Thursday, March 1, 2007

Interesting Quotes

Published on November 10, 2015 (See "Sunday Quotes" post for more if this appeals to you.)

Andrew Gelman: "Statisticians are special because, deep in our bones, we know about uncertainty. Economists know about incentives, physicists know about reality, movers can fit big things in the elevator on the first try, evolutionary psychologists know how to get their names in the newspaper, lawyers know you should never never never talk to the cops, and statisticians know about uncertainty. Of that, I’m sure."

Cary Tennis: "Because I assume that you and I belong to a quiet society of secret sufferers, that we recognize each other on the street like an underground, that we know each other to be different because we don't react like others do. We're more driven, more crazy, more desperate, hungrier, touchier, louder, always breathlessly skating on thin ice above the dragon; we know better than to stop skating and sink into the water." (2004)

Clarence Thomas: "I didn't think it was a good idea to make poor blacks, or anyone else, more dependent on government. That would amount to a new kind of enslavement, one which ultimately relied on the generosity--and the ever-changing self-interests--of politicians and activists...[T]he dependency it fostered might ultimately prove as diabolical as segregation, permanently condemning poor people to the lowest rungs of the socioeconomic ladder by cannibalizing the values without which they had no long-term hope of improving their lot." [page 56, My Grandfather's Son, 2007 hardcover]

C.S. Lewis: "Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."

George Orwell: "The real division is not between conservatives and revolutionaries but between authoritarians and libertarians."

Isaac Asimov (1980): "There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.'"

John Galbraith: "One cannot defend production as satisfying wants if that production creates the wants. Were it so that a man arising each morning was assailed by demons instilled in him a passion sometimes for silk shirts, sometimes kitchenware... there would be every reason to applaud the effort to find the goods, however odd, that quenched this flame. But should it be that his passion was the result of his first having cultivated the demons [through advertising], and should it also be that his effort to ally it stirred the demons to ever greater and greater effort, there would be question as to how rational was his solution. Unless restrained by conventional attitudes, he might wonder if the solution lay with more goods or fewer demons." (from The Affluent Society (1998), pp. 125.)

Joseph Campbell: (1988) “When a judge walks into the room, and everybody stands up, you’re not standing up to that guy, you’re standing up to the robe that s/he’s wearing and the role that s/he’s going to play. What makes [that person] worthy of that role is integrity, as a representative of the principles of that role, and not some group of [personal] prejudices... [In order for the system to work, s/he] has to sacrifice personal desires and even life possibilities to the role that s/he now signifies.” ("The Power of Myth," Copyright © 1988 Bill Moyers, Apostrophe S Productions, and Joseph Campbell Foundation)

Junot Diaz: "Beli at thirteen believed in love like a seventy-year old widow who's been abandoned by family, husband, children, and fortune believes in God." (from The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao)

"He had secret loves all over town, the kind of curly-haired big-bodied girls who wouldn't have said boo to a loser like him but about whom he could not stop dreaming." (Id.)

‎"For the record, that summer our girl caught a cuerpazo so berserk that only a pornographer or a comic-book artist could have designed it with a clear conscience." (Id.)

Karl Marx, 1875: “Freedom consists in converting the state from an organ superimposed upon society into one completely subordinate to it.”  

Pablo Neruda: I crave your mouth, your voice, your hair. / Silent and starving, I prowl through the streets. / Bread does not nourish me, dawn disrupts me, all day / I hunt for the liquid measure of your steps.

Peter Brandt (2011): "I have no respect for Congress. With the exception of perhaps two dozen members, I think Congress is worthless. I think they, as a body, have sold out the financial future of our children and grandchildren. I think the baby-boomer generation is the most selfish generation in the history of the world. I believe it is the right of all Americans to have access to health care (but I believe the current health care reform is a travesty). I have as much disgust for Republicans as I have for Democrats. I think we should scrap our current political system and start from scratch."

Steve Jobs: "I believe that what is wrong with our schools in this nation is that they have become unionized in the worst possible way. This unionization and lifetime employment of K-12 teachers is off-the-charts crazy."

Steve Jobs: "I’m a very big believer in equal opportunity as opposed to equal outcome. I don’t believe in equal outcome because unfortunately life’s not like that. It would be a pretty boring place if it was. But I really believe in equal opportunity. Equal opportunity to me more than anything means a great education. Maybe even more important than a great family life, but I don’t know how to do that. Nobody knows how to do that. But it pains me because we do know how to provide a great education. We really do. We could make sure that every young child in this country got a great education. We fall far short of that…. The problem there of course is the unions. The unions are the worst thing that ever happened to education because it’s not a meritocracy. It turns into a bureaucracy, which is exactly what has happened. The teachers can’t teach and administrators run the place and nobody can be fired. It’s terrible."

Unknown: "Without data, you are just another person with an opinion."

Warner Herzog: "School has not given me anything. I have always been suspicious of teachers. I do not know why."

Warren Buffett: "At bottom, a sound insurance operation needs to adhere to four disciplines. It must (1) understand all exposures that might cause a policy to incur losses; (2) conservatively assess the likelihood of any exposure actually causing a loss and the probable cost if it does; (3) set a premium that, on average, will deliver a profit after both prospective loss costs and operating expenses are covered; and (4) be willing to walk away if the appropriate premium can’t be obtained." (2016 Shareholder Letter) 

No comments: