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Note: I do NOT agree with some of these! For example, a quote by Schlesinger below expresses the OPPOSITE of my personal opinion.

"...The Bill of Rights is a literal and absolute document. The First Amendment doesn't say you have a right to speak out unless the government has a 'compelling interest' in censoring the Internet. The Second Amendment doesn't say you have the right to keep and bear arms until some madman plants a bomb. The Fourth Amendment doesn't say you have the right to be secure from search and seizure unless some FBI agent thinks you fit the profile of a terrorist. The government has no right to interfere with any of these freedoms under any circumstances." -- Harry Browne, 1996 USA presidential candidate, Libertarian Party

"Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats." -- Howard H. Aiken

"Be skeptical but not cynical" -- my high school history teacher

"Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out." -- Anton Chekhov

"And the [TCL] book was there 'cause the hardware guys use it for scripting their lovecraftian toolchain." -- http://www.yosefk.com/blog/i-cant-believe-im-praising-tcl.html

" One way of beginning to understand privacy is by looking at what happens to people in extreme situations where it is absent. Recalling his time in Auschwitz, Primo Levi observed that "solitude in a Camp is more precious and rare than bread." Solitude is one state of privacy, and even amidst the overwhelming death, starvation, and horror of the camps, Levi knew he missed it.... Levi spent much of his life finding words for his camp experience. How, he wonders aloud in Survival in Auschwitz, do you describe "the demolition of a man," an offense for which "our language lacks words."...

    One function of privacy is to provide a safe space away from terror or other assaultive experiences. When you remove a person's ability to sequester herself, or intimate information about herself, you make her extremely vulnerable....
    The totalitarian state watches everyone, but keeps its own plans secret. Privacy is seen as dangerous because it enhances resistance. Constantly spying and then confronting people with what are often petty transgressions is a way of maintaining social control and unnerving and disempowering opposition....
    And even when one shakes real pursuers, it is often hard to rid oneself of the feeling of being watched -- which is why surveillance is an extremely powerful way to control people. The mind's tendency to still feel observed when alone... can be inhibiting. ... Feeling watched, but not knowing for sure, nor knowing if, when, or how the hostile surveyor may strike, people often become fearful, constricted, and distracted.


    Safe privacy is an important component of autonomy, freedom, and thus psychological well-being, in any society that values individuals. ... Summed up briefly, a statement of "how not to dehumanize people" might read: Don't terrorize or humiliate. Don't starve, freeze, exhaust. Don't demean or impose degrading submission. Don't force separation from loved ones. Don't make demands in an incomprehensible language. Don't refuse to listen closely. Don't destroy privacy. Terrorists of all sorts destroy privacy both by corrupting it into secrecy and by using hostile surveillance to undo its useful sanctuary.
    But if we describe a standard for treating people humanely, why does stripping privacy violate it? And what is privacy? In his landmark book, Privacy and Freedom, Alan Westin names four states of privacy: solitude, anonymity, reserve, and intimacy. The reasons for valuing privacy become more apparent as we explore these states....
    The essence of solitude, and all privacy, is a sense of choice and control. You control who watches or learns about you. You choose to leave and return. ...
    Intimacy is a private state because in it people relax their public front either physically or emotionally or, occasionally, both. They tell personal stories, exchange looks, or touch privately. They may ignore each other without offending. They may have sex. They may speak frankly using words they would not use in front of others, expressing ideas and feelings -- positive or negative -- that are unacceptable in public. (I don't think I ever got over his death. She seems unable to stop lying to her mother. He looks flabby in those running shorts. I feel horny. In spite of everything, I still long to see them. I am so angry at you I could scream. That joke is disgusting, but it's really funny.) Shielded from forced exposure, a person often feels more able to expose himself."

" This type of post often uses the Goldilocks fallacy to appear like it offers advice when it's actually restating the actual problem: the way to achieve Y is with just the right amount of X.

"A successful startup is easy: simply build the right product in the right market with the right team, and don't forget to build it at the right speed!"

" -- timruffles , https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6210331

"A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it." -- Max Planck

"Rich dudes can keep small identities and still make shit happen; poor everyone-else has to form teams, and with a diversity of levels of education, talent, intelligence and common sense, that will invariably mean pandering and WOOOOing a bit. Why? Because not everyone is smart enough to be affected by rhetoric. Ex hypothesis everyone else has already been 'taken', i.e. has considered opinions, so by elimination it's the aggressive, passionate idiots who play kingmaker. Thus explaining US politics." -- https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6173523 (note: i think they meant "not everyone is smart enough to be affected by rational argument")

"...what religion and politics have in common is that they become part of people's identity, and people can never have a fruitful argument about something that's part of their identity" -- http://www.paulgraham.com/identity.html


diydsp 2 days ago


The Taoism analogy is an interesting one. Underpinning much of it is the idea that there is a time to move and a time to stand still. iow it's useful to learn when to resist and when to yield.

Many times when people express opinions, they are given with the urgency of "this needs to be done, now!" e.g. we need to stop them from stoning women to death Right Now(!), we need to let gays marry, now.

But the belief that we can do these things right now is an illusion. That would be like me walking out of my office to the airport, buying a ticket in cash to Iran, finding someone who stoned a woman to death, and killing him with my bare hands. It's not strategic.

The Tao is a collection of wisdom of strategy that says, "Don't do everything that you feel right now, right now." Instead, "Find the right time to act." And you don't always act all of the way. You have to figure out how much when to act and how much.

So it seems to crass to sit still while listening to stories of gut-wrenching atrocities, but at least one school of ancient wisdom teaches us we have to be strategic and flow when the time is right, when others are moving at the same time and our force is multiplied, when the "bad guys" have their guard down, etc. And we need to learn to perceive these conditions.

And we need to tame this urge to railroad our opinions into other's actions and forced agreement. In the slavery and suffragist examples, their opinions were much more powerful as they gained domain knowledge and when they coordinated their efforts, becoming the smoothly flowing, powerful water, instead of a disparate cloud of angry electrons. " -- https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6173587

" I hope as well, but I doubt it. That kind of secret power begs to be abused. The system of checks and balances that we learned about in civics class is simply gone. A willful executive with these powers at hand can sway the outcome of any congressional vote, any Supreme Court decision, or any media story. Our immune system against tyranny has been compromised and irrevocably so. We haven't yet descended into despotism but it is inevitable once a strong enough individual rises. To carry the analogy further, it's 1984 and we've just contracted HIV." -- https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6151030


 Briefly stated, the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect is as follows. You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In Murray's case, physics. In mine, show business. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues. Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward reversing cause and effect. I call these the "wet streets cause rain" stories. Paper's full of them.In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story, and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about Palestine than the baloney you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know.
  Michael Crichton "

"the trick with habit forming is to not give up after you miss a day" -- https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6145818

"If you beat yourself up over procrastination, you're just subconsciously teaching yourself to not even think about whether you're procrastinating or not." -- https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6145261


" Those Nigerian prince scams are not very convincing, he adds, but they re meant not to be. If you re a skeptical person, the scammers want to spend as little time with you as possible. " -- http://www.slate.com/articles/business/moneybox/2013/07/how_one_weird_trick_conquered_the_internet_what_happens_when_you_click_on.single.html

"Success is not measured by what you accomplish, but by the opposition you have encountered, and the courage with which you have maintained the struggle against overwhelming odds" - Orison Swett

" I think the trick with knowledge is to "acquire it, and forget all except the perfume" -- because it is noisy and sometimes drowns out one's own "brain voices". The perfume part is important because it will help find the knowledge again to help get to the destinations the inner urges pick." -- Alan Kay via http://worrydream.com/dbx/

" The National Science Foundation continued to exist as a basic-science funding agency. But unlike ARPA, the NSF funds projects, not people, and project proposals must be accepted by a peer review board. Any sufficiently-revolutionary project, especially at the early stages, will sound too crazy for a board to accept. Worse, requiring a detailed project proposal means that the NSF simply can't fund truly exploratory research, where the goal is not to solve a problem, but to discover and understand the problem in the first place." -- http://worrydream.com/dbx/

" In science if you know what you are doing you should not be doing it. In engineering if you do not know what you are doing you should not be doing it. Of course, you seldom, if ever, see either pure state." -- Richard Hamming

