Quote of the Day

“History by apprising [citizens] of the past will enable them to judge of the future; it will avail them of the experience of other times and other nations; it will qualify them as judges of the actions and designs of men; it will enable them to know ambition under every disguise it may assume; and knowing it, to defeat its views.”

— Thomas Jefferson (Notes on the State of Virginia, Query 14, 1781)

Reference: Jefferson: Writings, Peterson ed., Library of America (274)

String Theory in Two Minutes

Do you find string theory confusing? (I do.) Discover Magazine ran a contest get people to explain string theory in a video of two minutes or less. Below is the user-voted winner:

Here is the actual winner as determined by Discover:

I side with Discover, but they’re both excellent.

Hat Tip: Slashdot


“They are not to do anything they please to provide for the general welfare, but only to lay taxes for that purpose. To consider the latter phrase not as describing the purpose of the first, but as giving a distinct and independent power to do any act they please which may be good for the Union, would render all the preceding and subsequent enumerations of power completely useless.” – Thomas Jefferson

“In each new Congress since 1995, Rep. John Shadegg (R-AZ) has introduced the Enumerated Powers Act (HR 1359)… Simply put, if enacted, the Enumerated Powers Act would require Congress to specify the basis of authority in the U.S. Constitution for the enactment of laws and other congressional actions. HR 1359 has 28 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives. When Shadegg introduced the Enumerated Powers Act, he explained that the Constitution gives the federal government great, but limited, powers. Its framers granted Congress, as the central mechanism for protecting liberty, specific rather than general powers. The Constitution gives Congress 18 specific enumerated powers, spelled out mostly in Article 1, Section 8. The framers reinforced that enumeration by the 10th Amendment, which reads: ‘The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved for the States respectively, or to the people.’ Just a few of the numerous statements by our founders demonstrate that their vision and the vision of Shadegg’s Enumerated Powers Act are one and the same… I salute the bravery of Rep. Shadegg and the 28 co-sponsors of the Enumerated Powers Act. They have a monumental struggle. Congress is not alone in its constitutional contempt, but is joined by the White House and particularly the constitutionally derelict U.S. Supreme Court.” – Walter Williams

“Liberty is a word which, according as it is used, comprehends the most good and the most evil of any in the world. Justly understood it is sacred next to those which we appropriate in divine adoration; but in the mouths of some it means anything, which enervate a necessary government; excite a jealousy of the rulers who are our own choice, and keep society in confusion for want of a power sufficiently concentered to promote good.” – Oliver Ellsworth

“It’s somewhat better to be sick in the United States than in Canada. Americans are… more likely to get preventive healthcare treatment for serious or chronic health conditions than Canadians who have a government-guaranteed right to healthcare… Thirty-three percent of Canadians who say they have an unmet medical need reported being in pain that limits their daily activities, compared to 22 percent of Americans who report an unmet need. Moreover, U.S. residents ‘give significantly higher ratings to the quality of care received and were more satisfied with healthcare services received than were Canadians’ note the scholars. But perhaps less-affluent people do better in Canada? Not really. Among working-age adults (18-64), the health gap based on income is actually greater in Canada than in the United States, according to this new, more accurate income data. Americans who have cancer may well face harrowing problems that need addressing by presidential candidates. But we are also significantly more likely to survive and be able to make it onstage with Hillary to complain about the U.S. healthcare system. I don’t know why Canadians tolerate a system where sick people are routinely denied quick access to care that they need. But the logic of ‘free government health care’ is this: ‘When no one is faced with any charge for services, demand is unrestrained and costs surge,’ June O’Neill and Dave O’Neill report. ‘It is not surprising that shortages developed and explicit rationing became widespread in Canada.’ Is that really where Hillary wants us to go?” – Maggie Gallagher

“A pro-choice Republican president robs Republicans of the moral and rhetorical leadership that their presidents have provided on the abortion issue, especially under four terms of Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. This critical reality is not grasped even by many pro-lifers, who whine about how 20 years of Republican presidents have failed to overturn Roe v. Wade. The reality is that overturning Roe v. Wade is not easy. It indeed starts with changing the courts. In the meantime, however, there is much the president can and must do to influence public opinion on the abortion issue- to make the moral case, to argue the justness of the cause, and to plough the ground to ready Americans for a seismic shift in abortion policy. To that end, both Reagan and Bush provided significant leadership… We have come to expect a rudderless lack of moral clarity from Democratic politicians; indeed, millions of pro-life Democrats have permanently parted ways with their party because of its leadership’s embrace of death to the defenseless unborn. To accept the same from a Republican president would be hard to stomach.” – Paul Kengor

“All of us denounce war- all of us consider it man’s greatest stupidity. And yet wars happen and they involve the most passionate lovers of peace because there are still barbarians in the world who set the price for peace at death or enslavement and the price is too high.” – Ronald Reagan

