Sandow Birk
Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

Sandow Birk, illustrator of American Qu’ran (pictured above): “You could make the argument that the Koran is the most important book in the world right now, and it has been for the last 20 years. … For Americans to not know what it says is a mistake.”

Ashton Carter, U.S. secretary of defense, on why Arab Gulf states should change their priorities: “You’re not going to protect the integrity of your own state, you’re not going to protect from infiltration from outside, by having a bunch of fancy equipment.”

Dave Brain, a planetary science professor, on the quarter-pound-per-second rate of atmosphere loss on Mars: “I can’t help but imagine hamburgers flying out of the Martian atmosphere, one per second.”

(Previous quotes from our sources here)