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Misc

  • PINNED"Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see." - Mark Twain
  • PINNED'Will and Testament' a moving documentary about Tony Benn. "Hope is the fuel of progress; if people do not feel what they do will make
    a difference, they will not make the effort." But you fight or lose; if you do not fight, you lose. Even it is a Canute effort, you have to fight. It is not
    the result of the fight that is the determinant of whether or not it is worth fighting; it is you fight hard or not.
  • Unlearning the myth of American innocence "In the end, I chose to pursue the new life Penn offered me. The kids I met had parents who were doctors or academics; many of them had already even been to Europe! Penn, for all its superficiality, felt one step closer to a larger world."
  • Life and death in Apple’s forbidden city Innovation is supposed to release human beings from laborious jobs so they can pursue humanity. On the contrary, in some cases the monopoly of technology enables the privileged few to subject the less fortunate to subhuman conditions at whose expense their suffering props up the model of market forces.
  • A look back at the life of Martin McGuinness – video obituary
    Billions of people have peaceful and just lives and do not succumb to the temptations of violence. Their lives pass unremarked. These peaceful people will continue to struggle, in the words on the Universal Pilgrim statue in Southernhay, Exeter, for a “tolerant, equal, humane and peaceful world” without resorting to the seductive claims of “justified” violence, however little value society and history places on such work and however little their lives are marked.
    Michael McGuffie
    Wellington, Somerset
  • "It was George Lucas who wrote it and also directed it. He didn't want a damsel in distress, a stereotypical princess, sort of a victim, frightened, incapable of dealing with a situation without the guys. He wanted a fighter; he wanted someone who is independent. That's what appealed to me." Carrie Fisher on Star Wars (1977) BBC News - YouTube Video
  • Do you know this piece?
    It always gives me the same feeling as I listen to Chopin Étude Op. 10, No.3
  • George Carlin definitely had a point about American shopping. When holiday shopping seasons arrive, it is not the time to search for bargains; it is the time to defend your pocket against the shell bombing of advertisement which comes out of the sun with its wing screaming.
  • "They say he has a good grasp of his brief, listens carefully and comes to every issue without preconceived ideas. ... Hammond is a self-made property millionaire, with a London home in smart Victoria." Philip Hammond: an unflashy but quietly confident chancellor Sometimes the Left just need to look to the professionalism of the Conservatives and learn from them rather than reject the Tories immediately whenever they hear a Tory's name.
  • Tim Cook has an unmatching vision with Apple. With the latest MacBook Pro, Apple is loosing the battleground. It is pretty sad if  I draw this comparison between Apple and the fate of ThinkPad. When Lenovo took over 12 years ago, they knew what ThinkPad looked like and how the design went through by IBM's engineers, but the crucial question back then was did Lenovo understand why the implementation was like that, not how to produce the implementation. Lenovo never had a clue as to the why question, that's why Lenovo destroyed the ThinkPad brand completely. This couldn't be better explained by Steve Jobs himself, Steve Jobs on why Xerox failed
Enoch Powell: When I was an undergraduate, I got up at five, I knew nothing else to do but work. I didn't keep the fire in my room, I [inaudible] with my feet in a blanket, because I thought that was more conducive to mental effort. Whether it is so or not, I don't know but I did. I had no social life as an undergraduate.
Interviewer: What about, as far as women are concerned?
Enoch Powell: They didn't exist.
Interviewer: But you must have seen women in Cambridge?
Enoch Powell: Yes, I noticed them.
Interviewer: (Laugh, both) What did you think of them?
Enoch Powell: I wondered what they were doing there.
Interviewer: But surely ...
Enoch Powell: (Interrupting) I didn't think they would approach advanced learning in the same mood or in a manner as a man would.
Interviewer: Why did you think that?
Enoch Powell: Because the analytical faculty is underdeveloped in women.

Well, Enoch was not necessarily a misogynist but he stated an inconvenient truth. To eliminate poverty in this world we need the empowerment of women.
