brainwagon "There is much pleasure in useless knowledge." — Bertrand Russell


The Art of Living by John Stuart Mill, 1848

Big thoughts that resonate with me today...

The Art of Living by John Stuart Mill, 1848
Hitherto it is questionable if all the mechanical inventions yet made have lightened the day's toil of any human being. They have enabled a greater population to live the same life of drudgery and imprisonment, and an increased number of manufacturers and other to make fortunes. They have increased the comforts of the middle classes. But they have not yet begun to effect those great changes in human destiny, which it is in their nature and in their futurity to accomplish. Only when, in addition to just institutions, the increase of mankind shall be under the deliberate guidance of judicious foresight, can the conquests made from the powers of nature by the intellect and energy of scientific discoverers, become the common property of the species, and the means of improving and elevating the universal lot.

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Excuse of the Day

I need to call in sick for work.  I've got nintendonitis.

(via my wife)

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The Haunted House, by Walter Hubbell

The Haunted House, by Walter Hubbell begins amusingly with this introduction:

The manifestations described in this story commenced one year ago. No person has yet been able to ascertain their cause. Scientific men from all parts of Canada and the United States have investigated them in vain. Some people think that electricity is the principal agent; others, mesmerism; whilst others again, are sure they are produced by the devil. Of the three supposed causes, the latter is certainly the most plausible theory, for some of the manifestations are remarkably devilish in their appearance and effect.



Why Consumer Software Doesn’t Please Me

Summed up neatly:

"UNIX was not designed to stop you from doing stupid things, because that would also stop you from doing clever things."

Doug Gwyn

I like to do clever things. (Cribbed from this BoingBoing post about how Hollywood is going to wage a technical war on their customers.)


Sage Words from Wil

Great minds think alike. Here's a nice quote from Wil Wheaton:

Here is the most important thing I can tell you: You do not need the so-called traditional channels of distribution to get your work to an audience, and you'll probably be happier and more successful by not going through those channels. I've done it both ways, and self-publishing and distributing was more fun, more creatively satisfying, and much more financially rewarding than the indescribably frustrating process of doing it the other way.

Rock on, Wil. And good luck in the WSOP.


Chuckle o’ the Day

Andy Rooney Quotes - The Quotations Page

Computers make it easier to do a lot of things, but most of the things they make it easier to do don't need to be done.

— Andy Rooney


More good philosophy from Lisa

Lisa has really got a lot on the ball. Enough so that I'm nominating this for the quote of the day:

Art and thinking and all the Important Stuff is WAY too important to be left to the increasingly small number of people who are getting paid to do it.

Way to go, Lisa.


Is Software Engineering an Oxymoron?

SD Times - Is Software Engineering an Oxymoron?

The problem, then, is that programming has changed from the study and implementation of algorithms to the study and creation of complex documents.

I just thought it was a nice quote.

I agree only in part with Holub's article though. He thinks that computer science is turning into a liberal art, and that it's problematic that the curricula of universities doesn't change to reflect that change. I think its also problematic that mathematics and analysis are being weaned out of computer science. Computer science needs mathematics and analysis more than ever.


Bradbury Gives Advice to Podcasters Writers

Ray Bradbury Quotes - The Quotations Page

You have to know how to accept rejection and reject acceptance.


MSN Search: brain wagon

MSN Search: brain wagon

Other names for a railroad caboose are crumb box, brain wagon, bazoo wagon, strawberry patch, and loose cage.


Quote of the Day

Theodore Roosevelt

"The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the Nation as a whole. Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile. To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else."

"Roosevelt in the Kansas City Star", 149 May 7, 1918


Phil Zimmerman on Moore’s Law

I think the biggest threat to privacy is Moore's law. The human population does not double every eighteen months but the ability to keep track of us does. This may be a prescription for an omniscient government. Democracy never had to face an all-knowing government. I don't know how we're going to get through that.

— Phil Zimmermann


From the Hackers mailing list…

"Of course the people don't want war. But after all, it's the leaders
of the country who determine the policy, and it's always a simple
matter to drag the people along whether it's a democracy, a fascist
dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no
voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders.
That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked,
and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the
country to greater danger."

- - Hermann Goering

Posted by Bob Hearn.