Usable Quotes

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Travel changes you. As you move through this life and this world you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small. And in return, life - and travel - leaves marks on you. Most of the time, those marks - on your body or on your heart - are beautiful. Often, though, they hurt.
Anthony Bourdain (The Nasty Bits: Collected Varietal Cuts, Usable Trim, Scraps, and Bones)
The test of the machine is the satisfaction it gives you. There isn't any other test. If the machine produces tranquility it's right. If it disturbs you it's wrong until either the machine or your mind is changed.
Robert M. Pirsig (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values (Phaedrus, #1))
In a society in which nearly everybody is dominated by somebody else's mind or by a disembodied mind, it becomes increasingly difficult to learn the truth about the activities of governments and corporations, about the quality or value of products, or about the health of one's own place and economy. In such a society, also, our private economies will depend less and less upon the private ownership of real, usable property, and more and more upon property that is institutional and abstract, beyond individual control, such as money, insurance policies, certificates of deposit, stocks, and shares. And as our private economies become more abstract, the mutual, free helps and pleasures of family and community life will be supplanted by a kind of displaced or placeless citizenship and by commerce with impersonal and self-interested suppliers... Thus, although we are not slaves in name, and cannot be carried to market and sold as somebody else's legal chattels, we are free only within narrow limits. For all our talk about liberation and personal autonomy, there are few choices that we are free to make. What would be the point, for example, if a majority of our people decided to be self-employed? The great enemy of freedom is the alignment of political power with wealth. This alignment destroys the commonwealth - that is, the natural wealth of localities and the local economies of household, neighborhood, and community - and so destroys democracy, of which the commonwealth is the foundation and practical means.
Wendell Berry (The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays)
Schools train you to be ignorant with style [...] they prepare you to be a usable victim for a military industrial complex that needs manpower. As long as you're just smart enough to do a job and just dumb enough to swallow what they feed you, you're going to be alright [...] So I believe that schools mechanically and very specifically try and breed out any hint of creative thought in the kids that are coming up.
Frank Zappa
Where the world comes in my way—and it comes in my way everywhere—I consume it to quiet the hunger of my egoism. For me you are nothing but—my food, even as I too am fed upon and turned to use by you. We have only one relation to each other, that of usableness, of utility, of use. We owe each other nothing, for what I seem to owe you I owe at most to myself. If I show you a cheery air in order to cheer you likewise, then your cheeriness is of consequence to me, and my air serves my wish; to a thousand others, whom I do not aim to cheer, I do not show it.
Max Stirner (The Ego and Its Own)
Life is a journey, and you can't carry everything with you. Only the usable baggage.
Ha Jin
Everything is raw material. Everything is relevant. Everything is usable. Everything feeds into my creativity. But without proper preparation, I cannot see it, retain it, and use it.
Twyla Tharp
The effort to untangle the human words from the divine seems not only futile to me but also unnecessary, since God works with what is. God uses whatever is usable in a life, both to speak and to act, and those who insist on fireworks in the sky may miss the electricity that sparks the human heart.
Barbara Brown Taylor (Leaving Church: A Memoir of Faith)
If there's one thing you learn by working on a lot of different Web sites, it's that almost any design idea--no matter how appallingly bad--can be made usable in the right circumstances, with enough effort.
Steve Krug (Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability)
There were always men looking for jobs in America. There were always all these usable bodies. And I wanted to be a writer. Almost everybody was a writer. Not everybody thought they could be a dentist or an automobile mechanic but everybody knew they could be a writer. Of those fifty guys in the room, probably fifteen of them thought they were writers. Almost everybody used words and could write them down, i.e., almost everybody could be a writer. But most men, fortunately, aren't writers, or even cab drivers, and some men--many men--unfortunately aren't anything.
Charles Bukowski
It’s an irritating reality that many places and events defy description. Angkor Wat and Machu Picchu, for instance, seem to demand silence, like a love affair you can never talk about. For a while after,you fumble for words, trying vainly to assemble a private narrative, an explanation, a comfortable way to frame where you’ve been and whats happened. In the end, you’re just happy you were there- with your eyes open- and lived to see it.
Anthony Bourdain (The Nasty Bits: Collected Varietal Cuts, Usable Trim, Scraps, and Bones)
All of us possess a reading vocabulary as big as a lake but draw from a writing vocabulary as small as a pond. The good news is that the acts of searching and gathering always expand the number of usable words.
Roy Peter Clark (Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer)
Can you play the piano like Beethoven? Or sing like Carly Simon? Can you take fie pages' worth of quotes and turn them into a usable story ten minutes before deadline? I don't think so, unless you have more hidden talents I don't know about. We all have our special sills. They don't make us better or worse than each other. Just different
Jennifer Estep (Karma Girl (Bigtime, #1))
It doesn’t matter how many times I have to click, as long as each click is a mindless, unambiguous choice.
Steve Krug (Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability)
Don't make me think
Steve Krug (Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability)
As time passes, the system becomes less and less well-ordered. Sooner or later the fixing cease to gain any ground. Each forward step is matched by a backward one. Although in principle usable forever, the system has worn out as a base for progress. ...A brand-new, from-the-ground-up redesign is necessary.
