Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Quotes of the day

Life is a comedy for those who think, and a tragedy for those who feel.--Horatio Walpole

I’ve finally met people that walk the walk.--Sandra Bullock

The important thing when you have Asperger’s is not to be able to do stuff you can’t do, but to surround yourself with people who can.--Penelope Trunk

Great cities have long been built by great gamblers, and Dubai’s sheik may well be the second greatest city-builder — after the Chinese government — of our age. Many of those gamblers have ended up bankrupt, but their structural legacies remain, providing the space that connects humanity and facilitates the success of our urban world.--Ed Glaeser

Federally funded jobs increase deficits, whereas private-sector jobs generate the tax revenues that reduce deficits.--Bill George

It's funny how often when you notice a pattern, it breaks down. Remember all the articles in 2005-06 about how real estate prices hadn't declined nationwide since the 1930s? And then there is "Goodhart's Law."--Scott Sumner

Contempt for [global warming] critics is evident over and over again in the hacked e-mail messages, as if the scientists were a priesthood protecting the temple from barbarians. Yes, some of the skeptics have political agendas, but so do some of the scientists.--John Tierney

I'm not actually going to comment on the climate-change aspect of all this, though. I have my own opinions, and God knows everyone else has one, too, but what I feel needs to be looked at is the scientific conduct. I'm no climatologist, but I am an experienced working scientist - so, is there a problem here? I'll give you the short answer: yes. I have to say that there appears to be several, as shown by many troubling features in the documents that have come out. The first one is the apparent attempts to evade the UK's Freedom of Information Act. I don't see how these messages can be interpreted in any other way as an attempt to break the law, and I don't see how they can be defended. ... No matter what you think about climate change, if you respect the scientific endeavor, this is very bad news. Respect has to be earned. And it can be lost.--Derek Lowe

An independent analysis of whether the insurance industry has been setting aside enough money to pay its claims estimates that the American International Group has a shortfall of $11.9 billion in its property and casualty business. The conclusion is at odds with the often-repeated refrain that A.I.G.’s troubles can all be traced to its derivatives portfolio, and that its insurance operations are sound.--Mary Williams Walsh

... the defenestration of Fritz Henderson makes it clear if there was any doubt: Barack Obama is the most powerful and effective activist shareholder that this country has seen in a very long time.--Felix Salmon

Barack Obama's announcement of an Afghan "surge" is his frantic bid to rescue what promises to be a stumbling re-election campaign that must start in 2011. It oozes with his desperation not to be in Afghanistan. The question is how best to disengage. As in Vietnam and as the Russians found, withdrawal tends to be possible here in Afghanistan only after the generals on the ground have been given a last chance to claim victory.--Simon Jenkins

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