Robin McKinley – Spindle’s End (2000)

…But the wing had not healed as it should, and so it was given the vaulted height of the Great Hall to live in, where no one dared trouble it, and it was fed by a falconer with a very long pole.

The merrel also knew its wing had not healed. But I could reach a great height once more before it failed me, it said. And from there I would fold my wings and plummet to the earth as if a hare or a fawn had caught my eye; but it would be myself I stooped toward. It would be a good flight and a good death. And so I eat their dead things cut up on a pole, dreaming of my last flight.


Daniel Kahneman – Thinking, Fast and Slow (2011)

A happy mood loosens the control of System 2 over performance: when in a good mood, people become more intuitive and more creative but also less vigilant and more prone to logical errors. Here again, as in the mere exposure effect, the connection makes biological sense. A good mood is a signal that things are generally going well, the environment is safe, and it is all right to let one’s guard down. A bad mood indicates that things are not going very well, there may be a threat, and vigilance is required. Cognitive ease is both a cause and a consequence of a pleasant feeling.


Carl Sagan – Pale Blue Dot (1994)

It will not be we who reach Alpha Centauri and the other nearby stars. It will be a species very like us, but with more of our strengths and fewer of our weaknesses, a species returned to circumstances more like those for which it was originally evolved, more confident, farseeing, capable, and prudent–the sorts of beings we would want to represent us in a Universe that, for all we know, is filled with species much older, much more powerful, and very different.

Douglas Adams – The Salmon of Doubt (2002)

“You’d be astonished at the demands people try to make on my time, you know.” He slouched moodily against his horse. “Would I sign this, would I appear there. Would I please do a sponsored massacre for charity….”

(from ‘The Private Life of Genghis Khan’)

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Douglas Hofstadter – Metamagical Themas (1985)

…At this point, many critics of computers and artificial intelligence, eager to find something that “computers can’t do” (and never will be able to do) often jump too far: they jump to the conclusion that art and, more generally, creativity, are fundamentally uncomputerizable. This is hardly the implied conclusion! The implied conclusion is just this: that for computers to act human, we will have to wait until we have good computer models of such human things as perception, memory, mental categories, learning, and so on. We are a long way from that. But there is no reason to assume that those goals are in principle unattainable, even if they remain far off for a long time.