Saturday, October 17, 2009

Truth in fiction

Elie "Some stories are true that never happened."
Elie Wiesel

Michael Schumacher

"Ich lebe. Ich will Spaß haben. Und dazu gehören verrückte Dinge."
Michael Schumacher

Monday, October 12, 2009

Don't look back

"It's always good to know what went down before you, because if you know the past, you can control the future." - Bob Dylan

Friday, October 9, 2009

Academic life

“Generally speaking, we can observe that the scientists in any particular institutional and political setting move as a flock, reserving their controversies and particular originalities for matters that do not call into question the fundamental system of biases they share.”
—Gunnar Myrdal, Objectivity in Social Research

“Perhaps we avoid studying our institutional lives because such work is not valued by our colleagues. The academy is, after all, a club, and members are expected to be discreet. Like any exclusive club, the academic world fears public scrutiny. Research is in the public domain. Outsiders might use what the research reveals against the academy.”
—Richard Wisniewski, “The Averted Gaze”

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

If you can keep it

Franklin was a writer, scientist and soldier who became one of the founding fathers of the United States. "In Philadelphia in 1781, when the constitution was being put together, he was an observer. He didn't want to have any part of it, and as he was leaving the Constitution Hall in Philadelphia a couple of old ladies said, 'Ah, Mr Franklin, what is going to happen?' He told them: 'Well, you're going to get a Republic, if you can keep it. But every constitution of this sort has failed since the beginning of time due to the corruption of the people.'"

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Bloody finance

“The real truth of the matter is, as you and I know, that a financial element in the larger centers has owned the Government ever since the days of Andrew Jackson — and I am not wholly excepting the Administration of W.W. (Woodrow Wilson). The country is going through a repetition of Jackson's fight with the Bank of the United States — only on a far bigger and broader basis.” - Franklin Roosevelt, letter to Col. Edward Mandell House (21 November 1933); as quoted in F.D.R.: His Personal Letters, 1928-1945, edited by Elliott Roosevelt (New York: Duell, Sloan and Pearce, 1950), pg. 373.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Who's to be trusted?

"In the case of any person whose judgment is really deserving of confidence, how has it become so? Because he has kept his mind open to criticism of his opinions and conduct. Because it has been his practice to listen to all that could be said against him; to profit by as much of it as was just, and expound to himself, and upon occasion to others, the fallacy of what was fallacious. Because he has felt, that the only way in which a human being can make some approach to knowing the whole of a subject, is by hearing what can be said about it by persons of every variety of opinion, and studying all modes in which it can be looked at by every character of mind. No wise man ever acquired his wisdom in any mode but this; nor is it in the nature of human intellect to become wise in any other manner. The steady habit of correcting and completing his own opinion by collating it with those of others, so far from causing doubt and hesitation in carrying it into practice, is the only stable foundation for a just reliance on it: for, being cognisant of all that can, at least obviously, be said against him, and having taken up his position against all gainsayers—knowing that he has sought for objections and difficulties, instead of avoiding them, and has shut out no light which can be thrown upon the subject from any quarter—he has a right to think his judgment better than that of any person, or any multitude, who have not gone through a similar process.

-         JS Mill, On Liberty Ch. 2, Paragraph 7 (http://www. library/Mill/ mlLbty2.html# Chapter 2)

Friday, October 2, 2009

On writing

"People talk about thinking, but for my part I never think except when I sit down to write.”
attributed to Montaigne

Thursday, October 1, 2009


"Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past." - George Orwell, 1984.