Ninety-nine percent of everything that goes on in most Christian churches has nothing whatsoever to do with the actual religion. Intelligent people all notice this sooner or later, and they conclude that the entire one hundred percent is bullshit, which is why atheism is connected with being intelligent in people's minds.
Nell did not imagine that Constable Moore wanted to get into a detailed discussion of recent events, so she changed the subject. "I think I have finally worked out what you were trying to tell me, years ago, about being intelligent, " she said. The Constable brightened all at once. "Pleased to hear it." The Vickys have an elaborate code of morals and conduct. It grew out of the moral squalor of an earlier generation, just as the original Victorians were preceded by the Georgians and the Regency. The old guard believe in that code because they came to it the hard way. They raise their children to believe in that code- but their children believe it for entirely different reasons." They believe it, " the Constable said, "because they have been indoctrinated to believe it." Yes. Some of them never challenge it- they grow up to be smallminded people, who can tell you what they believe but not why they believe it. Others become disillusioned by the hypocrisy of the society and rebel- as did Elizabeth Finkle-McGraw." Which path do you intend to take, Nell?" said the Constable, sounding very interested. "Conformity or rebellion?" Neither one. Both ways are simple-minded- they are only for people who cannot cope with contradiction and ambiguity.
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Men wanted to be strong. One way to be strong was to be knowledgeable. In so many areas, it was not possible to be knowledgeable without getting a Ph.D. and doing a postdoc. Guns and hunting provided an out for men who wanted to be know-it-alls but who couldn't afford to spend the first three decades of their lives getting up to speed on quantum mechanics or oncology.
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We're not hunter-gatherers anymore. We're all living like patients in the intensive care unit of a hospital. What keeps us alive isn't bravery, or athleticism, or any of those other skills that were valuable in a caveman society. It's our ability to master complex technological skills. It is our ability to be nerds. We need to breed nerds.
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[The thief-taker] was conspicuous by his age, I should estimate he is in his middle fifties, and by a bearing, I am tempted to call it dignity, wanting in the others. He has a good head of hair, only a bit thin on top, blond going grey, and sea green eyes. He has an excellently carved set of teeth, but displays them rarely. He has a trim figure, unusual in a profession that consists largely of loitering around taverns, but any illusion that he is especially fit is dispelled when he begins to move, for he is a little bit halt, and a little bit lame, stiff in the joints and given to frequent sighs and grimaces that hint at pains internal.
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World-class cereal-eating is a dance of fine compromises. The giant heaping bowl of sodden cereal, awash in milk, is the mark of the novice. Ideally one wants the bone-dry cereal nuggets and the cryogenic milk to enter the mouth with minimal contact and for the entire reaction between them to take place in the mouth. Randy has worked out a set of mental blueprints for a special cereal-eating spoon that will have a tube running down the handle and a little pump for the milk, so that you can spoon dry cereal up out of a bowl, hit a button with your thumb, and squirt milk into the bowl of the spoon even as you are introducing it into your mouth. The next best thing is to work in small increments, putting only a small amount of Cap'n Crunch in your bowl at a time and eating it all up before it becomes a pit of loathsome slime, which, in the case of Cap'n Crunch, takes about thirty seconds.
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he was fascinated by the mid-western/middle American phenomenon of recombinant cuisine. Rice Krispie Treats being a prototypical example in that they were made by repurposing other foods that had already been prepared (to wit, breakfast cereal and marshmallows). And of course, any recipe that called for a can of cream of mushroom soup fell into the same category. The unifying principle behind all recombinant cuisine seemed to be indifference, if not outright hostility, to the use of anything that a coastal foodie would define as an ingredient.
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Ares always reemerges from the chaos. It will never go away. Athenian civilization defends itself from the forces of Ares with metis, or technology. Technology is built on science. Science is like the alchemists' uroburos, continually eating its own tail. The process of science doesn't work unless young scientists have the freedom to attack and tear down old dogmas, to engage in an ongoing Titanomachia. Science flourishes where art and free speech flourish.