Frederick P. Brooks Jr. (The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering)
Intuitive design is how we give the user new superpowers.
Jared Spool (Web Site Usability: A Designer's Guide (Interactive Technologies))
Get rid of half the words on each page, then get rid of half of what’s left.
Steve Krug (Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability)
Your primary role should be to share what you know, not to tell people how things should be done.
Steve Krug (Don't Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability)
High-quality web content that's useful, usable, and enjoyable is one of the greatest competitive advantages you can create for yourself online.
Kristina Halvorson (Content Strategy for the Web)
We must note the curious fact that people are not content with what is simple to understand, but go straight for the more complex problems which they will perhaps never grasp. What is simple to grasp is quite usable and useful, and can keep us occupied for a whole lifetime if it satisfies and stimulates us.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Your objective should always be to eliminate instructions entirely by making everything self-explanatory, or as close to it as possible. When instructions are absolutely necessary, cut them back to a bare minimum.
Steve Krug (Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability)
Designers love subtle cues, because subtlety is one of the traits of sophisticated design. But Web users are generally in such a hurry that they routinely miss subtle cues.
Steve Krug (Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability)
The Bible attitude is not that God sends sickness or that sickness is of the devil, but that sickness is a fact usable by both God and the devil.
Oswald Chambers (Philosophy of Sin)
Early moralists who believed that taking too much pleasure at the table led inexorably to bad character-or worse, to sex-were (in the best-case scenario, anyway) absolutely right.
Anthony Bourdain (The Nasty Bits: Collected Varietal Cuts, Usable Trim, Scraps, and Bones)
If you want a great site, you’ve got to test. After you’ve worked on a site for even a few weeks, you can’t see it freshly anymore. You know too much. The only way to find out if it really works is to test it.
Steve Krug (Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability)
Time goes forward because energy itself is always moving from an available to an unavailable state. Our consciousness is continually recording the entropy change in the world around us. We watch our friends get old and die. We sit next to a fire and watch it's red-hot embers turn slowly into cold white ashes. We experience the world always changing around us, and that experience is the unfolding of the second law. It is the irreversible process of dissipation of energy in the world. What does it mean to say, 'The world is running out of time'? Simply this: we experience the passage of time by the succession of one event after another. And every time an event occurs anywhere in this world energy is expended and the overall entropy is increased. To say the world is running out of time then, to say the world is running out of usable energy. In the words of Sir Arthur Eddington, 'Entropy is time's arrow'.
Jeremy Rifkin (Entropy: A New World View)
usability is about people and how they understand and use things, not about technology.
Steve Krug (Don't Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability)
It was once said that this is the land of the free. There is, I believe, a statue out there in the harbor, with something written on it about "Give me your hungry...your oppressed...give me pretty much everybody"-that's the way I remember it, anyway. The idea of America is a mutt-culture, isn't it? Who the hell is America if not everybody else? We are-and should be-a big, messy, anarchistic polyglot of dialects and accents and different skin tones.... We need more Latinos to come here. And they should, whenever possible, impregnate our women.
Anthony Bourdain (The Nasty Bits: Collected Varietal Cuts, Usable Trim, Scraps, and Bones)
Happy talk must die
Steve Krug (Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability)
Honesty is occasionally the best policy," she said yawning. And then she added, "By the Black Staff of Beldar, I am tired. If I can find a usable bed in what's left of my house I intend to collapse on it. And Elwyn, if you disturb me before dawn, I promise, I will turn you into a train of thought, and lose you.
L.J. Smith (The Night of the Solstice (Wildworld, #1))
Thirty spokes share one hub in non-being lies the use of the cart knead clay to make vessels in non-being lies the use of the vessel cut out doors and windows to make a house therefore form being comes what is usable and from non-being comes what is essential.
Lao Tzu
The moment has come to give fascism a usable short handle, even though we know that it encompasses its subject no better than a snapshot encompasses a person. Fascism may be defined as a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion.
Robert O. Paxton (The Anatomy of Fascism)
SURVIVOR: To remain alive; to carry on despite hardships or trauma; persevere, to remain functional or usable, to live longer than; outlive, to persist or remain usable through, and to cope with a trauma or setback, to persevere after.
Shannon Thomas (Healing from Hidden Abuse: A Journey Through the Stages of Recovery from Psychological Abuse)
Keep it simple, so you'll keep doing it.
Steve Krug (Don't Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability (Voices That Matter))
The main thing you need to know about instructions is that no one is going to read them—at least not until after repeated attempts at “muddling through” have failed.
Steve Krug (Don't Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability)
In reality, though, most of the time we don’t choose the best option—we choose the first reasonable option, a strategy known as satisficing.
Steve Krug (Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability)
It doesn’t matter how many times I have to click, as long as each click is a mindless, unambiguous choice. —KRUG’S SECOND LAW OF USABILITY
Steve Krug (Don't Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability)
Everything is raw material. Everything is relevant. Everything is usable.
