Favourite Quotes

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It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.
-- Aristotle

Truth fears no questions.
-- unknown

I can't understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I'm frightened of the old ones.
-- John Cage, composer (5 Sep 1912-1992)

Do you know what they call alternative medicine that's been proved to work? Medicine.
-- Tim Minchin, "Storm"

Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people.
-- Often attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt, but disputed. Around since 1948.

All great truths begin as blasphemies.
-- George Bernard Shaw, Annajanska (1919)

Every act of creation is first an act of destruction.
-- Pablo Picasso (paraphrased?)

One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision.
-- Bertrand Russell (paraphrased?)

If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin with doubts he shall end in certainties.
-- Francis Bacon (1561 – 1626)

It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.
-- Mark Twain

If you're going to be passionate about something, be passionate about learning. If you're going to fight something, fight for those in need. If you're going to question something, question authority. If you're going to lose something, lose your inhibitions. If you're going to gain something, gain respect and confidence. And if you're going to hate something, hate the false idea that you are not capable of your dreams.
-- Daniel Golston

Tomorrow's illiterate will not be the man who can't read; he will be the man who has not learned how to learn.
-- Psychologist Herbert Gerjuoy as quoted by Alvin Toffler in Future Shock (1970), ch. 18.

Force plays a much larger part in the government of the world than it did before 1914, and what is especially alarming, force tends increasingly to fall into the hands of those who are enemies of civilization. The danger is profound and terrible; it cannot be waved aside with easy optimism. The fundamental cause of the trouble is that in the modern world the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt. Even those of the intelligent who believe that they have a nostrum are too individualistic to combine with other intelligent men from whom they differ on minor points. This was not always the case.
-- "The Triumph of Stupidity" (1933-05-10) in Mortals and Others: Bertrand Russell's American Essays, 1931-1935 (Routledge, 1998, ISBN 0-415-17866-5), p. 28

It has often and confidently been asserted, that man's origin can never be known: but ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, and not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science.
-- "The Descent of Man" (1871), Charles Darwin, Introduction, p. 4.

Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.
-- Albert Einstein

Science literacy is a vaccine against the charlatans of the world that would exploit your ignorance.
-- Neil deGrasse Tyson

Some people have a mental horizon of radius zero, and call it their point of view.
-- David Hilbert

The more complex the mind, the greater the need for the simplicity of play.
-- Captain Kirk, "Shore Leave"

When you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to reform.
-- Mark Twain

Is this *idiocy*? Or something so brilliant that it just *looks* stupid?
-- Gary Kasparov

Simplicity does not precede complexity, but follows it.
-- Alan J. Perlis

People who think they know everything really annoy those of us who know we don't.
-- Bjarne Stroustrup

A sense of humor is a measurement of the extent to which we realize that we are trapped in a world almost totally devoid of reason. Laughter is how we express the anxiety we feel at this knowledge.
-- Dave Barry

I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.
-- Douglas Adams

It's is not, it isn't ain't, and it's it's, not its, if you mean it is. If you don't, it's its. Then too, it's hers. It isn't her's. It isn't our's either. It's ours, and likewise it's theirs and yours.

SOCIOLOGY: For sheer lack of intelligibility, sociology is far and away the number one subject. I sat through hundreds of hours of sociology courses, and read gobs of sociology writing, and I never once heard or read a coherent statement. This is because sociologists want to be considered scientists, so they spend most of their time translating simple, obvious observations into scientific-sounding code. If you plan to major in sociology, you'll have to learn to do the same thing. For example, suppose you have observed that children cry when they fall down. You should write: "Methodological observation of the sociometrical behavior tendencies of prematurated isolates indicates that a causal relationship exists between groundward tropism and lachrimatory behavior forms." If you can keep this up for 50 or 60 pages, you will get a large government grant.

If I were a blue spider, I would certainly ride on a train all the way from Avallon to Paris, and I would set up my house on the nose of a chocolate penguin. It's just a matter of common sense."
--James Wright, "Against Surrealism"

We now return our souls to the creator,
As we stand on the edge of eternal darkness.
Let our chant fill the void,
In order that others may know.
In the land of the night,
The ship of the sun is drawn by the grateful dead.
--Egyptian Book of the Dead

It is better wither to be silent,

or to say things of more value than silence.

Sooner throw a pearl at hazard than an idle or useless word;

and do not say a little in many words,
but a great deal in a few.

-- Pythagoras

"Always ... always remember: Less is less. More is more. More is better. And twice as much is good too. Not enough is bad. And too much is never enough except when it's just about right."
-- The Tick

UFO's are for real: the Air Force doesn't exist.

"In the drowsy dark cave of the mind dreams
build their nest with fragments dropped from day's caravan."
-- Rabindranath Tagore

I have made this letter longer than usual because I lack the time to make it shorter.
-- Blaise Pascal

WARNING: Suffering attention deficit disorder and I'm not afraid to spread it. Now stand back or I'll.. mmm cheesecake
-- Homer Simpson

Support mental health or I'll kill you.