  • Thanks to the political correctness peddled by the media, it is now far too easier to accuse someone of racism than to listen to the man what he actually wants to say.
  • "My childhood was a happy one. My mother ... was a warm and intelligent woman who had been a laborer in her youth. My father also was a good man. Born into a working-class family, he succeeded in obtaining a comfortable position through evening courses and hard work. My parents gave me free rein to do what I wanted: with my brother, we spent most of our time playing outside with friends. Curiously enough, our friends were invariably proletarian, and poor. The poor still existed at that time, you recognized them by their clothes. But even in the way they wore their clothes, there was a fantasy, a frankness that made me prefer them to boys of bourgeois families. I always had sympathy for young women of working-class families, even later when I attended university: they were more authentic and spontaneous." - Michelangelo Antonioni
  • There is a store named MONO LOCO opposite the psychology building on Daniel St. I think the owner could have chosen MONO LOKO; in that case, not only are K and C  with the same pronunciation in German and English respectively, but also K, L, M, N, O are successive letters in the alphabet.
  • If you are a distance runner, you probably know that the economy of running requires consistent cadence. That's the reason why I hate holidays; when holidays arrive, I have to adjust my schedules and I don't like that at all.
  • I heard a Gentoo linux user branding Microsoft Windows as 'Windoze'.
  • Whenever I saw someone being bent over their phones, giggling from time to time, and walking in the street like a zombie, I felt it was terrifying. I was thinking, nowadays, maybe consumers are not consuming anything; they are consumed.
  • One shall never be complacent with oneself when one is only smart enough to operate machines; one wants to be one day the creator of new machines. Being a consumer for one's entire life is just too pathetic.
  • Nothing destroys spirit like poverty; however, being intellectually poor is less desirable than financially. 
  • "If home can't be where you come from, then home is what you make of where you go." - page 714, Paddy Ryan to Walter Moody, The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton
  • "You stand out a mile in that tunic," she mumbled. "You're a Chinaman through and through. Wait here." In ten minutes she was back with a jacket and trousers over her arm, and a soft-crowned hat in her hand. " Try these on, " she said, "I'll sew the trousers up for size, and you can borrow a jacket from the gaol-house. You'll leave this place looking like an Englishman, Mr. Sook, or you won't leave it at all." - page 596, Margaret to Mr. Sook at the end of part III, The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton
  • "This is not the smallest part of the reward for endless years of hard and disciplined work, which made the name of Heifetz a distinguished name in the world of great music." Caprice #24 di Paganini by Jascha Heifetz - YouTube Video
  • The more you wander in Facebook and Co, the less time you have that can be spent on thinking about advancing human knowledge. In other words, if Mark Zuckerberg is part of a huge neoliberal con project, those con masters want average people to be dumb and easy to be manipulated (because of lack of knowledge, further because of lack of time spent on and means of acquiring knowledge) so they can profit from the situation that they get elite private education while others being irrelevant in the course of human history. Ironically, when the dumb masses could not realise this, they vote against their own interests and show categorical admiration for the con masters. 
  • "The Federation of Malaysia was obviously an artificial construction. There was no historical connection between Malaya and the Borneo territories, which were four hundred miles away across the sea at their nearest point. The Malayans regarded the head-hunting tribes of Sabah and Sarawak as barbarians, and tended to behave with imperial arrogance towards them. But the threat from Indonesia, combined with sensible diplomacy from the British in the area, created a unity which has survived till now.
However, Singapore left the Federation in August 1965. Three quarters of its people were Chinese; it would never have been a comfortable partner for Malaya, which had six times the population, and had just defeated a rising by Communists, who were mainly from the Chinese minority. These ethnic differences were greatly aggravated by the personal incompatibility between the Prime Minister of Malaya, Tunku Abdul Rahman, and the Prime Minister of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew. I came to know and like them both.

