Don't Estimate Me Quotes

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And if you don’t underestimate me, I won’t underestimate you.
Bob Dylan (The Lyrics: Since 1962)
I just make the best book that I can and try to not worry about audience or if it will sell. The odds are against you, so why abuse your talent for the sake of a chimera? The only real pleasure for me in writing comes from pleasing myself. What readers think is interesting and illuminating (and it may even be correct), but that is nothing compared to the excitement of seeing a world develop. Besides, even though I like most individuals I meet, I have a pretty low opinion of people in general. So if I were to write for people in general, I would have to drastically lower my estimation of the intelligence of my reader. Rather than doing that, I write the way it seems the book has to appear. I don’t think that’s egotistic. There are often things I would like to include in my books—things about me personally and other materials—that I feel I have to leave out because they aren’t relevant to the book. I’m fairly ruthless along those lines, because I try to let nothing come in the way of what’s best for the book. If that means that the book won’t sell or that a publisher won’t buy it, then that’s my problem. I’ll suffer for that, but I won’t let the book suffer for it.
William T. Vollmann
What's that you're doing, Sassenach?" "Making out little Gizmo's birth certificate--so far as I can," I added. "Gizmo?" he said doubtfully. "That will be a saint's name?" "I shouldn't think so, though you never know, what with people named Pantaleon and Onuphrius. Or Ferreolus." "Ferreolus? I dinna think I ken that one." He leaned back, hands linked over his knee. "One of my favorites," I told him, carefully filling in the birthdate and time of birth--even that was an estimate, poor thing. There were precisely two bits of unequivocal information on this birth certificate--the date and the name of the doctor who's delivered him. "Ferreolus," I went on with some new enjoyment, "is the patron saint of sick poultry. Christian martyr. He was a Roman tribune and a secret Christian. Having been found out, he was chained up in the prison cesspool to await trial--I suppose the cells must have been full. Sounds rather daredevil; he slipped his chains and escaped through the sewer. They caught up with him, though, dragged him back and beheaded him." Jamie looked blank. "What has that got to do wi' chickens?" "I haven't the faintest idea. Take it up with the Vatican," I advised him. "Mmphm. Aye, well, I've always been fond of Saint Guignole, myself." I could see the glint in his eye, but couldn't resist. "And what's he the patron of?" "He's involved against impotence." The glint got stronger. "I saw a statue of him in Brest once; they did say it had been there for a thousand years. 'Twas a miraculous statue--it had a cock like a gun muzzle, and--" "A what?" "Well, the size wasna the miraculous bit," he said, waving me to silence. "Or not quite. The townsfolk say that for a thousand years, folk have whittled away bits of it as holy relics, and yet the cock is still as big as ever." He grinned at me. "They do say that a man w' a bit of St. Guignole in his pocket can last a night and a day without tiring." "Not with the same woman, I don't imagine," I said dryly. "It does rather make you wonder what he did to merit sainthood, though, doesn't it?" He laughed. "Any man who's had his prayer answered could tell yet that, Sassenach." (PP. 841-842)
Diana Gabaldon (Drums of Autumn (Outlander, #4))
Do you know the only value life has is what life puts upon itself? And it is of course over-estimated since it is of necessity prejudiced in its own favour. Take that man I had aloft. He held on as if he were a precious thing, a treasure beyond diamonds or rubies. To you? No. To me? Not at all. To himself? Yes. But I do not accept his estimate. He sadly overrates himself. There is plenty more life demanding to be born. Had he fallen and dripped his brains upon the deck like honey from the comb, there would have been no loss to the world. He was worth nothing to the world. The supply is too large. To himself only was he of value, and to show how fictitious even this value was, being dead he is unconscious that he has lost himself. He alone rated himself beyond diamonds and rubies. Diamonds and rubies are gone, spread out on the deck to be washed away by a bucket of sea- water, and he does not even know that the diamonds and rubies are gone. He does not lose anything, for with the loss of himself he loses the knowledge of loss. Don't you see? And what have you to say?
Jack London (The Sea Wolf)
1. Bangladesh.... In 1971 ... Kissinger overrode all advice in order to support the Pakistani generals in both their civilian massacre policy in East Bengal and their armed attack on India from West Pakistan.... This led to a moral and political catastrophe the effects of which are still sorely felt. Kissinger’s undisclosed reason for the ‘tilt’ was the supposed but never materialised ‘brokerage’ offered by the dictator Yahya Khan in the course of secret diplomacy between Nixon and China.... Of the new state of Bangladesh, Kissinger remarked coldly that it was ‘a basket case’ before turning his unsolicited expertise elsewhere. 2. Chile.... Kissinger had direct personal knowledge of the CIA’s plan to kidnap and murder General René Schneider, the head of the Chilean Armed Forces ... who refused to countenance military intervention in politics. In his hatred for the Allende Government, Kissinger even outdid Richard Helms ... who warned him that a coup in such a stable democracy would be hard to procure. The murder of Schneider nonetheless went ahead, at Kissinger’s urging and with American financing, just between Allende’s election and his confirmation.... This was one of the relatively few times that Mr Kissinger (his success in getting people to call him ‘Doctor’ is greater than that of most PhDs) involved himself in the assassination of a single named individual rather than the slaughter of anonymous thousands. His jocular remark on this occasion—‘I don’t see why we have to let a country go Marxist just because its people are irresponsible’—suggests he may have been having the best of times.... 3. Cyprus.... Kissinger approved of the preparations by Greek Cypriot fascists for the murder of President Makarios, and sanctioned the coup which tried to extend the rule of the Athens junta (a favoured client of his) to the island. When despite great waste of life this coup failed in its objective, which was also Kissinger’s, of enforced partition, Kissinger promiscuously switched sides to support an even bloodier intervention by Turkey. Thomas Boyatt ... went to Kissinger in advance of the anti-Makarios putsch and warned him that it could lead to a civil war. ‘Spare me the civics lecture,’ replied Kissinger, who as you can readily see had an aphorism for all occasions. 4. Kurdistan. Having endorsed the covert policy of supporting a Kurdish revolt in northern Iraq between 1974 and 1975, with ‘deniable’ assistance also provided by Israel and the Shah of Iran, Kissinger made it plain to his subordinates that the Kurds were not to be allowed to win, but were to be employed for their nuisance value alone. They were not to be told that this was the case, but soon found out when the Shah and Saddam Hussein composed their differences, and American aid to Kurdistan was cut off. Hardened CIA hands went to Kissinger ... for an aid programme for the many thousands of Kurdish refugees who were thus abruptly created.... The apercu of the day was: ‘foreign policy should not he confused with missionary work.’ Saddam Hussein heartily concurred. 5. East Timor. The day after Kissinger left Djakarta in 1975, the Armed Forces of Indonesia employed American weapons to invade and subjugate the independent former Portuguese colony of East Timor. Isaacson gives a figure of 100,000 deaths resulting from the occupation, or one-seventh of the population, and there are good judges who put this estimate on the low side. Kissinger was furious when news of his own collusion was leaked, because as well as breaking international law the Indonesians were also violating an agreement with the United States.... Monroe Leigh ... pointed out this awkward latter fact. Kissinger snapped: ‘The Israelis when they go into Lebanon—when was the last time we protested that?’ A good question, even if it did not and does not lie especially well in his mouth. It goes on and on and on until one cannot eat enough to vomit enough.
Christopher Hitchens
The Stain That Conner left on our lives will not vanish as easily. I don’t care about Mom and her birds. Their estimation of my brother doesn’t bother me at all. Neither do I worry about Dad and what his lobbyist buddies think. His political clout has not diminished. As twins go, Conner and I don’t share a deep affection, but we do have a nine-months-in-the-same-womb connection. Not to mention a crowd of mutual friends. God, I’ll never forget going to school the day after that ugly scene. The plan was to sever the gossip grapevine from the start with an obvious explanation— accident. Mom’s orders were clear. Conner’s reputation was to be protected at all costs. When I arrived, the rumors had already started, thanks to our neighbor, Bobby Duvall. Conner Sykes got hurt. Conner Sykes was shot. Conner Sykes is in the hospital. Is Conner Sykes, like, dead? I fielded every single question with the agreed fabrication. But eventually, I was forced to concede that, though his wounds would heal, he was not coming back to school right away. Conner Sykes wasn’t dead. But he wasn’t exactly “okay.
Ellen Hopkins (Perfect (Impulse, #2))
If you didn’t already know this, the sun is going to die. When I think about the future, I don’t think about inescapable ends. But even if we solve global warming and destroy nuclear bombs and control population, ultimately the human race will annihilate itself if we stay here. Eventually, inevitably, we will no longer be able to live on Earth: we have a giant fireball clock ticking down twilight by twilight. In many ways, I think mortality is more manageable when we consider our eternal components, our genetics and otherwise that carry on after us. Still, soon enough, the books we write and the plants we grow will freeze up and rot in the darkness. But maybe there’s hope. What the universe really boils down to is whether a planet evolves a life-form intelligent enough to create technology capable of transporting and sustaining that life-form off the planet before the sun in that planet’s solar system explodes. I have a limited set of comparative data points, but I’d estimate that we’re actually doing okay at this point. We already have (intelligent) life, technology, and (primitive) space travel. And we still have some time before our sun runs out of hydrogen and goes nuclear. Yet none of that matters unless we can develop a sustainable means of living and traveling in space. Maybe we can. What I’ve concluded is that if we do reach this point, we have crossed a remarkable threshold—and will emerge into the (rare?) evolutionary status of having outlived the very life source that created us. It’s natural selection on a Universal scale. “The Origin of the Aliens,” one could say; a survival of the fittest planets. Planets capable of evolving life intelligent enough to leave before the lights go out. I suppose that without a God, NASA is my anti-nihilism. Alone and on my laptop, these ideas can humble me into apathy.
Marina Keegan (The Opposite of Loneliness: Essays and Stories)
I once read that if the folds in the cerebral cortex were smoothed out it would cover a card table. That seemed quite unbelievable but it did make me wonder just how big the cortex would be if you ironed it out. I thought it might just about cover a family-sized pizza: not bad, but no card-table. I was astonished to realize that nobody seems to know the answer. A quick search yielded the following estimates for the smoothed out dimensions of the cerebral cortex of the human brain. An article in Bioscience in November 1987 by Julie Ann Miller claimed the cortex was a "quarter-metre square." That is napkin-sized, about ten inches by ten inches. Scientific American magazine in September 1992 upped the ante considerably with an estimated of 1 1/2 square metres; thats a square of brain forty inches on each side, getting close to the card-table estimate. A psychologist at the University of Toronto figured it would cover the floor of his living room (I haven't seen his living room), but the prize winning estimate so far is from the British magazine New Scientist's poster of the brain published in 1993 which claimed that the cerebral cortex, if flattened out, would cover a tennis court. How can there be such disagreement? How can so many experts not know how big the cortex is? I don't know, but I'm on the hunt for an expert who will say the cortex, when fully spread out, will cover a football field. A Canadian football field.
Jay Ingram (The Burning House : Unlocking the Mysteries of the Brain)
Jaron, stop," Fink said. "We have a problem." I turned back to see his face poke down from the hole through which I'd entered the cavern. In what little light he held, I saw how grim his expression was. "What's wrong?" I asked. "How many steps have you taken?" "I don't know. You never said to count them!" "Sorry. I was supposed to tell you that." "I don't know how many steps, Fink. Does it matter?" "I'll ask." He disappeared for a moment; then I saw this face again. "Yes, it matters a lot. Could you have gone twelve steps?" "Yes. Or maybe thirteen." "No, at thirteen steps, you'd be dead already. Is it twelve steps?" I closed my eyes and tried to estimate the count. "Yes, maybe. Are these real instructions?" "I'm telling you what Levitimas said to me. But he mumbles." "I'M not mumbling, Fink. Tell me what to do!" "Jump." "Jump where? To what?" "I don't know." "Fink, do I jump straight ahead or turn and jump? Do I jump up or down? "Yes, try that." I cursed and didn't care if he heard me. "Nothing is ahead of me, Fink." "You don't know that. Jump!" "If you're wrong about this, I'll kill you." "If I'm wrong, the jump will kill you first.
Jennifer A. Nielsen (The Shattered Castle (Ascendance, #5))
I know that everyone in this room, Bernie Fain included, thinks I'm some kind of a nut with my so-called fixation on this vampire thing. OK, maybe I'm wrong. Maybe he only thinks he is. But there are things here that can't be explained away by so-called common sense. Not even Bernie's report can explain some of them. 'I was at the hospital yesterday.' I looked directly at Butcher. 'Your own people fired maybe fifty or sixty rounds at him, some at point-blank range. How come this man never even slowed down? How come a man seventy years old can outrun police cars for more than fifteen blocks? How come when he gets clubbed on the head he doesn't bleed like other people? Look at these photos! There's a gash on his forehead... and whatever is trickling down from the cut is clear... it isn't blood. 'How come three great, big, burly hospital orderlies weighing an estimated total of nearly seven-hundred fifty pounds couldn't bring one, skinny one-hundred sixty pound man to his knees? How come an ex-boxer, a light-heavyweight not long out of the ring, couldn't even faze him with his best punch, a right hook that should have broken his jaw? 'Face it. Whether it's science, witchcraft or black magic, this character has got something going for him you don't know anything about. He doesn't seem to feel pain. Or get winded. And he doesn't seem to be very frightened by guns, or discouraged by your efforts to trap him. 'Look at these photos! Look at that face! That isn't fear there. It's hate. Pure hate! This man is evil incarnate. He is insane and he may be something even worse although you'd laugh at me because I have no scientific documentation to back me up. Hell, even Regenhaus and Mokurji have all but confirmed that he sucks blood. 'Whatever he is, he's been around a long time and this seems to be the closest any police force has come to putting the finger on him. If you want to go on operating the way you've been doing by treating him like an ordinary man, go ahead. But, I'll bet you any amount of money you come up empty handed again. If you try to catch him at night he'll get away just like he did last night. He'll...' 'Jesus Christ!' bellowed Butcher. 'This son of a bitch has diarrhea of the mouth. Can't one of you people shut him up?
Jeff Rice (The Night Stalker)
He started for the companion stairs, but turned his head for a final word. "Do you know the only value life has is what life puts upon itself? And it is of course over-estimated since it is of necessity prejudiced in its own favour. Take that man I had aloft. He held on as if he were a precious thing, a treasure beyond diamonds or rubies. To you? No. To me? Not at all. To himself? Yes. But I do not accept his estimate. He sadly overrates himself. There is plenty more life demanding to be born. Had he fallen and dripped his brains upon the deck like honey from the comb, there would have been no loss to the world. He was worth nothing to the world. The supply is too large. To himself only was he of value, and to show how fictitious even this value was, being dead he is unconscious that he has lost himself. He alone rated himself beyond diamonds and rubies. Diamonds and rubies are gone, spread out on the deck to be washed away by a bucket of sea- water, and he does not even know that the diamonds and rubies are gone. He does not lose anything, for with the loss of himself he loses the knowledge of loss. Don't you see? And what have you to say?
Jack London (The Sea Wolf By Jack London)
this. I can’t smile or fake things I’m not feeling. Digging chopsticks out of the drawer, I stick them in the bowl and pick it up, carrying it upstairs. I reach the top and don’t pause as I turn away from their bedroom door and head left, toward my own room. Carrying the bowl to my desk, I pause, the smell of the ramen making my stomach roll. I set it down and move to the wall, sliding down until I’m sitting on the floor. The cool hardwood eases my nerves, and I’m tempted to lie down and rest my face on it. Is it weird I stayed in the house tonight when they died just down the hall this morning? The coroner estimated the time of death about two a.m. I didn’t wake up until six. My mind races, caught between wanting to let it go and wanting to process how everything happened. Mirai is here every day. If I didn’t find them, she would’ve. Why didn’t they wait until I’d gone back to school next week? Did they even remember I was in the house? I let my head fall back against the wall and lay my arms over my bent knees, closing my burning eyes. They didn’t leave me a note. They dressed up. They put the dog out. They scheduled Mirai to come late this morning, instead of early.
