Sunday, December 11, 2016

During his later years he has often said—and many a man has had, and will have, to say the same—that he had learned these people too late.

Sir Richard Francis Burton, Mission to Gelele, King of Dahome

Saturday, November 05, 2016

All economies have winners and losers. It does not take a sophisticated algorithm to figure out that the winners in the decades ahead are going to be those who own the robots, for they will have vanquished labor with their capital.

 Sue Halpern, Our Driverless Future (New York Review of Noveber 24, 2016)

Saturday, October 08, 2016

Modern media ... have always been based on the reselling of human attention to advertisers. 
Jacob Weisberg, The New York Review (October 27, 2016)

Monday, September 19, 2016

If this were played upon a stage now, I could condemn it as an improbable fiction.

Shakespeare, Twelfth Night

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The flight went really well and the only issue was when it landed.

From a spokesman for a airship with some problems (August 2016).

Monday, August 22, 2016

Oh, if and, if and when you get into the end zone
Act like you've been there a thousand times before

The Tragically Hip, Heaven is a Better Place

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Gnostics.... We maintain that the world is an illusion. The unconscious self is consubstantial with perfection, but because of a tragic fall it is thrown into a foreign domain that is completely alien to its true being. It’s always a fall, a tragic fall, and here we are. That’s it, in a nutshell.

Stuff, Joy Williams (The New Yorker, July 25, 2016)

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

It is axiomatic in the art of war that the side which remains behind its fortified line is always defeated.

Napoleon Bonaparte

Monday, May 23, 2016

As we move up our space/time-line, what will be has been, what has been remains, now is just now.

An errant thought.

Saturday, April 02, 2016

Creatures of a day, what is anyone?  What is he not?  Man is but a dream of a shadow.  Yet when there comes as a gift of heaven a gleam of sunshine, there rest upon men a radiant light.

Pindar, Odes for Victorious Athletes

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Who can fathom the soundless depths?

Jules Verne, riffing on the Book of Ecclesiastes in his 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Capitalism is a partnership between governors and merchants that secures the power of both.... merchants grow rich because state power protects them or looks away when the time is right.

Martha Howell, The New York Review (April 7, 2016)

Friday, March 11, 2016

Complaining doesn't have to do good, it just feels good!

Jules Verne, 20000 Leagues Under the Sea

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Suffering is not as easy as it looks.


Thursday, February 11, 2016

In essence, the planet runs on a cycle of water-splitting by photosynthesis to form oxygen and the production of water by respiration.

Paul G. Falkowski in Life's Engines:  How Microbes Made Earth Habitable

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Today, not carrying a smartphone indicates eccentricity, social marginalization, or old age.

Jacob Weisberg, The New York Review (February 55, 2016)

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

It was impossible for any one to open his grief to a neighbor and to concert measures to defend himself, as he would have had to speak either to one whom he did not know, or whom he knew but did not trust.

Thucydides, The History of the Peloponnesian War

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

How many fruitless pranks this ruffian hath botch'd up.

Shakespeare -- Twelfth Night

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Love of country is what I do not feel when I am wronged, but what I felt when secure in my rights as a citizen.... the true lover of his country is not he who consents to lose it unjustly rather than attack it, but he who longs for it so much that he will go all lengths to recover it.

Alcibiades, as quoted by Thucydides, (The History of the Peloponnesian War)

Friday, January 22, 2016

It will be said, perhaps, that democracy is neither wise nor equitable, but that the holders of property are also the best fitted to rule.  I say, on the contrary, first, that the word demos, or people, includes the whole state, oligarchy only a part; next, that if the best guardians of property are the rich, and the best counselors the wise, none can hear and decide so well as the many; and that all these talents, severally and collectively, have their just place in a democracy. But an oligarchy gives the many their share of the danger, and not content with the largest part takes and keeps the whole of the profit.

 Thucydides, The History of the Peloponnesian War

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

How do you ever know for certain that you are doing the right thing?

Anthony Doerr, All the Light We Cannot See

Saturday, January 09, 2016

Try to do what you do without mockery of our heartbroken little era. To mock is easy.

Anne Carson, 1=1, New Yorker of January 11, 2016

Friday, January 01, 2016

Athenians: Aim at what is feasible, holding in view the real sentiments of us both; since you know as well as we do that right, as the world goes, is only in question between equals in power, while the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must....

Melians: As we think, at any rate, it is expedient —we speak as we are obliged, since you enjoin us to let right alone and talk only of interest— that you should not destroy what is our common protection, the privilege of being allowed in danger to invoke what is fair and right, and even to profit by arguments not strictly valid if they can be got to pass current....

Athenians:  Of the gods we believe, and of men we know, that by a necessary law of their nature they rule wherever they can.....  It is certain that those who do not yield to their equals, who keep terms with their superiors, and are moderate towards their inferiors, on the whole succeed best.

  Thucydides (Book Five), The History of the Peloponnesian War