Thursday, April 07, 2011

Quotes of the day

... I'm not allergic to religion. I would say two things. One is that I think all of us are concerned about fanaticism and fundamentalism and we need all the allies we can muster against it. And I would see Rowan Williams et al as being on our side. I admire them more than want to rubbish them. Another point is if you are teaching Muslim sixth formers in a school and you tell them they can't have their God and Darwin, there is a risk they will choose their God and be lost to science. So those are two respects where I would disagree with the emphasis of the professional atheists, as it were. ... I think just as religion is separate from science, so is ethics separate from science. So is aesthetics separate from science. And so are many other things. There are lots of important things that are separate from science. ... I know Stephen Hawking well enough to know that he has read little philosophy and less theology, so I don't think his views should be taken with any special weight. ... biology is a harder subject than astronomy, because it deals with more complex things and we don't understand how life began on Earth.--Martin Rees, winner of the 2011 Templeton Prize, which honors a living person who has made an exceptional contribution to affirming life’s spiritual dimension, whether through insight, discovery, or practical works

... money is never (save in the psychopathic cases of misers) what ultimately matters to anyone.--Don Boudreaux

Ironically, the outstanding performance of some of these university endowments seems to defy the basic tenets of market efficiency, whose principles many of these universities contributed to develop.--Keith Brown, Lorenzo Garlappi, Cristian Tiu

A confusopoly is any group of companies in a particular industry that intentionally confuses customers about their pricing plans and products. Confusopolies do this so customers don't know which one of them is offering the best value. That way every company gets a fair share of the confused customers and the industry doesn't need to compete on price. The classic examples of confusopolies are phone companies, insurance companies, and banks.--Scott Adams

... women in the armed forces are now more likely to be assaulted by a fellow soldier than killed in combat.--Jesse Ellison

Do the benefits of a gender-integrated military outweigh the risks (and costs)?--Cav

When New York City couldn’t find investors for its debt in the 1970's, the best and the brightest all urged a bailout. David Rockefeller, the head of Chase Manhattan Bank (one of the largest holders of NYC debt), warned that if New York City defaulted, the entire financial system would come crashing down. Others said it would mean capitalism had failed. Well, New York did default. And the world didn’t end. Even the financial system managed to eek its way through the 1980's. Capitalism—or something like it—kept on keeping on for a couple decades more. So what’s my definition of financial Armageddon? It doesn’t exist.--John Carney

I do not want to see the government shutdown. But this is different than the government shutdown in 1986. We have a President stone walling. The President and the Democrats are saying they are not going to budge on a couple of billion dollars in order to pass a [continuing resolution]. This just shows you where their priorities are. They are willing to shut down the government to protect a couple of billion dollars. They are not serious in getting the budget under control.--Dick Armey

... [President Obama] should not wait for a long-term budget solution until after the 2012 election. This looks expedient, especially given the bitter standoff over this year’s spending, and need for entitlement cuts and revenue increases. Waiting two years is unsound, however, both in terms of financial market risks and domestic political factors. In particular, Mr Obama doesn’t want a grand bargain to happen without him.--Roger Altman

I wanted to hear more about phone-hacking and the whole business of tabloid journalism. It occurred to me just to interview him straight, as he has, after all, been a whistleblower. But then I thought I might possibly get more, and it might be more fun, if I secretly taped him, The bugger bugged, as it were.--Hugh Grant, actor turned investigative journalist

... it would be nice to find a way for people to lose weight without having to wait for them to get rich first.--Matt Ridley
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