Penelope Douglas (Credence)
I’m the living dead. I feel no connection to any other human. I have no friends and I don’t really care much about my family any longer. I feel no love for them. I can feel no joy. I’m incapable of feeling physical pleasure. There’s nothing to ever look forward to as a result. I don’t miss anyone or anything. I eat because I feel hunger pangs, but no food tastes like anything I like. I wear a mask when I’m with other people but it’s been slipping lately. I can’t find the energy to hide the heavy weight of survival and its effect on me. I’m exhausted all the time from the effort of just making it through the day. This depression has made a mockery of my memory. It’s in tatters. I have no good memories to sustain me. My past is gone. My present is horrid. My future looks like more of the same. In a way, I’m a man without time. Certainly, there’s no meaning in my life. What meaning can there be without even a millisecond of joy? Ah, scratch that. Let’s even put aside joy and shoot for lower. How about a moment of being content? Nope. Not a chance. I see other people, normal people, who can enjoy themselves. I hear people laughing at something on TV. It makes me cock my head and wonder what that’s like. I’m sure at sometime in my past, I had to have had a wonderful belly laugh. I must have laughed so hard once or twice that my face hurt. Those memories are gone though. Now, the whole concept of “funny” is dead. I stopped going to movies a long time ago. Sitting in a theater crowded with people, every one of them having a better time than you, is incredibly damaging. I wasn’t able to focus for that long anyway. Probably for the best. Sometimes I fear the thought of being normal again. I think I wouldn’t know how to act. How would I handle being able to feel? Gosh it would be nice to feel again. Anything but this terrible, suffocating pain. The sorrow and the misery is so visceral, I find myself clenching my jaw. It physically hurts me. Then I realize that it’s silly to worry about that. You see, in spite of all the meds, the ketamine infusions and other treatments, I’m not getting better. I’m getting worse. I was diagnosed 7 years ago but I’m sure I was suffering for longer. Of course, I can’t remember that, but depression is something that crept up on me. It’s silent and oppressive. I don’t even remember what made me think about going to see someone. But I did and it was a pretty clear diagnosis. So, now what? I keep waking up every morning unfortunately. I don’t fear death any more. That’s for sure. I’ve made some money for the couple of decades I’ve been working and put it away in retirement accounts. I think about how if I was dead that others I once cared for would get that money. Maybe it could at least help them. I don’t know that I’ll ever need it. Even if I don’t end it myself, depression takes a toll on the body. My life expectancy is estimated to be 14 years lower as a result according to the NIH. It won’t be fast enough though. I’m just an empty biological machine that doesn’t know that my soul is gone. My humanity is no more
Ahmed Abdelazeem
Please, I don’t want to go yet! I want to see what you really look like. “IT WILL STRIKE FEAR IN YOUR HEART.” I promised I wouldn’t be frightened and said that it would be a privilege to see them. However, I did request that they make a peaceful gesture in the midst of this frightening exposure, just to reassure me. A wave, perhaps? A spinning white light with a hint of green began to radiate over their faces and upper bodies. The intensity of this light slowly got brighter. It radiated from no detectable source. Then I saw what they truly looked like. They were big, all right. Their upper bodies looked like football linebackers. As the light became brighter and the details clearer, fear and shock did course through me like lightning. They had scales, and their faces were sort of snakelike, or lizardlike. Nothing at all like the smaller aliens. I felt an odd, deep-down instinctual shock, but I told myself to calm down. Fig. 31: I See What These Aliens Really Look Like Their eyes were small like ours, but diamond shaped. The pupils were reddish. Their heads were big, and their brow stuck far out from their eyes to various degrees, giving them all some kind of individuality. I was surprised that I was deeply upset by them. “Hey,” I said feebly. “You promised to…uh...wave.” Wave they did. Each and every one of them slowly lifted their arms and waved them in front of their faces — a sight to behold. This relaxed me, but I was surprised by a feature I didn’t expect — their hands. Their hands were huge, with thick club-like features, which appeared too thick by my estimate to work fine instruments.
Jim Sparks (The Keepers: An Alien Message for the Human Race)
Internet subscription for $59—seemed reasonable. The second option—the $125 print subscription—seemed a bit expensive, but still reasonable. But then I read the third option: a print and Internet subscription for $125. I read it twice before my eye ran back to the previous options. Who would want to buy the print option alone, I wondered, when both the Internet and the print subscriptions were offered for the same price? Now, the print-only option may have been a typographical error, but I suspect that the clever people at the Economist's London offices (and they are clever—and quite mischievous in a British sort of way) were actually manipulating me. I am pretty certain that they wanted me to skip the Internet-only option (which they assumed would be my choice, since I was reading the advertisement on the Web) and jump to the more expensive option: Internet and print. But how could they manipulate me? I suspect it's because the Economist's marketing wizards (and I could just picture them in their school ties and blazers) knew something important about human behavior: humans rarely choose things in absolute terms. We don't have an internal value meter that tells us how much things are worth. Rather, we focus on the relative advantage of one thing over another, and estimate value accordingly. (For instance, we don't know how much a six-cylinder car is worth, but we can assume it's more expensive than the four-cylinder model.) In the case of the Economist, I may not have known whether the Internet-only subscription at $59 was a better deal than the print-only option at $125. But I certainly knew that the print-and-Internet option for $125 was better than the print-only option at $125. In fact, you could reasonably deduce that in the combination package, the Internet subscription is free! “It's a bloody steal—go for it, governor!” I could almost hear them shout from the riverbanks of the Thames. And I have to admit, if I had been inclined to subscribe I probably would have taken the package deal myself. (Later, when I tested the offer on a large number of participants, the vast majority preferred the Internet-and-print deal.)
Dan Ariely (Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions)
I’m telling you, you bastard, you’re going to pay for that rum. In gold or goods, I don’t care which.” “Captain Mallory.” Gray’s baritone was forbidding. “And I apply that title loosely, as you are no manner of captain in my estimation…I have no intention of compensating you for the loss of your cargo. I will, however, accept your thanks.” “My thanks? For what?” “For what?” Now O’Shea entered the mix. “For saving that heap of a ship and your worthless, rum-soaked arse, that’s what.” “I’ll thank you to go to hell,” the gravelly voice answered. Mallory, she presumed. “You can’t just board a man’s craft and pitch a hold full of spirits into the sea. Right knaves, you lot.” “Oh, now we’re the knaves, are we?” Gray asked. “I should have let that ship explode around your ears, you despicable sot. Knaves, indeed.” “Well, if you’re such virtuous, charitable gents, then how come I’m trussed like a pig?” Sophia craned her neck and pushed the hatch open a bit further. Across the deck, she saw a pair of split-toed boots tied together with rope. Gray answered, “We had to bind you last night because you were drunk out of your skull. And we’re keeping you bound now because you’re sober and still out of your skull.” The lashed boots shuffled across the deck, toward Gray. “Let me loose of these ropes, you blackguard, and I’ll pound you straight out of your skull into oblivion.” O’Shea responded with a stream of colorful profanity, which Captain Grayson cut short. “Captain Mallory,” he said, his own highly polished boots pacing slowly, deliberately to halt between Mallory’s and Gray’s. “I understand your concern over losing your cargo. But surely you or your investor can recoup the loss with an insurance claim. You could not have sailed without a policy against fire.” Gray gave an ironic laugh. “Joss, I’ll wager you anything, that rum wasn’t on any bill of lading or insurance policy. Can’t you see the man’s nothing but a smuggler? Probably wasn’t bound for any port at all. What was your destination, Mallory? A hidden cove off the coast of Cornwall, perhaps?” He clucked his tongue. “That ship was overloaded and undermanned, and it would have been a miracle if you’d made it as far as Portugal. As for the rum, take up your complaint with the Vice Admiralty court after you follow us to Tortola. I’d welcome it.
Tessa Dare (Surrender of a Siren (The Wanton Dairymaid Trilogy, #2))
I've got the kids in my room," she explained, while Jubal strove to keep up with her, "so that Honey Bun can watch them." Jubal was mildly startled to see, a moment later, what Patricia meant by that. The boa was arranged on one of twin double beds in squared-off loops that formed a nest - a twin nest, as one bight of the snake had been pulled across to bisect the square, making two crib-sized pockets, each padded with a baby blanket and each containing a baby. The ophidian nursemaid raised her head inquiringly as they came in. Patty stroked it and said, "It's all right, dear. Father Jubal wants to see them. Pet her a little, and let her grok you, so that she will know you next time." First Jubal coochey-cooed at his favorite girl friend when she gurgled at him and kicked, then petted the snake. He decided that it was the handsomest specimen of Bojdae he had ever seen, as well as the biggest - longer, he estimated, than any other boa constrictor in captivity. Its cross bars were sharply marked and the brighter colors of the tail quite showy. He envied Patty her blue-ribbon pet and regretted that he would not have more time in which to get friendly with it. The snake rubbed her head against his hand like a cat. Patty picked up Abby and said, "Just as I thought. Honey Bun, why didn't you tell me?"- then explained, as she started to change diapers, "She tells me at once if one of them gets tangled up, or needs help, or anything, since she can't do much for them herself - no hands - except nudge them back if they try to crawl out and might fall. But she just can't seem to grok that a wet baby ought to be changed - Honey Bun doesn't see anything wrong about that. And neither does Abby." "I know. We call her 'Old Faithful.' Who's the other cutie pie?" "Huh? That's Fatima Michele, I thought you knew." "Are they here? I thought they were in Beirut!" "Why, I believe they did come from some one of those foreign parts. I don't know just where. Maybe Maryam told me but it wouldn't mean anything to me; I've never been anywhere. Not that it matters; I grok all places are alike - just people. There, do you want to hold Abigail Zenobia while I check Fatima?" Jubal did so and assured her that she was the most beautiful girl in the world, then shortly thereafter assured Fatima of the same thing. He was completely sincere each time and the girls believed him - Jubal had said the same thing on countless occasions starting in the Harding administration, had always meant it and had always been believed. It was a Higher Truth, not bound by mundane logic. Regretfully he left them, after again petting Honey Bun and telling her the same thing, and just as sincerely.
