Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Quotes of the day

Who is to say what is normal in a king? Deferred to, agreed with, acquiesced in. Who could flourish on such a daily diet of compliance? To be curbed, stood up to, in a word thwarted, exercises the character, elasticates the spirit, makes it pliant. It is the want of such exercise that makes rulers rigid.--Alan Bennett

... unwanted counsel has a fatal flaw: it interprets someone’s experience
before they even know what that experience is. Like steak in the mouth of an infant, it chokes.--Dan Doriani

Clearly I’ve been out of some loop for too long, but does everyone take for granted now that science sites are where graduate students, researchers, doctors and the “skeptical community” go not to interpret data or review experiments but to chip off one-liners, promote their books and jeer at smokers, fat people and churchgoers? And can anyone who still enjoys this class-inflected bloodsport tell me why it has to happen under the banner of science? Hammering away at an ideology, substituting stridency for contemplation, pummeling its enemies in absentia: ScienceBlogs has become Fox News for the religion-baiting, peak-oil crowd. Though Myers and other science bloggers boast that they can be jerky in the service of anti-charlatanism, that’s not what’s bothersome about them. What’s bothersome is that the site is misleading. It’s not science by scientists, not even remotely; it’s science blogging by science bloggers.--Virginia Heffernan

I admit it. When I first heard there are actual tournaments for Rock-paper-scissors, sanctioned by the World Rock Paper Scissors Society, I laughed. I mean seriously, $50k to the winner of a game that requires no skill whatsoever? Absurd. Boy was I wrong. Rock-paper-scissors isn't just a silly game kids play or a way to decide who has to be the designated driver at parties. This is serious stuff. It's psychological warfare.--Nathan Yau

So now we know that the severe recession of 2008-09 began in the third quarter. Since Lehman didn’t fail until the quarter was almost over, there is simply no way it could explain why the recession got much worse during those summer months. What can explain the worsening recession? How about a Fed that refused to cut rates for nearly 6 months after April 2008, despite a steadily falling Wicksellian equilibrium interest rate. A Fed focusing on headline inflation numbers driven up by imported oil prices, not the expenditures on American-made goods and services. ... And for those who believe wage and price flexibility solves all problems, consider that with 4% NGDP growth, we’d need 3.7% deflation to get the 7.7% RGDP growth we saw during the first 6 quarters of the 1983-84 recovery. That recovery had 11% NGDP growth. When was the last time you saw an economy growing at 8% in a period of 4% deflation? Never? There’s a reason for that, wages and prices aren’t nearly flexible enough to overcome that sort of nominal sluggishness.--Scott Sumner

Fierce debates can be found in frontier areas of all the sciences, of course, but this was as if, on the night before the Apollo moon launch, half of the world’s Nobel laureates in physics were asserting that rockets couldn’t reach the moon and the other half were saying that they could. Prior to the launch of the stimulus program, the only thing that anyone could conclude with high confidence was that several Nobelists would be wrong about it. But the situation was even worse: it was clear that we wouldn’t know which economists were right even after the fact. ... The missing ingredient is controlled experimentation, which is what allows science positively to settle certain kinds of debates. How do we know that our physical theories concerning the wing are true? In the end, not because of equations on blackboards or compelling speeches by famous physicists but because airplanes stay up. --Jim Manzi

Having a credible message on fiscal discipline is a necessary part of any Republican resurgence. But it won’t be sufficient unless it’s married to a credible message that addresses mobility and opportunity as well. In the long run, a G.O.P. that has nothing to say about middle and working class insecurity (that, indeed, often seems to deny that America has any difficulties with socioeconomic opportunity at all) won’t be able to rebuild a lasting majority — and, indeed, won’t deserve to have one.--Ross Douthat

I never worry about debts: when they are gone, there will always be more.--Martin Luther

... a resume is only the skin of a career. And, even then, it's skin with a lot of make-up on it. ... Freelancing is basically just courtship, but the freelancer-editor relationship is nothing more than friends with benefits. The editor likes you because you remind the editor of when they had enthusiasm and appetite and vision and so you make the editor feel powerful in the way that nostalgia empowers people. But the editor will never choose you over the publication to which they are married. It will not even be a fleeting thought in the editor’s mind. The freelancer can have a lot of fun, but is ultimately the editor’s plaything. And any one freelancer is, above all things, unnecessary and replaceable. I always felt like the most fumbling juggling act in the industry. ... All the qualities that make you a great journalist make you a terrible person: gossip, urgency, obsession, noisiness, theatrics and hysterics. ... You know what they say about beautiful people? That every pretty girl or gorgeous man is someone’s ex, was too much hassle for someone. That’s definitely true of freelancing. ... Freelancing means walking from the West Village to the Upper East Side and back because you don’t have enough money for the subway. Freelancing means being so poor and so hungry for so long that you “eat” a bowl of soup that’s just hot water, crushed-up multivitamins and half your spice rack (mostly garlic salt). ... Freelancing means your editor will reject your pitch and then, seven month later, run the story you pitched—with the same language as your pitch—and then have it submitted for a National Magazine Award.-Richard Morgan

Size is a subject of considerable controversy in fashion, but it is equally so in American life. What is big? What is too big? What is not big enough? The plus-size woman — to use the marketing-sanctioned term — exists in an increasingly populous and contested ghetto.--Ginia Bellafante

When I lose my temper, it’s usually because I don’t want to get taken advantage of, I don’t want to be disrespected. I’ve stepped into a game in which people are keeping score, and I’m determined not to lose. But the truth is, there is no game, it’s just a hoax, and the only way to show others there is no game is to lose and show how much it didn’t matter.--Don Miller

No comments:

Post a Comment