“Mathematics sings when we feel it in our whole brain. People are generally inhibited about even trying to share their personal mental models. People like music, but they are afraid to sing. You only learn to sing by singing.”—Bill Thurston from the Forward to Crocheting Adventures with the Hyperbolic Planes.
“Perelman’s aversion to public spectacle and to riches is mystifying to many. I have not talked to him about it and I can certainly not speak for him, but I want to say I have complete empathy and admiration for his inner strength and clarity, to be able to know and hold true to himself. Our true needs are deeper – -yet in our modern society most of us reflexively and relentlessly pursue wealth, consumer goods and admiration. We have learned from Perelman’s mathematics. Perhaps we should also pause to reflect on ourselves and learn from Perelman’s attitude toward life.”—Bill Thurston
“In any event, moreover, the distinction between action and inaction is always suspect, in legal contexts as well as everywhere else, because inaction can always be described, differently, as an action. Is running a stop sign the action of driving through the sign or the inaction of failing to put on the brake? If I choose not to buy commercial health insurance, that is, from one perspective, inaction: there is something I failed to do. But from another perspective it is action: I chose deliberately to run a risk—the risk of falling ill without the benefit of the insurance I could have bought. The distinction between action and inaction depends only on a choice of description; it is frightening to think that a matter of such enormous political consequence—whether Congress can construct a national health care scheme—should be thought to turn on a verbal preference. Roberts seemed aware of the problem: he said that practical men, presumably like himself, have no time for metaphysical niceties. That is a familiar excuse for bad philosophy.”—Ronald Dworkin
Niall Ferguson: “Welcome to Obama’s America: nearly half the population is not represented on a taxable return—almost exactly the same proportion that lives in a household where at least one member receives some type of government benefit. We are becoming the 50-50 nation—half of us paying the taxes, the other half receiving the benefits.”
Journalist: It is true that 46 percent of households did not pay federal income tax in 2011. It is not true that they pay no taxes. Federal income taxes account barely account for half of federal taxes, and much less of total taxes, if you count the state and local level. Many of those other taxes can be regressive. If you take all taxes into account, our system is barely progressive at all.
But why do almost half of all households pay no federal income tax? Because they don’t have much money to tax. Here’s the breakdown from the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. Half of these households are simply too poor — they make under $20,000 — to have any liability. Another quarter are retirees on tax-exempt Social Security benefits. The remaining households have no liability because of tax expenditures like the earned-income tax credit or the child credit.
In other words, the poor, the old, and children. Not exactly the “50-50 nation” of makers and takers — or “lucky duckies” — that Ferguson imagines.
Dellinger: Paul Ryan‘s budget opines that ““high-speed rail and other new intercity rail projects should be pursued only if they can be established as self-supporting commercial services.” I assume you disagree that all new rail projects should be done as profitable businesses only?
Dukakis: There’s no profitable— Well, we are making money on the Northeast corridor and the Acela. But were spending $40 billion in public subsidies on highways, $16 billion on air, and a billion and a half on Amtrak. Don’t these guys understand? I mean where are they? I don’t know what the hell they’re talking about. Every mode of transportation, as you know, is subsidized. And rail and highway’s and air are far more heavily subsidized than rail.
The shift of usage away from the web and to mobile is going on in full force. About half of the US population now has a smartphone and that penetration is rapidly growing. That shift has been widely cited as a problem for Facebook. But generally the problem is stated in terms of a smaller…
Trend to watch for 2012-2013 as large networks with massive feature sets rethink their “one app to rule them all” approach to mobile.
But does anyone think having 50 apps with tiny feature sets is a better user experience than 3 apps with massive feature sets? That likely means more visits to the App Store first to find these hot new apps and then for updates and more times entering my password. This is certainly great for Apple. But is it progress?
I argue that this is more regressive than massive apps. Massive apps might be slow, but they are easy to organize and remember. I do not want to have to categorize more apps. I hope the problems of organizing more apps will bring us back to web applications and search.
One of Steve Jobs’ remarks has stuck with me for a long time: in his last interview at the 2010 AllThingsD Conference, he declares that for whatever reason, “smart-phone” owners loves apps and just magically shifted from using Google and the web to using Yelp and XYZ. Has this shift been a benefit to consumers? Is it a better user experience?
(To watch the interview, you have to use an app, iTunes, to download the entire interview. As far as I know, there’s no preview or chunking. I wanted to get Jobs’s exact quote, but I have to download 4 gigs of data just to see a few seconds of video. This is bad news for me as a consumer and bad news for my internet service provider. Closer CDNs will not make this experience better. I want to see maybe 50 megs of of a 4 gig video. [Compare and contrast with YouTube which has very intelligent logic for when and how much data to send across the internet.] This distribution platform is not user-friendly. Nor is the App Store.)
Every few months there is a concocted “crisis” involving suggestions that Israel is just on the verge of attacking Iran. This cycle started almost a decade ago, and it has repeated itself roughly annually, though sometimes more frequently.
In the early days, these alarms typically began with a…
Isn’t it ironic that the irrational actor might be Israel’s leadership and not Iran’s?
“…true quality is that which succeeds in surprising and moving us. It is not locked inside a formula. Its essence is subtle (subjective) and never rational. It resides in the unique, the singular, but it is ultimately connected to something more universal. A great wine is one in which quality is contained. Such a wine will necessarily be uncommon and decidedly unique because it cannot be like any other, and because of this fact it will be atypical, or only typical of itself.”—
“Active shooter in the area immediately southeast of the intersection of Welborn Rd and George Bush Drive,” the university said on its site, later updating to include a portion of nearby Fidelity Drive in College Station, Texas, about 90 miles northwest of Houston.”—It is extremely disturbing that there is a standard discourse for alerting university students that there is a gunman on the loose.
“All this is a preface to the fear and uncertainties which clamber over a man so that in his silly work he thinks he must be crazy because he is so alone. If what he is doing is worth doing—why don’t more people do it? Such questions. But it does seem a desperately futile business and one which must be very humorous to watch. Intelligent people live their lives as nearly on a level as possible—try to be good, don’t worry if they aren’t, hold to such opinions as are comforting and reassuring and throw out those which are not. And in the fullness of their days they die with none of the tearing pain of failure because having tried nothing they have not failed. These people are much more intelligent than the fools who rip themselves to pieces on nonsense.”—John Steinbeck
“It’s not just the marketplace Chouinard is affecting—it’s the workplace. His flex-time policies allow workers to come and go whenever they want—say, when waves are high at the nearby surf point—as long as deadlines are met. There’s a yoga room available any time of day (I walked in on the head menswear designer meditating there at around 11 a.m. on a Tuesday.) At the prodding of Chouinard’s wife, Malinda, Patagonia was one of the first companies in California to provide on-site, subsidized day care. Even the chief bean counter, COO and CFO Rose Marcario, seems spiritually fulfilled. In previous jobs at other companies, she says, “I might have looked for ways to defer taxes in the Cayman Islands. Here, we are proud to pay our fair share of taxes. It’s a different philosophy. My life is more integrated with my work because I’m trying to stay true to the same values in both.”—Patagonia
“A writer, if he is any good, does not describe. He invents or makes out of knowledge personal and impersonal and sometimes he seems to have unexplained knowledge which could come from forgotten racial or family experience. Who teaches the homing pigeon to fly as he does; where does a fighting bull get his bravery, or a hunting dog his nose?”—Ernest Hemingway