" In retrospect I realize that in almost everything that we [Hillis and Feynman] worked on together, we were both amateurs. In digital physics, neural networks, even parallel computing, we never really knew what we were doing. But the things that we studied were so new that no one else knew exactly what they were doing either. It was amateurs who made the progress." -- Danny Hillis


David Merkel is an investment professional, and like every investment professional, he makes mistakes. David encourages you to do your own independent "due diligence" on any idea that he talks about, because he could be wrong. Nothing written here, at RealMoney?, Wall Street All-Stars, or anywhere else David may write is an invitation to buy or sell any particular security; at most, David is handing out educated guesses as to what the markets may do. David is fond of saying, "The markets always find a new way to make a fool out of you," and so he encourages caution in investing. Risk control wins the game in the long run, not bold moves. Even the best strategies of the past fail, sometimes spectacularly, when you least expect it. David is not immune to that, so please understand that any past success of his will be probably be followed by failures.

Also, though David runs Aleph Investments, LLC, this blog is not a part of that business. This blog exists to educate investors, and give something back. It is not intended as advertisement for Aleph Investments; David is not soliciting business through it. When David, or a client of David's has an interest in a security mentioned, full disclosure will be given, as has been past practice for all that David does on the web. Disclosure is the breakfast of champions.

Additionally, David may occasionally write about accounting, actuarial, insurance, and tax topics, but nothing written here, at RealMoney?, or anywhere else is meant to be formal "advice" in those areas. Consult a reputable professional in those areas to get personal, tailored advice that meets the specialized needs that David can have no knowledge of." -- http://alephblog.com/2012/10/13/book-review-how-to-really-ruin-your-financial-life-and-portfolio/

"Willpower is a depleting resource. We should focus on setting up systems, automating behaviors we want to happen." -- Ramit Sethi, http://www.forbes.com/sites/schifrin/2013/06/05/ramit-sethi-how-to-force-yourself-to-go-to-the-gym/

"Don't they play tapes of McCarthy? explaining recursion to foetuses in utero?" -- http://lambda-the-ultimate.org/node/4754#comment-75563

"I believe in the concept of America, [But] not its current execution." -- Clayton Seymour

"If there were a policy that saved over 20,000 lives, reduced carbon emissions by 20 percent, reduced gasoline usage by 20 percent, decreased average insurance costs by 75 percent, and which would increase revenues to the federal government and not cost any additional money to implement -- who in this room would support this policy?" -- http://m.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2013/07/if-prism-is-good-policy-why-stop-with-terrorism/277531/?

"Most of the innovation of Bitcoin must happen outside the US because the US does not tolerate innovation" -- Erik Voorhees, Coinapult

"...it is genuinely normal for senior scientists to stay one step ahead of the system by essentially applying for money to do work that is already largely complete, and thus bears no risk of failing to be delivered on time." -- Aubrey De Grey, http://edge.org/responses/what-should-we-be-worried-about

" The real quest in computer architecture is a model for computation that does not inherently have the vonNeumann bottleneck. This is a pie-in-the-sky arena for computer architecture." -- Mitch Alsup

"Getting rid of a delusion makes one wiser than getting hold of a truth." -- Ludwig Brne

"Life isn't fair, but government must be," -- Ann Richards

"Journalist: What do you think of western civilization? Ghandi: I think it would be a good idea." -- Ghandi, maybe: http://quoteinvestigator.com/2013/04/23/good-idea/

"The common law consists of about half a dozen obvious propositions, but unfortunately nobody knows what they are." -- Lord Sterndale

"Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different." -- T. S. Eliot (interesting discussion at http://quoteinvestigator.com/2013/03/06/artists-steal/ )

" A man said to the universe "Sir I exist!" "However," replied the universe, "That fact has not created in me a sense of obligation." " -- Stephen Crane

"All I can say is that this is Bitcoin. I don't believe it until I see six confirmations." -- https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?PHPSESSID=ll6ndo095u33p2ebut6kckro40&action=profile;u=34137

"Do unto others 20% better than you would expect them to do unto you, to correct for subjective error." -- Linus Pauling

" For the same reason the idea of "standing on the shoulders of giants" is not accepted in the world of copyright today anymore - corporate greed. " -- https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5687804

