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Mikhail Gorbachev

Nobel Prize for Peace

My position was as follows: through democracy, through glasnost, compel people, rouse people to speak for themselves, analyze, and decide for themselves what is to be done. That was the main thing that drove me. Of course I also saw that the country was breaking down, that it was beginning to lag behind. It could not react appropriately to the challenges of the technological revolution; it was not flexible, because the people were permitted no initiative, no freedom. The entrepreneurs were not permitted this, nor was anyone else: teachers, physicians, engineers, scientists. Everything was under control; everything was in gridlock or stagnant. That's what I saw.
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Nadine Gordimer

Nobel Prize in Literature

Because we felt, "Who are these people who are banning our books?" And remember, I had got the reasons, yes, and one of the reasons was that a child is going around a church and there were pictures. You might have remembered if you read the book, there's an unusual Christ on the cross, and here he was dark, dark hair or something. And the child said, "No, that's not Jesus. Jesus has got blond hair," and so on. And so the parents who were taking her around said, "You know, this was in the Middle East, and it's very likely indeed that he was very dark. So not blue-eyed and blond at all." And this was blasphemous. For God's sake! Or in any of the gods'!
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Stephen Jay Gould

Evolutionary Biologist and Paleontologist

Any profession has a vast amount of tedium attached to it. There's no sense not admitting it. If you're passionate about it, tedium can be -- not exactly a joy -- but can be perfectly tolerable. The tedium of a pianist is 10 hours of practice a day or whatever, not all of which is inspirational. The tedium of an experimental scientist is calibrating the machines and doing it over and over again. The tedium of a paleontologist is poring over a microscope, or using a dental pick to chip away the sand grains from the fossil, or looking at the statistical figures in the columns of a computer printout. Every profession has massive tedium, that's certainly true. You cannot be a successful professional (without it). But I think if you're committed to it, as they say, it goes with the territory. It's part of the work. It's a necessary accoutrement to anything that's exciting.
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