Twyla Tharp (The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life)
Revelation is everything, not for its own sake, because most self-revelation is just garbage--oop!--yes, but we have to purge the garbage, toss it out, throw it into a bunker and burn it, because it is fuel. It's fossil fuel. And what do we do with fossil fuel? Why, we dump it into a bunker and burn it, of course. No, we don't do that. But you get my meaning. It's endlessly renewable, usable without diminishing one's capacity to create more.
Dave Eggers (A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius)
If you can’t make something self-evident, you at least need to make it self-explanatory.
Steve Krug (Don't Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability)
Nothing important should ever be more than two clicks away
Steve Krug (Don't Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability)
As a rule, conventions only become conventions if they work.
Steve Krug (Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability)
For their own good, vegetarians should never be allowed near fine beers and ales. It will only make them loud and belligerent, and they lack the physical strength and aggressive nature to back up any drunken assertions.
Anthony Bourdain (The Nasty Bits: Collected Varietal Cuts, Usable Trim, Scraps, and Bones)
Remember, the web isn't about control. If a visitor to your site is familiar with using a browser's native form doodad, you won't be doing them any favors if you override the browser functionality with your own widget, even if you think your widget looks better.
Jeremy Keith
We shall never fully understand nature (or ourselves), and certainly never respect it, until we dissociate the wild from the notion of usability - however innocent and harmless the use. For it is the general uselessness of so much of nature that lies at the root of our ancient hostility and indifference to it.
John Fowles (The Tree)
And not just the right thing; it’s profoundly the right thing to do, because the one argument for accessibility that doesn’t get made nearly often enough is how extraordinarily better it makes some people’s lives. How many opportunities do we have to dramatically improve people’s lives just by doing our job a little better?
Steve Krug (Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability)
The problem is there are no simple “right” answers for most Web design questions (at least not for the important ones). What works is good, integrated design that fills a need—carefully thought out, well executed, and tested.
Steve Krug (Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability)
When fixing problems, always do the least you can.
Steve Krug (Rocket Surgery Made Easy: The Do-It-Yourself Guide to Finding and Fixing Usability Problems)
The fact that the people who built the site didn’t care enough to make things obvious—and easy—can erode our confidence in the site and the organization behind it.
Steve Krug (Don't Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability)
If something requires a large investment of time—or looks like it will—it’s less likely to be used.
Steve Krug (Don't Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability)
I have nearly completed your disappearance
Deborah Landau (The Last Usable Hour (Lannan Literary Selections))
Wisdom is not having God's perspective of the whole matter before us, but having God's perspective about what next response will honor Him while keeping us still usable to Him.
Jim Berg (Changed into His Image: God's Plan for Transforming Your Life)
We need to transform all the “stuff” we’ve attracted and accumulated into a clear inventory of meaningful actions, projects, and usable information.
David Allen (Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity)
Usability’s strength is in identifying problems, while design’s strength is in identifying solutions.
Alan Cooper (About Face: The Essentials of Interaction Design)
if you're going to waste time getting lost on the words you don't like instead of going, is there a part of this message that's usable for me?
Tom Bilyeu
As long as the death was relatively sudden and the dead person was in otherwise good health, cadaver blood remains usable, as Dr. Shamov discovered, for up to six hours.
Caitlin Doughty (Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs?: And Other Questions About Dead Bodies)
My mother clutches at the collar of my shirt. I rub her back and feel her tears on my neck. It's been decades since our bodies have been this close. It's an odd sensation, like a torn ligament knitting itself back, lumpy and imperfect, usable as long as we know not to push it too hard.
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni (Before We Visit the Goddess)
Amazon’s rise was a surprise not because it became an “everything store” (not hard to imagine), but because Amazon’s customers (me and you) rushed to write the reviews that made the site’s long-tail selection usable. Today,
Kevin Kelly (The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future)
On a far-wandering walk a thousand useful and usable thoughts occur to me, while shut in at home, I would lamentably wither and dry up. Walking is for me not only healthy, and lovely, it is also of service - not only lovely, but also useful. A walk advances me professionally, and provides me at the same time with amusement and joy; it conforts, delights and refreshes me, is a pleasure for me, but also has the peculiarity that it spurs me on and allures me to further creation, since it offers me as material numerous more or less significant objectivities upon which I can later work industriously at home. Every walk is filled with phenomena valuable to see and feel.
Robert Walser (The Walk and Other Stories)
The Joel Test 1. Do you use source control? 2. Can you make a build in one step? 3. Do you make daily builds? 4. Do you have a bug database? 5. Do you fix bugs before writing new code? 6. Do you have an up-to-date schedule? 7. Do you have a spec? 8. Do programmers have quiet working conditions? 9. Do you use the best tools money can buy? 10. Do you have testers? 11. Do new candidates write code during their interview? 12. Do you do hallway usability testing?
Joel Spolsky (Joel on Software)
Christians actually need to be confronted by their real need-an understanding of God's holiness and their own sinfulness-so they can be usable to Him for His Glory. When we have a right relationship to God, every aspect of our lives will settle into its divinely ordained place. ... We are still to need other needs but it begins with a high view of God.
John F. MacArthur Jr. (Alone With God (MacArthur Study Series))
How many opportunities do we have to dramatically improve people’s lives just by doing our job a little better?