"I went into a general store, and they wouldn't sell me anything specific".
-- Steven Wright

Reality is what, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.

Reality is a crutch for people who can't cope with drugs.
-- Lily Tomlin

Failure is not an option. It is a privilege reserved for those who try.

Failure? I never encountered it. All I ever met were temporary setbacks.
-- Dottie Walters

Success is the mark on the brow of the man who has aimed too low

Natives who beat drums to drive off evil spirits are objects of scorn to smart Americans who blow horns to break up traffic jams.
-- Mary Ellen Kelly

If I had eight hours to chop down a
tree, I'd spend six sharpening my axe.
-- Abraham Lincoln

A physicist is an atom's way of knowing about atoms.
-- George Wald

Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.
-- Aaron Levenstein

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose."
-- Jim Elliot

It is one of the superstitions of the human mind to have imagined that virginity could be a virtue.
-- Voltaire

What is tolerance? -- it is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly -- that is the first law of nature.
-- Voltaire

In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice.
But, in practice, there is.
-- Yogi Berra

I think...I think it's in my basement. Let me go upstairs and check.
-- M.C. Escher (1898-1972)

Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.
If you aren't in over your head, how do you know how tall you are?
-- T.S. Elliot

My father (a lawyer) told me that company culture is driven from the top -- if it's the people who make the product, you're good; sell the product, you're OK. If the accountants take over, look for another job, and if the lawyers take over, run as fast as you can the other way.
-- Alden Hart

War will exist until that distant day when the conscientious objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige that the warrior does today.
-- John F. Kennedy

Let us not despair but act. Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past - let us accept our own responsibility for the future.
-- John F. Kennedy


… It is our responsibility as scientists, knowing the great progress which comes from a satisfactory philosophy of ignorance, the great progress which is the fruit of freedom of thought, to proclaim the value of this freedom; to teach how doubt is not to be feared but welcomed and discussed; and to demand this freedom as our duty to all coming generations.
-- Richard Feynman

We're made of star-stuff. We are a way for the cosmos to know itself.
-- Carl Sagan

In general we look for a new law by the following process. First we guess it. Then we compute the consequences of the guess to see what would be implied if this law that we guessed is right. Then we compare the result of the computation to nature, with experiment or experience, compare it directly with observation, to see if it works. If it disagrees with experiment it is wrong. In that simple statement is the key to science. It does not make any difference how beautiful your guess is. It does not make any difference how smart you are, who made the guess, or what his name is – if it disagrees with experiment it is wrong. That is all there is to it.
-- Richard Feynman


Sed quis custodiet ipsos custodes? 
Who watches the watchmen?

Ubi dubium ibi libertas 
Where there is doubt there is freedom.

Ita erat quando hic adveni 
It was that way when I got here.


Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise, every expanded prospect.
-- James Madison

Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing?
Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing?
Then why call him God?
-- Often attributed to Epicurus (341 BC – 270 BC), but disputed

I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.
-- Galileo Galilei

I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.
-- Stephen F. Roberts

The various modes of worship which prevailed in the Roman world were all considered by the people as equally true; by the philosopher as equally false; and by the magistrate as equally useful.
-- Edward Gibbon, 1776

Organised Religion (OR g@ nizd re LIJ @n) n. A "morally aligned" elite consisting of people who want to change everyone else's world to be like their own. See "Wrong Answer, The".

A man's ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death.
-- Albert Einstein

As long as you pray to God and ask him for some benefit, you are not a religious man.
-- Albert Einstein

Whatever there is of God and goodness in the universe, it must work itself out and express itself through us. We cannot stand aside and let God do it.
-- Albert Einstein

To assume the existence of an unperceivable being ... does not facilitate understanding the orderliness we find in the perceivable world.
-- Albert Einstein

The difference between a cult and an established religion is sometimes about one generation.
-- Scott McLemee

Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.
-- Steven Weinberg

The concept of God is insulting and degrading to man -- it implies that the highest possible is not to be reached by man, that he is an inferior being who can only worship an ideal he will never achieve.
-- Ayn Rand

The greatest tragedy in mankind's entire history may be the hijacking of morality by religion.
-- Arthur C. Clarke

We are all without god – some of us just happen to be aware of it.
-- Monica Salcedo

Yes, I suppose it's odd that atheists sometimes say Jesus and Oh My God. But odder than the religious saying "let's be reasonable"?
-- Hugh Laurie, via Twitter, 2014-09-10

It’s a strange myth that atheists have nothing to live for. It’s the opposite. We have nothing to die for. We have everything to live for.
-- Ricky Gervais


The process of preparing programs for a digital computer is especially attractive, not only because it can be economically and scientifically rewarding, but also because it can be an aesthetic experience much like composing poetry or music.
-- Donald Knuth

Because user errors often produce unpredictable results, the user should try to avoid them.
--IBM MVS/XA System Programming Library

...and then we wrote scripts to write the configs for us, and using these scripts, we made mistakes in a faster, more automated manner.
-- 'A Gentle Introduction to Cricket', on MRTG configuration

Micro Credo: Never trust a computer bigger than you can lift.

