recently noted thoughts

"selling out is usually more a matter of buying in." -- bill watterson

“the main function of the human brain, the primary instinct, is storytelling. Memory is storyelling. If we all remembered everything, we would be Rain Man, and would not be socially active at all. We learn to forget and to distort, but we [also] learn to tell a story about ourselves.” -- joss whedon

"It's fairly clear that one of the defining characteristics of the 21st century so far has been the creeping installation of a system optimized to exclude public opinion from the levers of power despite continuing to pay lip service to principles of democratic accountability: is this another (and big) step in ensuring that democracy can't actually threaten the interests of the global financial sector?" -- charlie stross [on  TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Partnership]

"the ability to change anything was the change that changed everything." -- kevin ashton ["how to fly a horse"]

"while you cannot force ideas into existence, you can coax them into view. When you first notice some exciting fragment, your impulse may be to brush it aside. It looks so ... so small, so slight. Don't be deceived. What matters is not the idea's size but its resonance." -- stephen koch ["modern library writer's workshop: a guide to craft of fiction"]

"The 'draw a line' philosophy offers a substantial political advantage to people with hidden agendas. The method for getting what you want is first to draw the line somewhere that nobody would object to, and then gradually move it to where you really want it, arguing continuity all the way." -- terry pratchett, ian stewart & jack cohen ["the science of discworld"]

"To merely act as a conduit of inspiration from naturally-occurring phenomena to an audience is a great and important task, but it is the task of the journalist, not of the artist. The artist’s role is not in being a passive messenger, but in creating new configurations, symbols and metaphors – aesthetic experiences – that one would not be able to experience on their own, even if afforded the same access to the same subject." -- guy tal

"Hold on, an author can wait 55 years between books and people will still be interested? Man, this changes everything..." -- patrick rothfuss 

"I know self-care is important. As Morpheus said, there’s a difference between knowing the path and walking the path. But here comes Red Riding Hood to remind you that walking the path is all well and good, but it’s even harder to stay on that path once you’ve started." -- jim hines

"Practicing isn’t always hard. At times, practice is joyous. When you are working at the edge of your abilities, acquiring mastery of something difficult that you value, practice is the best feeling. But if you only practice when it brings you joy, you won’t practice much. Logging the requisite hours inevitably involves some slogging." -- cory doctorow

"The Confederate flag is directly tied to the Confederate cause, and the Confederate cause was white supremacy. This claim is not the result of revisionism. It does not require reading between the lines. It is the plain meaning of the words of those who bore the Confederate flag across history." -- ta-nehisi coates 

"Debating creationists on the topic of evolution is rather like trying to play chess with a pigeon -- it knocks the pieces over, craps on the board, and flies back to its flock to claim victory." -- scott d. weitzenhoffer


extracting my notes from drafts app database

well now. while digging into the content stored in my iphone, i found out the drafts app which I'm slowly abandoning by removing my content uses a sqlite3 database. previously I had no way to bulk-extract my notes.
# sqlite3 Drafts.sqlite
SQLite version 3.8.2 2013-12-06 14:53:30
sqlite> .tables


sqlite> .schema zspmanagedobject
select z_created_at, z_content from zspmanagedobject;

produces the time-stamped draft notes, including notes that were deleted.
451329756.316168|supermarket notes, 2015: I find the selection of shaped,
filled, fried, baked, toasted, flavored, seasoned corn products entirely 
inadequate for a healthy diet.
451357888.003267|"what about the duck?"
"extra crispy!!"
-- looney tunes back in action


ira glass's actual quote

never mind the abstract reader's digest quote poster that is going around. this is my transcription of what Ira Glass actually said in [ the first part of] his video. it is wonderful advice, especially about the discipline of producing work on a deadline. [ira glass on storytelling, part 3]:

"Nobody tells people who are beginners. I really wish someone had told this to me. Is that [if you are watching this video, you are somebody who wants o make videos right?] all of us who do creative work, we get into it. we get into it because we have good taste. you know what I mean? like you want to make TV, because you love TV. there is stuff you just like, love. ok so you got really good taste. you get into this thing … that i don’t even know how to describe it, but there is a gap. for the first couple of years you are making stuff, what you are making isn’t so good... ok, its not that great. it's really not that great. its trying to be good, it has ambition to be good, but not quite that good. but your taste, the thing get you into the game, your taste is still killer. your taste is good enough that you can tell what you are making is a kind of disappointment to you, you know what i mean? you can tell it is still sort of crappy. a lot of people never get past that phase. a lot of people at that point, they quit. the thing i would just like say to you with all my heart is that most everybody I know, who does interesting creative work, they went through a phase of years where they had really good taste, they could tell what they were making wasn’t as good as they wanted it to be. they knew it felt short. [some of us can admit that to ourselves, some of us less able to admit that to ourselves] we knew like, it didn’t have that special thing that we wanted it to have. [...] everybody goes through that. for you to go through it, if you are going through right now, just getting out of that phase, if you are just starting out and entering into that phase, you gotta know it is totally normal and the most important possible thing you can do is do a lot of work. do a huge volume of work. put yourself on a deadline so that every week or every month you know you’re gonna finish one story. you know what i mean? whatever its gonna be. you create the deadline. it is best if have somebody who is waiting work from you, expecting work from you. even if not somebody who pays you, but that you are in a situation where you have to turn out the work. because it is only by actually going through a volume of work that you are actually going to catch up and close that gap and the work you are making will be as good as your ambitions."


for a recent birthday

a period of time
a few minutes long
fifty eight years wide.

-- Tomas Transtromer ["the sad gondola"]


recently found pieces of wisdom

"The clock is ticking. Life is fleeting. If you don’t feel alive now, when will you?" -- guy tal

"forget the big picture. look at everything close-up." -- jethro gibbs [ncis]

A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP" -- leonard nimoy

"escapism isn't good or bad in itself. what is important is what you are escaping from and where you are escaping to." -- terry pratchett 

"History tends to change people who think they're changing it." -- terry pratchett

“The first time, I usually skim off the outer layer and end up with photographs that are fairly obvious. The second time, I have to look a little deeper. The images get more interesting. The third time it is even more challenging and on each subsequent occasion, the images should get stronger, but it takes more effort to get them.” – Michael Kenna

Q: How many Sad Puppies does it take to change a light bulb?
A: 100, one to change the bulb and 99 to say, “Gosh, I hope this makes Scalzi’s head explode!” -- john scalzi

"above all, never lose your enthusiasm." -- ernst haas

"if history reveals any categorical truth, it is that an unsufficient taste for evidence regularly brings out the worst in us." -- sam harris ["the end of faith"]

"you know you have made a theoretical advance when you can no longer reconstruct why you failed for so long to see the obvious." -- daniel kahneman

"I'm not dangerous; I just understand the basics of value." -- eren yigit [quipped during a munchkin game]

"frozen margaritas cut through space and time." -- the katering show

"dad, what part of you said "i must watch "pitch perfect""?" -- eren yigit [critiquing my desperate netflix choices - tomatometer says 81% which is twice the netflix average]

"a picture may be worth a thousand words, but the order of the words matters when constructing meaning." -- dean kessman ["ninety nine pictures"]

"Visualization - the ability to see in the "mind's eye" a finished image before making an exposure (or other technical choices) is very different from vision. Vision is the passive seeing of light reflected off objects; visualization is projecting, consciously and deliberately, the light of our thoughts and feelings onto objects. Vision is about what there is; visualization is about what could be. Vision happens; visualization makes happen. Vision is about what things are; visualization is about what things mean." -- guy tal

"Your sensei didn't hold anything back, you just couldn't hear it. So it's no wonder when you go back to visit you hear brand new stuff." --kim taylor [mjer iaido, renshi, 7th dan]

"The one and only sole purpose of today's confederacy is to bring the plantation lords... I mean oligarchs... back to their rightful place atop the 6000 year feudal hierarchy." -- david brin

The whole vaccine mess, in the United States and abroad, is a story of allowing anecdotes to trump statistical reasoning."  -- chris mooney

"Everyone likes to pretend that he or she is more rational, more responsible, and more immune to the risks that gun ownership poses relative to the average American. Yet, we know from gun violence statistics that many are simply misjudging their own competency. Everyone thinks he or she is above average, but half are mistaken." -- evan defilippis and devin hughes [slate]