Steve Krug (Don't Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability)
Sometimes time spent reinventing the wheel results in a revolutionary new rolling device. But sometimes it just amounts to time spent reinventing the wheel.
Steve Krug (Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability)
It is common to misconceive how checklists function in complex lines of work. They are not comprehensive how-to guides, whether for building a skyscraper or getting a plane out of trouble. They are quick and simple tools aimed to buttress the skills of expert professionals. And by remaining swift and usable and resolutely modest, they are saving thousands upon thousands of lives. *
Atul Gawande (The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right)
The other thing that I would say about writer's block is that it can be very, very subjective. By which I mean, you can have one of those days when you sit down and every word is crap. It is awful. You cannot understand how or why you are writing, what gave you the illusion or delusion that you would every have anything to say that anybody would ever want to listen to. You're not quite sure why you're wasting your time. And if there is one thing you're sure of, it's that everything that is being written that day is rubbish. I would also note that on those days (especially if deadlines and things are involved) is that I keep writing. The following day, when I actually come to look at what has been written, I will usually look at what I did the day before, and think, "That's not quite as bad as I remember. All I need to do is delete that line and move that sentence around and its fairly usable. It's not that bad." What is really sad and nightmarish (and I should add, completely unfair, in every way. And I mean it -- utterly, utterly, unfair!) is that two years later, or three years later, although you will remember very well, very clearly, that there was a point in this particular scene when you hit a horrible Writer's Block from Hell, and you will also remember there was point in this particular scene where you were writing and the words dripped like magic diamonds from your fingers -- as if the Gods were speaking through you and every sentence was a thing of beauty and magic and brilliance. You can remember just as clearly that there was a point in the story, in that same scene, when the characters had turned into pathetic cardboard cut-outs and nothing they said mattered at all. You remember this very, very clearly. The problem is you are now doing a reading and you cannot for the life of you remember which bits were the gifts of the Gods and dripped from your fingers like magical words and which bits were the nightmare things you just barely created and got down on paper somehow!! Which I consider most unfair. As a writer, you feel like one or the other should be better. I wouldn't mind which. I'm not somebody who's saying, "I really wish the stuff from the Gods was better." I wouldn't mind which way it went. I would just like one of them to be better. Rather than when it's a few years later, and you're reading the scene out loud and you don't know, and you cannot tell. It's obviously all written by the same person and it all gets the same kind of reaction from an audience. No one leaps up to say, "Oh look, that paragraph was clearly written on an 'off' day." It is very unfair. I don't think anybody who isn't a writer would ever understand how quite unfair it is.
Neil Gaiman
The two projects I have indicated (an infinite vocabulary for the natural series of numbers, and a usable mental catalogue of all the images of memory) are lacking in sense, but they reveal a certain stammering greatness. They allow us to make out dimly, or to infer, the dizzying world of Funes
Jorge Luis Borges (Ficciones)
[George] Steiner makes two other points worth mentioning about the consequences of language abuse: as usable words are lost, experience becomes cruder and less communicable. And with the loss of the subtlety, clarity, and reliability of language, we become more vulnerable to crude exercises of power.
Marilyn Chandler McEntyre (Caring for Words in a Culture of Lies)
But it's Atlanta that can lay claim to the best of the best (which is to say worst) chef-friendly dives in America: the legendary Clermont Lounge, a sort of lost-luggage department for strippers, who perform—perfunctorily—on a stage behind the bar.
Anthony Bourdain (The Nasty Bits: Collected Varietal Cuts, Usable Trim, Scraps, and Bones)
There was the matter of the withered-looking and bradyauxetic arms, which just as in a hair-raising case of Volkmann’s contracture 115 curled out in front of his thorax in magiscule S’s and were usable for rudimentary knifeless eating and slapping at doorknobs until they sort of turned just enough and doors could be kicked open and
David Foster Wallace (Infinite Jest)
In the last few years, making things more usable has become almost everybody’s responsibility. Visual designers and developers now often find themselves doing things like interaction design (deciding what happens next when the user clicks, taps, or swipes) and information architecture (figuring out how everything should be organized). I
Steve Krug (Don't Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability)
Or as Jakob Nielsen so aptly put it: The human brain’s capacity doesn’t change from one year to the next, so the insights from studying human behavior have a very long shelf life. What was difficult for users twenty years ago continues to be difficult today. I
Steve Krug (Don't Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability)
Intuitive design happens when current knowledge is the same as the target knowledge.
Jared Spool (Web Site Usability: A Designer's Guide (Interactive Technologies))
the pernicious spread of raw food continues, and its prodigiously farting adherents continue to multiply. They must be stopped.
Anthony Bourdain (The Nasty Bits: Collected Varietal Cuts, Usable Trim, Scraps, and Bones)
The name of the page will match the words I clicked to get there. In
Steve Krug (Don't Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability)
Las Vegas no less—the Ugly Shorts Heart of Darkness
Anthony Bourdain (The Nasty Bits: Collected Varietal Cuts, Usable Trim, Scraps, and Bones)
Reconciling empire and liberty - based on the violent taking of Indigenous lands - into a usable myth allowed for the emergence of an enduring populist imperialism. Wars of conquest and ethnic cleansing could be sold to "the people" - indeed could be fought for by the young men of those very people - by promising to expand economic opportunity, democracy, and freedom for all.
Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz (An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States)
There are no meaningful translations for these terms. They are needlessly recursive. They contain no usable intelligence, yet they are structured intelligently; there is no chance they could have arisen by chance. The only explanation is that something has coded nonsense in a way that poses as a useful message; only after wasting time and effort does the deception becomes apparent. The signal functions to consume the resources of a recipient for zero payoff and reduced fitness. The signal is a virus. Viruses do not arise from kin, symbionts, or other allies. The signal is an attack.
Peter Watts (Blindsight (Firefall, #1))
The important lesson here is that wisdom is not having God’s perspective of the whole matter before us, but having God’s perspective about what next response will honor Him while keeping us still usable to Him.
Jim Berg (Changed Into His Image)
How many'd we do?" is the question frequently asked at the end of the shift, when the cooks collapse onto flour sacks and milk crates and piles of dirty linen, smoking their cigarettes, drinking their shift cocktails,
Anthony Bourdain (The Nasty Bits: Collected Varietal Cuts, Usable Trim, Scraps, and Bones)
Usability, fundamentally, is a matter of bringing a bit of human rights into the world of computer-human interaction. It's a way to let our ideals shine through in our software, no matter how mundane the software is. You may think that you're stuck in a boring, drab IT department making mind-numbing inventory software that only five lonely people will ever use. But you have daily opportunities to show respect for humanity even with the most mundane software.
Joel Spolsky (User Interface Design for Programmers)
Could I see that God wanted to transform my life from a somewhat ugly, useless branch to an arrow, a tool usable in His hands, for the furtherance of His purposes?....To be thus transformed, was I willing - am I till willing - for the whittling, sandpapering, stripping, processes necessary in my Christian life? The ruthless pulling off of leaves and flowers might include doing without a television set or washing machine, remaining single in order to see a job done, re-evaluating the worthiness of the ambition to be a "good" doctor (according to my terms an values). The snapping of thorns might include drastic dealing with hidden jealousies and unknown prides, giving up prized rights in leadership and administration. The final stripping of the bark might include lessons to be learned regarding death to self - self-defence,self-pity, self-justification, self-vinidication, self-sufficiency, all the mechanisms of preventing the hurt of too deep involvment. Am I prepared for the pain, which may at times seem like sacrifice, in order to be made a tool in His service? My willingness will be a measure of the sincerity of my desire to express my heartfelt gratitude to Him for his so-great salvation. Can I see such minor "sacrifices" in light of the great sacrifice of Calvary, where Christ gave all for me?
Helen Roseveare (Living Sacrifice: Willing to be Whittled as an Arrow)
The more you watch users carefully and listen to them articulate their intentions, motivations, and thought processes, the more you realize that their individual reactions to Web pages are based on so many variables that attempts to describe users in terms of one-dimensional likes and dislikes are futile and counter-productive. Good design, on the other hand, takes this complexity into account.
Steve Krug (Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability)
Small quantities of non-weapons-grade radioactive plutonium can be used to power radioisotope thermoelectric generators (sensibly abbreviated as RTGs) for spacecraft that travel to the outer solar system, where the intensity of sunlight has diminished below the level usable by solar panels. One pound of plutonium will generate a half million kilowatt-hours of heat energy, enough to continuously power a household blender for a hundred years, or a human being for five times as long, if we ran on nuclear fuel instead of grocery-store food.
Neil deGrasse Tyson (Astrophysics for People in a Hurry (Astrophysics for People in a Hurry Series))
Women have complained, justly, about the behavior of “macho” men. But despite their he-man pretensions and their captivation by masculine heroes of sports, war, and the Old West, most men are now entirely accustomed to obeying and currying the favor of their bosses. Because of this, of course, they hate their jobs — they mutter, “Thank God it’s Friday” and “Pretty good for Monday”— but they do as they are told. They are more compliant than most housewives have been. Their characters combine feudal submissiveness with modern helplessness. They have accepted almost without protest, and often with relief, their dispossession of any usable property and, with that, their loss of economic independence and their consequent subordination to bosses. They have submitted to the destruction of the household economy and thus of the household, to the loss of home employment and self-employment, to the disintegration of their families and communities, to the desecration and pillage of their country, and they have continued abjectly to believe, obey, and vote for the people who have most eagerly abetted this ruin and who have most profited from it. These men, moreover, are helpless to do anything for themselves or anyone else without money, and so for money they do whatever they are told.
Wendell Berry (The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays of Wendell Berry)
As electrical energy can create mechanical vibrations (perceived as sound by the human ear), so in turn can mechanical vibrations create electrical energy, such as the previously mentioned ball lightning. It could be theorized, therefore, that with the Earth being a source for mechanical vibration, or sound, and the vibrations being of a usable amplitude and frequency, then the Earth's vibrations could be a source of energy that we could tap into. Moreover, if we were to discover that a structure with a certain shape, such as a pyramid, was able to effectively act as a resonator for the vibrations coming from within the Earth, then we would have a reliable and inexpensive source of energy.