Robert A. Heinlein (Stranger in a Strange Land)
There is no fault that can’t be corrected [in natural wine] with one powder or another; no feature that can’t be engineered from a bottle, box, or bag. Wine too tannic? Fine it with Ovo-Pure (powdered egg whites), isinglass (granulate from fish bladders), gelatin (often derived from cow bones and pigskins), or if it’s a white, strip out pesky proteins that cause haziness with Puri-Bent (bentonite clay, the ingredient in kitty litter). Not tannic enough? Replace $1,000 barrels with a bag of oak chips (small wood nuggets toasted for flavor), “tank planks” (long oak staves), oak dust (what it sounds like), or a few drops of liquid oak tannin (pick between “mocha” and “vanilla”). Or simulate the texture of barrel-aged wines with powdered tannin, then double what you charge. (““Typically, the $8 to $12 bottle can be brought up to $15 to $20 per bottle because it gives you more of a barrel quality. . . . You’re dressing it up,” a sales rep explained.) Wine too thin? Build fullness in the mouth with gum arabic (an ingredient also found in frosting and watercolor paint). Too frothy? Add a few drops of antifoaming agent (food-grade silicone oil). Cut acidity with potassium carbonate (a white salt) or calcium carbonate (chalk). Crank it up again with a bag of tartaric acid (aka cream of tartar). Increase alcohol by mixing the pressed grape must with sugary grape concentrate, or just add sugar. Decrease alcohol with ConeTech’s spinning cone, or Vinovation’s reverse-osmosis machine, or water. Fake an aged Bordeaux with Lesaffre’s yeast and yeast derivative. Boost “fresh butter” and “honey” aromas by ordering the CY3079 designer yeast from a catalog, or go for “cherry-cola” with the Rhône 2226. Or just ask the “Yeast Whisperer,” a man with thick sideburns at the Lallemand stand, for the best yeast to meet your “stylistic goals.” (For a Sauvignon Blanc with citrus aromas, use the Uvaferm SVG. For pear and melon, do Lalvin Ba11. For passion fruit, add Vitilevure Elixir.) Kill off microbes with Velcorin (just be careful, because it’s toxic). And preserve the whole thing with sulfur dioxide. When it’s all over, if you still don’t like the wine, just add a few drops of Mega Purple—thick grape-juice concentrate that’s been called a “magical potion.” It can plump up a wine, make it sweeter on the finish, add richer color, cover up greenness, mask the horsey stink of Brett, and make fruit flavors pop. No one will admit to using it, but it ends up in an estimated 25 million bottles of red each year. “Virtually everyone is using it,” the president of a Monterey County winery confided to Wines and Vines magazine. “In just about every wine up to $20 a bottle anyway, but maybe not as much over that.
Bianca Bosker (Cork Dork: A Wine-Fueled Adventure Among the Obsessive Sommeliers, Big Bottle Hunters, and Rogue Scientists Who Taught Me to Live for Taste)
God Honors Our Trust in Him He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. PSALM 91:15 Many people have difficulty trusting God because of past hurts. But God is not like the people who have hurt us. We can trust Him! Although God wants to take care of us, His hands are tied by our unbelief and works of the flesh. He is a gentleman and will not just take over without being invited to do so. He waits until we give up the job of self-care and place our trust and confidence in Him. The law of faith, mentioned in 1 Peter 5:7, is this: When you stop trying to take care of yourself, you release God to take care of you! (Paraphrased.) I have discovered that it is very hard to walk in obedience to God and in love with others if my primary interest is that “I” don’t get hurt or taken advantage of. However, when I allow God to be God in my life, He honors three distinct promises He makes in Psalm 91:15: He’ll be with me in trouble, He’ll deliver me, and He will honor me. Honor is a place of lifting up. When God honors a believer, He lifts up or exalts that person. When we let go and do not try to care for ourselves, we are admitting that we need God’s help. It is an act of humility, and that act of faith places us in the direct line of God’s exaltation. Peter wrote, “Therefore humble yourselves [demote, lower yourselves in your own estimation] under the mighty hand of God, that in due time He may exalt you…” (1 Pet. 5:6). When we trust God, we are in line for a promotion. God will honor us and reward us as we place our faith in Him. In the world’s system, you work hard and then get your reward. In God’s economy, you trust Him deeply and then receive your reward.
Joyce Meyer (Trusting God Day by Day: 365 Daily Devotions)
Forgive me but what did you say your name was my lady?” “Katrina. But I usually go by Kat.” She smiled in an open, friendly manner. “And you two are…?” “Stabs Deep and Locks Tight,” Sylvan supplied the introduction politely. “They are second brothers to Baird and myself. Our father married their mother.” Lock frowned. “So you said your name was Cat? Like the Earth animal you humans keep as a pet?” “Not quite. It’s spelled K-A-T, not…oh never mind. It doesn’t matter.” Kat shrugged. “About cats…” Deep leaned closer and gave Kat a speculative look. “Isn’t that the lovely little animal that makes soft sounds of pleasure when you stroke it?” For some reason Kat’s cheeks grew pink and she seemed embarrassed, though it was a simple enough question in Sylvan’s estimation. Maybe it was the intent way both Deep and Lock were looking at her that made her blush. “I…I suppose. Yes, they d-do,” she stammered. “It’s called purring.” “I see.” Deep smiled at her. “I’ve often wanted to stroke a cat just to hear those sounds. I’m certain the vids we have of it on Twin Moons don’t do it justice.” “I—” Kat began but before she could say more Lock grabbed hold of his twin’s arm and began towing him away. “Forgive him, my lady,” he said, winking at Kat. “Extreme beauty makes him extremely stupid. Come on,” he said when Deep started to protest. “You’re making her uncomfortable.” “I’m not—” “Just come on.
Evangeline Anderson (Hunted (Brides of the Kindred, #2))
BIG FEET, BIGGER HEART If anyone is poor among your fellow Israelites in any of the towns of the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward them. Rather, be openhanded and freely lend them whatever they need. Deuteronomy 15:7–8 Former NBA star Dikembe Mutombo is seven feet two and has size 22 feet. “I’ve no control over that. The Almighty has plans for us to make a place so we can go on and make a difference,” he said. “It all has to do with my faith; I am deeply religious. It goes back to my roots, to my mom and my dad.” Some estimate that he earned more than $100 million while playing with the Denver Nuggets and the Philadelphia 76ers. He didn’t blow the dough on fast cars and bling. Instead, he put the money in the bank and decided to give back. (He must know that the fastest way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it back in your wallet.) He created the Dikembe Mutombo Foundation and built a hospital and research center in the Congo, named after his mom, Biamba. In 1999, his mother had a stroke, just a couple of hours after talking to her son on the phone. Because she couldn’t get to a hospital, she died in her living room. He couldn’t even attend her funeral because of that nation’s civil war. Mutombo donated millions of his own money to create the hospital in honor of his mother and her faith. “I come from a large family, but I was not raised with a fortune,” he said. “Something more was left me, and that was family values.” SWEET FREEDOM IN Action Today, don’t listen to liberals when they mock “family values” like they’re some relic of an ancient past. Rather, pass them on to your kids and watch what God does to change the world.
Sarah Palin (Sweet Freedom: A Devotional)
The Renzettis live in a small house at 84 Chestnut Avenue. Frank Renzetti is forty-four and works as a bookkeeper for a moving company. Mary Renzetti is thirty-five and works part-time at a day care. They have one child, Tommy, who is five. Frank’s widowed mother, Camila, also lives with the family. My question: How likely is it that the Renzettis have a pet? To answer that, most people would zero in on the family’s details. “Renzetti is an Italian name,” someone might think. “So are ‘Frank’ and ‘Camila.’ That may mean Frank grew up with lots of brothers and sisters, but he’s only got one child. He probably wants to have a big family but he can’t afford it. So it would make sense that he compensated a little by getting a pet.” Someone else might think, “People get pets for kids and the Renzettis only have one child, and Tommy isn’t old enough to take care of a pet. So it seems unlikely.” This sort of storytelling can be very compelling, particularly when the available details are much richer than what I’ve provided here. But superforecasters wouldn’t bother with any of that, at least not at first. The first thing they would do is find out what percentage of American households own a pet. Statisticians call that the base rate—how common something is within a broader class. Daniel Kahneman has a much more evocative visual term for it. He calls it the “outside view”—in contrast to the “inside view,” which is the specifics of the particular case. A few minutes with Google tells me about 62% of American households own pets. That’s the outside view here. Starting with the outside view means I will start by estimating that there is a 62% chance the Renzettis have a pet. Then I will turn to the inside view—all those details about the Renzettis—and use them to adjust that initial 62% up or down. It’s natural to be drawn to the inside view. It’s usually concrete and filled with engaging detail we can use to craft a story about what’s going on. The outside view is typically abstract, bare, and doesn’t lend itself so readily to storytelling. So even smart, accomplished people routinely fail to consider the outside view. The Wall Street Journal columnist and former Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan once predicted trouble for the Democrats because polls had found that George W. Bush’s approval rating, which had been rock-bottom at the end of his term, had rebounded to 47% four years after leaving office, equal to President Obama’s. Noonan found that astonishing—and deeply meaningful.9 But if she had considered the outside view she would have discovered that presidential approval always rises after a president leaves office. Even Richard Nixon’s number went up. So Bush’s improved standing wasn’t surprising in the least—which strongly suggests the meaning she drew from it was illusory. Superforecasters don’t make that mistake. If Bill Flack were asked whether, in the next twelve months, there would be an armed clash between China and Vietnam over some border dispute, he wouldn’t immediately delve into the particulars of that border dispute and the current state of China-Vietnam relations. He would instead look at how often there have been armed clashes in the past. “Say we get hostile conduct between China and Vietnam every five years,” Bill says. “I’ll use a five-year recurrence model to predict the future.” In any given year, then, the outside view would suggest to Bill there is a 20% chance of a clash. Having established that, Bill would look at the situation today and adjust that number up or down.
