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Quotes for the curious:

On photography…

“In still photography, one is stalking moments–you line up a shot and wait for the elements to converge. In video, you’re assembling a chronology and moments mean little… You can’t just go shoot video and expect to get good still photos from it after the fact.”
Miami Herald multimedia producer Chuck Fadely

On families…

“Like all the best families, we have our share of eccentricities…”
Queen Elizabeth II

On fall…

“Oh, would that my mind could let fall its dead ideas, as the tree does its withered leaves!”
Andre Gide

On women’s roles…

“A really good housekeeper is almost always unhappy. While she does so much for the comfort of others, she nearly ruins her own health and life. It is because she cannot be easy and comfortable when there is the least disorder or dirt to be seen.”
The Household
, January 1884

On Paris…

“J’ai deux amours, mon pays et Paris… Par eux, toujours, mon coeur est ravi.”
As sung by Josephine Baker.

On life…

“What a wonderful life I’ve had! I only wish I’d realized it sooner.”

On stress…

“Don’t blame all the stress you’re feeling on your boss or the government. Think about what’s truly important to you and start matching your time to your values. Is your family most important to you? If it is and you’re working 18 hours a day, you’re feeling guilty, which results in stress. Stress often comes with dissonance — the difference between what you believe and what you do.”
Peggy Grall, a psychotherapist and executive coach in Milton, Ontario.

On pets…

It’s funny how dogs and cats know the inside of folks better than other folks do, isn’t it?
Eleanor H. Porter, author of Pollyanna

On Old Order Mennonites…

There are very many shades of conservatism within the Mennonite faith. In the small communities in Manitoba, they’re very conservative… In that type of community, the notion of self-confidence is directly associated with the notion of pride and vanity, and putting on airs. And that’s the ultimate sin in these communities, because of course, you’re not in control of your life or your destiny, God is.
Miriam Toews, Mennonite and author of A Complicated Kindness.

On litter…

“I hate litter – it demeans us as a society. Whenever I’m out, I see litter and I pick it up but not every piece I see, or I would be there all day. People sometimes look at me in a curious way and I have told people not to drop litter, but the police told me to stop doing that in case somebody hits me.”
Francesca Saunders, the Edinburgh founder of People Against Litter (PAL).

On food shortages…

“This is a wake-up call. The choices we make now will determine whether we can feed ourselves in the future. I am conscious our generation has not experienced food shortages, but we should never take food for granted.
The Scottish government’s environment secretary, Richard Lochhead.

On mapping the Arctic…

“That area of the Arctic Ocean [from the Beaufort Sea up to the North Pole] has the thickest, hardest multi-year ice of anywhere in the Arctic region, and seismic work has not been done there. We’re talking about such a large expanse of frozen ocean that the actual technological challenge [of mapping it] is comparable to a moon mission.”
Michael Byers, the Canada Research Chair in Global Politics and International Law at the University of British Columbia.

On the benefits of bicycling…

“Our intentions are to be as sustainable a city as possible. That means socially, that means environmentally and that means economically. The bike is great on all three of those factors. You just can’t get a better transportation return on your investment than you get with promoting bicycling.”
Sam Adams, a Portland city commissioner.

On walking…

“Traveler, there is no path. The path is made by walking.”
Traditional saying from El Salvador (translated).

On climbing mountains…

“Creating a new theory is not like destroying an old barn and erecting a skyscraper in its place. It is rather like climbing a mountain, gaining new and wider views, discovering unexpected connections between our starting points and its rich environment. But the point from which we started out still exists and can be seen, although it appears smaller and forms a tiny part of our broad view gained by the mastery of the obstacles on our adventurous way up.”
Albert Einstein.

On collective intelligence…

“It’s now possible for huge numbers of people to think together in ways we never imagined a few decades ago. No single person knows everything that’s needed to deal with problems we face as a society, such as health care or climate change, but collectively we know far more than we’ve been able to tap so far.”
Thomas Malone of MIT’s new Center for Collective Intelligence.