"It’s hard enough for gondolas to negotiate the inner canals of Venice, let alone a sub the size of an ocean liner, but no problem; The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen either knows absolutely nothing about Venice, or (more likely) trusts that its audience does not." -- roger ebert [review of "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen"] 

"It is not always necessary to take a scissor to a country’s social fabric — as the Front National so consistently does in France — to rip it. Pulling at it one loose thread at a time can achieve the same result." -- Chantal Hébert 


recently found quotes

"be yourself and style will follow" -- guy tal

"we are who we are - eventually." -- constantine

"no-on has truely 'lived by the sword'for at least 300 years. everything since the 17th century is mostly fanciful imagining. This was already mocked in the early 18th century as ka-do, flower arranging." -- ford hallam

"artists try to say things that can't be said. in a fragile net of words, gestures, or colors, we hope to capture a feeling; a taste; a painful longing. but the net is always too porous, and we are left with the sweet frustration of almost knowing, which is teasingly pleasurable." -- alan alda

"creativity, no matter which of its many definitions you favor, requires something new, a different interpretation, a break from the twin opiates of habit and cliche." -- denise shekerjian

"steer clear of ideology. like jargon, it can be a substitute for thought. the lure of the simple solution can lead to handing over your life to people who make the trains run on time --  but who take away your freedom to go where you want on those trains." -- alan alda [kenyon college commencement address]

"it is the mark of the dull mind to mistake a conversation opener for its last word." -- julian baggini ["should you judge this book by its cover?"]

"westerners like to conquer mountains, while easterners like to contemplate them. as for me, i cannot see a mountain as a thing to be analyzed; it is a work of art. i like to taste the mountains." -- santoka teneda [journals, sep 20, 1930]

"you're a bloody psychopath!"

"high-functioning sociopath. with your number." [sherlock s3#2]

"after this year, the only history I want to come in contact with is the one drawn by larry gonnick" -- the kid

"if knowledge is power,

and if books are knowledge,
books are power -
an unread book is untapped power." -- eren yigit

"my memory of you is better than you" -- lao tzu [according to chuck lorre vanity card #303]

"the Go way is not to simulate inheritance, but to avoid it altogether." -- mark summerfield ["programming in go"]

"My primary interest in trolls is their elimination. Trolls are not profitable; trolls drive everyone else away. Trolls are anti-profitable." -- Yonatan Zunger

"irony is a way of having one's cake while appearing to eat it." -- john updike

"It wasn’t just a matter of making an inferior or sloppy product; anybody could have done that. But to create one that reliably failed after an agreed-upon 1,000 hours took some doing over a number of years." -- Markus Krajewski ["the great lightbulb conspiracy"]

 "all literature could be said to originate from sales receipts." -- daniel j. levitin ["the organized mind"]

"but one of the things that really irritates me in products is when I'm aware of designers wagging their tails in my face." -- jonathan ive

deniers are not sceptics [csi open letter]

Deniers are not Skeptics

December 5, 2014

Public discussion of scientific topics such as global warming is confused by misuse of the term “skeptic.” The Nov 10, 2014, New York Times article “Republicans Vow to Fight EPA and Approve Keystone Pipeline” referred to Sen. James Inhofe as “a prominent skeptic of climate change.” Two days later Scott Horsley of NPR’s Morning Edition called him “one of the leading climate change deniers in Congress.” These are not equivalent statements.

As Fellows of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, we are concerned that the words “skeptic” and “denier” have been conflated by the popular media. Proper skepticism promotes scientific inquiry, critical investigation, and the use of reason in examining controversial and extraordinary claims. It is foundational to the scientific method. Denial, on the other hand, is the a priorirejection of ideas without objective consideration.

Real skepticism is summed up by a quote popularized by Carl Sagan, “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” Inhofe’s belief that global warming is “the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people” is an extraordinary claim indeed. He has never been able to provide evidence for this vast alleged conspiracy. That alone should disqualify him from using the title “skeptic.”