Philip E. Tetlock (Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction)
One text, A Book on Breath by the Master Great Nothing of Sung-Shan, offered this advice: Lie down every day, pacify your mind, cut off thoughts and block the breath. Close your fists, inhale through your nose, and exhale through your mouth. Do not let the breathing be audible. Let it be most subtle and fine. When the breath is full, block it. The blocking (of the breath) will make the soles of your feet perspire. Count one hundred times “one and two.” After blocking the breath to the extreme, exhale it subtly. Inhale a little more and block (the breath) again. If (you feel) hot, exhale with “Ho.” If (you feel) cold, blow the breath out and exhale it with (the sound) “Ch’ui.” If you can breathe (like this) and count to one thousand (when blocking), then you will need neither grains nor medicine. Today, breathholding is associated almost entirely with disease. “Don’t hold your breath,” the adage goes. Denying our bodies a consistent flow of oxygen, we’ve been told, is bad. For the most part, this is sound advice. Sleep apnea, a form of chronic unconscious breathholding, is terribly damaging, as most of us know by now, causing or contributing to hypertension, neurological disorders, autoimmune diseases, and more. Breathholding during waking hours is injurious as well, and more widespread. Up to 80 percent of office workers (according to one estimate) suffer from something called continuous partial attention. We’ll scan our email, write something down, check Twitter, and do it all over again, never really focusing on any specific task. In this state of perpetual distraction, breathing becomes shallow and erratic. Sometimes we won’t breathe at all for a half minute or longer. The problem is serious enough that the National Institutes of Health has enlisted several researchers, including Dr. David Anderson and Dr. Margaret Chesney, to study its effects over the past decades. Chesney told me that the habit, also known as “email apnea,” can contribute to the same maladies as sleep apnea. How could modern science and ancient practices be so at odds?
James Nestor (Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art)
In an article in Bits and Pieces,* some suggestions are made on how to keep a disagreement from becoming an argument: Welcome the disagreement. Remember the slogan, "When two partners always agree, one of them is not necessary." If there is some point you haven't thought about, be thankful if it is brought to your attention. Perhaps this disagreement is your opportunity to be corrected before you make a serious mistake. Distrust your first instinctive impression. Our first natural reaction in a disagreeable situation is to be defensive. Be careful. Keep calm and watch out for your first reaction. It may be you at your worst, not your best. Control your temper. Remember, you can measure the size of a person by what makes him or her angry. Listen first. Give your opponents a chance to talk. Let them finish. Do not resist, defend or debate. This only raises barriers. Try to build bridges of understanding. Don't build higher barriers of misunderstanding. Look for areas of agreement. When you have heard your opponents out, dwell first on the points and areas on which you agree. Be honest, Look for areas where you can admit error and say so. Apologize for your mistakes. It will help disarm your opponents and reduce defensiveness. Promise to think over your opponents' ideas and study them carefully. And mean it. Your opponents may be right. It is a lot easier at this stage to agree to think about their points than to move rapidly ahead and find yourself in a position where your opponents can say: "We tried to tell you, but you wouldn't listen." Thank your opponents sincerely for their interest. Anyone who takes the time to disagree with you is interested in the same things you are. Think of them as people who really want to help you, and you may turn your opponents into friends. Postpone action to give both sides time to think through the problem. Suggest that a new meeting be held later that day or the next day, when all the facts may be brought to bear. In preparation for this meeting, ask yourself some hard questions: Could my opponents be right? Partly right? Is there truth or merit in their position or argument? Is my reaction one that will relieve the problem, or will it just relieve any frustration? Will my reaction drive my opponents further away or draw them closer to me? Will my reaction elevate the estimation good people have of me? Will I win or lose? What price will I have to pay if I win? If I am quiet about it, will the disagreement blow over? Is this difficult situation an opportunity for me? * Bits and Pieces, published by The Economics Press, Fairfield, N.J.
Dale Carnegie (How to Win Friends and Influence People)
Skin in the game can make boring things less boring. When you have skin in the game, dull things like checking the safety of the aircraft because you may be forced to be a passenger in it cease to be boring. If you are an investor in a company, doing ultra-boring things like reading the footnotes of a financial statement (where the real information is to be found) becomes, well, almost not boring. But there is an even more vital dimension. Many addicts who normally have a dull intellect and the mental nimbleness of a cauliflower—or a foreign policy expert—are capable of the most ingenious tricks to procure their drugs. When they undergo rehab, they are often told that should they spend half the mental energy trying to make money as they did procuring drugs, they are guaranteed to become millionaires. But, to no avail. Without the addiction, their miraculous powers go away. It was like a magical potion that gave remarkable powers to those seeking it, but not those drinking it. A confession. When I don’t have skin in the game, I am usually dumb. My knowledge of technical matters, such as risk and probability, did not initially come from books. It did not come from lofty philosophizing and scientific hunger. It did not even come from curiosity. It came from the thrills and hormonal flush one gets while taking risks in the markets. I never thought mathematics was something interesting to me until, when I was at Wharton, a friend told me about the financial options I described earlier (and their generalization, complex derivatives). I immediately decided to make a career in them. It was a combination of financial trading and complicated probability. The field was new and uncharted. I knew in my guts there were mistakes in the theories that used the conventional bell curve and ignored the impact of the tails (extreme events). I knew in my guts that academics had not the slightest clue about the risks. So, to find errors in the estimation of these probabilistic securities, I had to study probability, which mysteriously and instantly became fun, even gripping. When there was risk on the line, suddenly a second brain in me manifested itself, and the probabilities of intricate sequences became suddenly effortless to analyze and map. When there is fire, you will run faster than in any competition. When you ski downhill some movements become effortless. Then I became dumb again when there was no real action. Furthermore, as traders the mathematics we used fit our problem like a glove, unlike academics with a theory looking for some application—in some cases we had to invent models out of thin air and could not afford the wrong equations. Applying math to practical problems was another business altogether; it meant a deep understanding of the problem before writing the equations.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb (Skin in the Game: Hidden Asymmetries in Daily Life (Incerto))
Oh, don’t worry about that,” Shoshanne replied. “I had Alfred write out his burger recipe for Raynor, and now that both pubs are serving up Flynt Burgers, the mages are delivering them every few hours for Deya. I’ve instructed them to alternate the toppings so she gets a good balance of various nutrients, too, and this should help cut her cravings down to one griffin per day by my estimate.” I chuckled when I caught Deya’s giant eye roll. “Remind me to bother you about your appetite as soon as you’re pregnant,” the elf mumbled through her next bite. Shoshanne pursed her lips. “I am simply trying to ensure--” “Leave her alone,” Aurora sighed. “She’s been eating whatever she likes for weeks, and not only is she absolutely glowing, but her little bump is getting cuter every day.” “A cute bump does not equate to a healthy bump,” Shoshanne preached. “Mason’s babies should be handled with the utmost care, and I for one do not believe eating like a dragon is what Mason’s babies should--” “Clearly Mason’s baby likes burgers and hunting for fresh kills,” Cayla interrupted. “You wouldn’t tell Mason he can’t eat what he wants, so how can you tell an adorable little baby who probably looks just like him, but with pink hair and silver eyes, that they’re not allowed to make us eat--” “Ladies, let’s be friendly about food,” I suggested. “There’s no judgement here, alright? If Deya wants five burgers, then she gets five burgers. Same goes for the rest of you once you have equally cute belly bumps.
