American citizens

“And slowly, over many years, the people realized they were not citizens. They were not members of a community. They were clocking in and punching out and killing time. They were employees.” DC Comic’s Uncle Sam, by Steve Darnall and Alex Ross, on the American capitalism

The hard questions

“GM boss Rick Wagoner’s statement about GM’s problems is ridiculous. He claims that labor, pensions, and health care are bigger issues than product. How can a car company deal with those issues if they don’t sell cars people want? How hard is this? Cadillac is doing great. Chevy needs to make rear-drive Impalas, Monte Carlos, and a new Camaro and drop the Cobalt an inch closer to the ground. Pontiac needs a GTO that looks like one, alongside the Solstice, and to never market a new model on “Oprah” again. Buick and Saturn need to disappear, and Saab and Hummer need to go somewhere else. If everyone reading this magazine already knows this, why doesn’t GM?” Motor Trend reader Joe Bernard, in a letter to the editors

American youth: the greatest workforce ever

“This is where MySpace Careers comes to the rescue. For a minimal fee you can get as many teenagers as you need to sit at your office, on your computers and abuse your bandwidth with a constant stream of IMs, chats, profile comments and YouTube videos. Imagine the look on that VC when he sees all that industrious busy making!” Supr.c.ilio.us, on MySpace’s new job search website

Yum!

“Cleaning toilets does not disgust me. I find it a thing of beauty. I get right into that toilet with my little scrubber and I scrub it. I never wear gloves.” Moby

Moby

Not worthy of time and talents

“The tasks of housekeeping and child rearing [are] not worthy of the full time and talents of intelligent and educated human beings. They do not require a great intellect, they are not honored and they do not involve risks and the rewards that risk brings.” Linda Hirshman, self-described feminist philosopher

Aggressiveness, sociopathic tendencies, and dishonesty

“Apparently one of the Enron CEOs was a big fan of Richard Dawkins’ book The Selfish Gene. He took Dawkins’ (in my opinion) overly reductionistic view of evolution and proceeded to even further reduce it in his own mind to social Darwinism… Basically, they would evaluate the traders and most other employees based on performance metrics and then fire the lowest 10-15% of the company population… So Enron was applying selection at the individual level according to metrics like individual trading performance to a group system whose performance was, like the henhouses, an emergent property of group dynamics as well as a result of individual fitness. The result was more or less the same. Instead of increasing overall productivity, they got mean chickens and actual productivity declined. They were selecting for traits like aggressiveness, sociopathic tendencies, and dishonesty.” Adam Ierymenko, on eugenics

In space, no one can hear you scream

“For the first time we got the idea that, in the far-flung future, people who live and work in space might be a bunch of Average Joe slobs sitting around with leftover pizza, smoking and playing cards to pass the time. It captures much of what long duration space flight is about now: dirty, sweaty and claustrophobic with long periods of boredom followed by moments of sheer terror.” UCL space physiologist Kevin Fong, on Ridley Scott’s Alien

Like a surgeon

“You know, that’s the first thing I do when I hit a browser bug I can’t pin down - start cutting the styles in half. Doesn’t matter which half, just start narrowing down the potential culprits by halves until I’ve got it down to one or two lines. Glad I’m a web designer and not a surgeon. ‘Does it hurt now? How about now?’” Wilson Miner, on finding CSS bugs by elimination

Evolve

“‘Like many young technicians, he is apt to say things like, ‘Microsoft has worse products but better marketing.’ When uttered by a software developer, the term ‘marketing’ simply stands in for all that business stuff: everything they don’t actually understand about creating software and selling it. This, actually, is not really what ‘marketing’ means. Actually Microsoft has pretty terrible marketing. Can you imagine those dinosaur ads actually making someone want to buy Microsoft Office?” Joel Spolsky

Microsoft Office

By Jove

“By Jove, this is what I wanted to do.” Physicist Owen Chamberlain, on search for antiprotons—a discovery that would later win his Nobel Prize in physics.

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