Anything that can be done in O(N) can be done in O(N^2).
-- Ralf Schuettau (after looking at a particular piece of code)

101 reasons why you can't find your Sysadmin:
68: It's 9AM. He/She is not working that late.
-- Koos van den Hout

Reason #173 to fear technology...

   o      o     o    o     o    <o     <o>    o>    o
  .|.    \|.   \|/   //    X     \      |    <|    <|>
   /\     >\   /<    >\   /<     >\    /<     >\   /<

Mr. Asciihead learns the Macarena.

"Programming today is a race between software engineers striving to build bigger and better idiot-proof programs, and the Universe trying to produce bigger and better idiots. So far, the Universe is winning."
-- Rich Cook

"Well you know, C isn't that hard, void (*(*f[])())() for instance defines f as an array of unspecified size, of pointers to functions that return pointers to functions that return void... I think".

"The 80xxx series of microprocessors is clear evidence that INTEL isn't doing in-house drug testing."
-- (Usenet, 1988)

Progress (n.)
The process through which Usenet has evolved from smart people in front of dumb terminals to dumb people in front of smart terminals.

-- obs@burnout.demon.co.uk (obscurity)

"do what you like with our code how you like,
just give us some credit since you used our stuff"
"I am RMS of FSF, your patches and code enhancements
will be assimilated into this copylefted source.
Resistence is futile..."

"Where do you want to go today?"
"Where do you want to be tomorrow?"
"Are you guys coming, or what?"


Customer: "I'm running Windows 95 and Internet Explorer 4."
Tech Support: "Y-e-e-e-e-s........"
Customer: "My Computer isn't working now."
Tech Support: "Yes, you just said that."

Friends don't let friends use Microsoft.

"One World, One Web, One Program" - Microsoft Promotional Ad
"Ein Volk, Ein Reich, Ein Fuhrer" - Adolf Hitler

"Just click on the START button and your journey to the Dark Side will be complete!"

You have moved the mouse.
Windows NT must be restarted for the changes to take effect.
Press "OK" to reboot.

Microshaft: Where do you want to crash today?

Microsoft Windows: It just keeps getting beta and beta.

"NT is mute because it is fundamentally broken, period. That any hardware works on that OS is amazing."
-- Jacob Hawley, Sr. Manager, Custom Engineering, Creative Labs

windows 95: n. 32 bit extensions and a graphical shell for a 16 bit patch to an 8 bit operating system originally coded for a 4 bit microprocessor, written by a 2 bit company that can't stand 1 bit of competition.
-- Rev. Pee Kitty

My other computer is your Windows box.

In a world without walls or fences, what use do we have for windows or gates?

The idea that Bill Gates has appeared like a knight in shining armour to lead all customers out of a mire of technological chaos neatly ignores the fact that it was he who, by peddling second-rate technology, led them into it in the first place.
-- Douglas Adams, on Windows '95

Microsoft: "Where do you want to go today?"
Unix: "What do you need to get done today?"
Irix: "Uhh... what day is it today?"

Bill Gates is just a monocle and a Persian cat away from being one of the bad guys in a James Bond movie.
-- Dennis Miller


One of the deep mysteries to me is our logo, the symbol of lust and knowledge, bitten into, all crossed with in the colours of the rainbow in the wrong order. You couldn't dream of a more appropriate logo: lust, knowledge, hope, and anarchy.
-- Gassee - Apple Logo

The Box said Win '95 or better - So I used a Macintosh!
-- Harold Herbert Tessman

"Macintosh - We may not have done everything right, but at least we knew the century was going to end."
-- Douglas Adams


Mastery of UNIX, like mastery of language, offers real freedom. The price of freedom is always dear, but there's no substitute. Personally, I'd rather pay for my freedom than live in a bitmapped, pop-up-happy dungeon like NT.
-- Thomas Scoville

"Besides, who the hell would use an MS keyboard on an SGI machine, they'd probably take it back if they saw you doing that."
-- dustin@spy.net

Contrary to popular belief, Unix is user friendly.
It just happens to be selective about who it makes friends with.
-- Kyle Hearn <kyle@intex.net>

The UNIX Guru's View of Sex:
# unzip ; strip ; touch ; finger ; mount ; fsck ; more ; yes ; umount ; sleep

earth:~# shutdown --apocalypse 5 `/bin/cat ~/apocalype.msg`

Broadcast message from god (console) Wed May 16 13:45:22 2000...

Earth is shutting down in 5 minutes for a system upgrade.  All users
please log out or transfer to heaven.god.net or hell.god.net.  Thank you.

+++ Divide By Cucumber Error. Please Reinstall Universe And Reboot +++
-- Hogfather, Terry Pratchett.

Misinformation found herein copyright Paul Ripke (aka “stix”) stixpjr@gmail.com.