The Tunku had led Malaya to independence, and remained Prime Minister of the Federation till 1970. He was of royal blood - 'Tunku' means Prince - had studied Law in Britain, and worked as a civil servant under British rule, until he formed a political party to fight for indolence. Relaxed, tolerant, and affable, he found Lee far too serious and intense. When he heard that Lee had been pushed into a deep drain by a mob he was trying to reason with, he laughed till the tears came to his eyes. He loved racing, and kept his own stable. His pride in one of his ancestors, who was said to have been a vampire, led him to finance a film, The King with Fangs, out of which he made $100,000. Despite appearances, he was an able and cunning politician. So far as defence and foreign policy were concerned, he told me his simple rule: 'If you have an enemy you can defeat on your own, fight. If you have an enemy you can defeat with allies, fight. If your enemy is China, surrender.' 

Lee Kuan Yew was different in every way. An intellectual through and through, he had been the most brilliant schoolboy of his age in Singapore, as his wife, Choo, was the most brilliant schoolgirl. He took a Double First in Law at Cambridge. Choo also took a First there, after only two years' study; she managed his law firm while he was Prime Minister. Lee was brought up in English, which he speaks far better than most British politicians, and learned Mandarin as well as Malay only when he entered politics. Yet he is immensely proud that his Chinese ancestry makes him part of the oldest, and , as he would say, the greatest culture in the world. He is especially proud of being of the Hakka people, which originated in North China. The Hakka are the Prussians of China, and there is a lot of the Prussian in Lee Kuan Yew. He believes in discipline and hard work

Though he was attracted by communism as a student in England, on his return he fought successfully to destroy communist influence among the Chinese in Singapore. Indeed, as Prime Minister, he would not allow young men from Singapore to visit China, in case they became infected. His combative nature often made him unnecessary enemies; he could indulge in a sarcasm no less wounding because it was so elegantly expressed. The Australians were often the object of his most bitter remarks, because he could never forget what, as a young student after the fall of Singapore, he had seen as their collapse of morale, compared with the discipline of the British soldiers. " - page 285-286, The Time of My life by Denis Healey
  • "After the Second World War India's independence destroyed the strategic rationale for Britain's Middle East policy. In most of the Arab world young officers deposed their monarchs and tried to modernise their military and civilian establishments - in that order. Their political principles were vague or non-existent. I tried hard to find something like a socialist movement, but without success. The Baath called itself socialist, but I could never discover why. In Lebanon the best known socialist was Kamal Jumblatt, the millionaire chieftain of the Druse community. He ruled his people from a mediaeval castle in the mountains, and told his friends he wanted to drink blood from Maronite skulls. " - page 217, The Time of My life by Denis Healey
  • "Meanwhile the constitution established by America's founding fathers is beginning to creak. The way in which the parties choose their Presidential candidates - and even more their Vice-Presidents - can rarely be relied on to produce a suitable leader for the most powerful country in the world; and only a third of the adult population bothers to vote in Presidential elections. Administrations of both parties have found it increasingly difficult to get their policies through a Congress whose members have no direct personal obligation to consider their country's national or international needs. However, since any reform is bound to affect the federal structure itself, as well as powerful vested interests, all significant constitutional change is excluded from discussion. " - page 206, The Time of My life by Denis Healey
  • "I had watched with growing horror what was happening to the socialists I had known in Eastern Europe after the war. Istvan Riesz, once Minister of Justice and Hungarian representative to the International Socialist Conference, was clubbed to death by the Security Police in 1950. Arpad Szakasits, who had led the Social Democrats into fusion with the Communists, was tortured into signing a confession that he had spied for the Gestapo and the British Labour Party. Paul Ignotus, a gentle intellectual, who I had known well as Press Attache at the Hungarian Embassy in London, was thrown into jail, tortured, and regularly beaten. Almost anyone who had been abroad had to confess that they were spies. Since they had no idea what they were supposed to have done or who had recruited them, they made up any name which come into their heads. Some who had been in France admitted spying for Voltaire or Arouet. George Faludy, the poet, confessed to spying for two OSS officers called Edgar Allan Poe and Walt Whitman. " - page 176, The Time of My life by Denis Healey