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The biggest machines, in those days, were already pushing the limits of what could be constructed on Arbre with reasonable amounts of money." "I hadn't known that," I said. "I always tend to assume there's an infinite amount of money out there." "There might as well be," Arsibalt said, "but most of it gets spent on pornography, sugar water, and bombs. There is only so much that can be scraped together for particle accelerators.
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And so from then onwards, Daniel understood that the point of this grueling sundial project was not merely to plot the curve but to understand why each curve was shaped as it was. To put it another way, Isaac wanted to be able to walk up to a blank wall on a cloudy day, stab a gnomom into it, and draw all of the curves simply by knowing where shadow would pass. This was the same thing as knowing where the sun would be in the sky and that was the same as knowing where the Earth was in its circuit around the sun, and in its daily rotation. Though as months went on, Daniel understood that Isaac wanted to be able to do the same thing even if the blank wall happened to be situated on, say, the moon that Christiaan Huygens had lately discovered revolving around Saturn. Exactly how this might be accomplished was a question with ramifications that extended into such fields as would Isaac, and Daniel for that matter, be thrown out of Trinity College? Were the Earth and all the works of man nearing the end of a long, relentless decay that had begun with the expulsion from Eden, and that would very soon culminate in the apocalypse? Or might things actually be getting better, with the promise of continuing to do so? Did people have souls? Did they have free will?
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Now walking out onto the upper deck to find Minerva sailing steadily eastward on calm seas, Daniel is appalled that anyone ever doubted these matters. The horizon is a perfect line. The sun a red circle tracing a neat path through the sky and proceeding through an orderly series of color changes: red, yellow, white. Thus nature. Minerva, the human world, is a family of curves. There are no straight lines here. The decks are slightly arched, to shed water and supply greater strength. The masts flexed, impelled by the thrust of the sails, but restrained by webs of rigging, curved grids like Isaac's sundial lines. Of course, wherever wind collects in a sail or water skims around the hull, it follows rules that Bernoulli has set down using the calculus, Leibniz's version. Minerva is a congregation of Leibniz curves, navigating according to Bernoulli rules, across a vast mostly water-covered sphere whose size, precise shape, trajectory through the heavens and destiny were all laid down by Newton.
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Like every other creature on the face of the earth, Godfrey was, by birthright, a stupendous badass, albeit in the somewhat narrow technical sense that he could trace his ancestry back up a long line of slightly less highly evolved stupendous badasses to that first self-replicating gizmo-which, given the number and variety of its descendants, might justifiably be described as the most stupendous badass of all time. Everyone and everything that wasn't a stupendous badass was dead.
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And yet all the gold is in England, it is dug up from Portuguese and Spanish mines, but it flows by some occult power of attraction to the Tower of London.' 'Flows, ' Caroline repeated. 'Flows, like a current.' Sophie nodded. 'And the English have grown so used to this that they use 'currency' as a synonym for money, as if no distinction need be observed between them.
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Yong is the outer manifestation of something. Ti is the underlying essence. Technology is a yong associated with a particular ti that is... Western, and completely alien to us [the Chinese]. For centuries, since the time of the Opium Wars, we have struggled to absorb the yong of technology without importing the Western ti. But it has been impossible. Just as our ancestors could not open our ports to the West without accepting the poison of opium, we could not open our lives to Western technology without taking in the Western ideas, which have been as a plague on our society. The result has been centuries of chaos.
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Nell, " the Constable continued, indicating through his tone of voice that the lesson was concluding, "the difference between ignorant and educated people is that the latter know more facts. But that has nothing to do with whether they are stupid or intelligent. The difference between stupid and intelligent people-and this is true whether or not they are well-educated-is that intelligent people can handle subtlety. They are not baffled by ambiguous or even contradictory situations-in fact, they expect them and are apt to become suspicious when things seem overly straightforward.
