Monthly Archives: December 2011


“David Hume referred to causality as ‘the cement of the universe.’ He was being ironic, since he knew that this so-called cement was a hallucination, a tale we tell ourselves to make sense of events and observations. No matter how precisely we knew a given system, Hume realized, its underlying causes would always remain mysterious, shadowed by error bars and uncertainty. Although the scientific process tries to make sense of problems by isolating every variable–imagining a blood vessel, say, if HDL alone were raised–reality doesn’t work like that. Instead, we live in a world in which everything is knotted together, an impregnable tangle of causes and effects. Even when a system is dissected into its basic parts, those parts are still influenced by a whirligig of forces we can’t understand or haven’t considered or don’t think matter. Hamlet was right: There really are more things in heaven and Earth than are dreamt of in our philosophy.”

–Jonah Lehrer. “Trials and Errors.” Wired Jan. 2012: 102-109. Quote on page 109.


“I know my own reasons for keeping Peeta alive. He’s my friend, and this is my way to defy the Capitol, to subvert its terrible Games. But if I had no real ties to him, what would make me want to save him, to choose him over myself? Certainly he is brave, but we all have been brave enough to survive a Games. There is that quality of goodness that’s hard to overlook, but still … and then I think of it, what Peeta can do so much better than the rest of us. He can use words. He obliterated the rest of the field at both interviews. And maybe it’s because of that underlying goodness that he can move a crowd–no, a country–to his side with the turn of a simple sentence.

I remember thinking that this was the gift the leader of our revolution should have. Has Haymitch convinced the others of this? That Peeta’s tongue would have far greater power against the Capitol than any physical strength the rest of us could claim? I don’t know.”

–Suzanne Collins. Catching Fire. New York: Scholastic Press, 2009. Kindle edition. Quote in chapter 23.


“Even nongaming companies are catching on to the power of games. Today, gamification–using game mechanics to influence real-world behavior–is a bona fide corporate buzzword. Executives attend gamification summits to learn how to leverage game features to attract and keep customers.”

–Jason Tanz. “The Curse of Cow Clicker.” Wired Jan. 2012: 96-101, 116-118. Quote on page 116.


“I sat beside Carl, helping adjust the well-worn flight jacket he used as a blanket. He wore his terminal diagnosis with resigned bravado. I tried to make small talk, but it was going terribly. What words of solace can you offer someone who doesn’t have long to live and knows it? [….]

But Carl seemed content to have me just sit there, my company alone helping to ease some of his suffering. Once I accepted that I had nothing to do, nowhere to go, and, perhaps most important, no one to be, I relaxed. Carl glanced sideways at me and smiled. We both understood I had just learned a lesson. Together we watched another cloud go by.”

–Perry Garfinkel. Buddha or Bust: In Search of Truth, Meaning, Happiness, and the Man Who Found Them All. Uncorrected proof. New York: Harmony Books, 2006. Quote on page 3.


“During the Spring 2011 trash assessments, County Watershed Program and our partner creek groups collected 16,402 items totaling 4,688 pounds of trash from our trash hotspots.

The top four types of trash were:
15.6% GLASS

–“Trash Assessments and Illegal Dumping.” 2012 Contra Costa County Watershed Calendar. Contra Costa County Public Works Department. Martinez, California. 2010. Quote on page 2.


“Our recommendation to eat ‘meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch, and no sugar’ is adequate to the task of preventing the scourges of diet-induced disease, but more accurate and precise prescription is necessary to optimize physical performance.”

–“Meal Plans.” The CrossFit Journal. May 2004. Quote on page 1.


“But what made Frosty really happy was to grab purses and dump their contents onto the floor. With much clatter, the most fascinating things always tumbled out and rolled around all over the place. The more loudly the women shrieked at this, the greater Frosty’s zeal. And Heaven help anyone who got down on the floor to retrieve her possessions. She only found herself involved in a game that was actually a contest to see whether Frosty could snatch all of her belongings away from her faster than she could pick them up.”

–Harriett E. Weaver. Frosty: A Raccoon to Remember. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1973. Quote on page 15.


“‘Now, Dasher! Now, Dancer! Now, Prancer and Vixen! On, Comet! On Cupid! On, Donder and Blitzen!'”

–Clement Clarke Moore. “The Night Before Christmas.”


“Up the funnel of the staircase came warm whiffs of joints roasting, of fowls basting, of soups simmering–ravishing almost as food itself to nostrils used to the meagre savour of Kerenhappock’s penurious frys and hashes.”

–Virginia Woolf. Flush: A Biography. San Diego: A Harvest Book / Harcourt, 1933. Quote on page 18.


“By submitting an entry, entrants (and their parents or legal guardians if the entrant is under 18 or a minor in the jurisdiction in which that entrant resides) (“you” or “your“) acknowledge that you are eligible to enter the Contest and have read and agree to be bound by these Official Rules and our and the judges decisions related to the Contest.”

–“Official Rules.” Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest. Dec. 22, 2011. Web.