVID crisis.  And courts should not be in the business of perpetuating administrative edicts designed for one emergency only because elected officials have failed to address a different emergency.  We are a court of law, not policymakers of last resort.

-- Supreme Court Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch, dissenting in Arizona et al v Secretary of Homeland Security, in which the majority left in place Title 42 restrictions on immigrants seeking asylum, pending further hearings, 27 December 2022

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

The Veil

I am on the edge of mysteries and the veil is getting thinner and thinner.

-- Louis Pasteur (27 December 1822 - 28 September 1895), French microbiologist, chemist, and inventor of the process of Pasteurization, Letter (December 1851), as quoted in The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague In History (2004) by John M. Barry

Monday, December 26, 2022

Merry Christmas

My kids had their family Christmas celebrations yesterday on the day.  Many of us gathered at my house today -- 3 of my 5 daughters, and 9 of 11 grandkids.  I hope you all had a fun and fulfilling holiday season, spent with those you care about, and who care about you.

Friday, December 23, 2022

It Came Just The Same

He HADN'T stopped Christmas from coming!
Somehow or other, it came just the same!
And the Grinch, with his grinch-feet ice-cold in the snow,
Stood puzzling and puzzling: "How could it be so?
"It came without ribbons!  It came without tags!
"It came without packages, boxes, or bags!"
And he puzzled and puzzled, till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before!
"Maybe Christmas," he thought, "doesn't come from a store.
Maybe Christmas ... perhaps ... means a little bit more."

-- Theodor Seuss Geisel (1904 - 1991), American children's author, political cartoonist, illustrator, and poet, known for his work writing and illustrating more than 60 books under the pen name Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1957)

Thursday, December 22, 2022


Can a man who's warm understand one who's freezing?

-- Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn (1918 - 2008), Russian philosopher, novelist, dramatist, and historian, 1970 Nobel laureate in Literature, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich (1962)

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

RIP InSight

My power's really low, so this may be the last image I can send.  Don't worry about me though: my time here has been both productive and serene.  If I can keep talking to my mission team, I will -- but I'll be signing off here soon.  Thanks for staying with me.

-- NASA's InSight (Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy, and Heat Transport) lander, which has been conducting scientific explorations on the Martian surface for nearly four years, 11 December 2022

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

I Regret

I'm sorry for everything that happened and I regret that I was in Stutthof at the time.  That's all I can say.

-- 97-year-old Irmgard Furchner, a former Nazi camp secretary, convicted of complicity in the murder of more than 10,000 people at the Stutthof camp in occupied Poland, speaking to the regional court in the northern town of Itzehoe at the end of what is expected to be the last Nazi war-crimes trial, 20 December 2022

Monday, December 19, 2022

Ensure Accountability

Today, beyond our findings, we will also show that evidence we've gathered points to further action beyond the power of this committee or the Congress to help ensure accountability under law -- accountability that can only be found in the criminal justice system.

-- Representative Bennie Thompson (D-MS), chairman of the United States House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack, in a statement announcing criminal referrals to the Department of Justice of Donald Trump and others

Friday, December 16, 2022

Understand More

Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood.  Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.

-- Marie Curie (1867 - 1934), Polish-born scientist, first woman to win the Nobel Prize (for Physics in 1903); first person to win a second Nobel Prize (for Chemistry, 1911), as quoted in Our Precarious Habitat (1973) by Melvin A. Benarde, p. v

Thursday, December 15, 2022

Fulfilled My Oath

The Republican Party used to believe in a big tent which welcomed the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free.  Now, we shelter the ignorant, the racist, who only stoke anger and hatred to those who are different than us. ...

When one party's megaphone echoes calls for a civil war, and the other tacitly and in some cases openly supports it then we are clearly lost, Mr. Speaker.  Much like the Titanic on its maiden voyage if Republicans and Democrats don't urgently course correct, I fear we will hit the iceberg right in front of us. ...

Had I known standing up for truth would cost me my job, friendships and even my personal security, I would -- without hesitation -- do it all over again.  I can rest easy at night, knowing that I fulfilled my oath to the office.

I know many in this institution cannot do the same. 

-- Representative Adam Kinzinger (R-IL-16), in his final floor speech to Congress, 15 December 2022

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Counter With Water

If your opponent strikes with fire, counter with water, becoming completely fluid and free-flowing. Water, by its nature, never collides with or breaks against anything. On the contrary, it swallows up any attack harmlessly.

-- Morihei Ueshiba (14 December 1883 - 26 April 1969), philosopher, martial artist, author, and the creator of the discipline of Aikido, The Art of Peace (1992)

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Nothing Is More

Nothing is more humiliating than to see idiots succeed in enterprises we have failed in.