Christopher Dunn (The Giza Power Plant: Technologies of Ancient Egypt)
Faced with the prospect of following a convention, there’s a great temptation for designers to try reinventing the wheel instead, largely because they feel (not incorrectly) that they’ve been hired to do something new and different, not the same old thing. Not to mention the fact that praise from peers, awards, and high-profile job offers are rarely based on criteria like “best use of conventions.” Occasionally, time spent reinventing the wheel results in a revolutionary new rolling device. But usually it just amounts to time spent reinventing the wheel.
Steve Krug (Don't Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability)
It is not that the historian can avoid emphasis of some facts and not of others. This is as natural to him as to the mapmaker, who, in order to produce a usable drawing for practical purposes, must first flatten and distort the shape of the earth, then choose out of the bewildering mass of geographic information those things needed for the purpose of this or that particular map. My argument cannot be against selection, simplification, emphasis, which are inevitable for both cartographers and historians. But the map-maker's distortion is a technical necessity for a common purpose shared by all people who need maps. The historian's distortion is more than technical, it is ideological; it is released into a world of contending interests, where any chosen emphasis supports (whether the historian means to or not) some kind of interest, whether economic or political or racial or national or sexual. Furthermore, this ideological interest is not openly expressed in the way a mapmaker's technical interest is obvious ("This is a Mercator projection for long-range navigation-for short-range, you'd better use a different projection"). No, it is presented as if all readers of history had a common interest which historians serve to the best of their ability. This is not intentional deception; the historian has been trained in a society in which education and knowledge are put forward as technical problems of excellence and not as tools for contending social classes, races, nations. To emphasize the heroism of Columbus and his successors as navigators and discoverers, and to de-emphasize their genocide, is not a technical necessity but an ideological choice. It serves- unwittingly-to justify what was done. My point is not that we must, in telling history, accuse, judge, condemn Columbus in absentia. It is too late for that; it would be a useless scholarly exercise in morality. But the easy acceptance of atrocities as a deplorable but necessary price to pay for progress (Hiroshima and Vietnam, to save Western civilization; Kronstadt and Hungary, to save socialism; nuclear proliferation, to save us all)-that is still with us. One reason these atrocities are still with us is that we have learned to bury them in a mass of other facts, as radioactive wastes are buried in containers in the earth. We have learned to give them exactly the same proportion of attention that teachers and writers often give them in the most respectable of classrooms and textbooks. This learned sense of moral proportion, coming from the apparent objectivity of the scholar, is accepted more easily than when it comes from politicians at press conferences. It is therefore more deadly. The treatment of heroes (Columbus) and their victims (the Arawaks)-the quiet acceptance of conquest and murder in the name of progress-is only one aspect of a certain approach to history, in which the past is told from the point of view of governments, conquerors, diplomats, leaders. It is as if they, like Columbus, deserve universal acceptance, as if they-the Founding Fathers, Jackson, Lincoln, Wilson, Roosevelt, Kennedy, the leading members of Congress, the famous Justices of the Supreme Court-represent the nation as a whole. The pretense is that there really is such a thing as "the United States," subject to occasional conflicts and quarrels, but fundamentally a community of people with common interests. It is as if there really is a "national interest" represented in the Constitution, in territorial expansion, in the laws passed by Congress, the decisions of the courts, the development of capitalism, the culture of education and the mass media.
Howard Zinn (A People’s History of the United States)
I slip into the seat behind hers and take a mouthful of the coffee, wincing at the heat. “Apologies. I neglected to eat supper.” “I neglected to eat supper,” Pytha repeats, mocking my accent. Born on the Palantine Hill of Luna, I have lamentably inherited the most egregiously stereotypical highLingo accents. Apparently others find it hilarious. “Haven’t we servants to spoon-feed His Majesty supper?” “Oh, shut your gory gob,” I say, modulating my voice to mimic the Thessalonican bravado. “Better?” “Eerily so.” “Skipping supper. No wonder you’re a little twig,” Cassius says, pinching my arm. “I daresay you don’t even weigh a hundred ten kilos, my goodman.” “It’s usable weight,” I protest. “In any matter, I was reading.” He looks at me blankly. “You have your priorities. I have mine, muscly creature. So piss off.
Pierce Brown (Iron Gold (Red Rising Saga, #4))
The carioca is a role model and the ideal state of being is his. What is a carioca?. Simply put, he's a lovable scamp, a guy who somehow finds a way, always, to avoid legitimate toil in favor of the popular Rio diversions of going to the beach, flirting, making love, dancing, and hanging out. He is a man who survives on charm and what are called jetinhos, improvisational, amiable hustler/joker strategies to avoid work and keep doing what he's doing, which is basically nothing.
