observation

On the campus of Outlaw College, professors of essential insanities would characterize the conflicting attitudes of Nina Jablonski and Leigh-Cheri as indicative of a general conflict between social idealism and romanticism. As any of the learned professors would explain, plied with sufficient tequila, no matter how fervently a romantic might support a movement, he or she eventually must withdraw from active participation in that movement because the group ethic - the supremacy of the organization over the individual - is an affront to intimacy. Intimacy is the principal source of the sugars with which this life is sweetened. It is absolutely vital to the essential insanities.

There is at present in the world a cold reserve that keeps man at a distance from man. There is an art in the practice of which individuals communicate forever, without anyone telling his neighbor what estimate he forms of his attainments and character, how they ought to be employed, and how to be improved. There is a sort of domestic tactics, the object of which is to elude curiosity, and keep up the tenor of conversation, without the disclosure either of our feelings or opinions. The friend of justice will have no object more deeply at heart than the annihilation of this duplicity. The man whose heart overflows with kindness for his species will habituate himself to consider, in each successive occasion of social intercourse, how that occasion may be most beneficently improved. Among the topics to which he will be anxious to awaken attention, politics will occupy a principal share.

Epicurus, we are told, left behind him three hundred volumes of his own works, wherein he had not inserted a single quotation; and we have it upon the authority of Varro’s own words that he himself composed four hundred and ninety books. Seneca assures us that Didymus the grammarian wrote no less than four thousand; but Origen, it seems, was yet more prolific, and extended his performances even to six thousand treatises. It is obvious to imagine with what sort of materials the productions of such expeditious workmen were wrought up: sound thoughts and well-matured reflections could have no share, we may be sure, in these hasty performances. Thus are books multiplied, whilst authors are scarce; and so much easier is it to write than to think! But shall I not myself, Palamedes, prove an instance that it is so, if I suspend any longer your own more important reflections by interrupting you with such as mine?

There is no disguise which can hide love for long where it exists, or simulate it where it does not.

It is necessary to form a distinct notion of what is meant by the word volition in order to understand the import of the word will; for this last word expresses the power of mind of which volition is the act.

O balmy breath, that dost almost persuade justice to break her sword. One more, one more! Be thus when thou art dead, and I will kill thee, and love thee after. One more, and that's the last! So sweet was ne'er so fatal. I must weep, but they are cruel tears. This sorrow's heavenly; it strikes where it doth love. She wakes.

Remember, sir, my liege, the kings your ancestors, together with the natural bravery of your isle, which stands as Neptune's park, ribbed and paled in with rocks unscalable and roaring waters, with sands that will not bear your enemies' boats but suck them up to th' topmast.

Given that life is so short, do I really want to spend one-ninetieth of my remaining days on earth reading Edward Gibbon?

The educator must above all understand how to wait; to reckon all effects in the light of the future, not of the present.

Christianity is most admirably adapted to the training of slaves, to the perpetuation of a slave society; in short, to the very conditions confronting us to-day... The rulers of the earth have realized long ago what potent poison inheres in the Christian religion. That is the reason they foster it; that is why they leave nothing undone to instill it into the blood of the people. They know only too well that the subtleness of the Christian teachings is a more powerful protection against rebellion and discontent than the club or the gun.

The Chinese government keeps installing video cameras in its most troubling cities. Not only do such cameras remind passersby about the panopticon they inhabit, they also supply the secret police with useful clues[...]. Such revolution in video surveillance did not happen without some involvement from Western partners.
Researchers at the University of California at Los Angeles, funded in part by the Chinese government, have managed to build surveillance software that can automatically annotate and comment on what it sees, generating text files that can later be searched by humans, obviating the need to watch hours of video footage in search of one particular frame. (To make that possible, the researchers had to recruit twenty graduates of local art colleges in China to annotate and classify a library of more than two million images.) Such automation systems help surveillance to achieve the much needed scale, for as long as the content produced by surveillance cameras can be indexed and searched, one can continue installing new surveillance cameras.
[...]
The face-recognition industry is so lucrative that even giants like Google can’t resist getting into the game, feeling the growing pressure from saller players like Face.com, a popular tool that allows users to find and automatically annotate unique faces that apepar throughout their photo collections. In 2009 Face.com launched a Facebook application that first asks users to identify a Facebook friend of theirs ina photo and then proceeds to search the social networking site for other pictures in which that friend appears. By early 2010, the company boasted of scanning 9 billion pictures and identifying 52 million individuals. This is the kind of productivity that would make the KGB envious.

A living organism... feeds upon negative entropy... Thus the device by which an organism maintains itself stationary at a fairly high level of orderliness (= fairly low level of entropy) really consists in continually sucking orderliness from its environment.

Love and esteem are the first principles of friendship, which always is imperfect where either of these two is wanting.