As scientific skeptics, we are well aware of political efforts to undermine climate science by those who deny reality but do not engage in scientific research or consider evidence that their deeply held opinions are wrong. The most appropriate word to describe the behavior of those individuals is “denial.” Not all individuals who call themselves climate change skeptics are deniers. But virtually all deniers have falsely branded themselves as skeptics. By perpetrating this misnomer, journalists have granted undeserved credibility to those who reject science and scientific inquiry.

We are skeptics who have devoted much of our careers to practicing and promoting scientific skepticism. We ask that journalists use more care when reporting on those who reject climate science, and hold to the principles of truth in labeling. Please stop using the word “skeptic” to describe deniers.

Mark Boslough, Physicist

David Morrison, Director of the Carl Sagan Center for the Study of Life in the Universe, at the SETI Institute

Bill Nye, CEO the Planetary Society

Ann Druyan, Writer/producer; CEO, Cosmos Studios

Ken Frazier, Editor, Skeptical Inquirer

Barry Karr, Exec Director, Committee for Skeptical Inquiry

Amardeo Sarma, Committee for Skeptical Inquiry Executive Council, Chairman GWUP (Germany)

Sir Harold Kroto, Nobel Prize in Chemistry

Ronald A. Lindsay, President & CEO Committee for Skeptical Inquiry and Center for Inquiry

Kenneth R. Miller, Professor of Biology, Brown University

Christopher C. French, Dept of Psychology, Goldsmiths University of London

Daniel C. Dennett, Center for Cognitive Studies, Tufts University

Massimo Pigliucci, Professor of Philosophy at CUNY-City College

Douglas Hofstadter, Director, The Center for Research on Concepts and Cognition, Indiana University

Stephen Barrett, Co-founder of the National Council Against Health Fraud (NCAHF), and the webmaster of Quackwatch

Scott O. Lilienfeld, Professor, Department of Psychology, Emory University

Terence Hines, Dept of Psychology, Pace University

James Randi, President James Randi Educational Foundation

Seth Shostak, Senior Astronomer and Director of the Center for SETIResearch

Joe Nickell, Senior Research Fellow, Committee for Skeptical Inquiry

Henri Broch, Physicist, Emeritus, University Nice Sophia Antipolis, France

Eugenie C. Scott, Chair, Advisory Council, National Center for Science Education

Edzard Ernst, Professor of Medicine, Emeritus, University of Exeter, UK

Indre Viskontas, Cognitive Neuroscientist, Host Inquiring Minds Podcast

David J. Helfand, Professor of Astronomy, Columbia University

Mario Mendez-Acosta, Journalist, Science Writer, Mexico City

Cornelis de Jager, Astrophysicist, Past President, International Council for Science

Sanal Edamaruku, President, Rationalist International

Loren Pankratz, Psychologist, Portland VA Medical Center, Retired

Sandra Blakeslee, Science Writer

Benjamin Radford, Deputy Editor of the Skeptical Inquirer Magazine

David Thomas, Physicist and Mathematician

Stuart D. Jordan, NASA Astrophysicist, Emeritus

David H. Gorski, Cancer Surgeon, Wayne State University School of Medicine

Anthony R. Pratkanis, Professor of Psychology, UC @Santa Cruz

Jan Willem Nienhuys, Mathematician, Waalre, The Netherlands

Susan Blackmore, Psychologist, Visiting Professor at the University of Plymouth

Ken Feder, Anthropology, Central Connecticut State University

Jill Tarter, Bernard M. Oliver Chair, SETI Institute

Richard Saunders, JREF Million Dollar Challenge Committee, Producer - The Skeptic Zone Podcast

Jay Pasachoff, Field Memorial Professor of Astronomy, Williams College

Lawrence M. Krauss, Director, The ASU Origins Project, Arizona State University

Barbara Forrest, Philosophy, Southeastern Louisiana University

Kimball Atwood, Physician, Newton, MA

James Alcock, Psychologist, Glendon College, York University, Toronto, Canada

Massimo Polidoro, Science writer, author, Executive Director CICAP, Italy

E.C. Krupp, Director, Griffith Observatory

Dick Smith, Film Producer, Publisher, Australia

CSI Consultants

Luis Alfonso Gámez, journalist, the Magonia blog, Spain
Felix Ares de Blas, Professor of Computer Science, Univ. of Basque, Spain