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Paul MacCready

Engineer of the Century

I did recall, with no special emphasis, this £50,000 prize that Henry Kremer had put up 17 years earlier. And then, one day I happened to notice that at that time the pound was worth just two dollars. Suddenly, this great light bulb just glowed over my head: the prize was $100,000, my debt was $100,000. There just may be some interesting connection between these two. So my interest in human-powered flight zoomed up to high level, and I fussed away at it, and eventually it worked.
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Paul MacCready

Engineer of the Century

I was doing the scaling laws for all of these different flight devices, natural and artificial, in my mind. The scaling laws are pretty simple. And while working on that, I thought back about human-powered flight and realized, why yes, there was a very simple, straightforward way of doing it. Which was merely, you can take any airplane, conceptually, keep the size the same -- I mean, keep the weight the same -- but let the size just get bigger and bigger and bigger in all dimensions, and the power goes down and, conceptually, you can make it big enough so it can get by on the tiny power that a person puts out.
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Norman Mailer

Two Pulitzer Prizes

You almost can't become a serious professional writer unless there is a built-in arrogance in yourself that you have something special about yourself. It's a vanity and when the vanity is misplaced, as it usually is, it's sad, if not tragic. But, once in a while you're up to your own idea of yourself. Now, I was never up to my own idea of myself and any other activity. You know, we could get funny about this. I could say, "Well, of course, at six, one is always forgiving about one's own merits," but in any event, when it came to writing I was totally serious about it. Truly I had great good luck in my life, two ways. One was, I very early in life -- by the time I was 17 or 18 -- I knew I had a vocation. I knew there was one thing I wanted to be and that was a writer. That's a great help. Then I had the secondary luck that my parents who, being good Jewish folk, thought I should have an absolutely practical profession -- medicine, law, something like that -- but converted, because I won a college contest when I was 18. It was a nationwide college contest for short stories, and after that there was no argument in their heart. They thought, "He's going to be a writer."
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Norman Mailer

Two Pulitzer Prizes

I think the thing that gave The Naked and the Dead its sense of absolute realism even when it was not absolutely realistic and was not about personal experiences all the way at all, just partially, is that the characters were good in The Naked and the Dead. I had lived among these soldiers for two years and I knew a lot about them. And so, when it came to drawing them, developing them, they became very real to me. In a certain sense, if your characters in the novel don't become as real to you as the members of your family, then you're in a lot of trouble. Your characters are not going to develop. But, once you've got characters who are real, and start to develop and you live with them, and they're -- as I say -- they're as real to you as uncles and aunts and cousins and friends, then they start to do things on their own that are very good. And so, I think the reason The Naked and the Dead has that realistic feeling -- although to repeat, it was not that realistic -- is precisely because the characters carried along, and you believe in the characters. And, once you believe in the characters, the book tends to become more realistic, whatever its stance.
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Wynton Marsalis

Pulitzer Prize for Music

I want to really become a better composer. I want to learn how to really write jazz music, and just capture a portion of what I really see around me because now I function at like 20 percent of my capability, because I don't have the technique to write down what I hear and see and feel. I don't have the technical. I can't do it. So, I have to work on that because I can really conceive of writing songs about animals, a whole series of songs just on animals. A whole series of songs based on Japanese music. Really, truly dealing with their music, not just ting-tong ting-ting bong. You know, something corny. I mean really, from a conceptual standpoint and, also just dealing with jazz music. Some pretty music, something people can like, but that will also be good. Try to bring dance back into the music. Try to deal with film and music. Try to write opera, write ballets. There's a lot I want to do. I'm sure I won't do it all. But, if I could just get the technique to do it, then I think I would be in a much better position.
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