Anthony Bourdain (The Nasty Bits: Collected Varietal Cuts, Usable Trim, Scraps, and Bones)
with his words in my head I slept for thirty or forty forevers while the grass shrieked and the trees tremored it was crazy letting my youth pass like that giving myself up to the abstract fears balconies collapsing over the east river as far as the eye could see until all is miniature wind over water without end when I am dead I will have something to say about death & all the men stretched out a girl must be a graveyard I am a descendant of fields and want to keep my mind off it, especially
Deborah Landau (The Last Usable Hour (Lannan Literary Selections))
It is not just the different plants and animals that define the environment. There are all sorts of physical factors as well. Take the atmosphere, for instance. The oxygen levels became usable to us about 400 million years ago, but since then there has been a great variation in the oxygen levels. In the late Jurassic it is possible that the oxygen levels were about 35%, as opposed to 20% at the present day. Indeed this figure has been put forward to explain the survival of the very big dinosaurs, high oxygen concentrations in the breathing air being able to keep the great volumes of tissue oxygenated. On the other hand the proportion of carbon dioxide was also high. This may account for the prolific plant life at the time, carbon dioxide being essential for the good growth of plants. The difference between the composition of the Jurassic atmosphere and that of your own time may make it difficult for you to breathe when you first arrive, but your body will probably adapt to it before long.
Dougal Dixon (A Survival Guide: Living with Dinosaurs in the Jurassic Period (Survival in the Age of Dinosaurs))
Writing is hard work. A clear sentence is no accident. Very few sentences come out right the first time, or even the third time. Remember this in moments of despair. If you find that writing is hard, it’s because it is hard.”—William Zinsser, On Writing Well
Giles Colborne (Simple and Usable Web, Mobile, and Interaction Design (Voices That Matter))
In any case, even if a usability test resolves a dispute, it doesn't do it in any kind of a statistically valid way. Unless you test thousands of people from all walks of life under all kinds of conditions, something that not even Microsoft can afford to do, you are not actually getting statistically meaningful results. Remember, the real strength of usability tests is in finding truffles—finding the broken bits so you can fix them. Actually looking at the results as if they were statistics is just not justified.
Joel Spolsky (User Interface Design for Programmers)
CHINA SYNDROME China is great. China is BIG. China is FUN. And it's hugely frustrating to know that even if I dedicated the rest of my life to the project, I'd never see all of it. There's little question in my mind that as China continues to emerge as an economic superpower, and as we find ourselves increasingly dependent on its manufacturing—and its credit line—that it will eventually pretty much rule the world. To which I say, "Welcome to our future masters!" With China as our landlord, we will, at least, be eating a hell of a lot better.
Anthony Bourdain (The Nasty Bits: Collected Varietal Cuts, Usable Trim, Scraps, and Bones)
When nothing is valued for what it is, everything is destined to be wasted. Once the values of things refer only to their future usefulness, then an infinite withdrawal of value from the living present has begun. Nothing (and nobody) can then exist that is not theoretically replaceable by something (or somebody) more valuable. The country that we (or some of us) had thought to make our home becomes instead 'a nation rich in natural resources'; the good bounty of the land begins its mechanical metamorphosis into junk, garbage, silt, poison, and other forms of 'waste.' "The inevitable result of such an economy is that no farm or any other usable property can safely be regarded by anyone as a home, no home is ultimately worthy of our loyalty, nothing is ultimately worth doing, and no place or task or person is worth a lifetime's devotion. 'Waste,' in such an economy, must eventually include several categories of humans--the unborn, the old, 'disinvested' farmers, the unemployed, the 'unemployable.' Indeed, once our homeland, our source, is regarded as a resource, we are all sliding downward toward the ash heap or the dump.
Wendell Berry (What Matters?: Economics for a Renewed Commonwealth)
It might be useful here to say a word about Beckett, as a link between the two stages, and as illustrating the shift towards schism. He wrote for transition, an apocalyptic magazine (renovation out of decadence, a Joachite indication in the title), and has often shown a flair for apocalyptic variations, the funniest of which is the frustrated millennialism of the Lynch family in Watt, and the most telling, perhaps, the conclusion of Comment c'est. He is the perverse theologian of a world which has suffered a Fall, experienced an Incarnation which changes all relations of past, present, and future, but which will not be redeemed. Time is an endless transition from one condition of misery to another, 'a passion without form or stations,' to be ended by no parousia. It is a world crying out for forms and stations, and for apocalypse; all it gets is vain temporality, mad, multiform antithetical influx. It would be wrong to think that the negatives of Beckett are a denial of the paradigm in favour of reality in all its poverty. In Proust, whom Beckett so admires, the order, the forms of the passion, all derive from the last book; they are positive. In Beckett, the signs of order and form are more or less continuously presented, but always with a sign of cancellation; they are resources not to be believed in, cheques which will bounce. Order, the Christian paradigm, he suggests, is no longer usable except as an irony; that is why the Rooneys collapse in laughter when they read on the Wayside Pulpit that the Lord will uphold all that fall. But of course it is this order, however ironized, this continuously transmitted idea of order, that makes Beckett's point, and provides his books with the structural and linguistic features which enable us to make sense of them. In his progress he has presumed upon our familiarity with his habits of language and structure to make the relation between the occulted forms and the narrative surface more and more tenuous; in Comment c'est he mimes a virtually schismatic breakdown of this relation, and of his language. This is perfectly possible to reach a point along this line where nothing whatever is communicated, but of course Beckett has not reached it by a long way; and whatever preserves intelligibility is what prevents schism. This is, I think, a point to be remembered whenever one considers extremely novel, avant-garde writing. Schism is meaningless without reference to some prior condition; the absolutely New is simply unintelligible, even as novelty. It may, of course, be asked: unintelligible to whom? --the inference being that a minority public, perhaps very small--members of a circle in a square world--do understand the terms in which the new thing speaks. And certainly the minority public is a recognized feature of modern literature, and certainly conditions are such that there may be many small minorities instead of one large one; and certainly this is in itself schismatic. The history of European literature, from the time the imagination's Latin first made an accommodation with the lingua franca, is in part the history of the education of a public--cultivated but not necessarily learned, as Auerbach says, made up of what he calls la cour et la ville. That this public should break up into specialized schools, and their language grow scholastic, would only be surprising if one thought that the existence of excellent mechanical means of communication implied excellent communications, and we know it does not, McLuhan's 'the medium is the message' notwithstanding. But it is still true that novelty of itself implies the existence of what is not novel, a past. The smaller the circle, and the more ambitious its schemes of renovation, the less useful, on the whole, its past will be. And the shorter. I will return to these points in a moment.