“So what is the best thing America could do ‘for the children’? Well, it could try not to make the same mistake as most of the rest of the Western world and avoid bequeathing the next generation a system of unsustainable entitlements that turns the entire nation into a giant Ponzi scheme… And so in a democratic system today’s electors vote to keep the government gravy coming and leave it to tomorrow for ‘the children’ to worry about. That’s the real ‘war on children’ – and every time you add a new entitlement to the budget you make it less and less likely they’ll win it.” – Mark Steyn


“It should be your care, therefore, and mine, to elevate the minds of our children and exalt their courage; to accelerate and animate their industry and activity; to excite in them an habitual contempt of meanness, abhorrence of injustice and inhumanity, and an ambition to excel in every capacity, faculty, and virtue.” – John Adams

“The Boy Scouts’ Philadelphia branch, called the Cradle of Liberty Council, had been renting the Beaux Arts building, which stands on city-owned land, for $1 a year. The city has now ordered the Scouts to pay a ‘fair market’ rent of $200,000 on the grounds that the group refuses to admit openly gay Scouts and Scout leaders…[T]he Boy Scouts, who require a belief in God and therefore also ‘discriminate’ against atheists, are not comfortable with the idea of openly homosexual men leading young boys into the woods. In 2000, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision (with justices Rehnquist, O’Connor, Scalia, Kennedy and Thomas in the majority), upheld the group’s right to bar scoutmasters who are openly gay based on the principle of freedom of association… But the state, or in this case the city of Philadelphia, apparently doesn’t have to give the Scouts a break on their rent. Isn’t it hypocritical, though, to be intolerant in the name of tolerance, to say that it’s wrong to disapprove of the lifestyles of others but OK to condemn the religious and moral beliefs of others?… If America is about anything, it’s about the right to hold beliefs and views with which others disagree, the right to express and act on those views, and the right to freely associate with others holding similar views. That’s not bigotry; it’s true diversity. So a venerable, well-regarded youth group that has done nothing worse than instill formerly uncontroversial values into the millions of young men it has prepared for responsible adulthood is being successfully demonized.” – Investor’s Business Daily

“Not everything you may care about is in the Constitution. It is a legal document that had compromises in it. What it says it says; what it doesn’t say it doesn’t say.” – Justice Antonin Scalia

“Our sovereignty is the foundation for our freedom. Sovereignty should rest strictly with the American people. We cannot allow a foreign country or an international organization to make decisions that should be our own exclusive province, based on our own national interests.” – Sen. John Cornyn

“Political competition is the lifeblood of American politics. The ability to vote out incumbents has proved to be far more effective than selectively enforced ‘ethics’ rules.” – John Fund

“In explaining any puzzling Washington phenomenon, always choose stupidity over conspiracy, incompetence over cunning. Anything else gives them too much credit.” – Charles Krauthammer

“Hillary tried to get a million dollars for the Woodstock museum. I understand it was a major cultural and pharmaceutical event. I couldn’t attend. I was tied up at the time.” – John McCain

“Now, let’s see if I understand this. In Chinatown, people who live in tenements are giving $1,000 and $2,000 in campaign contributions to Mrs. Clinton, but they can’t afford healthcare. Is that not just cute?” – Rush Limbaugh

“The Gallup Poll indicates that the presidential race is still up for grabs. The voters sound a bit disgruntled. In a match-up of the two most likely nominees, She’s No Bill Clinton has a three point lead over He’s No Ronald Reagan.” – Argus Hamilton

“Adults should take a course in common sense before they upset more kids’ lives over things like a hug or a silly game.” – John Stossel

Jay Leno: What a terrific audience we have. We have 500 people here tonight. We have straight people, we have gay people, we have white people, we have black people. It’s like a Dick Cheney family reunion. … Dick Cheney and Barack Obama are eighth cousins. Isn’t that amazing? Even more amazing: Dick Cheney, Darth Vader- second cousins. … Lynne Cheney says that Obama and Cheney’s connection was the result of one of Obama’s ancestors marrying one of Cheney’s ancestors in 1650. You know who introduced them in 1650? Bob Dole. … President Bush met with the Dalai Lama at the White House. One kind of awkward moment: When the Dalai Lama walked into the Oval Office, he was wearing the traditional robe, and President Bush started chanting, “Toga, Toga!” … [The Dalai Lama] was given the [Congressional] Medal of Freedom. As you know, the Dalai Lama does not engage in sex, drugs, alcohol or tobacco. Which raises the question, what was Congress honoring him for? This goes against everything Congress represents. … Republican Senator Sam Brownback’s campaign announced he will drop out of the presidential race. Now the hard part, of course, is breaking the news to his supporter. … I mean the writing was on the wall. You knew it was going to happen. Like at the last presidential debate, the only question he got was, “I’m sorry, what’s your name again?”