Saturday, September 22, 2007

"Vanilla is thought to be the most universally beloved scent, probably because breast milk contains a similar flavor."
-- Anna Weinberg, O: The Oprah Magazine, October 2007.

Friday, September 21, 2007

"All three had been taught French at school. How deeply they now wished that they had learned it!"
-- Edith Nesbit, The Railway Children.

Friday, September 14, 2007

"I'm a Red Sox fan and not a Yankee fan because I choose good over evil."
-- Japanese baseball fan asked to choose between the Yankees and the Red Sox

Saturday, September 8, 2007

"In a large working session on the design of Playa Vista, an urban infill project in Los Angeles, the traffic engineer was presenting a report of current and projected congestion around the development. From our seat by the window, we had an unobstructed rush-hour view of a street he had diagnosed as highly congested and in need of widening. Why, then, was traffic flowing smoothly, with hardly any stacking at the traffic light? When we asked, the traffic engineer offered an answer that should be recorded permanently in the annals of the profession: 'The computer model that we use does not necessarily bear any relationship to reality.'"
-- Andres Duany, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, and Jeff Speck

Sunday, September 2, 2007

"The average big company grows at about ten percent a year. So if you're running a big company and you do everything the way the average big company does it, you can expect to do as well as the average big company-- that is, to grow about ten percent a year.

"The same thing will happen if you're running a startup, of course. If you do everything the way the average startup does it, you should expect average performance. The problem here is, average performance means that you'll go out of business. The survival rate for startups is way less than fifty percent. So if you're running a startup, you had better be doing something odd."
-- Paul Graham, Beating the Averages.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

"We shall better understand the significance of this service of money if we consider what it would really mean if, as so many socialists characteristically propose, the 'pecuniary motive' were largely displaced by 'non-economic incentives.' If all rewards, instead of being offered in money, were offered in the form of public distinctions or privileges, positions of power over other men, or better housing or better food, opportunities for travel or education, this would merely mean that the recipient would no longer be allowed to choose and that whoever fixed the reward determined not only its size but also the particular form in which it should be enjoyed.

"Once we realize that there is no separate economic motive and that an economic gain or economic loss is merely a gain or a loss where it is still in our power to decide which of our needs or desires shall be affected, it is also easier to see the important kernel of truth in the general belief that economic matters affect only the less important ends of life and to understand the contempt in which 'merely' economic matters are often held. In a sense this is quite justified in a market economy-- but only in such a free economy. So long as we can freely dispose over our income and all our possessions, economic loss will always deprive us only of what we regard as the least important of the desires we were able to satisfy."
-- F.A. Hayek, The Road to Serfdom.