Monday, March 19, 2012
Quotes: You Can't Unring a Bell
Graphic content here. Not for the weak of stomach.
Just letting you know.
Skip it if you want. You won’t hurt my feelings.
Bloggerizing of these quotes indicates neither agreement nor disagreement on the part of the blogger.
There is a story, possibly apocryphal, that about this time emissaries representing the building of New York’s Red Brick (Presbyterian) Church visited Carnegie seeking support for their new church building. Carnegie was unenthusiastic about the project, so he sought to discourage them by saying that he would give $1 million for the project if they could find a single donor who would match it. It seemed an impossible task. However, the committee experienced good fortune and found such a donor. They returned to Carnegie to announce their success. The chagrined Carnegie sat down to write a check and then paused to ask, “May I ask who is the matching donor?” The committee chair smiled and said, “Of course! It is Mrs. Carnegie.”
—Everett C. Goodwin
[In Wanxian region, local cadres] unlawfully set up private courts, jails, and labor camps. The methods of torture included hanging people up, beating them, forcing them to kneel on burning charcoal, piercing their mouths, clipping off their fingers, stitching their lips, pushing needles into the nipples, force-feeding them feces, stuffing dried beans down their throats, and so on. They also punished ordinary peasants by making them wear tall hats and marching them in front of the local populace.
—A report on how to mobilize the masses and rely on the poor peasants to reveal the problems in the commune, as well as suggestions for future work, by the Wanxian Region Party Committee [Sichuan province], 1961
To distribute resources evenly will only ruin the Great Leap Forward. When there is not enough to eat, people starve to death. It is better to let half the people die so that the other half can eat their fill.
Date: July 2, 1960. Location: Kangjia village in Hannasigou. Culprit’s name: Zhao Bannai. Victim’s relation to the culprit: Daughter. Number of victims: 1. Manner of crime: Exhumed the victim’s corpse and consumed the flesh. Reason: To survive.
Date: January 12, 1960. Location: Qiaojiaping in Hanzhai commune. Culprit’s name: Ma Ba’nai. Culprit’s status: Poor peasant. Number of culprits involved: 1. Victim’s name: Ma Naimai. Relation to the culprit: Daughter. Number of victims: 1. Manner of crime: After the victim died of illness, the culprit cooked up her body and consumed the flesh. Reason: To survive. Result: Died.
—A study of cases of cannibalism in Linxia municipality, by the Ningxia branch of the Government Solicitude Group [Gansu province], March 3, 1961
In early 1968 HES did the rounds of a number of large customers for IBM equipment, for example, Time/Life and the New York Times. All these customers based their business on the printed word. But HES was too far out for them. Writing was not something you did at a computer screen. They had seen programs that set type, and maybe some programs for managing advertisements, but the concept of sitting in front of a computer and writing or navigating text was foreign to them. “The best I ever got was from people like Time-Life and the New York Times who said this is terrific technology, but we’re not going to get journalists typing on computer keyboards for the foreseeable future.”
In late 1968 van Dam finally met Doug Engelbart and attended a demonstration of NLS at the Fall Joint Computer Conference. This presentation was a landmark in the history of computing, and the audience, comprising several thousand engineers and scientists, witnessed innovations such as the use of hypertext, the computer ‘mouse’ and screen, and telecollaboration on shared files via videoconferencing for the first time. The unveiling of NLS is now known affectionately and with great respect as the Mother of All Demos.
—Belinda Barnet (emphasis added; talk about a big bang)
The fact that my grandmother belonged to an extremely wealthy family was clear from her maiden name, Goldberg. The reason that this was clearly a rich family’s name had to do with a law passed under Austrian domination. The law banned Jews from using their patronym (as in the case of a character in Pan Tadeusz by Adam Mickiewicz, Jankiel, whose patronym was Ben Isaac [son of Isaac]) and required them to use last names instead. Last names were literally bought from the Starosta, a sort of city hall, and some were more expensive than others. The most expensive were the ones that contained the word “gold,” like Goldberg, but also Goldberger or Goldmann. After the most expensive came a wide range of last names without any meaning at all, like Huppert or Korn. These meaningless names were also fairly expensive, because in the long list of last names that had some sort of meaning, even if one could pay more for a flattering name (like Kluger, from klug [wise]), there were many less dignified names, like Hosenduft, which literally means “trouser smell.” Such a name could easily give someone the wrong idea.