Digital Chum - Virtual fish guts and other nonsense


In response to a post about how words and meanings matter…

"Grammatical pedantry is the righteous passion of royalty."

– me

Hunter S. Thompson on Life

Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, wine in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and screaming ‘WOO HOO what a ride!'”

-Hunter S. Thompson

Carl Sagan on Silent Assent

If we offer too much silent assent about mysticism and superstition – even when it seems to be doing a little good – we abet a general climate in which skepticism is considered impolite, science tiresome, and rigorous thinking somehow stuffy and inappropriate. Figuring out a prudent balance takes wisdom.

– Carl Sagan

The beauty of banjos…

When the only tool you have is a banjo, sooner or later, every problem starts to look like a hoedown.

– Mike Beucler

How far we’ve fallen

With two notable exceptions, the Republican candidates really need to take a page from Woodrow Wilson’s playbook.

Of course, like every other man of intelligence and education I do believe in organic evolution. It surprises me that at this late date such questions should be raised.

Woodrow Wilson
Letter to Winterton C. Curtis (29 August 1922)


Update: Sadly, it seems Romney is hedging on the science, presumably to pander to the science deniers that tend to inhabit the Republican base and the Tea Party. He said, “Do I think the world’s getting hotter? Yeah, I don’t know that but I think that it is,” he said. “I don’t know if it’s mostly caused by humans.”

As I’ve said before, if you want to argue policy, that’s fine, but do it honestly. Don’t try to discredit the science just because you don’t like related policy suggestions.


It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.



People who lack the mental capacity to deal with the world’s complexity will always refuse to compromise. They can’t comprehend the difference between giving an inch and giving a mile, so they refuse to give either.

– Bob Potter

Lost Horizon – Moderation

Chang answered rather slowly and in scarcely more than a whisper: “If I were to put it into a very few words, my dear sir, I should say that our prevalent belief is in moderation. We inculcate the virtue of avoiding excess of all kinds — even including, if you will pardon the paradox, excess of virtue itself.”

Lost Horizon by James Hilton

Lost Horizon – Belief and Evidence

‎I suppose the truth is that when it comes to believing things without actual evidence, we all incline to what we find most attractive.

– Hugh Conway from Lost Horizon by James Hilton

Scientific Prognostication

… [B]eware those who deride predictive science in its entirety, for they are also making a prediction:  that we have nothing to worry about. And above all, do not shoot the messenger, for this is the coward’s way out of openly and honestly confronting the problem.

Dr. Kerry A. Emanuel during the Congressional hearing for U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science Space and Technology

Interestingly, those who “deride predictive science in its entirety” are frequently the same folks who deride science in general when it reaches conclusions that don’t support their pre-existing political or religious ideology.

That’s all too common.