Eric Vall (Metal Mage 14 (Metal Mage, #14))
In an email to Robertson, the whistleblower Sunny described how Ranbaxy used hidden areas of the plant to store and cover up testing machines that were not connected to the company’s main computer network. He was referring to the crucial high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) machines, the workhorses of any good testing laboratory. The bulky machines looked like a stack of computer printers. Once a drug sample is mixed with a solvent, injected into the machine, and pressed through a column filled with granular material, the machine separates out and measures the drug’s components, including impurities. It displays them as a series of peaks on a graph called a chromatogram. In a compliant laboratory, HPLC machines would be networked with the main computer system, making all their data visible and preserved. During a recent inspection, Sunny wrote, the unauthorized HPLC machines were kept in two ancillary labs: “Ranbaxy creates small such hidden areas where these manipulations can be done.” Sunny estimated that some thirty products on the U.S. market did not pass specifications and advised Robertson that the agency needed to raid Paonta Sahib and Dewas, just as it had done in New Jersey, to find the evidence. He warned, “The move has already started in Ranbaxy to share such details of problematic products personally and not on emails or letters.” But because the U.S. Attorney had no jurisdiction in India, the FDA couldn’t execute a search warrant there. Robertson felt thwarted: “People said, ‘You need to go to India.’” But her response was, “What am I going to do [over there], knock on people’s doors and hope they talk to me? I don’t have authority over in India. It’s all a voluntary, good-faith system.” The case had crashed like a wrecking ball into the overtaxed agency, exposing the fact that the FDA had no effective way to police a foreign drug company.
Katherine Eban (Bottle of Lies: The Inside Story of the Generic Drug Boom)
Imagine that you have to break someone’s arm. Right or left, doesn’t matter. The point is that you have to break it, because if you don’t…well, that doesn’t matter either. Let’s just say bad things will happen if you don’t. Now, my question goes like this: do you break the arm quickly — snap, whoops, sorry, here let me help you with that improvised splint — or do you drag the whole business out for a good eight minutes, every now and then increasing the pressure in the tiniest of increments, until the pain becomes pink and green and hot and cold and altogether howlingly unbearable? Well exactly. Of course. The right thing to do, the only thing to do, is to get it over with as quickly as possible. Break the arm, ply the brandy, be a good citizen. There can be no other answer. Unless. Unless unless unless. What if you were to hate the person on the other end of the arm? I mean really, really hate them. This was a thing I now had to consider. I say now, meaning then, meaning the moment I am describing; the moment fractionally, oh so bloody fractionally, before my wrist reached the back of my neck and my left humerus broke into at least two, very possibly more, floppily joined-together pieces. The arm we’ve been discussing, you see, is mine. It’s not an abstract, philosopher’s arm. The bone, the skin, the hairs, the small white scar on the point of the elbow, won from the corner of a storage heater at Gateshill Primary School — they all belong to me. And now is the moment when I must consider the possibility that the man standingbehind me, gripping my wrist and driving it up my spine with an almost sexual degree of care, hates me. I mean, really, really hates me. He is taking for ever. His name was Rayner. First name unknown. By me, at any rate, and therefore, presumably, by you too. I suppose someone, somewhere, must have known his first name — must have baptised him with it, called him down to breakfast with it, taught him how to spell it — and someone else must have shouted it across a bar with an offer of a drink, or murmured it during sex, or written it in a box on a life insurance application form. I know they must have done all these things. Just hard to picture, that’s all. Rayner, I estimated, was ten years older than me. Which was fine. Nothing wrong with that. I have good, warm, non-arm-breaking relationships with plenty of people who are ten years older than me. People who are ten years older than me are, by and large, admirable. But Rayner was also three inches taller than me, four stones heavier, and at least eight however-you-measure-violence units more violent. He was uglier than a car park, with a big, hairless skull that dipped and bulged like a balloon full of spanners, and his flattened, fighter’s nose, apparently drawn on his face by someone using their left hand, or perhaps even their left foot, spread out in a meandering, lopsided delta under the rough slab of his forehead.
Hugh Laurie (The Gun Seller)
—but not to you. That makes me the only person here who can talk to everybody. How . . . nice. Do tell me about the drains, dear Pym. Don’t tell me they backed up again.” Ekaterin slipped the envelope into the inside pocket of her bolero, leaned her elbow on her chair arm and her chin on her hand, and sat listening with her dark eyebrows crinkling. Pym nodded. “I’m afraid so, Miss Martya. Late last night, Dr. Borgos”—Pym’s lips compressed at the name—“being in a great hurry to return to the search for his missing queen, took two days’ harvest of bug butter—about forty or fifty kilos, we estimated later—which was starting to overflow the hutches on account of Miss Kareen not being there to take care of things properly, and flushed it all down the laboratory drain. Where it encountered some chemical conditions which caused it to . . . set. Like soft plaster. Entirely blocking the main drain, which, in a household with over fifty people in it—all the Viceroy and Vicereine’s staff having arrived yesterday, and my fellow armsmen and their families—caused a pretty immediate and pressing crisis.” Martya had the bad taste to giggle. Pym merely looked prim.
Lois McMaster Bujold (A Civil Campaign (Vorkosigan Saga, #12))
Back in the Vietnam War days, I attended dozens of anti-war demonstrations and the police’s crowd-count never agreed with the organizers’ count. My own observations never gave me clear reason to believe anybody’s estimate. I don’t know how people judge the size of large crowds, or how they can use techniques they sincerely believe have “objectivity.” Even in looking at spilled marbles, I think people estimate very subjectively.
Robert Anton Wilson (Cosmic Trigger III: My Life After Death)
That hunting by fire was still practiced by the natives on a large scale, and it had been his lot to stumble on six baby elephants, victims of a fire from which only fully grown animals had managed to escape thanks to their size and speed? That whole herds of elephants sometimes escaped from the blazing savanna with bums up to their bellies, and that they suffered for weeks? Many a night he had lain awake in the bush listening to their cries of agony. That the contraband traffic in ivory was still practiced on a large scale by Arab and Asiatic merchants, who drove the tribes to poaching? Thirty thousand elephants a year— was it possible to think for a moment of what that meant, without shame? Did she know that a man like Haas, who was the favorite supplier of the big zc^s, saw half the young elephants he captured die under his eyes? The natives, at least, had an excuse: they needed proteins. For them, elephants were only meat. To stop them, they only had to raise the standard of living in Africa: this was the first step in any serious campaign for the protection of nature. But the whites? The so-called “civilized” people? They had no excuse. They hunted for what they called “trophies,” for the excitement of it, for pleasure, in fact. The flame that attracted him so irresistibly burned him in the end. He was the first to recognize the enemy and to cry tally-ho, and he had gone on the attack with all the passion of a man who feels himself challenged by everything that makes too-noble demands upon human nature, as if humanity began somewhere around. thirty thousand feet above the surface of the earth, thirty thousand feet above Orsini. He was determined to defend his own height, his own scale, his own smallness. "Listen to me,” he said. "All right, you're a priest A missionary. As such, you've always had your nose right in it I mean, you have all the sores, all the ugliness before your eyes all day long. All right. All sorts of open wounds— naked human wretchedness. And then, when you’ve well and truly wiped the bottom of mankind, don’t you long to climb a hill and take a good look at something different, and big, and strong, and free?”“When I feel like taking a good look at something different and big and strong and free,” roared Father Fargue, giving the table a tremendous bang with his fist, “it isn't elephants I turn to, it's God I” The man smiled. He licked his cigarette and stuck it in his mouth. “Well, it isn't a pact with the Devil I'm asking you to sign. It's only a petition to stop people from killing elephants. Thirty thousand of them are killed each year. Thirty thousand, and that's a .small e.stimate. You can’t deny it . . . And remember—'* there was a spark of gaiety in his eyes— “and remember. Father, remember: they haven’t sinned.” He was stabbing me in the back, aiming straight at my faith. Original sin, and the whole thing— you know all that better than I do. You know me. I’m a man of action: give me a good case of galloping syphilis and I'm all right. But theory . . . this is between ourselves. Faith, God— I've got all that in my heart, in my guts, but not in my brain. I’m not one of the brainy ones. So I tried offering him a drink, but he refused.” The Jesuit’s face lit up for a moment, and its wrinkles seemed to disappear in the youthfulness of a smile. Fargue suddenly remembered that he was rather frowned upon in his Order; he had several times been forbidden to publish his scientific papers; it was even whispered that his stay in Africa was not entirely voluntary He had heard tell that Father Tassin, in his writings, represented salvation as a mere biological mutation, and humanity, in the form in which we still know it, as an archaic species doomed to join other vanished species in the obscurity of a prehistoric past. His face clouded over: that smacked of heresy.
