Tony- John just asked me specifically.
Christopher- So it's like the movie then.
Tony- What movie?
Christopher- One. That you can't refuse a man's request on his daughter's wedding day.
Tony- No, it's the other way around. That I should be asking him for something he can't refuse.
Christopher- So did you?
Tony- No.
Christopher- You should ask not to do this.

Sopranos S6E5

If it's worth going somewhere, it's worth going there fast.


My Mom's Favorite SNL Bit
Dark and lonely on a summer's night.
Kill my landlord. Kill my landlord.
Watchdog barking. Do he bite?
Kill my landlord. Kill my landlord.
Slip in his window. Break his neck.
Then his house I start to wreck.
Got no reason. What the heck?
Kill my landlord. Kill my landlord.
C-I-L my land lord!
His Name Was Seth Smith
Many of you may have had a close relationship with Seth and are feeling a sense of loss and disbelief.

Others, like many of us, are experiencing stress, grief and anxiety related to the coronavirus pandemic and the recent murders of George Floyd, Riah Milton, and other Black Americans.


Carol Christ

Stephen C. Sutton
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs

Sunny Lee
Assistant Vice Chancellor and Dean of Students
It's with a K
The Final Chapter of a Title.
How many days of sadness must I spend
To get hatred into gladness?

And tell me how much sorrow must I spend
To get a future for tomorrow?

This must be a proud nation of crudeness.
This world used to mean so very much.

Why did you change my happiness to misery
and heartbreak?

How must I be lonely?
Why can't you love and want me
Until the end of time?

Bob Beamon

Don't Laugh, I Love You
In the late summer of that year we lived in a house in a village that looked across the river and the plain to the mountains. In the bed of the river there were pebbles and boulders, dry and white in the sun, and the water was clear and swiftly moving and blue in the channels.

Ernest Hemingway, "A Farewell to Arms"

My Dad sent this to me
The Metamates moniker was coined by Douglas Hofstadter, a professor of cognitive science at Indiana University and author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning book “Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid.” In a tweet, Andrew Bosworth, Meta's chief technology officer, said an employee had emailed Mr. Hofstadter for ideas for a rebrand.

In an email, Mr. Hofstadter said he had originally suggested “teammate” to describe Meta's employees, since each half of the word is an anagram of Meta. In a postscript, he recommended Metamate as an alternative. He added that he was unaware the company had adopted the name.

“By the way, I don't use Facebook and never have,” he wrote. “In fact, I avoid all social media. That's not my style at all. But email I do use!”

NY Times

We are all alone, born alone, die alone, and—in
spite of True Romance magazines—we shall all someday
look back on our lives and see that, in spite of our
company, we were alone the whole way. I do not say
lonely—at least, not all the time—but essentially,
and finally, alone. This is what makes your
self-respect so important, and I don't see how you
can respect yourself if you must look in the hearts
and minds of others for your happiness.

Hunter S. Thompson, The Proud Highway: Saga of a Desperate Southern

Simplicio: Are you really trying to claim that mathematics offers no useful or practical applications to society?
Salviati: Of course not. I'm merely suggesting that just because something happens to have practical consequences, doesn't mean that's what it is about. Music can lead armies into battle, but that's not why people write symphonies. Michelangelo decorated a ceiling, but I'm sure he had loftier things on his mind.

Mathematics is the music of reason. To do mathematics is to engage in an act of discovery and conjecture, intuition and inspiration; to be in a state of confusion- not because it makes no sense to you, but because you gave it sense and you still don't understand what your creation is up to; to have a breakthrough idea; to be frustrated as an artist; to be awed and overwhelmed by an almost painful beauty; to be alive, damn it.

Paul Lockhart, A Mathematician's Lament

Nobel Laureate Boomer Cope
By 2005 or so, it will become clear that the Internet's impact on the economy has been no greater than the fax machine's.

Paul Krugman

To Go Where Theory No Longer Knows
Don't ever make the mistake [of thinking] that you can design something better than what you get from ruthless massively parallel trial-and-error with a feedback cycle. That's giving your intelligence much too much credit.

