Monday, December 31, 2012

Victor Hugo Quotes

1. Adversity makes men, and propserity makes monsters.

2. Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.

3. People do not lack strength, they lack will.

4. The future has several names. For the weak, it is impossible; for the fainthearted, it is unknown; but for the valiant, it is ideal.

5. Good actions are the invisible hinges on the doors of heaven.

6. The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved.

7. Being good is easy, what is difficult is being just.

8. Every blade has two edges; he who wounds with one wounds himself with the other.

Friday, December 28, 2012

The Hobbit

"The Hobbit" by J.R.R. Tolkien
- Song in Chapter 1 "An Unexpected Party"

Far over the misty mountains cold
To dungeons deep and caverns old
We must away ere break of day
To seek the pale enchanted gold.

The dwarves of yore made mighty spells,
While hammers fell like ringing bells
In places deep, where dark things sleep,
In hallow halls beneath the fells.

For ancient king and elvish lord
There many a gleaming golden hoard
They shaped and wrought, and light they caught
To hide in gems on hilt of sword.

On silver necklaces they strung
The flowering stars, on crowns they hung
The dragon-fire, in twisted wire
They meshed the light of moon and sun.

Far over the misty mountain cold
To dungeons deep and caverns old
We must away, ere break of day,
To claim our long-forgotten gold.

Goblets they carved there for themselves
And harps of gold; where no man delves
There lay they long, and many a song
Was sung unheard by men or elves.

The pines were roaring on the height,
The winds were moaning in the night.
The fire was red, it flaming spread;
The trees like torches blazed with light.

The bells were ringing in the dale
And men look up with faces pale,
Then dragon's ire more fierce than fire
Laid low their towers and houses frail.

The mountain smoke beneath the moon;
The dwarves, they heard the tramp of doom.
The fled their hall to dying fall
Beneath his feet, beneath the moon.

Far over the misty mountain grim
To dungeons deep and caverns dim
We must away, ere break of day,
To win our harps and gold from him!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Blink - The Power of Thinking without Thinking

"Blink - The Power of Thinking without Thinking" by Malcolm Gladwell

Extract from Introduction:

1. You may have done the same thing, whether you realized it or not, when you first picked up this book. How long did you first hold it in your hands? Two seconds? And yet in that short space of time, the design of the cover, whatever associations you may have with my name, and the first few sentences about the kouros all generated an impression - a flurry of thoughts and images and preconceptions - that has fundamentally shaped the way you have this introduction so far. Aren't you curious about what happened in those 2 seconds?

2. I think we are innately suspicious of this kind of rapid cognition. We live in a world that assumes that the quality of a decision is directly related to the time and effort that went into making it. When doctors are faced with a difficult diagnosis, they order more tests, and when we are uncertain about what we hear, we ask for a second opinion. And what do we tell our children? Haste makes waste. Look before you leap. Stop and think. Don't judge a book by its cover. We believe that we are always better off gathering as much information as possible and spending as much time as possible in deliberation. We really only trust conscious decision making. But there are moments, particularly in times of stress, when haste does not make waste, when our snap judgements and first impressions can offer a much better means of making sense of the world. The first task of Blink is to convince you of a simple fact: decision made very quickly can be every bit as good as decisions made cautiously and deliberately. 

3. Blink is not just a celebration of the power of the glance, however, I'm also interested in those moments when our instincts betray us.

4. The third and most important task of this book is to convince you that snap judgements and first impressions can be educated and controlled. I know that's hard to believe. Harrison and Hoving and the other arts experts who looked at the Getty kouros had powerful and sophisticated reactions to the statue, but didn't they bubble up unbidden from their unconscious? Can that kind of mysterious reaction be controlled? The truth is that it can. Just as we can teach ourselves to think logically and deliberately, we can also teach ourselves to make better snap judgements.