“I can take out my iPhone and scan the tweets and see what’s happening half way around the world, and I can put myself in the shoes of someone who is trying to overthrow a repressive regime and I can suddenly have an empathy with that person that I would not otherwise necessarily have had … People all around the world are realizing that we’re not just necessarily citizens of a particular state or a particular country, but citizens of the world. And this is a growing feeling and I think that the Internet and social media tools are making the world a smaller place and allowing us to feel this empathy.”—Twitter’s Biz Stone on the power of social media networks.
“Twitter is not for sale. We don’t have a shingle out on our front that says ‘Twitter. For Sale.’ We’re not for sale and we haven’t been. We’re very, very interested in building an independent company.”—Twitter co-founder Biz Stone on the rumors of a Facebook or Google takeover.
“A common parlance that was said by some interrogators and analysts was ‘Arabs grow up in a culture of violence so they only understand violence.’ We have that documented in an email from a senior interrogator to his commander at one point in Iraq. And it was that type of stereotype of Arabs and of Muslims that was very counterproductive to try to get people to cooperate. … Those prejudices worked directly in contrast to what we were trying to accomplish.”—Military interrogator Matthew Alexander says that interrogators who believed in misguided stereotypes about Muslims and Arabs were the single most detrimental factor to undermining interrogations in Iraq.
“What we were all taught as medical students a decade or two ago is that connections in the fetal brain are fixed during infancy or fetal life by genes, and then as you grow into adulthood, the maps crystallize and are there permanently. But we are finding that this is not true. Even the basic sensory map in the brain gets completely reorganized in a matter of weeks. This challenges the dogma that all medical students are raised with that no new connections or pathways can emerge in the adult brain. That was news 10 or 15 years ago. Now it’s widely accepted.”—
Neurologist V.S. Ramachandran, a pioneer in the field of visual perception, explains how his simple experiments in behavioral neurology have changed the lives of patients suffering from a variety of neurological symptoms.
“People ask me if I ever thought of writing a children’s book. I say, ‘If I had a serious brain injury I might well write a children’s book’, but otherwise the idea of being conscious of who you’re directing the story to is anathema to me, because, in my view, fiction is freedom and any restraints on that are intolerable.”—Martin Amis, in a conversation on the BBC programme Faulks on Fiction.