Nick Bostrom worries that creating something smarter than you is a basic Darwinian error, and compares the excitement about it to sparrows in a nest deciding to adopt a baby owl so it’ll help them and protect them once it grows up—while ignoring the urgent cries from a few sparrows who wonder if that’s necessarily a good idea
Charles Dickens, rejecting an invitation from a friend:
“It is only half an hour’ — ‘It is only an afternoon’ — ‘It is only an evening,’ people say to me over and over again; but they don’t know that it is impossible to command one’s self sometimes to any stipulated and set disposal of five minutes — or that the mere consciousness of an engagement will sometime worry a whole day … Who ever is devoted to an art must be content to deliver himself wholly up to it, and to find his recompense in it. I am grieved if you suspect me of not wanting to see you, but I can’t help it; I must go in my way whether or no.
via “Creative People Say No”
It’s a truism of free expression that if you only defend speech you agree with, you don’t believe in free expression. That doesn’t mean you have to defend the content of the expression: it means you have to support the right of people to say stupid, awful things. You can and should criticize the stupid, awful things. It’s the distinction between the right to express a stupid idea, and the stupidity of the idea itself.
Men think epilepsy divine, merely because they do not understand it. But if they called everything divine which they do not understand, why, there would be no end of divine things.
— Hippocrates (as quoted by Carl Sagan in The Demon-Haunted World)
The Internet is no longer a technology. The Internet is a psychology experiment.
CSS got it wrong and we’re now suffering the consequences. The HTML feature that was ignored in CSS 1 was the thing they should’ve focused on: tables, which were directives that generated layout. It set us on a path of trying to fake them by piggybacking on supposedly semantic elements, like lipstick on a div.
People are angry that in the game of musical chairs that is the U.S. economy, there are less seats at the table when the music stops. And at every recession, the music is stopping.
If spam filters sorted messages the way Silicon Valley sorts people, you’d only get email from your college roommate.
I mean, photography is all right if you don’t mind looking at the world from the point of view of a paralyzed cyclops—for a split second.
— David Hockney, artist, videographer, and sometime-photographer
Trying to get dirty pictures off the Internet is like trying to get pee out of a swimming pool.
You’re out there in a world where if you do make a mistake, it echoes in a digital canyon forever.
There was no great truth about the human condition that I would discover through celibacy.
[Lincoln] knew that even a self-evident truth was not self executing.
“I have certainly spent more time looking into my computer screen than at my own face; each busted pixel is like a freckle to me.”
— Eric Dern
The commonplace is miraculous if rightly seen, if recognized.
— Charles Simic in Dime-Store Alchemy: The Art of Joseph Cornell as quoted by Tufte in Visual Explanations
The forceps of our minds are clumsy things and crush the truth a little in the course of holding it.
— H. G. Wells
Writing is a mentally difficult thing — it’s hard to know when something’s worth saying; it’s hard to be clear; it’s hard to arrange things in a way that will hold a reader’s attention; it’s hard to sound good; it’s even hard to know whether, when you change something, you’re making it better.
e.a. nakashima as quoted by Rachel Myers:
It’s like even though I went to prep school, I’m still gangster.
… basically it’s a story about how unpleasant it is to be lost.
— Steve Krug, summarizing Hansel and Gretel
Quoth your insufficiently humble editor:
It’s like someone suggested “a hair of the dog,” and you replied, “Fuck that, we’ll take the whole dog again.”
A secret is something you can only tell one person … at a time.
— Allen Ginsberg
The great enemy of clear language is insincerity.
There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.
Drew Hoolhorst describes the type of person you might find living in San Francisco’s famously gay Castro neighborhood:
Tons of “not Republicans.”
Well fucking said, Drew.
M. Gould on the tongue-sticking-out smiley,
It’s the Comic Sans of emoticons, over-used and never appropriate.