Nuggets and Aphorisms
Food for thought. These first appeared in Amit Varma's blog, India Uncut
Wednesday, June 22, 2005
[W]e are all minorities in India.Shashi Tharoor, in "India: From Midnight to the Millennium". Tharoor's point is that there is no such thing as "an archetypal Indian", that India is so heterogenous and pluralistic that it consists of many different minorities, with no particular kind of Indian who can consider himself part of a majority. Tharoor writes: "If America is a melting pot then to me India is a thali, a selection of sumptuous dishes in different bowls."
Monday, June 20, 2005
Trade and employment
We cannot increase employment by restricting trade.1028 economists, in a protest letter against the Hawley-Smoot tariff bill, shortly before it was signed on June 17, 1930. Quoted recently in "A day of import" by Thomas Sowell, that warns against the USA repeating such a huge mistake. The truism quoted above has universal relevance, though.
(Link via Cafe Hayek.)
Sunday, June 19, 2005
Anyone taken as an individual is tolerably sensible and reasonable – as a member of a crowd, he at once becomes a blockhead.Friedrich Schiller, the German playwright. Quoted in Collapse by Jared Diamond.
Thursday, June 16, 2005
We've got the cow
Her presence shows that New Salem grows"Ballad of the Holstein", quoted in "Salem Sue - World's Largest Cow". Outstandingly cheesy, as anything to do with cows should be.
With milk-producers' yields;
We've got the cow, world's largest cow
That looks across our fields.
(Link via email from Mandar Talvekar. Previous posts on cows: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10.)
Thursday, June 09, 2005
Both mental game and contact sport
Chess is savagely and remorselessly interactive: it is both mental game and contact sport. What's it like? All-in wrestling between octopuses? Centipedal kickboxing? In its apparent languor, its stealthy equipoise, as each player wallows in horrified fascination, waiting to see what his opponent has seen, or has not seen, one may call to mind a certain punitive ritual of the Yanomani. Only one blow at a time is delivered by the long stave. The deliverer of the blow spends many minutes aiming; the receiver of the blow spends many minutes waiting.Martin Amis, from a review collected in The War Against Cliché.
Tuesday, June 07, 2005
The limits of edible oils
Prohibition of Use of Certain Expressions While Labelling of Edible Oils and Fats: The package, label or the advertisements of edible oils and fats shall not use the expressions Super-Refined, Extra-Refined, Micro-Refined, Double-Refined, Ultra-Refined, Anti-Cholestrol, Cholestrol Fighter, Soothing to Heart, Cholestrol Friendly, Saturated Fat Free or such other expressions which are exaggerations of the quality of the product.Rule 37-D, Prevention of Food Adulteration Rules, 2002 (PDF file). Quoted in Law, Liberty and Livelihood, edited by Parth Shah and Naveen Mandava. (For an earlier post on the book, click here.)
Friday, June 03, 2005
If economists wished to study the horse, they wouldn't go and look at horses. They'd sit in their studies and say to themselves, "What would I do if I were a horse?"Ely Devons, the English economist. Quoted in "The Task of the Society" by Ronald H Coase.
Thursday, June 02, 2005
Strange place, this
The universe is not only stranger than we imagine, it's stranger than we can imagine.JBS Haldane, the geneticist who coined the word "clone". I first read this quote in the fine article "Time's Up, Einstein" by Josh McHugh, and got the link to that article from Harini, during a disagreement about whether atheism is a faith. (Of course it's not.) To add to the wonder, Haldane was a Marxist, and I don't often quote that kind approvingly. Strange universe, indeed.
Wednesday, June 01, 2005
A last song
Sometimes when you're doing simple things around the houseFrom "Keep Me In Your Heart", the last song of Warren Zevon's last album, The Wind, recorded when he knew he had cancer, and this would be his last time out. I discovered this album through this superb review by Bill Barol.
Maybe you'll think of me and smile
You know I'm tied to you like the buttons on your blouse
Keep me in your heart for awhile