On books…

“Books are all the dreams we would most like to have, and like dreams they have the power to change consciousness.”
Victor Nell, author of Lost in a Book.

On glass-buildings causing bird deaths…

“Many of those [birds] affected are those in danger. This can have a great deal of impact on those species that are already sensitive since glass is an indiscriminate killer.”
Dr. Daniel Klem, a biologist at Muhlenberg College in New York.

On greenwashing…

“You can’t put a lettuce in the window of a butcher’s shop and declare that you are now ‘turning vegetarian’.”
John Grant, author of The Green Marketing Manifesto.

On climate change action…

“This is neither a time for pessimism nor for denial. It is a time for constructive, determined action.”
British scientist David King.

On biofuel…

“Biofuel is not a panacea to transport energy issues but it can play a wider role in starting the journey towards sustainability.”
Earthrace founder and skipper Pete Bethune.

On the movement of invasive species…

“Wherever humans move and trade, alien species move too. At any given time, there are something like 7,000 species on the move across the world. It’s virtually borderless. I call it the biological global village.”
Anthony Ricciardi, a professor of environmental science at McGill University.

On global warming…

“The alarm clock that all the plants and animals are listening to is running too fast.”
Stanford University biologist Terry Root.

On the connection between religion and conflict…

“This conflict is fought in the name of religion, but the real motives are economic and political. The easiest method of politics is to take religion to divide and rule.”
NGO worker Kailash Chandra Dandpath, Kandhamal district, India.

On the role of imagination in science…

“Every great advance in science has issued from a new audacity of the imagination.”
John Dewey

“I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”
Albert Einstein

On science in the Arctic…

“Having the opportunity to watch the research being conducted here has reminded me of what “science” means – it is the questions and the search for answers… I find it fascinating to realize that the Arctic food chain relies completely on tiny microorganisms and that until we understand how these organisms are being affected by global warming and climate change, we cannot hope to predict how the famed polar bears, walrus, and seals will be affected.”
Susie Hawkins, a high school Math and Science teacher at Inuksuit School in Qikiqtarjuaq, Nunavut, onboard the CCGS Amundsen.

On the invention of writing…

“For this invention will produce forgetfulness in the minds of those who learn to use it, because they will not practice their memory. Their trust in writing, produced by external characters which are no part of themselves, will discourage the use of their own memory within them. You have invented an elixir not of memory, but of reminding; and you offer your pupils the appearance of wisdom, not true wisdom, for they will read many things without instruction and will therefore seem to know many things, when they are for the most part ignorant and hard to get along with, since they are not wise, but only appear wise.”
Plato, quoting Socrates in Phaedrus.

On the benefits of space exploration…

“Spaceflight is an investment in our future. When you go after a task that’s difficult – and spaceflight is difficult, it’s hard, it’s challenging, it’s dangerous – when you go after a task that’s difficult, and you have to use new technologies and new operational concepts to get there, inevitably you learn a lot of things about yourself, and you learn a lot of things that have applications in your own world … that you would never think of before.”
NASA astronaut Steve Lindsey, veteran of four space flights.

On food that talks…

The waiter approached. “Would you like to see the menu?” he said, “or would you like to meet the Dish of the Day?” “Huh?” said Ford. “Huh?” said Arthur. “Huh?” said Trillian. “That’s cool,” said Zaphod, “we’ll meet the meat.” “Good evening,” it lowed and sat back heavily on its haunches, “I am the main Dish of the Day. May I interest you in parts of my body?”
from The Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams.

On the boomer generation…

“Boomers got more pragmatic as they grew up… But the more selfish side, that they would be able to find personal fulfilment, that life is more than raising a family and making a living, that life is a personal quest – that Utopian strain has never disappeared. They turn to: What’s next? What do I need to find that satisfaction?”
Doug Owram, author of Born at the Right Time: A History of the Baby Boom.

