Thinks 387

WSJ on the James Webb Space Telescope: “The Webb’s ultrasensitive infrared sensors are designed to capture light emitted more than 13.6 billion years ago by primordial stars, gargantuan furnaces that were hundreds of times larger than any stars shining today. It could reveal the earliest star clusters and supernovas, where almost all the elements were forged. “We want to see the first objects that formed as the universe cooled down after the Big Bang,” Dr. Mather said. “We don’t know exactly when the universe made the first stars and galaxies, or how for that matter. One way or another, the first stars must have influenced our own history, beginning with stirring up everything and producing the other chemical elements besides hydrogen and helium.””

NYTimes: “Stoicism is many things — it was devised and refined over centuries — but the basic principles can be summed up quickly. Excellence of character, or virtue, is the only true good, and we should spend our lives pursuing it. Virtue is its own reward, but as a free bonus it will also make us happy. We should cultivate feelings of kinship toward all humans. We should not whine or gossip. We should mentally rehearse all the undesirable events that might befall us (including death) so that we’ll be prepared if and when they do happen. But we should not do this in an obsessive way; more of an imaginary-exposure-therapy way. We should make a distinction between what we can and cannot control, and quit worrying about things in the second category.”

James Buchanan in 1975: “Burgeoning budgets are an outgrowth of the American liberal tradition which assigns to government the instrumental role in creating the “good society.” The arrogance of the administrative and, particularly, the judicial elite in changing basic law by fiat arises from the same source. If the “good society” can first be defined, and, second, produced by governmental action, then men finding themselves in positions of discretionary power, whether in legislative, executive, or judicial roles, are placed under some moral obligation to move society toward the defined ideal…If our Leviathan is to be controlled, politicians and judges must come to have respect for limits. Their continued efforts to use assigned authority to impose naively formulated constructs of social order must produce a decline in their own standing. If leaders have no sense of limits, what must be expected of those who are limited by their ukases? If judges lose respect for law, why must citizens respect judges? If personal rights are subjected to arbitrary confiscation at the hands of the state, why must individuals refrain from questioning the legitimacy of government?” [via Atanu Dey]

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.