• When it gets down to it — talking trade balances here — once we've brain-drained all our technology into other countries, once things have evened out, they're making cars in Bolivia and microwave ovens in Tadzhikistan and selling them here — once our edge in natural resources has been made irrelevant by giant Hong Kong ships and dirigibles that can ship North Dakota all the way to New Zealand for a nickel — once the Invisible Hand has taken away all those historical inequities and smeared them out into a broad global layer of what a Pakistani brickmaker would consider to be prosperity — y'know what? There's only four things we do better than anyone else:

    - music
    - movies
    - microcode (software)
    - high-speed pizza delivery

    "Snow Crash" by Neal Stephenson

    On Globalization

  • I had an idea that sobriety was a weapon. I thought it would give me an advantage over my enemies. I wasn’t sober for moral reasons—I was sober for the same reason a man carries a concealed pistol.

    "Last Year" by Robert Charles Wilson

    On Drinking

  • Knowledge has always flowed upwards, to bishops and kings, not down to serfs and slaves. The principle remains the same in the present era . . . governments dare to aspire, through their intelligence agencies, to a god-like knowledge of every one of us.

    Julian Assange

    On Knowledge

  • Your most fundamental drives are stitched into the fabric of your neural circuitry, and they are inaccessible to you. You find certain things more attractive than others, and you don’t know why. Like your enteric nervous system and your sense of attraction, almost the entirety of your inner universe is foreign to you. The ideas that strike you, your thoughts during a daydream, the bizarre content of your nightdreams—all of these are served up to you from unseen intracranial caverns.

    David Eagleman, Incognito

    The mysterious unconscious