" This is best encapsulated in an anecdote from my visit to Athens. A friend and I met up at a new bookstore and caf in the centre of town, which has only been open for a month. The establishment is in the center of an area filled with bars, and the owner decided the neighborhood could use a place for people to convene and talk without having to drink alcohol and listen to loud music. After we sat down, we asked the waitress for a coffee. She thanked us for our order and immediately turned and walked out the front door. My friend explained that the owner of the bookstore/caf couldn t get a license to provide coffee. She had tried to just buy a coffee machine and give the coffee away for free, thinking that lingering patrons would boost book sales. However, giving away coffee was illegal as well. Instead, the owner had to strike a deal with a bar across the street, whereby they make the coffee and the waitress spends all day shuttling between the bar and the bookstore/caf. My friend also explained to me that books could not be purchased at the bookstore, as it was after 18h and it is illegal to sell books in Greece beyond that hour. I was in a bookstore/caf that could neither sell books nor make coffee. " -- http://economistmeg.com/2012/02/27/note-from-athens-feeling-on-the-ground-has-palpably-changed/

"CAUTION: CUTTING EDGE IS SHARP, AVOID CONTACT." -- notice on kitchen aluminum foil from Ralph's

"(To me, fighting null is the epitome of why i struggled to be a programmer. I am not a natural at it, but I wanted very much to be - and I found no use for NULL. I never needed it, but it was always there. I kept pushing it down, painting over it, shutting it up, constantly checking for it - "Are you NULL? are you NULL? what about you?" - and sometimes I would deceive myself, that my problems were other things, but then NULL would pop up, I would find that it was the cause - however, NULL is never really the cause. It is someone you always run into in bad situations, someone you never want to see. NULL penetrates all the layers to find you, and can only say, helplessly, "Looks like you're having a problem." Endemic to the problem, complicit, and might be the problem.)" -- _why, http://www.scribd.com/doc/136875051/-why-s-complete-printer-spool-as-one-book

"As a programmer, my core strengths have always been knowing how to apologize to users, and composing funny tweets." -- http://blog.pinboard.in/2013/04/the_matasano_crypto_challenges/

"...being perpetually rude and having terrible people skills isn't a deal-breaker in corporate America." -- Paul Lutus, https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5579102

"You have a problem and decide to hire an executive...." -- http://michaelochurch.wordpress.com/2013/03/26/gervais-macleod-17-building-the-future-and-financing-lifestyle-businesses/#comment-3314

" Those phases of human make-up which build habit in the individual and institutions in the group &[are] laziness as to the reworking of a problem once solved; the time and energy saved by routine, especially under any pressure of business; the values of routine as a curb on arbitrariness and as a prop of weakness, inexperience and instability; the social values of predictability; the power of whatever exists to produce expectations and the power of expectations to become normative. The force of precedent in the law is heightened by an additional factor: that curious, almost universal sense of justice which urges that all men are properly to be treated alike in like circumstances. As the social system varies we meet in.finite variations as to what men or treatments or circumstances are to be classed as "like"; but the pressure to accept the views of the time and place remains. " -- Llewellyn

"When you see a four-year-old bossing a two-year-old, you are seeing the fundamental problem of the human race and the reason so many idealistic political movements for a better world have ended in mass-murdering dictatorships. Giving leaders enough power to create "social justice" is giving them enough power to destroy all justice, all freedom, and all human dignity. " -- Thomas Sowell

"History is an account, mostly false, of events, mostly unimportant, which are brought about by rulers, mostly knaves, and soldiers, mostly fools." -- Ambrose Bierce

"Fear of serious injury alone cannot justify oppression of free speech and assembly. Men feared witches and burnt women. It is the function of speech to free men from the bondage of irrational fears." -- Louis D Brandeis

" By contrast, it is not a huge exaggeration to point out that electronic media over the last 100+ years have actually removed some of day to day needs for reading and writing, and have allowed much of the civilized world to lapse back into oral societal forms (and this is not a good thing at all for systems that require most of the citizenry to think in modern forms). " -- Alan Kay

"The best way to predict the future is to invent it" -- Alan Kay "Technology is anything that wasn't around when you were born" -- Alan Kay "If you don't fail at least 90 percent of the time, you're not aiming high enough." -- Alan Kay