-- Gustave Flaubert (12 December 1821 - 8 May 1880), influential French writer who was perhaps the leading exponent of literary realism of his country, Sentimental Education (1869) Pt. 1, Ch. 5

Monday, December 12, 2022

Inertial Confinement

This result is a major breakthrough in fusion science.  The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory uses the largest laser in the world to compress heavy hydrogen to conditions similar to those in the centre of the sun.  The lasers enter the ends of a centimetre-scale cylinder, hitting its inner walls, making them glow x-ray hot.  These x-rays then heat a sphere at the centre that contains the nuclear fuel.  The outside of the sphere vaporises and becomes a plasma, that rushes off the surface, creating an imploding "spherical rocket" which in a few billionths of a second reaches velocities of order 400 kilometres per second.  The subsequent "crunch" at the centre is tailored in a specific way to make a hot spark in the middle, and the density of the compressed "fuel" surrounding the spark is so great that the nuclear fusion reaction takes place in about a tenth of a billionth of a second -- faster than the tiny hot sphere can fly apart.  It is thus confined by its own inertia, and thus this method of fusion is called inertial confinement fusion.

-- Professor Justin Wark, Professor of Physics at the University of Oxford and Director of the Oxford Centre for High Energy Density Science, in comments about recent advances in nuclear fusion at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, 12 December 2022

Friday, December 09, 2022

The Drop

The weakest living creature, by concentrating his powers on a single object, can accomplish something.  The strongest, by dispensing his over many, may fail to accomplish anything.  The drop, by continually falling, bores its passage through the hardest rock.  The hasty torrent rushes over it with hideous uproar, and leaves no trace behind.

-- Thomas Carlyle (1795 - 1881), Scottish essayist, historian, and philosopher, The life of Friedrich Schiller: Comprehending an examination of his works (1825)

Thursday, December 08, 2022

As We Shall Return

Bob, this is Gene, and I'm on the surface; and, as I take man's last step from the surface, back home for some time to come -- but we believe not too long into the future -- I'd like to just (say) what I believe history will record.  That America's challenge of today has forged man's destiny of tomorrow.  And, as we leave the Moon at Taurus-Littrow, we leave as we came and, God willing, as we shall return, with peace and hope for all mankind.  "Godspeed the crew of Apollo 17."

-- Eugene Andrew "Gene" Cernan (1934 - 2017), American astronaut, naval aviator, electrical engineer, aeronautical engineer, and fighter pilot, eleventh and final human being to walk on the Moon, on his final lunar excursion, 14 December 1972

Wednesday, December 07, 2022

An Indispensable Step

It is doubtful whether there is such a thing as impulsive or natural tolerance.  Tolerance requires an effort of thought and self-control.  Acts of kindness, too, are rarely without deliberation and "thoughtfulness."  Thus, it seems that some artificiality, some posing and pretense, is inseparable from any act or attitude which involves a limitation of our appetites and selfishness.  We ought to beware of people who do not think it necessary to pretend that they are good and decent.  Lack of hypocrisy in such things hints at a capacity for a more depraved ruthlessness.  Pretense is often an indispensable step in the attainment of genuineness.  It is a form into which genuine inclinations flow and solidify.

-- Lee Jun-fan (1940 - 1973), commonly known as Bruce Lee, Hong Kong American martial artist and actor, Tao Of Jeet Kune Do (1975), p. 218

Tuesday, December 06, 2022

Heckuva Fight

I am not going to make any excuses now because we put up one heckuva fight.

-- Herschel Junior Walker (1962 -), American former football running back and Republican nominee in the 2022 United States Senate election in Georgia, in a statement to supporters conceding defeat against incumbent Senator Raphael Warnock, 6 December 2022 (h/t

Monday, December 05, 2022

To Be A Teacher

To be a teacher in the right sense is to be a learner.  Instruction begins when you, the teacher, learn from the learner, put yourself in his place so that you may understand what he understands and the way he understands it, in case you have not understood it before.  Or if you have understood it before, you allow him to subject you to an examination so that he may be sure you know your part.

-- Søren Kierkegaard (1813 - 1855), Danish Christian philosopher and theologian, as quoted in Kierkegaard Anthology by Robert Bretall (1946), page 335

Friday, December 02, 2022

Anew Each Day

The autonomous individual is stable only so long as he is possessed of self-esteem.  The maintenance of self-esteem is a continuous task which taxes all of the individual's power and inner resources.  We have to prove our worth and justify our existence anew each day.  When, for whatever reason, self-esteem is unattainable, the autonomous individual becomes a highly explosive entity.  He turns away from an unpromising self and plunges into the pursuit of pride, the explosive substitute for self-esteem.  All social disturbances and upheavals have their roots in crises of individual self-esteem, and the great endeavor in which the masses most readily unite is basically a search for pride.

-- Lee Jun-fan (1940 - 1973), commonly known as Bruce Lee, Hong Kong American martial artist and actor, Tao Of Jeet Kune Do (1975), p. 217

Thursday, December 01, 2022

Transparent Or Opaque

To become different from what we are, we must have some awareness of what we are.  Whether this being different results in dissimulation or a real change of heart, it cannot be realized without self-awareness.  Yet, it is remarkable that the very people who are most self-dissatisfied, who crave most for a new identity, have the least self-awareness.  They have turned away from an unwanted self and, hence, never had a good look at it.  The result is that most dissatisfied people can neither dissimulate nor attain a real change of heart.  They are transparent and their unwanted qualities persist through all attempts at self-dramatization and self-transformation.  It is the lack of self-awareness which renders us transparent.  The soul that knows itself is opaque.

-- Lee Jun-fan (1940 - 1973), commonly known as Bruce Lee, Hong Kong American martial artist and actor, Tao Of Jeet Kune Do (1975), p. 216