Romain Gary
I’ve always yearned to be a black man, to have a black man’s soul, a black man's laughter. You know why? Because I thought you were diflFerent from us. Yes, I thought you were something special, something difiFerent on this sad earth of ours. I wanted to escape with you from the white man’s hollow materialism, from his lack of faith, his humble and frustrated sexuality, from his lack of joy, of laughter, of magic, of faith in the richness of after-life. encouragement and signs of gratitude or recognition have been very few, if any, along my road. If humanity can be compared to a tribe, then you may say I’m completely de-tribalized. You love Negroes out of sheer misanthropy, because you think they aren’t really men. in the end all human faces look alike with nothing bright or hopeful around me, except those distant stars— and even there, let’s be frank: it’s only their distance that gives them that purity and beauty ideals don't die— obliged to live on shit sometimes, but don’t die! the company a great cause always keeps: men of good will and those who exploit them your skin, you know, is worth no more than the elephants’ hide. In Gennany, at Belsen, during the war, it seems we used to make lampshades out of human skin— for your information. And don’t forget, Monsieur Saint- Denis, that we Germans have always been forerunners in everything ‘Women,’ I concluded rather bitterly, ‘have at their command certain means of persuasion which the best- organized police forces do not possess.’ The number of animals who lived in cruel suffering, sometimes for years, with bullets in their bodies, wounds growing deeper and deeper, gangrenous and swarming with ticks and flies, could not be estimated to change species, to come over to the elephants and live in the wilds among honest animals Always cheerful, with the cheerfulness of a man who has gone deep down into things and come back reassured. No one knew the desert better than Scholscher, who had spent so many nights alone there on the starlit dunes, and no one understood better than he did that need for protection which sometimes grips men’s hearts and drives them to give a dog the affection they dream so desperately of receiving themselves. by ‘defending the splendors of nature . . .’ He meant liberty.” Islam calls that ’the roots of heaven.’ and to the Mexican Indians it is of life’— the thing that makes both of them fall on their knees and raise their eyes and beat their tormented breasts. A need for protection and company, from which obstinate people like Morel try to escape by means of petitions, fighting committees, by trying to take the protection of species in their own hands. Our needs- for justice, for freedom and dignity— are roots of heaven that are deeply imbedded in our hearts, but of heaven itself men know nothing but the gripping roots ...” . . . And that girl sitting there in front of him with her legs crossed, with her nylon stockings and cigarette and that silent gaze, in which could be read that stubborn need, not so different from what Morel had seen in the eyes of the stray dogs at the pound. but not even all that was comic and childish about him could deprive him of the dignity conferred upon him by his love for his Maker. that human mass whose physical strength was nothing compared to the faith and spirit that dwelt in him. Three quarters of the Oul6 traditions and magic rites had to do with war or hunting while it's easy to suppress a magic tradition it's difficult to fill up the strange voids which it leaves in what you call the primitive psychology and what I call the human soul The roots of heaven are forever planted in their hearts, yet of heaven itself they seem to know nothing but the gripping roots It must be very consoling to take refuge in cynicism and to try and drown your own remorse in a consoling vision of universal swinishness, and you can always
Romain Gary
One man who estimated that he had hooked up with thirty or forty women over the past year through dating apps admitted, “I sort of play that I could be a boyfriend kind of guy,” in order to win them over, “but then they start wanting me to care more . . . and I just don’t.
David M. Buss (The Evolution of Desire: Strategies of Human Mating)
But right now, kids in this country are seeing what happens when we stop requiring empathy of one another. They’re looking around wondering if we’ve been lying to them this whole time about who we are and what we truly value.” In her estimation, our biggest problem is a lack of empathy. Me for you and you for me. Her solution is to create more. Paul Bloom, on the other hand, a moral philosopher, argues that empathy itself is a problem in human interaction, not a solution. He says empathy, “however well-intentioned, is a poor guide for moral reasoning. Worse, to the extent that individuals and societies make ethical judgments on the basis of empathy, they become less sensitive to the suffering of greater and greater numbers of people.” Paul Slovic, another moral philosopher, agrees. He says empathy is a poor tool for improving the lives of others, because the human mind is bad at thinking about, and empathizing with, millions or billions of individuals. “An individual life,” he says, “is very valued. We all go to great lengths to protect a single individual or to rescue someone in distress, but then as the numbers increase, we don’t respond proportionally to that.” He describes a phenomenon called psychic numbing, loosely defined as the larger the number of suffering people, the more apathy. So is the problem not enough empathy, or empathy itself?
Noah Hawley (Anthem)
But how could they manipulate me? I suspect it’s because the Economist’s marketing wizards (and I could just picture them in their school ties and blazers) knew something important about human behavior: humans rarely choose things in absolute terms. We don’t have an internal value meter that tells us how much things are worth. Rather, we focus on the relative advantage of one thing over another, and estimate value accordingly.
Dan Ariely (Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions)
[Aza Raskin] designed something that distinctly changed how the web works. It's called 'infinite scroll.' Older readers will remember that it used to be that the internet was divided into pages, and when you got to the bottom of one page, you had to decide to click a button to get to the next page. It was an active choice. It gave you a moment to pause and ask: Do I want to carry on looking at this? Aza designed the code that means you don't have to ask that question any more. ...It downloads a chunk of status updates for your to read through ...when you get to the bottom, it will automatically load another chunk for your to flick through. ...'At the outset, it looks like a really good invention,' he told me. He believed he was making life easier for everyone. He had been taught that increased speed and efficiency of access were always advances. his invention quickly spread all over the internet ...But then Aza watched as the people around him changed. They seemed to be unable to pull themselves away from their devices, flicking through and through and through, thanks in part to the code he had designed. He found himself infinitely scrolling through what he often realised afterwards was crap, and he wondered if he was making good use of his life. ...Aza sat down and did a calculation. At a conservative estimate, infinite scroll makes you spend 50 percent more of your time on sites like Twitter. (For many people, Aza believes, it's vastly more.) Sticking with this low-ball percentage, Aza wanted to know what it meant, in practice, if billions of people were spending 50 percent more time on a string of social media sites. When he was done, he stared at the sums. Every day, as a direct result of his invention, the combined total of 200,000 more total human lifetimes - every moment from birth to death - is now spent scrolling through a screen. These hours would otherwise have been spent on some other activity. When he described this to me, he sounded a little stunned. That time is 'just completely gone. It's like their entire life - poof. That time, which could have been used for solving climate change, for spending time with their family, for strengthening social bonds. For whatever is it that makes their life well-lived. It's just...' He trailed off.
Johann Hari (Stolen Focus: Why You Can't Pay Attention— and How to Think Deeply Again)
Welcome the disagreement. Remember the slogan, “When two partners always agree, one of them is not necessary.” If there is some point you haven’t thought about, be thankful if it is brought to your attention. Perhaps this disagreement is your opportunity to be corrected before you make a serious mistake. Distrust your first instinctive impression. Our first natural reaction in a disagreeable situation is to be defensive. Be careful. Keep calm and watch out for your first reaction. It may be you at your worst, not our best. Control your temper. Remember, you can measure the size of a person by what makes him or her angry. Listen first. Give your opponents a chance to talk. Let them finish. Do not resist, defend or debate. This only raises barriers. Try to build bridges of understanding. Don’t build higher barriers of misunderstanding. Look for areas of agreement. When you have heard your opponents out, dwell first on the points and areas on which you agree. Be honest, Look for areas where you can admit error and say so. Apologize for your mistakes. It will help disarm your opponents and reduce defensiveness. Promise to think over your opponents’ ideas and study them carefully. And mean it. Your opponents may be right. It is a lot easier at this stage to agree to think about their points than to move rapidly ahead and find yourself in a position where your opponents can say, “We tried to tell you, but you wouldn’t listen.” Thank your opponents sincerely for their interest. Anyone who takes the time to disagree with you is interested in the same things you are. Think of them as people who really want to help you, and you may turn your opponents into friends. Postpone action to give both sides time to think through the problem. Suggest that a new meeting be held later that day or the next day, when all the facts may be brought to bear. In preparation for this meeting, ask yourself some hard questions: Could my opponents be right? Partly right? Is there truth or merit in their position or argument? Is my reaction one that will relieve the problem, or will it just relieve any frustration? Will my reaction drive my opponents further away or draw them closer to me? Will my reaction elevate the estimation good people have of me? Will I win or lose? What price will I have to pay if I win? If I am quiet about it, will the disagreement blow over? Is this difficult situation an opportunity for me?
Dale Carnegie (How to Win Friends and Influence People)
Ecology needs to be a predictive science,” Edward O. Wilson told me. At present, ecology is still limited to being an observational science because the observation isn’t complete yet. Some 1.6 to 1.9 million species—no one knows the exact number—have been identified since Carl Linnaeus founded taxonomy in 1735. Estimates of how many species there are in the world range from 3 million to 100 million (not including the microbes). In other words, we’re so ignorant, we don’t know how ignorant we are.
