“…In the organic world, for instance, soft tissue (gels and aerosols, muscle and nerve) reigned supreme until 500 million years ago. At that point, some of the conglomerations of fleshy matter-energy that made up life underwent a sudden mineralization, and a new material for constructing living creatures emerged: bone. It is almost as if the mineral world that had served as a substratum for the emergence of biological creatures was reasserting itself, confirming that geology, far from having been left behind as a primitive stage of the earth’s evolution, fully coexisted with the soft, gelatinous newcomers.” —Manuel De Landa, A Thousand Years of Nonlinear History, p. 26.
“The modern university is governed by an ever-proliferating thicket of rules, some of them invented by the professors themselves, to regulate admission to the guild, some of them imposed by a suspicious public. Aspiring academics must get a licence to operate in the form of a PhD (which can take up to a decade) and then publish in the right specialist journals. They must doff their caps to the lords of their particular universes and genuflect before the latest modish theorems. Academic bureaucrats tell them how to deliver their lectures and interact with their pupils. Yet other bureaucrats, some of them based in universities and others in government, assess their “productivity” and award money or promotions accordingly.” —
“Economic crises […] reflect on the competence, attitudes and ideology of the ruling groups. Like wars, such crises are a brutal and unforgiving measure of the competence, relevance, integrity and suitability of these groups. In this light, history seems likely to judge America’s political system harshly. The political class (as also in the case of Britain) allowed itself to become the captive of the financial sector and its interest, thereby paving the way for the financial crisis.” —Martin Jacques, When China Rules The World, p. 623
“Do we have any ethical or political ideals which might take precedence? Or is the survival of this techno-ecology, and its entire economic and political apparatus – its respitory, nervous, and circulatory systems – is this this the sole concern that exists in society? I do not say “down with the techno-ecology” (catchy though that might sound). What I am saying is that what we have is actually a piss-poor excuse for a techno-ecology, if ecology is supposed to involve exchange, symbiosis, and emergent features that are not runaway feedback loops of destruction. It is not an ecology if we are but a parasite on the technium. What we have is a situation where only the most base and idiotic of impulses is our planet’s social and political goal, beeping “continue at all costs”. This is not a human ideal, this is the brainless fundamentalism of the on-switch.” —Why techno-scepticism is not Neo-Luddism
“While a problem solving attitude is critical, I’m tired of the insistence on narratives like “O Joe has this problem, then shazam! – my product solves his problem, just like that.” I feel these stories sometimes betray a self-serving understanding of the problem Joe actually faced. It’s hard to solve someone’s problem just like that, and the reality is your product might improve things but won’t really shazam all of Joe’s woes away, unless he needed a light and you just invented matches. Like what “problem” did Twitter solve? In the real world, sometimes a product just improves a process or a habit or a work flow, or is useful, and that’s a more accurate way of thinking about it.” —http://blog.newswhip.com/index.php/2012/07/newswhips-fundraise-be-cute-good/
“As a disciple of Gifford Bonner, he was theoretically wedded to the doctrine of the ultimate absurdity of trying to enforce order upon a universe whose natural state was noise, and whose natural trend was toward more and more noise to the ultimate senseless jangle of the heat-death. Bonner taught-and there was nobody to say him nay-that even the many regularities of nature which had been discovered since scientific method had first begun to be exploited, back in the 17th Century, were simply long-term statistical accidents, local discontinuities in an overall scheme whose sole continuity was chaos. Touring the universe by ear alone, Bonner often said to simplify his meaning, you would hear nothing but a horrifying and endless roar for billions of years; then a three-minute scrap of Bach which stood for the whole body of organized knowledge; and then the roar again for more billions of years. And even the Bach, should you pause to examine it, would in a moment or so decay into John Cage and merge with the prevailing, immitigable tumult” —James Blish, Cities in Flight, p. 565
“Like all the Voyager closeups of our solar system’s planets, it is startling to see other planets have all the reality that our own does when seen by instruments we’ve created.” —Alex Madrigal, The Atlantic.