On cities of the future…

“The goal is a safe, healthy, just world, clean air, soil and power, that is elegantly enjoyed… In the 70s we saw the hegemony of fossil fuels. So what would be the next design philosophy we would want to work with?”
William McDonough, designer, sustainability architect and author of Cradle to Cradle.

On climate change…

“The language of climate change is also becoming religious. Part of the myth is that it has to be our sin that causes it. The second part of the myth is that you have to offer up a sacrifice — and here we have to flagellate ourselves, cut down on products, stop the car, actually sacrifice to the earth.”
Philip Stott, emeritus professor of biogeography at the University of London.

On the world of a snowflake…

“Bacteria are by far the most active ice nuclei in nature. In a cloud you’ve got water, organic carbon, everything necessary to support a micro-organism. The question is, ‘Are they a good guy or a bad guy’ and I don’t have the answer to that.”
Brent C. Christner, assistant professor of biological sciences at Louisiana State University, when asked about a new study that shows that most snowflakes are formed around bacteria.

On a world of ice…

“To leave this ice is like leaving a world, a profound jungle where the edge of the forest never seems far, but the path to reach it is endless.”
Vincent Hilaire, member of Tara Expedition.

On science and the everyday world…

“I am standing on the threshold about to enter a room. It is a complicated business… I must make sure of landing on a plank travelling at 20 miles a second around the sun… The plank has no solidity of substance. To step on it is like stepping on a swarm of flies. Shall I slip through? No, if I make the venture one of the flies hits me and gives me a boost up again; I fall again and am knocked upwards by another fly; and so on. I may hope that the net result will be that I remain about steady; but if unfortunately I should slip through the floor or be boosted too violently up to the ceiling, the occurrence would be, not a violation of the laws of Nature, but a rare coincidence.”
Sir Arthur Eddington, from The Nature of the Physical World.

On language…

“The conceptual framework for this evaluation posits a set of determinants of implementation which explains variations in the level of implementation of the comprehensive project.”
A research firm in North Carolina, when asked to study how schools could combat illiteracy.

“Linguistic diversity is to human society what biodiversity is to Mother Nature.”
Adama Samassekou, president of the African Academy of Languages in Mali

“The limits of your language are the limits of your world.”
Ludwig Wittgenstein

On world energy supply…

“The world has an abundance of oil and there is little question scientifically that abundant energy resources exist. The world is not in danger of running out of oil any time soon.”
Mark Nolan, chairman of Exxon’s Australian division, in a talk given in September 2006.

On the future of e-mail…

“Email is simply outdated and not used between friends and colleagues. The only people you would use mobile email with are the older generation at work. Email? It’s so 90s.” Tomi Ahonen, co-author of Digital Korea

On women in politics…

If she’s independent, we’re wary. If she’s a prop, that’s worse. A big career is an asset, unless she won’t give it up.”
June Kronholz, writing in The Wall Street Journal about “The Great American First Lady Analysis” following the Spring 2004 U.S. Presidential Race.

A view from space…

“I cannot keep my eyes off the windows. Earth is magnificent and peaceful from up here… The Earth is so beautiful and if we could all see it this way I’m sure we would do everything in our power to preserve it.”
Astronaut Anousheh Ansari in her Sept. 20, 2006 blog entry

Gender politics in the classroom…

“I will tell you right now that sometimes I am afraid to ask questions just because I’m a girl. There’s definitely a stigma about it — a guy can ask a question and he’s just asking a question. A girl asks a question and it’s just because she’s some ditz who only got into MIT so they could report an even gender ratio.” Laura ’09 (MIT student blog entry)

The importance of being accurate…

“Every island we have surveyed during previous voyages to the Antarctic has been significantly out of position – at times by up to 5 or 6 kilometres. For much of the year the area is shrouded in snow and fog, so it is important for all shipping that we get the positions right.”
John Mitchell of NIWA, New Zealand



1. Richard - March 17, 2008

I love your idea of ‘curio.cites’ Gillian. It’s little touches like that that make your blog stand out from the rest. Keep it up! 🙂

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