Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Quotes of the day

The consequentialist and principled view of the First Amendment are irreconcilable. Their adherents can only talk past one another and become increasingly angered and frustrated by what they hear from the other side.--Stanley Fish

There are many things the man could have done to reduce his family’s tax burden. He could have chosen an investment that paid no dividends. He could have held his stock instead of selling it, accepting some extra risk. He could have spent everything he had before he died. For that matter, he could have chosen not to go to work in the first place. But the fact remains that after a series of perfectly reasonable economic choices, this family lost 95% of its income to taxes.--Steve Landsburg

Young women use their food to send a signal to men, suggests the study. Just like clothing accessories, they pick meals to enhance their desirability to the ­opposite sex. "The salad leaves are meant to say, 'I'm pretty; I'm attractive; I take care of myself'," says [Meredith] Young. And the pressure increases with the number of potential partners around. As for the men, they didn't watch what they scoffed at all.--Aditya Chakrabortty

And the press covered for [John Edwards' illegitimate child] for political reasons. No harm in saying that outright, either.--Glenn Reynolds

We offered them an advice we received prior to our departure from another pilot who has been transporting aid to Haiti the day before: Cover the supplies with tarps and let a couple of guys lie on top of it pretending dead so supplies will not be highjacked on the way back to the orphanage.--Josh and Lily Zhong

... you could board 20 flights per year and still be less likely to be the subject of an attempted terrorist attack than to be struck by lightning.--Nate Silver

Modern observers have roundly condemned ordeals for being cruel and arbitrary. Ordeals seem to reflect everything that was wrong with the Dark Ages. They’re an icon of medieval barbarism and backwardness. But a closer look suggests sometjavascript:void(0)hing very different: The ordeal system worked surprisingly well. It accurately determined who was guilty and who was innocent, sorting genuine criminals from those who had been wrongly accused.--Peter Leeson

In a recent survey we invited more than 600 managers from dozens of companies to rank the impact on employee motivation and emotions of five workplace factors commonly considered significant: recognition, incentives, interpersonal support, support for making progress, and clear goals. “Recognition for good work (either public or private)” came out number one. Unfortunately, those managers are wrong. Having just completed a multiyear study tracking the day-to-day activities, emotions, and motivation levels of hundreds of knowledge workers in a wide variety of settings, we now know what the top motivator of performance is—and, amazingly, it’s the factor those survey participants ranked dead last. It’s progress. On days when workers have the sense they’re making headway in their jobs, or when they receive support that helps them overcome obstacles, their emotions are most positive and their drive to succeed is at its peak. On days when they feel they are spinning their wheels or encountering roadblocks to meaningful accomplishment, their moods and motivation are lowest.--Teresa M. Amabile and Steven J. Kramer

Genealogists said the Democratic president and the Bay State’s Republican senator-elect are 10th cousins. They both are descendants of the same 17th century Massachusetts selectman. The New England Historic Genealogical Society said Obama’s mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, and Brown’s mother, Judith Ann Rugg, both descend from Richard Singletary of Haverhill.--unattributed

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