A Society That Rewards Success

A society that rewards success is good for the successful, and no doubt good for society as a whole. Romney is right about that. But not everyone can be successful. How many people did Romney have to elbow out of his way on the path to success?
“It is not enough to succeed. Others must fail.” That’s Gore Vidal, and it’s unnecessarily vicious. The pleasure of success shouldn’t depend on the prospect of others failing, but the reality of success usually does.

Mitt Romney: Candidate or Motivational Poster? – Bloomberg


Said Einstein

I think the two great Semitic peoples that have made each in its own way lasting contributions to the civilization of the modern Western world can have a great future in common and that instead of facing each other with unfruitful hostility and mutual distrust they should… seek for the possibility for sympathetic co-operation.



Words have multiple definitions until they are used in a sentence which narrows the possibilities. MindNet deduced the intended definition of a word by combing through the networks of the other words in the sentence, looking for overlap. Consider the sentence, “The driver struck the ball.” To figure out the intended meaning of “driver,” MindNet followed the network to the definition for “golf” which includes the word “ball.” So driver means a kind of golf club. Or does it? Maybe the sentence means a car crashed into a group of people at a party.

Rest in Peas: The Unrecognized Death of Speech Recognition – Robert Fortner

The Stupor Of Alcohol

The stupor of alcohol, like the haze of the early morning, makes it harder for us to ignore those unlikely thoughts and remote associations that are such important elements of the imagination.

So the next time you are in need of insight, avoid caffeine and concentration. Don’t chain yourself to your desk. Instead, set the alarm a few minutes early and wallow in your groggy thoughts. And if that doesn’t work, chug a beer.

Why Being Sleepy and Drunk Are Great for Creativity | Wired Science | Wired.com

10 Of Your Favorite Drummers

Hal Blaine, who justifiably calls himself “10 of Your Favorite Drummers” on his Web site and played his drums at the bottom of an elevator shaft for Simon and Garfunkel’s “Boxer,” claims to have to come up with the Wrecking Crew’s name.

Musicians like Mr. Blaine showed up in Los Angeles in the early 1960s, were put on the map by Phil Spector (Mr. Blaine plays the ace drumbeats that kick off “Be My Baby”), were appropriated by Brian Wilson for the Beach Boys’ “Pet Sounds” and became hotly in demand.

Old-school session players complained that these guys (and one woman, Carol Kaye, who played guitar as a stealth Beach Girl) were wrecking the business for everyone else.

‘The Wrecking Crew,’ by Kent Hartman, on ’60s Studio Musicians – NYTimes.com

This Film Is Licensed…

This film is licensed only for public exhibition in first-run theatres, and is not to be screened in schools, on oil rigs, or in prisons.
If you are watching it in a school, on an oil rig, or in a prison, you must immediately drop out, throw yourself off the edge and swim to safety, or plan an elaborate escape with the help of a ragtag team of charming criminals, most of whom were wrongly accused, and all of whom wish to become productive members of society.
The rights to the story of your escape immediately become the property of the makers of this film, in any and all forms of expression now extant or to be invented in the future, throughout the universe and three feet beyond, just for good measure.

Jacob Sager Weinstein: “Before the Movie Begins” : The New Yorker

Everything For Free

I’d go into the long list of all the crap they’d fought as an industry, from the remote control to cable TV, from diversified cinema ownership to yeah, the VCR, and they’d mumble something about how EFF stood for “Everything For Free,” and I just didn’t understand the arts. Which always made me laugh because generally speaking I was the only working creative artist in the discussion, and I’d often be going to meetings in between working on novels. Clearly, to understand the arts you need to be an entertainment industry lawyer working for a giant multinational conglomerate, not a working artist.

Infographic: Hollywood’s long war on technology – Boing Boing

Atheists Don’t Just Want Sex, Drugs, and Lack of Morality

As much as religion’s defenders would like us to believe otherwise, there is no non-human moral authority. Every religious text in the world was written, edited, translated, and printed by humans.

All edicts, interpretations, decrees, proclamations and fatwas issued by churches are human opinions. If a huge, glowing set of tablets with commandments engraved on them descended from the sky accompanied by angels blowing trumpets, we’d be having a very different debate, but there is no such thing.

All moral opinions come to us from human beings. The only question is whose opinions we should accept as normative, and why.

Once Again, Believers Have it Wrong: Atheists Don’t Just Want Sex, Drugs, and Lack of Morality | Belief | AlterNet