All of brazzy's Comments + Replies

The point is that whether and how much one wants to die tends to fluctuate a lot, and the willingness to commit suicide depends a lot on the availiability of means to easily and painlessly do so. A large percentage of suicide attempts are opportunistic rather than planned. The planned ones probably succeed more often, but that does not necessarily mean that those people really wanted to die more - just that their will to die was over a certain threshold for a certain time.

* DFW, Infinite Jest

Or Terry Pratchett:


It seems like Terry Pratchett is explicitly contradicting Theodore Dreiser (IN ALL CAPS, no less). Pratchett: "Humans need fantasy to be fully human." Dreiser: "Fantasy is an atavism, humans need reason to be fully human." Though it's possible that Dreiser was reflecting on cognitive bias, not on fantasy.
I think it's safe to say that Bertrand Russell knew about mathematicians, as he was one himself. :-)
He did say "all exact science", a phrasing I think he probably chose carefully, so I'd charitably interpret the remark as being about people uttering purported scientific truths.

Would like to attend, but probably can't at that time

She generally gave herself very good advice, (though she very seldom followed it)

-- Lewis Carrol, "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland"

Hard to believe that it hasn't show up here before...

If the your number one priority in finding a house is being able to easily sell it, you probably should rent rather than buy.

Why? In the right market, buying offers a lot of advantages over renting.

Criminal justice only if you tune out the rehabilitation aspect. Civil justice only if you tune out everything except punitive damages (which don't exist in many jurisdictions).

Read the (long) linked-to article from which the quote stems. Basically the point is that using violence to achieve a goal teaches the people involved that violence is an effective, legitimate way to achieve goals - and at some later point they will invariably have conflicting goals.

See also: Live by the sword, die by the sword.

The quote is from a fantasy book. There are dragons in it...

Yup. I don't know if that's what the terrible walking lizards are, or if they are that other kind of dragon of something in the same family.
Dragons aren't all that less physically possible than FTL travel, and no one complains about quoting sources that use that as a plot device. Of course, I imagine this is really about the romanticism vs. enlightenment divide in literature, but dismissing a relevant and well-written quote on genre grounds nonetheless seems a little biased.
Yes, but "striped horses" have an obvious Earthly referent, and so it was not unreasonable to suppose that marsupial tigers might too (as indeed they have).

A few points come to mind:

  • Presumably they also wanted a canal and there may well be an optimum point where you maximize some sort of combined utility
  • Jobs programs, even those that create nothing particularly useful, are about giving people a sense of worth and accomplishment, otherwise you could just hand out money. Obviously futile make-work activities like the one suggested achieve the opposite of that and are, indeed, often deliberately used to punish and humiliate people.

"They" is the tricky bit there. Presumably some people wanted a canal, and some people other people wanted jobs, and for that matter presumably some people wanted money to go to the construction company who've got an opening for a government liaison consultant coming up in five years time. There's little reason to think the equilibrium is welfare maximising.

The art of ignoring is one of the accomplishments of every well-bred girl, so carefully instilled that at last she can even ignore her own thoughts and her own knowledge.

-- H.G. Wells, Ann Veronica

The necessity for marking our classes has brought with it a bias for false and excessive contrast, and we never invent a term but we are at once cramming it with implications beyond its legitimate content. There is no feat of irrelevance that people will not perform quite easily in this way; there is no class, however accidental, to which they will not at once ascribe deeply distinctive qualities. The seventh sons of seventh sons have remarkable powers of insight; people with a certain sort of ear commit crimes of violence; people with red hair have souls

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