Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Quotes of the day

Having the best show on network TV is kind of like being the best crunk dancer at a Genesis concert. ... I suspect Breaking Bad will be the least remembered of these four shows [The Sopranos, The Wire, Mad Men, and Breaking Bad] and will probably be the least influential over time. Yet there's one profound difference between this series and the other three, and it has to do with its handling of morality: Breaking Bad is the only one built on the uncomfortable premise that there's an irrefutable difference between what's right and what's wrong, and it's the only one where the characters have real control over how they choose to live. ... If the president tells a reporter your TV show is his favorite, it's de facto political, regardless of the premise or the creator's original intent. Barack Obama's loving The Wire is a little like Amy Carter adding the Sex Pistols to the White House music library — it shouldn't mean anything, but of course it does. Whenever a president (or even a senator) is asked about what they like to watch on television, they know their answer will be perceived as symbolic of who they are and what they represent. This is why there will never be a modern U.S. President who will not define himself as a sports fan.  ... The central question on Breaking Bad is this: What makes a man "bad" — his actions, his motives, or his conscious decision to be a bad person?--Chuck Klosterman

[Sheryl] Sandberg says she eventually realized that women, unlike men, encountered tradeoffs between success and likability. The women had internalized self-doubt as a form of self-defense: people don’t like women who boast about their achievements. The solution, she began to think, lay with the women. She blamed them more for their insecurities than she blamed men for their insensitivity or their sexism.--Ken Auletta

A good economy causes liberal arts majors, not vice versa.--David Burge

I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce, and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain.--John Adams

... never forget that the fundamental mission of science is to question. The less an individual scientist knows about the factory or the materials and tools she is working with, the less she will be able to challenge what she is doing and how. Notwithstanding their stated missions, it is well known that—organizationally at least—bureaucracies exist primarily to defend, expand, and replicate themselves. Bureaucratizing existing scientific paradigms—like the tens of billions being spent at CERN to test the Standard Model of particle physics—only tends to ensure they are that much more difficult to challenge and overthrow. If it is to fulfill its social function, science cannot afford to become sclerotic. If science does not carry an institutional mandate to both allow and encourage challenging it at the root, it is no longer science.--Epicurean Dealmaker

In just about every other team sport,  ... down in the final minutes, you have Montana throw to Rice, you put the ball in the hands of Kobe, you try whatever you can to get the ball or puck to Messi or Ovechkin. But if Albert Pujols ain’t coming up in the ninth, Albert Pujols ain’t coming up in the ninth, and there’s nothing you can do about it.--Joe Posnanksi

If You Can’t Calculate NAV, You Shouldn’t Trade The Instrument.--Kid Dynamite

Even a misunderstanding of small technical questions--like the need for a CBO score, the vulnerability of bills to amendment, or the time it takes to whip votes--lead people outside of Washington to frequently underestimate the difficulties of doing the "obvious" thing.  On the flip side, it's also clear to me that many people in Washington are living in a bubble where procedure and politics often shut out common sense. I know I'm losing valuable intelligence about what's happening in the financial sector, because I'm simply not marinating in it every day. On that same call, I heard an analyst made a point about proposed 14th Amendment bypass of the debt limit, which was so obvious that I couldn't believe I hadn't thought of it: to wit, even if the Treasury simply went ahead and issued more debt, who was going to buy these instruments of dubious legality? And at what price? Yet all the DC people I'd seen writing about the "14th Amendment Solution" had focused on the legality of the move, or the political fallout; no one had thought about, like, finding customers for the debt.  ...  I had an email exchange with someone about the legitimacy of the 14th amendment route, to whom I pointed out that it didn't seem very practical, and he replied "practicalities aside . . . "  Practicalities aside?  Who cares whether it's constitutional for the Treasury to issue bonds no one buys?--Megan McArdle

I think that Intrade should get ready to tee up some impeachment markets on these 14th Amendment auctions.--Cav

Pick up any household electronic -- a phone, a remote, or a laptop -- and it could contain minerals mined in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a country where armed rebel groups connected with crimes of rape and murder profit from trade of these minerals. Tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold mined in the eastern part of the DRC are said to finance the armed rebel groups that contribute to the ongoing violence in the country.--Erin Banco

Illness is the night-side of life, a more onerous citizenship. Everyone who is born holds dual citizenship, in the kingdom of the well and in the kingdom of the sick. Although we all prefer to use only the good passport, sooner or later each of us is obliged, at least for a spell, to identify ourselves as citizens of that other place.--Siddhartha Mukherjee
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