  • "Nevertheless, America made another massive error in its conduct of the [Korean War] campaign. China was not involved in the initial decision to invade South Korea, since North Korea at that time looked to Moscow, not Peking, for advice. Washington ignored China’s warnings that it would not stand idly by if MacArthur crossed the thirty eighth parallel. He did cross it, and the Chinese then entered Korea. So a war which might have ended with the successful landing at Inchon, six months after it began, lasted four disastrous years. Besides the unnecessary human suffering, this produced a breach between the United States and China which lasted twenty years and contributed - again, partly through misunderstanding - to the tragedy of Vietnam. Yet - as General Marshall had reported at the time - only a few years before the Korean War, there had a real chance that the new Communist regime in Peking would be prepared to break with the Soviet Union in order to have good relations with the United States. This series of blunders over Korea has always made me reluctant to give unqualified praise to Truman’s presidency. Without them the history of the world in the last forty years [1949 - 1989] might have been far happier. And if later presidents had studied the lessons of Korea, they might have avoided the historic catastrophe of Vietnam. " - page 125, The Time of My life by Denis Healey
  • "The breakaway [Socialist] party went into office with the Christian Democrats, and split again on that issue. So the [Italian] Socialist Party, which had a real chance of forming a government when the war ended, and to wait nearly forty years before again playing an important role on the national stage; this was a lesson which was to be taught again in France. It was the main reason why I did my best to prevent the Gang of Four from splitting the Labour Party in 1981. I was not surprised by the consequences of that unhappy experiment; right-wing breakaways from left-wing parties have never come to anything. Their only important effect is to weaken the influence of common sense in the party they have deserted, and to keep Conservative governments in power. " - page 83, The Time of My life by Denis Healey
  • "I read voraciously throughout my schooldays. Indeed when I look back on the list of twenty four books I read in a single term when I was fourteen, I feel ashamed I give myself so little time to read for pleasure nowadays, and that I allow television to preempt so much of my leisure. " - page 14, The Time of My life by Denis Healey
  • "Ally of Hilary Benn says treatment by Jeremy Corbyn tipped Hilary Benn over the edge into delivering that speech". Father Benn must have turned in his grave as Son Benn makes his 15min fame in the Commons delivering electrifying speech asking colleagues to back bombing ISIL in Syria.
  • A wonderful wedding video of Welsh golfer Rhys Davies and his wife Deidre
  • Just one example that we are encouraged to access the original work rather than read only the translation; from Crowds and Power, translated by Carol Stewart from the German original Masse und Macht, by Elias Canetti. The original work was said to be poetically written but I simply cannot feel the same reading the translation. On the Survival of the Ruler (Der Machthaber als Überlebender), Canetti wrote (MuM, p. 274),

    „Das Gefühl von dieser Gefahr ist im Machthaber immer rege. Es wird sich später zeigen, wenn von der Natur des Befehls die Rede ist, daß seine Ängste sich vergrößern müssen, je mehr seiner Befehle ausgeführt worden sind. Er kann seine Zweifel nur beruhigen, indem er ein Exempel setzt. Er wird eine Hinrichtung um ihrer selbst willen verfügen, ohne daß es so sehr auf die Schuld des Opfers ankommt. Er wird von Zeit zu Zeit Hinrichtungen brauchen, desto mehr, je rascher seine Zweifel wachsen. Seine sichersten, man möchte sagen seine vollkommensten Untertanen sind die, die für ihn in den Tod gegangen sind.

    And the translation by Stewart (CaP, p. 232) is,

    “The sense of this danger is always alert in a ruler. Later, when the nature of command is discussed, it will be shown that his fears must increase the more often his commands are carried out. He can only calm his fears by making an example of someone. He will order an execution for its own sake, the victim's guilt being almost irrelevant. He needs executions from time to time and, the more his fears increase, the more he needs them. His most dependable, one might say his truest, subjects are those he has sent to their deaths.”
