Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Quotes of the day

What I want to talk to you about today is the difference between gifts and choices. Cleverness is a gift, kindness is a choice. Gifts are easy -- they're given after all. Choices can be hard. You can seduce yourself with your gifts if you're not careful, and if you do, it'll probably be to the detriment of your choices.--Jeff Bezos

Women must be aware of the signals they send out, aware that, at three in the morning, with that flirting, they have created expectations. If they fail to fulfill those expectations, they can be in trouble. They could be out with a Ted Bundy or a Jeffrey Dahmer. A woman cannot go on a date, have a bunch of drinks and go back to some guy's dorm room or apartment and then, when he jumps on her, cry date rape. Most people aren't sure what's going to happen on a first date. Given that ambiguity, every woman must be totally aware at every moment that she is responsible for every choice she makes.--Camille Paglia

We're supposed to celebrate diversity, but not notice it.--Steve Sailer

The kind of person that is prone to systematize and fit things together, like me, is wired dangerously to begin to idolize the system.--John Piper

Just as the bush fire breaks out in different parts of the world at different times, so it leaps from technology to technology. Today, as during the printing revolution of 500 years ago, communication is aflame with increasing returns, but transport is spluttering with diminishing returns. A greater and greater amount of effort is needed to squeeze the next few miles per gallon out of vehicles of any kind, whereas each additional tranche of megabits comes more cheaply. But the greatest impact of an increasing-return wave comes long after the technology is invented. It comes when the technology is democratized. Gutenberg’s printing press took decades to generate the Reformation. Today’s container ships go not much faster than a 19th-century steamship, and today’s Internet sends each pulse little quicker than a 19th-century telegraph—but everybody is using them, not just the rich. Jets travel at the same speeds they did in the 1970s, but budget airlines are new. ... It is the ever-increasing exchange of ideas that causes the ever-increasing rate of innovation in the modern world. Innovators are in the business of sharing. It is the most important thing they do, for unless they share their innovation it can have no benefit for them or for anybody else. And the one activity that got much easier to do after about 1800, and has gotten dramatically easier recently, is sharing. ... The secret of the modern world is its gigantic interconnectedness. Ideas are having sex with other ideas from all over the planet with ever-increasing promiscuity. The telephone had sex with the computer and spawned the Internet. --Matt Ridley

You might recall that I view NGDP growth expectations as the only sensible indicator of the stance of monetary policy. All other monetary policy indicators (such as r and M) are profoundly unreliable. If you follow my logic, you might begin to understand why I view the entire fiscal multiplier debate as being about as meaningful as the question of how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. The question is not whether fiscal stimulus can change RGDP, it is whether fiscal stimulus can trigger monetary stimulus.--Scott Sumner

... the idea that Beijing can and might exercise the “nuclear option” is almost total nonsense. This cannot and will not happen. In fact the real threat to the US economy is not the dumping of USG bonds. On the contrary, in the next two years the US markets are likely to be swamped by a tsunami of foreign capital, and this will have deleterious effects on the US trade deficit, debt levels, and employment.--Michael Pettis

... firms holding more cash than expected have superior investment returns.--Zane Swanson and Richard Alltizer

It’s not enough to distrust BP, or any large corporation. These days, you have to know how they work, the ins and outs of each industry, and the secret heart, secret ethos that governs the spiritless movement of each through our stressed history. I’m here to tell you, BP doesn’t intend to just walk away from this beast, this monster, empty-handed. They will be lured back to it again and again.--Rick Bass

It’s like somebody drops a depth charge onto a submarine, and you hear a big explosion, but you don’t know what’s happening. Like, a little while later bodies start to bob up? We’re waiting for the bodies to bob up.--Anonymous hedge fund manager

Many authors have testified to the goalkeeper’s feelings of exposure and of rising above paralysis. Not only Camus, but Vladimir Nabokov, Yevgeny Yevtushenko, Henry de Montherlant, Evelyn Waugh and Egyptian author Mustafa Badawi were goalkeepers, either in their youth or, like Camus, at amateur level.--John Turnbull

[George Steinbrenner] ran the team the way the average fan might, if they were suddenly handed the reins of their favorite franchise — with his heart on his sleeve, his foot in his mouth, and his knee jerking with every change of fortune on the field.--Ross Douthat

Buck O’Neil, the great Negro Leagues spokesman, would not tolerate anyone insulting George Steinbrenner in his presence. To him, Steinbrenner was a great man who had spent millions to support the Grambling baseball team. To Buck, a lot of people talked about doing the right things. But, Buck said, George Steinbrenner really helped people. There are countless stories like that, stories of kindness that Steinbrenner simply did not want reported. And there are countless other stories about Steinbrenner’s small cruelties and broken promises and psychological torture. He won and lost. He thrived and failed. He inspired and infuriated. His personality was impossibly big and impossible small. Two obituaries. Even two may not be enough for the sports titan of our time.--Joe Posnanski

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