Monday, February 14, 2011

Quotes of the day

The great thing about science is, your bad ideas don't count against you. Trading is a little bit different. Your bad ideas can lose you money.--Jim Simons

Far better to admit ignorance or postulate mystery than to tell untruths.--Don Carson

The Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert says that every psychologist must, at some point in his or her career, write a version of what he calls “The Sentence.” Specifically, The Sentence reads like this:
The human being is the only animal that ______.
The story of humans’ sense of self is, you might say, the story of failed, debunked versions of The Sentence. Except now it’s not just the animals that we’re worried about.--Brian Christian

Obama may think he’s set a clever trap for the Republicans in the upcoming budget negotiations. Why not let them be the bad guys? But in so carelessly abdicating his own responsibility for managing the nation’s finances, Obama also is giving up control. He shouldn’t be surprised if the U.S. bond markets, not Republicans, end up determining his political destiny.--Evan Newmark

The New York Times ran an editorial yesterday arguing that the EPA’s proposals to regulate carbon dioxide emissions cannot reasonably be characterized as the borderline-illegal efforts of a rogue agency, because those proposals originated during the Bush administration. Or something like that. At least they’re saying that House Republicans cannot without hypocrisy so criticize the EPA, presumably because all Republicans are required by the Times hypocrisy police to endorse all policies of all past Republican administrations. I wonder if the Times plans to level the same charges against the 26 House Republicans who voted last week against the extension of the Patriot Act. Oh. Guess not.--Steve Landsburg

Anywhere in the world that social psychologists see women or minorities underrepresented by a factor of two or three, our minds jump to discrimination as the explanation. But when we find out that conservatives are underrepresented among us by a factor of more than 100, suddenly everyone finds it quite easy to generate alternate explanations. ... [Daniel Patrick] Moynihan was shunned by many of his colleagues at Harvard as racist. Open-minded inquiry into the problems of the black family was shut down for decades, precisely the decades in which it was most urgently needed. Only in the last few years have liberal sociologists begun to acknowledge that Moynihan was right all along. ... [Larry Summers, wondering publicly whether the preponderance of male professors in some top math and science departments might be due partly to the larger variance in I.Q. scores among men] was not a permissible hypothesis. It blamed the victims rather than the powerful. The outrage ultimately led to his resignation. We psychologists should have been outraged by the outrage. We should have defended his right to think freely.--Jonathan Haidt

Considering that there are about 7 million more unemployed now than three years ago, it suggests the pool of available labor could be 15% bigger than the unemployment figures suggest.--Paul Ashworth
These [technology] companies all revolve around engineers in almost a cultish way. Their investors and competitors always note how good the team is– which is saying something in a Valley locked in a full-scale talent war. They are insanely picky about hiring engineers and when they find a good one they will pay him nearly anything. Asana gives engineers $10,000 to pimp their desks. Zuckerberg has described Quora co-founder Adam D’Angelo as one of the best — if not the best– engineers he has ever met. And Path’s team was reportedly one of the assets Google was so willing to pay up for. But unlike companies like Google and Amazon who rigorously hired based on college degrees, GPAs and standardized test scores, Facebook and the companies that have spun out of it have hewed toward sheer, raw, hacker-like genius. That’s created a more entrepreneurial culture inside the company. Justin Rosenstein– who was at Google and then Facebook before leaving to co-found Asana with Moskovitz– says that working at Google is often described as a wonderland for academics, while Facebook’s early days were more of an extension of a messy dorm room full of engineers hacking away all night, then collapsing most of the day.--Sarah Lacy

Then I made a big mistake. I wrote back, “it would be the second best-selling business biography ever: after Warren Buffett’s biography.” Never, NEVER, imply that one billionaire might be a bigger sell than another billionaire.--James Altucher

We poured gasoline on our own burning platform. I believe we have lacked accountability and leadership to align and direct the company through these disruptive times. We had a series of misses. We haven't been delivering innovation fast enough. We're not collaborating internally. Nokia, our platform is burning.--Stephen Elop, Nokia CEO

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