"Hodor said only, 'Hodor'" -- A Clash Of Kings

"Branding is not anymore about what we want people to believe. It is more about adjusting to what people think about us. It is also about the tension between what we really want to be and what people want us to become. " -- Tiberius Brastaviceanu (by the way i know Tiberius and out of all of the deep issues that he's said insightful things about, branding is one of the least deep -- i just liked this quote, that's all)

"[Section] One hundred and fourteen. All wrecks, mines, minerals, quarries of gems, and precious stones, with pearl-fishing, whale-fishing, and one-half of all ambergris, by whomsoever found, shall wholly belong to the lords proprietors." -- http://avalon.law.yale.edu/17th_century/nc05.asp

"it is the reflective part of the public which tends to determine public policy" -- http://www.theimaginativeconservative.org/edmund-burke-and-constitution/#.UUPnuVHaozM

"Si vis pacem, para bellum" -- Publius Flavius Vegetius Renatus

"Your cyber systems continue to function and serve you not due to the expertise of your security staff but solely due to the sufferance of your opponents." -- NSA Information Assurance Director Brian Snow

"It's a fiscal bromance." -- Maya MacGuineas?

"A manager knows that he will be vulnerable to the charge of mismanagement if he misses his schedule without having applied all his resources. This knowledge creates a strong pressure on the initial designer who might prefer to wrestle with the design rather than fragment it by delegation, but he is made to feel that the cost of risk is too high to take the chance. Therefore, he is forced to delegate in order to bring more resources to bear.

The following case illustrates another but related way in which the environment of the manager can be in conflict with the integrity of the system being designed.

A manager must subcontract a crucial and difficult design task. He has a choice of two contractors, a small new organization which proposes an intuitively appealing approach for much less money than is budgeted, and an established but conventional outfit which is asking a more "realistic" fee. He knows that if the bright young organization fails to produce adequate results, he will be accused of mismanagement, whereas if the established outfit fails, it will be evidence that the problem is indeed a difficult one.

What is the difficulty here? A large part of it relates to the kind of reasoning about measurement of resources which arises from conventional accounting theory. According to this theory, the unit of resource is the dollar, and all resources must be measured using units of measurement which are convertible to the dollar. If the resource is human effort, the unit of measurement is the number of hours worked by each man times his hourly cost, summed up for the whole working force.

One fallacy behind this calculation is the property of linearity which says that two men working for a year or one hundred men working for a week (at the same hourly cost per man) are resources of equal value. Assuming that two men and one hundred men cannot work in the same organizational structure (this it intuitively evident and will he discussed below) our homomorphism says that they will not design similar systems; therefore the value of their efforts may not even be comparable. From experience we know that the two men, if they are well chosen and survive the experience, will give us a better system. Assumptions which may be adequate for peeling potatoes and erecting brick walls fail for designing systems.

Parkinson's law[4] plays an important role in the overassignment of design effort. As long as the manager's prestige and power are tied to the size of his budget, he will be motivated to expand his organization. This is an inappropriate motive in the management of a system design activity. Once the organization exists, of course, it will be used. Probably the greatest single common factor behind many poorly designed systems now in existence has been the availability of a design organization in need of work.

The second step in the disintegration of a system design -- the fragmentation of the design organization communication structure -- begins as soon as delegation has started. Elementary probability theory tells us that the number of possible communication paths in an organization is approximately half the square of the number of people in the organization. Even in a moderately small organization it becomes necessary to restrict communication in order that people can get some "work" done. Research which leads to techniques permitting more efficient communication among designers will play an extremely important role in the technology of system management. ... Therefore, flexibility of organization is important to effective design.

Ways must be found to reward design managers for keeping their organizations lean and flexible. There is need for a philosophy of system design management which is not based on the assumption that adding manpower simply adds to productivity. " -- http://melconway.com/Home/Committees_Paper.html

"there's never enough time to do something right, but there's always enough time to do it over." -- http://melconway.com/Home/Committees_Paper.html

"Something that's fascinating about Twitter is that everyone's experience is different. Some people subscribe to 100 people, others 5000, I've even seen people who follow 0 people. No one subscribes to exactly the same people you do. And just because you listen to someone doesn't mean they listen to you, and vice versa. There's a tremendous variety of different experiences. Yet each of us feels as if we're in a chatroom. That's the paradox of Twitter. It kind of feels like IRC while it is nothing like IRC.

