Jan 16, 2008
I'll be moving to Redwood City, CA in a week, so forgive me if I don't get a regular post out every day between now and then. As a substitute offering, some items from my (offline) quotesfile:
"It appears to be a quite general principle that, whenever there is a randomized way of doing something, then there is a nonrandomized way that delivers better performance but requires more thought."
-- E. T. Jaynes
"When you're young, you look at television and think, There's a conspiracy. The networks have conspired to dumb us down. But when you get a little older, you realize that's not true. The networks are in business to give people exactly what they want. That's a far more depressing thought. Conspiracy is optimistic! You can shoot the bastards!"
-- Steve Jobs
"Saving a drowning child is no more a moral duty than understanding a syllogism is a logical one."
-- Sam Harris, The End of Faith
"Don't ask why (again, long story), but the number 5,479,863,282.86 has been stuck in my head for as long as I can remember."
"I've met these people, the ones from the glossy magazines. I've walked among them. I have seen, firsthand, their callow, empty lives. I have watched them from the shadows when they thought themselves alone. And I can tell you this: I'm afraid there is not one of them who would swap lives with you at gunpoint."
-- Neil Gaiman, Anansi Boys
"Before you can get to the end of this paragraph, another person will probably die because of what someone else believes about God."
-- Sam Harris, The End of Faith
"Someone walking down the street with absolutely no scars or calluses would look pretty odd. I suspect having a conversation with someone who'd never taken any emotional or mental damage would be even odder. The line between "experience" and "damage" is pretty thin."
-- Aliza, from the Open-Source Wish Project
"Fear and lies fester in darkness. The truth may wound, but it cuts clean."
-- Jacqueline Carey, Kushiel's Avatar
"I never make a prediction that can be proved wrong within 24 hours."
-- Louis Rukeyser
"You have been asking what you could do in the great events that are now stirring, and have found that you could do nothing. But that is because your suffering has caused you to phrase the question in the wrong way... Instead of asking what you could do, you ought to have been asking what needs to be done."
-- Steven Brust, The Paths of the Dead
"In The Brothers Karamazov, Alyosha expresses the idea which panicked Dostoyevski more than any other: Without God, 'everything is lawful'. But as Mohammed Atta can explain, the opposite is true. Without God, murder is forbidden by human law; it is only for those acting on behalf of God, that everything is permitted."
-- Jonathan Wallace
"It's possible to describe anything in mathematical notation. I recall seeing some paper once in which someone had created a mathematical description of C. (I forget whether or not this included the preprocessor.) As an achievement, this is somewhat like building a full-size model of the Eiffel Tower out of tongue depressors. It's clearly not the act of a talentless man, but you have to wonder what he said when he applied for his grant."
-- Mencius Moldbug
"If we are fervently passionate about the idea that fire is hot, we are more rational than the man who calmly and quietly says fire is cold."
-- Tom McCabe
"You are only as strong as your weakest delusion."
-- Common Sense Camp