Linus Torvalds

The Satrapy
What a misfortune, although you are made
for fine and great works
this unjust fate of yours always
denies you encouragement and success;
that base customs should block you;
and pettiness and indifference.
And how terrible the day when you yield
(the day when you give up and yield),
and you leave on foot for Susa,
and you go to the monarch Artaxerxes
who favorably places you in his court,
and offers you satrapies and the like.
And you accept them with despair
these things that you do not want.
Your soul seeks other things, weeps for other things;
the praise of the public and the Sophists,
the hard-won and inestimable Well Done;
the Agora, the Theater, and the Laurels.
How can Artaxerxes give you these,
where will you find these in a satrapy;
and what life can you live without these.

Constantine P. Cavafy

245. Penguins are getting taller. Soon they'll be bigger than people again
150. when you don't believe you can sing, you accept songs that don't deserve to be sung.
235. The dying man is consumed. So he tries to ask others to be as miserable and rotten as his flesh and synapses
436. 'Jelly 292" (Jimi's best song) the true title is 'Miracle Baby"

███████ ██████

Propaganda is Always Art
Entertainment gives you a predictable pleasure. Art leads to transformation.

Makoto Fujimura

Predicting Consciousness
The attacks on September the 11th shocked America because no-one had seen them coming. The phrase constantly used was, "We failed to join up the dots." And in the state of fear, the government passed the Patriot Act. It said that everyone's personal data must be open to examination, to stop further attacks. Privacy of the individual now became irrelevant in the face of a much higher need - security. It meant that the very thing that Google had invented, looking for patterns in a mass of data, now became central to the security of the United States. And the threat of new laws to stop Google collecting as much data on people as they wanted faded away.

The shock of the attacks of 9/11 began a shift away from the individualism that had been at the centre of America since the 1950s. And Google was going to become central to that shift. Because rather than doing what they had originally dreamed of, giving people data so they could make their own stories, what Google were now doing was TAKING people's data and using it to predict what those individuals would do, without having to ask them anything.

What they thought or felt as individuals and the stories they told themselves was completely irrelevant. Consciousness was being sidelined even more.

Adam Curtis, Can't Get You Out of My Head

Simple Creativity
Creativity is more than just being different. Anybody can plan weird; that's easy. What's hard is to be as simple as Bach. Making the simple, awesomely simple, that's creativity

Charles Mingus

Deng Xiaoping on New-Age philosophy
When Deng Xiaoping visited the United States in 1979, the actress Shirley MacLaine told him how impressed she had been on a visit to China during the Cultural Revolution, when Mr. Deng and countless others had been forced to toil in remote areas and ``learn from the peasants.'' The actress said she had been particularly moved by a scholar working in a field, who had described how much more fulfilling it was to grow tomatoes than to work in a university.
Mr. Deng looked at her and said: ``He lied.''

The NYT, February 23 1997 -- from Hilfinger's page

If there is one “scientific” discovery I am proud of, it is the discovery of the habit of writing without publication in mind. I experience it as a liberating habit: without it, doing the work becomes one thing and writing it down becomes another one, which is often viewed as an unpleasant burden. When working and writing have merged, that burden has been taken away.

Edsger Dijkstra

Apollo 8. On August 9 1968, NASA decided that Apollo 8 should go to the moon. It launched on December 21 1968, 134 days later. Source: Apollo Spacecraft Chronology.

San Francisco proposed a new bus lane on Van Ness in 2001. Its opening was delayed to 2022, yielding a project duration of around 7,600 days. “The project has been delayed due to an increase of wet weather since the project started,” said Paul Rose, a San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency spokesperson. The project will cost $ million, i.e. $100,000 per meter. The Alaska Highway, mentioned above, constructed across remote tundra, cost $793 per meter in 2019 dollars.

Patrick Collison, /fast/

Political dissonance
The number one motto now about our state of politics is that it's essentially "fake and gay"-- this isn't real. Not just that it's performative, but it's cringe-worthy and connected to a pseudo-reality that's further and further away from what's actually happening.

I'll show you this with with this [3D printing gun law]. These people will high-five themselves: "oh we solved kit guns and gun crime in America, right!?" and they'll parade this 100-page solution as some type of you know new-era of peace. But, what do they actually do? They established a new coordinates for the technical and how we will make guns—— because of course we'll continue to make them. And they made me some kind of profit?! Right, now you can only 3D-print and CNC-mill receivers. Well god damn! I didn't think i'd be right literally five years later. You know that this is the only way you're going to get it done privately?