Frank Kermode (The Sense of an Ending: Studies in the Theory of Fiction)
I was spitting mad, having just endured a four-hour flight, economy class, on American Airlines where I'd found myself seated between two gigantic specimens of humanity. One of them, a woman of Jabba the Hutt proportions, literally took up half my seat in addition to her own, leaving me balanced on one butt cheek, leaning forward and against the seat back in front of me. I couldn't sleep. I couldn't sit back. I couldn't do anything but fume silently. Neither she nor the flight attendants ever acknowledged my obvious distress. For the duration of the flight, I tried to lull myself into a state of calm by focusing on the in-flight telephone against which my face was mashed, imagining what would happen if I wrapped the cord around my neck, leaned forward with my full body weight, and ended my life. That thought was what got me through.
Anthony Bourdain (The Nasty Bits: Collected Varietal Cuts, Usable Trim, Scraps, and Bones)
The English departments were clogged with worthy but outworn and backwardlooking scholars whose tastes in the moderns were most often superficial, random, and vulgar. Students who. wanted to write got little practical help from their professors. They studied the classics as monsters that were slowly losing their fur and feathers and leaking a little sawdust. What one did oneself was all chance and shallowness, and no profession seemed wispier and less needed than that of the poet. My own group, that of Tate and Ransom, was all for the high discipline, for putting on the full armor of the past, for making poetry something that would take a man's full weight and that would bear his complete intelligence, passion, and subtlety. Almost anything, the Greek and Roman classics, Elizabethan dramatic poetry, seventeenth-century metaphysical verse, old and modern critics, aestheticians and philosophers, could be suppled up and again made necessary. The struggle perhaps centered on making the old metrical forms usable again to express the depths of one's experience.
Robert Lowell
Concern for one's political community is, of course, right and proper, and Christians can hardly be faulted for wishing to correct their nation's deficiencies. At the same time, this variety of Christian nationalism errs on at least four counts. First, it unduly applies biblical promises intended for the body of Christ as a whole to one of many particular geographic concentrations of people bound together under a common political framework. Once again this requires a somewhat dubious biblical hermeneutic. Second, it tends to identify God's norms for political and cultural life with a particular, imperfect manifestation of those norms at a specific period of a nation's history. Thus, for example, pro-family political activists tend to identify God's norms for healthy family life with the nineteenth-century agrarian family or the mid-twentieth-century suburban nuclear family. Similarly, a godly commonwealth is believed by American Christian nationalists to consist of a constitutional order limiting political power through a system of checks and balances, rather than one based on, in Walter Bagehot's words, a "fusion of powers" in the hands of a cabinet responsible to a parliament. Thus Christian nationalists, like their conservative counterparts, tend to judge their nation's present actions, not by transcendent norms given by God for its life, but by precedents in their nation's history deemed to have embodied these norms. Third, Christian nationalists too easily pay to their nation a homage due only to God. They make too much of their country's symbols, institutions, laws and mores.They see its history as somehow revelatory of God's ways and are largely blind to the outworkings of sin in that same history. When they do detect national sin, they tend to attribute it not to something defective in the nation's ideological underpinnings, but to its departure from a once solid biblical foundation during an imagined pre-Fall golden age. If the nation's beginnings are not as thoroughly Christian as they would like to believe, they will seize whatever evidence is available in this direction and construct a usable past serviceable 34 to a more Christian future. Fourth, and finally, those Christians most readily employing the language of nationhood often find it difficult to conceive the nation in limited terms. Frequently, Christian nationalists see the nation as an undifferentiated community with few if any constraints on its claims to allegiance. 45 Once again this points to the recognition of a modest place for the nation, however it be defined, and away from the totalitarian pretensions of nationalism. Whether the nation is already linked to the body politic or to an ethnically defined people seeking political recognition, it must remain within the normative limits God has placed on everything in his creation.
David T. Koyzis (Political Visions & Illusions: A Survey & Christian Critique of Contemporary Ideologies)