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He walked straight out of college into the waiting arms of the Navy. They gave him an intelligence test. The first question on the math part had to do with boats on a river: Port Smith is 100 miles upstream of Port Jones. The river flows at 5 miles per hour. The boat goes through water at 10 miles per hour. How long does it take to go from Port Smith to Port Jones? How long to come back? Lawrence immediately saw that it was a trick question. You would have to be some kind of idiot to make the facile assumption that the current would add or subtract 5 miles per hour to or from the speed of the boat. Clearly, 5 miles per hour was nothing more than the average speed. The current would be faster in the middle of the river and slower at the banks. More complicated variations could be expected at bends in the river. Basically it was a question of hydrodynamics, which could be tackled using certain well-known systems of differential equations. Lawrence dove into the problem, rapidly (or so he thought) covering both sides of ten sheets of paper with calculations. Along the way, he realized that one of his assumptions, in combination with the simplified Navier Stokes equations, had led him into an exploration of a particularly interesting family of partial differential equations. Before he knew it, he had proved a new theorem. If that didn't prove his intelligence, what would? Then the time bell rang and the papers were collected. Lawrence managed to hang onto his scratch paper. He took it back to his dorm, typed it up, and mailed it to one of the more approachable math professors at Princeton, who promptly arranged for it to be published in a Parisian mathematics journal. Lawrence received two free, freshly printed copies of the journal a few months later, in San Diego, California, during mail call on board a large ship called the U.S.S. Nevada. The ship had a band, and the Navy had given Lawrence the job of playing the glockenspiel in it, because their testing procedures had proven that he was not intelligent enough to do anything else.
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Jack had wondered how geometers could be so inventive as to produce so many types and families of curves. Later he had come to perceive that of curves there was no end, and the true miracle was that poets, or writers, or whoever it was that was in charge of devising new words, could keep pace with those hectic geometers, and slap names on all the whorls and snarls in the pages of the Doctor's geometry-books.
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What people do isn't determined by where they live. It happens to be their damned fault. They decided to watch TV instead of thinking when they were in high school. They decided to blow-off courses and drink beer instead of reading and trying to learn something. They decided to chicken out and be intolerant bastards instead of being openminded, and finally they decided to go along with their buddies and do things that were terribly wrong when there was no reason they had to. Anyone who hurts someone else decides to hurt them, goes out of their way to do it... The fact that it's hard to be a good person doesn't excuse going along and being an asshole. If they can't overcome their own fear of being unusual, it's not my fault, because any idiot ought to be able to see that if he just acts reasonably and makes a point of not hurting others, he'll be happier.
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This "sir, yes sir" business, which would probably sound like horseshit to any civilian in his right mind, makes sense to Shaftoe and to the officers in a deep and important way. Like a lot of others, Shaftoe had trouble with military etiquette at first. He soaked up quite a bit of it growing up in a military family, but living the life was a different matter. Having now experienced all the phases of military existence except for the terminal ones (violent death, court-martial, retirement), he has come to understand the culture for what it is: a system of etiquette within which it becomes possible for groups of men to live together for years, travel to the ends of the earth, and do all kinds of incredibly weird shit without killing each other or completely losing their minds in the process. The extreme formality with which he addresses these officers carries an important subtext: your problem, sir, is deciding what you want me to do, and my problem, sir, is doing it. My gung-ho posture says that once you give the order I'm not going to bother you with any of the details-and your half of the bargain is you had better stay on your side of the line, sir, and not bother me with any of the chickenshit politics that you have to deal with for a living. The implied responsibility placed upon the officer's shoulders by the subordinate's unhesitating willingness to follow orders is a withering burden to any officer with half a brain, and Shaftoe has more than once seen seasoned noncoms reduce green lieutenants to quivering blobs simply by standing before them and agreeing, cheerfully, to carry out their orders.
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