You see these are two complete camps: these people maybe don't even realize just how starkly they've diverged from what's actually happening. A world of people making guns straight from the internet!

You have to think past the pageantry of the political.
I don't just mean TV, I mean this idea that our institutions are somehow even connected to what's happening. The president himself (if not dead, surely dying) zombies on and they aren't even aware of what's happening. The president is a great emblem of the political.

And I just want to think, man. I just want to live and and imagine what living would be. And I suppose at this point that means to notice and to think past the political.

Cody Wilson, 2022 Reason Interview

Lean Into Until
We will never live in a period when there were no easily accessible peer-review studies for every imaginable thought. There were very simple, very basic instances of life that could set straight every hair on the thinking man's head. And the further we go back in time, the harder it is for me to imagine just how beautiful things could be. I want to know what it's like to not understand a single thing about the universe surrounding; to look at stars in the sky and be absolutely floored by the possibilities. Are they bugs? Are they others like me, lighting fires for warmth? Are they smaller suns? Why does that large white circle turn ever so slightly along with them, all in unison? Are they moving or am I?


It used to be okay to kill in the name of something reasonable. Someday that kind of thinking will come back. It always comes back. Has to come back.

"Hell is other people."

Mike Ma, Harassment Architecture

Japanese Cowboy
Like a Japanese cowboy or a brother on skates
Like a blizzard in Georgia or a train runnin' late
I called out your name, girl, in the heat of the night
And nobody answers, cause somethin' ain't right


There Is As Yet Insufficient Data For A Meaningful Answer
Matter and energy had ended and with it space and time. Even AC existed only for the sake of the one last question that it had never answered from the time a half-drunken computer [technician] ten trillion years before had asked the question of a computer that was to AC far less than was a man to Man.
All other questions had been answered, and until this last question was answered also, AC might not release his consciousness.
All collected data had come to a final end. Nothing was left to be collected.
But all collected data had yet to be completely correlated and put together in all possible relationships.
A timeless interval was spent in doing that.
And it came to pass that AC learned how to reverse the direction of entropy. But there was now no man to whom AC might give the answer of the last question. No matter. The answer -- by demonstration -- would take care of that, too.
For another timeless interval, AC thought how best to do this. Carefully, AC organized the program.
The consciousness of AC encompassed all of what had once been a Universe and brooded over what was now Chaos. Step by step, it must be done.
And there was light --

Isaac Asimov, The Last Question


Bill Watterson, November 25, 1992

When walking, I know that my aim
Is caused by the ghosts with my name.
And although I don’t see
Where they walk next to me,
I know they’re all there, just the same.

David Morin, Introduction to Classical Mechanics (197)

Jonathan Duhamel on Poker
He never came close to repeating his 2010 feat, he recalls. From 2011 to 2018, he only managed twice to rank in the top 1000 players of the World Series (409th in 2018 and 565th in 2015), which allowed him to receive part of the purses reserved for the 15% of best players in the tournament. The other six years he was quickly eliminated and lost his US $ 10,000 entry fee.

"I could still try to convince myself that I'm the best, but in reality, I was lucky when I had to be. I've come to terms with that."

La Presse

A very nice boy
What is the name of the Jewish boy with the Facebook? Zuckerberger? I met him. A very nice boy. Also the Jewish boy from Google, a nice boy.

Israeli President Shimon Peres on Mark Zuckerberg and Sergey Brin

Sometimes I look back at the midterms I've made and I'm like, how do I even do this question?

John DeNero

Longest Monkey Sentence
Give orange me give eat orange me eat orange give me eat orange give me you.

Nim Chimpsky

When my bird was looking at my computer monitor, i thought WOOOOAH! That bird has no idea what he's looking at. And yet, what does the bird do? Does he panic? No...he can't really panic. He just does the best he can. Is he able to live in a world where he's so ignorant? Well, he doesn't really have a choice. Yeah, he can kinda live. It's not- it's usually- Usually the bird is okay even though he doesn't understand the world. And uhh...He can kinda learn what's safe and what's..uh..dangerous. So uh. That's where i've been living. You're that bird looking at the monitor, and you're thinking to yourself "i can figure this out!" And, you know, maybe you have some bird ideas...that are...