  • Tears are streaming down my face whenever I read the letter left by a student who graduated Spring 2015.
  • "Yün was the best TA I ever had. If other TAs care a fifth of how much Yün cares UIUC would be a much better place." - Ricki Esses (I think I have been unduly overestimated but this nonetheless serves as a lighthouse for my maritime travel)
  • People come across better in life than on paper. "I am not somebody that goes through life measuring myself against this benchmark, that benchmark, or the other benchmark[s]; I measure myself against what we are achieving as a society and community … we all have ambition enough, to strengthen our party, to strengthen our movement, which will in turn lead to the election of a Labour government." - Jeremy Corbyn on BBC Newsnight
  • If there is a price tag for freedom (ideally, there is not since freedom is priceless and invaluable); the higher price you would pay, the more freedom you could get. Hence, if you have never paid the price for freedom, what you have is at most only 'cheap' freedom.
  • Mhairi Black's Maiden Speech in the Commons. Beauty is something that is awe inspiring, something that is propped up by an assertive, independent mind.
  • "I can't think of anything to improve upon except [Yün] to keep being positive and patient." - Emily McGowan
  • For anyone who is subsidised by public education, should f-bomb and similar appallingly vulgar languages be erased from one's conversational vocabulary? [PRIM]
  • The Dutch commentator Jack van Gelder during the match [GER v BRA, semi final World Cup 2014]: "De laatste keer dat wij zo verdedigden tegen de Duitsers waren we vijf jaar ons land kwijt." Translation: The last time that we defended like that against the Germans, we lost our country for 5 years.
  • "Stuart from Watford: Thought this match would be Klose but Brazil being Mullered and completely on Kroos control." - World Cup 2014 semi final commentary
  • "You'll be a good professor (with a classic smile)." - Ann Zuzuly
  • A quote from William Penn,
"A good end cannot sanctify evil means; nor must we ever do evil, that good may come of it... It is as great presumption to send our passions upon God's errands, as it is to palliate them with God's name... We are too ready to retaliate, rather than forgive, or gain by love and information. And yet we could hurt no man that we believe loves us. Let us then try what Love will do: for if men did once see we love them, we should soon find they would not harm us. Force may subdue, but Love gains: and he that forgives first, wins the laurel."
  • An interesting quote from a C source code file,
/*
** 2001 September 15
**
** The author disclaims copyright to this source code. In place of
** a legal notice, here is a blessing:
**
** May you do good and not evil.
** May you find forgiveness for yourself and forgive others.
** May you share freely, never taking more than you give.
**
*************************************************************************/
  • "When you take a tree that is rooted in the ground, and transfer it from one place to another, the tree will no longer bear fruit. And if it does, the fruit will not be as good as it was in its original place. This is a rule of nature. I think if I had left my country, I would be the same as the tree. " - Abbas Kiarostami
  • "It’s also good to remember that professional mathematics is not a sport (in sharp contrast to mathematics competitions). The objective in mathematics is not to obtain the highest ranking, the highest “score”, or the highest number of prizes and awards; instead, it is to increase understanding of mathematics (both for yourself, and for your colleagues and students), and to contribute to its development and applications. For these tasks, mathematics needs all the good people it can get. " - Terrence Tao
  • "Behind this mask there is more than just flesh. Beneath this mask there is an idea... and ideas are bulletproof." - V for Vendetta, by Alan Moore
  • "potius visa est periculosa libertas quieto servitio" motto from 'The Crisis', 1775
  • A Guardian article about daily rituals of the genius, describes six rules of discipline,
    • Be a morning person
    • Don't give up the day job
    • Take lots of walks
    • Stick to a schedule
    • Practise strategic substance abuse (*This is one of the things I cannot agree at all)
    • Learn to work anywhere