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E.O. Wilson

Father of Sociobiology

We went on with connecting up what we could think of and discover about immigration into islands and extinction of species, connecting it up, what was known with ecology, which was then emerging into a new phase based upon demography, the life and death of organisms. So here we were, for the first time, able to start at the level of individual organisms and individual species -- living, reproducing, dying at a certain rate, interacting with one another as species that aggregate, and then dispersing -- as a result of having actually produced models that were predictive about what the outcome would be, in terms of diversity on islands. It was crude. It was very crude, and it's been largely replaced by more sophisticated models, but that, in essence, was the theory of island biogeography.
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E.O. Wilson

Father of Sociobiology

I wanted to make evolutionary biology experimental, and no one had thought of making biogeography experimental. How could you make biogeography experimental? And it dawned on me -- because I was doing all this field work, more from the experience of natural history -- that we weren't going to be able to experiment with New Guinea or Fiji, or even a small island in the West Indies. Because what I had in mind was to eliminate all the species in a place where they could be eliminated without any real damage to the total fauna, and then study the return of those, and see how that accorded with the basic patterns predicted by the theory of island biogeography. And it dawned on me that whereas you have to have an island the size of Cuba, say, for a real population of woodpeckers or small mammals, that a very small island, like a mangrove island in the Florida Keys, would be an island for tiny insects where thousands of a species could live.
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E.O. Wilson

Father of Sociobiology

We pulled it off. We actually followed the recolonization of an empty island, in fact a whole series of them, with controls, and that was the first experiment in island biogeography. And although the data had certain limitations -- we couldn't really figure out the turnover rate exactly -- we did affirm the main conclusions of the theory of island biogeography. The closer the island is and the smaller it is, the more quickly it fills up. The farther away it is, the larger it is, the more slowly it fills up. We learned a lot about the colonization of our islands in that experiment. It was very satisfying.
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E.O. Wilson

Father of Sociobiology

Today, 25 years later, gradually the malodor drifted away, and today it is one of the most popular subjects, particularly going under the name "evolutionary psychology." There is an entire library of books it seems, almost every year, published. It never was rejected as heavily as the criticism seemed to indicate -- that is, the conspicuous criticism. I made a count not too long ago of books published from 1975 to '95 -- in my library, which is nearly complete -- on human sociobiology, and in that period, the books favorable, predominantly favorable, ran something like 20 to one against those that were unfavorable. The ones that were unfavorable were often paid a great deal of attention to because everybody likes a fight.
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E.O. Wilson

Father of Sociobiology

It was with distance running, and making my best effort at it, that I discovered (that) at the end of the day, maybe biology is destiny. In other words, there was a limit. There is no question, there was a limit in me and, I think, others -- some very high, some in the middle, and some quite low -- in any kind of physical effort, and it may turn out eventually in any kind of a mental effort where then achievement in mental effort depends substantially on context and opportunity and other character traits. But in the late '40s, I was spellbound by the notion of -- you know, I was just a kid, I was a teenager still -- I was spellbound by the notion of the four-minute mile, the unattainable goal, that humans couldn't break it. It was a period when there was a Swedish runner named Gunder Hagg, who was coming up for the '48 Olympics, who had come up within a second of it. He was my hero, because here was someone who had made supreme effort to attain the ultimate and may be on the edge of doing something historic like that. So I believed at that time, quite contrary to being a genetic determinist, that there was something about excellence in athletics -- in some forms of athletics, but particularly in this one -- that depended upon character and self-determination and ability to endure pain, and I always wanted to be an athlete.
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Oprah Winfrey

Entertainment Executive

Oprah Winfrey: Well, the most powerful scene in The Color Purple for me was the scene where Sofia walks through the cornfield, and proclaims herself to Celia, defines and proclaims herself. Where she says, "All my life I had to fight. I had to fight my cousins. I had to fight my brothers. I had to fight my uncles. But I ain't never thought I had to fight in my own house." I did that scene in one take because it was the essence, I thought, of my life, and very liberating to live it through Sofia. Because, at the time that I spoke it, I wasn't there yet. Because, what she is saying is "I fought people all my life, and I'm not going to fight in my own house anymore, in my own space anymore. I'm going to have what I deserve." And it's taken me a while to get to where Sofia was. But it was so liberating. It was all, I think, a part of the process of growth for me, to recognize it can be done.
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Oprah Winfrey

Entertainment Executive

Oprah Winfrey: I feel that luck is preparation meeting opportunity. The reason I feel so strongly about that, and it's not just a saying for me. I was hired in television in 1973, right after the riots of '71, '72, and other blacks and female people were hired at the same time. People accused me of being a token at the time. It didn't really bother me because I realized that I was going to stay there. Once I got there, I realized, nobody is getting me out of here. This is not just a phase for me. I sort of began to create my own luck. I said I knew how to edit when I didn't. I said I knew how to report on stories. I went to my first city council meeting, I wasn't quite sure of what to do, but I had told the news director that I did. So, then what you have to do is, be willing to admit that you know nothing. So I walked into the city council meeting and announced to everybody there, "This is my first day on the job, and I don't know anything. Please help me because I have told the news director at Channel 5 that I know what I'm doing. Pleeeeze help me." And they did. And from that point on all those councilmen became my friends, and I'd come in the council meeting, and they helped me out. And I realize now it was because of my willingness to say, "I don't know it, but if you will just, you know, help me." So that's how I learned.
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Bob Woodward

Investigative Reporter

Bob Woodward: I don't know whether I feel pride. I think pride is hubris. I think it is an emotion that if you bask in it, it's like hate; it will destroy you. So I don't make those kinds of assessments. I like what I do. I am repeatedly struck by how I have missed part of the story, always. One of the managing editors at the Post, Howard Simons, during Watergate -- this was not on a Watergate story, but I was struggling with a story early in my time at the Post -- and he came by, and he said, "You don't have to understand a man in an afternoon." In other words, you don't have to do it in a day, and you won't achieve understanding of a in an -- slow down, take your time, dig, go back. And no one goes back or slows down or digs enough, particularly me.
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Bob Woodward

Investigative Reporter

I think journalism is a practice, like law, that you keep learning. You are trying to get it right and you never do, and that there must be a sense whenever you get to something and then realize two weeks earlier, two days or two minutes earlier, you didn't know that, and it's critical that no matter what you do, you are never going to have the full story. So you are dealing a glancing blow to what's out there. You want to deal a careful glancing blow. You want to spend time on it. You want to make sense out of it. You want it to be fair. But in the end, it's only a glancing blow.
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