Stewart Brand (Whole Earth Discipline: Why Dense Cities, Nuclear Power, Transgenic Crops, Restored Wildlands, and Geoengineering Are Necessary)
All of us have different childhoods. The story of childhood is refracted in one’s own estimation of oneself, that’s where we pick up as it were how we feel about ourselves. Because of the language that we’ve learned in childhood, all of us have acquired expectations of how the world is, and how the world will respond to us, based on certain things that happened in the microcosmic world of the family. So we extrapolate what happened in the family, and generalize outwards to the whole world. It’s a natural thing that we do. Because our families of origin are carrying a lot of warps, and a lot of distortions, we’re likely to approach adult life full of expectations, that are not necessarily very fair, either on ourselves or on other people. We may for example think that everybody thinks we’re boring, or everyone’s out to get us, or anyone that we try to love is going to humiliate us, or that in order to win anyone’s favor we’ll always have to agree with them. We carry stories of what we need to do to get loved and also what we can expect from the world, and these stories carry distortions. And normally we play out these distortions in the busy world of relationships, and the office and our friendships, and no one quite notices, and they’re doing their stuff back to us, so everyone’s kind of projecting wildly into one another. Someone’s going “Everyone hates me”, and the other one’s going “I wanna aggress everyone”, and it’s a mess of projections and counter projections, and no one sees what’s going on and there’s no ultimate forgiveness or reconciliation. But what can happen in therapy is you take your issues and when it’s going well you play them out with the therapist, so you become really convinced that the therapist hates you because you are so boring and because therapy is just a room with a therapist, they can actually observe that and go “No, I don’t think that is necessarily right, but I think I am finding you quite interesting.” The therapist can see in a kind of petri dish things that are normally just lost in the complexity of the day-to-day world, and therefore there is a chance to correct what’s going on, so that all those slightly strange ideas, like we have a chance in the sort of clinical and clean confines of a therapy room, to see what we’re doing and get a chance to question whether it still makes sense. It has an origin but that origin may no longer be fair to reality as we have to live it.
Alain de Botton
I know where the Tower of the Beast is; and I also know that the beast is still alive.” “Now, see here,” said Brender good-humoredly, “I’m intrigued by your resemblance to me; and as a matter of fact I’d like Pamela—my wife—to see you. How about coming over to dinner? But don’t, for Heaven’s sake, expect me to believe such a story. The beast, if there is such a thing, fell from the sky when Mars was young. There are some authorities who maintain that the Martian race died out a hundred million years ago, though twenty-five million is the conservative estimate. The only things remaining of their civilization are their constructions of ultimate metal. Fortunately, toward the end they built almost everything from that indestructible material.” “Let me tell you about the Tower of the Beast,” said the thing quietly. “It is a tower of gigantic size, but only a hundred feet or so projected above the sand when I saw it. The whole top is a door, and that door is geared to a time lock, which in turn has been integrated along a line of ieis to the ultimate prime number.” Jim Brender stared; and the thing caught his startled thought, the first uncertainty, and the beginning of belief.
A.E. van Vogt (Vault of the Beast)
It’s strange. You hear stories about ancillaries, and it seems like the most awful thing, the most viscerally appalling thing the Radchaai have done. To invade and take, what, half the adult population? And turn them into walking corpses, slaved to your ships’ AIs. Turned against their own people. If you’d asked me before you … annexed us, I’d have said it was a fate worse than death.” She turned to me. “Is it?” “None of my bodies is dead, Divine,” I said. “And your estimate of the typical percentage of annexed populations who were made into ancillaries is excessive.” “You used to horrify me,” said the head priest to me. “The very thought of you near was terrifying, your dead faces, those expressionless voices. But today I am more horrified at the thought of a unit of living human beings who serve voluntarily. Because I don’t think I could trust them.
Ann Leckie (Ancillary Justice (Imperial Radch, #1))
I knew another good man whose wealth was estimated at more than nine billion dollars. He’s in heaven now, but he’d made it big in the oil business after starting with nothing. He loved God and always helped others. Among many other things, he owned a big retreat center where people could come and get away for a weekend and be refreshed. One time a couple showed up at the retreat’s front desk when the receptionist had stepped away. My friend the multibillionaire just happened to be there. He was an older man, very friendly and humble. He checked in the couple, gave them their keys, then grabbed their suitcases and carried them to the room. He set them up, laid out their bags, and even brought ice for them. He was about to leave them when the lady pulled a five-dollar bill from her purse and gave him a tip. She thought he was the bellman. He just smiled and said, “Thank you, Lord, now I’ve got nine billion and five dollars!” I love the fact that he wasn’t too important to serve. He didn’t say, “Excuse me, I don’t need a tip. I own it all. Do you know who I am?” It takes a big person to do something small. It takes humility to say, “I don’t have to do this. It’s not required of me. I could have somebody else do it. Nobody would fault me if I didn’t, but I know in order to serve God, I need to serve other people.
Joel Osteen (You Can You Will: 8 Undeniable Qualities of a Winner)
May 5th 2018 was one of the first nice spring days the beautiful State of Maine had seen since being captured by the long nights and cold days of winter. Ursula, my wife of nearly 60 years and I were driving north on the picturesque winding coastal route and had just enjoyed the pleasant company of Beth Leonard and Gary Lawless at their interesting book store “Gulf of Maine” in Brunswick. I loved most of the sights I had seen that morning but nothing prepared us for what we saw next as we drove across the Kennebec River on the Sagadahoc Bridge. Ursula questioned me about the most mysterious looking vessel we had ever seen. Of course she expected a definitive answer from me, since I am considered a walking encyclopedia of anything nautical by many. Although I had read about this new ship, its sudden appearance caught me off guard. “What kind of ship is that?” Ursula asked as she looked downstream, at the newest and most interesting stealth guided missile destroyer on the planet. Although my glance to the right was for only a second, I was totally awed by the sight and felt that my idea of what a ship should look like relegated me to the ashbin of history where I would join the dinosaurs and flying pterosaurs of yesteryear. Although I am not privileged to know all of the details of this class of ship, what I do know is that the USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000) first underwent sea trials in 2015. The USS Michael Monsoor (DDG-1001) delivered to the Navy in April 2018, was the second ship this class of guided missile destroyers and the USS Lyndon B. Johnson (DDG-1002) now under construction, will be the third and final Zumwalt-class destroyer built for the United States Navy. It was originally expected that the cost of this class would be spread across 32 ships but as reality set in and costs overran estimates, the number was reduced to 24, then to 7 and finally to 3… bringing the cost-per-ship in at a whopping $7.5 billion. These guided missile destroyers are primarily designed to be multi-mission stealth ships with a focus on naval gunfire to support land attacks. They are however also quite capable for use in surface and anti-aircraft warfare. The three ship’s propulsion is similar and comes from two Rolls-Royce gas turbines, similar to aircraft jet engines, and Curtiss-Wright electrical generators. The twin propellers are driven by powerful electric motors. Once across the bridge the landscape once again became familiar and yet different. Over 60 years had passed since I was here as a Maine Maritime Academy cadet but some things don’t change in Maine. The scenery is still beautiful and the people are friendly, as long as you don’t step on their toes. Yes, in many ways things are still the same and most likely will stay the same for years to come. As for me I like New England especially Maine but it gets just a little too cold in the winter!
Hank Bracker
Will you want an estimate of all the livestock, my lord?” “Naturally.” “Not my horse.” A new voice entered the conversation. All four men looked to the doorway, where Kathleen stood as straight and rigid as a blade. She stared at Devon with open loathing. “The Arabian belongs to me.” Everyone rose to his feet except for Devon, who remained seated at the desk. “Do you ever enter a room the ordinary way?” he asked curtly, “or is it your usual habit to slink past the threshold and pop up like a jack-in-the-box?” “I only want to make it clear that while you’re tallying the spoils, you will remove my horse from the list.” “Lady Trenear,” Mr. Fogg interceded, “I regret to say that on your wedding day, you relinquished all rights to your movable property.” Kathleen’s eyes narrowed. “I’m entitled to keep my jointure and all the possessions I brought to the marriage.” “Your jointure,” Totthill agreed, “but not your possessions. I assure you that no court in England will regard a married woman as a separate legal being. The horse was your husband’s, and now it belongs to Lord Trenear.” Kathleen’s face went skull-white, and then red. “Lord Trenear is stripping the estate like a jackal with a rotting carcass. Why must he be given a horse that my father gave to me?” Infuriated that Kathleen would show him so little deference in front of the others, Devon stood from the desk and approached her in a few strides. To her credit, she didn’t cower, even though he was twice her size. “Devil take you,” he snapped, “none of this is my fault.” “Of course it is. You’ll seize on any excuse to sell Eversby Priory because you don’t want to take on a challenge.” “It’s only a challenge when there’s some small hope of success. This is a debacle. The list of creditors is longer than my bloody arm, the coffers are empty, and the annual yields have been cut in half.” “I don’t believe you. You’re planning to sell the estate to settle personal debts that have nothing to do with Eversby Priory.” Devon’s hands knotted with the urge to destroy something. His rising bloodlust would only be satisfied with the sound of shattering objects. He had never faced a situation like this, and there was no one to give him trustworthy advice, no kindly aristocratic relation, no knowledgeable friends in the peerage. And this woman could only accuse and insult him.
Lisa Kleypas (Cold-Hearted Rake (The Ravenels, #1))
If your manager came in and said, “I need you to create a report. I don’t want you to include past sales, current sales, or estimated sales.” The likely next question would be, “What would you like me to include?
Elaina Noell (Inspiring Accountability in the Workplace: Unlocking the Brain's Secrets to Employee Engagement, Accountability, and Results)