Maybe that's the best you can do.

Terry Davis

The secret is to just do whatever you want because there is no such thing as decisions. The way you end up playing is the only way you could possibly have ever played. This hand is just the next stop on a train that's been running for four billion years. Ever since life bubbled out of a simmering puddle of acid. You could stick a thermometer in that puddle, give it a read, and know whether four billion years later.

Jon Bois

The best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads.

Jeff Hammerbacher

Intermediate Axis Theorem
For example, John Mallinckrodt (CSU Pomona) relates the story of a student asking Richard Feynman if there is any intuitive way to understand the result; Feynman went into deep thought for about 10 or 15 seconds and answered, "no."


Jon's Motto

Jon Bois

Found this in my notes
*DEAD* nano respects him : yes,,, chase me
*DEAD* nano respects him : baited perfectly
*DEAD* evan : can you shut the fuck ujp
It was granted me to carry away from my prison years on my bent back, which nearly broke beneath its load, this essential experience; how a human being becomes evil and how good. In the intoxication of youthful successes I had felt myself to be infallible, and I was therefore cruel. In the surfeit of power I was a murderer, and an oppressor. In my most evil moments I was convinced that I was doing good, and I was well supplied with systematic arguments. And it was only when I lay there on rotting prison straw that I sensed within myself the first stirrings of good. Gradually it was disclosed to me that the line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either—but right through every human heart—and through all human hearts. This line shifts. Inside us, it oscillates with the years. And even within hearts overwhelmed by evil, one small bridgehead of good is retained. And even in the best of all hearts, there remains… an unuprooted small corner of evil.

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago

In the Desert
In the desert
I saw a creature, naked, bestial,
who, squatting upon the ground,
Held his heart in his hands,
And ate of it.
I said, "Is it good, friend?"
"It is bitter bitter," he answered;
"But I like it
Because it is bitter,
And because it is my heart."

Stephen Crane

A Libertarian Puzzle
Allow me to oversimplify.

People disagree about ends: Some people want to promote broader human flourishing, others want to preserve the status quo. People disagree about means: Some people think unfettered markets will best promote broader human flourishing, others think unfettered markets will best preserve the status quo.

We have a nice two-by-two: people who want to promote human flourishing and think that unfettered markets are the best way to get there (libertarians), people who want to promote human flourishing and think that unfettered markets are an impediment (socialists), people who want to preserve the status quo and think unfettered markets are the best way to get there (capitalists), people who want to preserve the status quo and think unfettered markets are an impediment (statists).

Both libertarians and capitalists will go around saying that unfettered markets are great. And both of them will try to persuade their audience by telling their audience that unfettered markets will lead to the thing their audience wants. If the audience wants to preserve the status quo, they will emphasize how unfettered markets properly reward the dynamic innovators who create greatness in the world. If the audience wants to promote human flourishing, they will emphasize how unfettered markets give everyone the opportunity to succeed without the inhibiting force of government regulation.

The trouble is, as an audience member, you can’t really tell whether the speaker is actually a capitalist or a libertarian (or a libertarian who has been duped by a capitalist, or a capitalist who has been duped by a libertarian). Like any salesman, they’ll tell you that their product is the perfect thing to accomplish your needs.

Which leaves just one puzzle: why are there so few statists?

Aaron Swartz

IMG 5148
Basically, if you go to Youtube and you search the letters 'IMG', and then a space, and any random 4 numbers like 'IMG 5148' or 'IMG 0968', something like that, give it a search, and you will find this collection of videos that were just automatically uploaded by some camera, or system, or something. Usually they were unintentional, or accidental, or automatic uploads. So what this means is you'll find a lot of videos, that have literally never been seen, uh, by anyone. They have 0 views and they've been up for years. I saw one one time, that, it was this automated wildlife footage camera, that just shot this up to Youtube. 0 view video, of this like rabbit and deer, like uh, snacking on the same piece of shrubbery, or whatever, and I was like "This is amazing! These 2 animals are getting together, and I was the only one in years to have seen it!" and I just found that incredible.

Jon Bois