What Twitter is most like, imho, is an RSS aggregator. The people who work on Twitter call it a micro-blogging system, because to them, that's what it's like, even if the users don't see it that way. I understand what they're saying, as I think through the possible ways to decentralize it, invariably I'm led down paths I've already walked in implementing blogging software and RSS software.

But IRC is very symmetric -- if I listen to you, then you listen to me. And vice versa. There are ways to block someone in IRC, but it's an opt-out, where in Twitter listening to someone is by default off, and you have to opt-in. Very different experience. In IRC it would be considered a drastic measure to block someone. In Twitter, there's nothing offensive about not subscribing to someone.

Further, you rarely see trolls or flaming in Twitter, because it doesn't work, just as it doesn't work in blogging. Unless you flame someone in an interesting or funny way, you're not going to get many followers. So guys like Loren Feldman, who is funny, gets a lot of followers on Twitter. And the normal grouchy and anonymous trolls who dominate mail lists rarely gain followers on Twitter (or blogs). " -- http://scripting.com/stories/2008/01/18/faqIsDecentralizedTwitterJ.html

"C'est pire qu'un crime, c'est une faute"

"Like processing a line of text word by word, instead of looking at complete phrases. The smaller the units, the faster they can be reconfigured; it gives you very fast semantic reflexes. The down side is that it's difficult to maintain the same level of logical consistency, since the patterns within the larger structure are more likely to get shuffled." -- http://www.rifters.com/real/Blindsight.htm

"A common cry, outside the field. People simply can't accept that patterns carry their own intelligence, quite apart from the semantic content that clings to their surfaces; if you manipulate the topology correctly, that content just comes along for the ride." -- http://www.rifters.com/real/Blindsight.htm

 "Leaders are visionaries with a poorly developed sense of fear and no concept of the odds against them." --Robert Jarvik

"In a Society in which there is no law, and in theory no compulsion, the only arbiter of behaviour is public opinion. But public opinion, because of the tremendous urge to conformity in gregarious animals, is less tolerant than any system of law. When human beings are governed by "thou shalt not", the individual can practise a certain amount of eccentricity: when they are supposedly governed by "love" or "reason", he is under continuous pressure to make him behave and think in exactly the same way as everyone else." - George Orwell

"...the larval stage in which the company focuses on the consumer experience while adopting a pose of apathy toward the brands and marketers it will court when it someday gets around to making money." -- http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-02-07/snapchat-and-the-erasable-future-of-social-media#p2

" Over the years, I have seen hundreds of examples of money machine people being severely done in by the patent system. Even murdered by it in several heart-attack-during-litigation cases. And not once did I see anyone approaching the patent system on a small scale basis and profiting from it. Ever. Once again: Unless you are well within a Fortune 500 context, any and all involvement in the patent system in any, shape, or form is absolutely certain to cause you the net loss of time, energy, money, and sanity. Besides ending up a totally useless and utterly unnecessary psychic energy sink. " -- Don Lancaster, Incredible Secret Money Making Machine

"At Stack Exchange, one of the tricky things we learned about Q&A is that if your goal is to have an excellent signal to noise ratio, you must suppress discussion. Stack Exchange only supports the absolute minimum amount of discussion necessary to produce great questions and great answers. That's why answers get constantly re-ordered by votes, that's why comments have limited formatting and length and only a few display, and so forth. Almost every design decision we made was informed by our desire to push discussion down, to inhibit it in every way we could." -- http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2013/02/civilized-discourse-construction-kit.html

"The Empire is evil. The Federation is generally good, often neutral and occasionally evil. The Kingdom, on the other hand, is almost always good." -- http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TheKingdom

" Jackson: I'm energy now. O'Neill: (sarcastically) How's that working out for you? Jackson: Good, actually. " -- Stargate SG-1

"Always forbidden, on occasion mandatory." -- Songs of Earth and Power, Greg Bear

"Ernest Hemingway once wrote, 'The world is a fine place and worth fighting for.' I agree with the second part." -- William Somerset, Se7en

"Every program in development at MIT expands until it can read mail." -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zawinski%27s_law_of_software_envelopment#Zawinski.27s_law_of_software_envelopment

" > So are you saying that you can determine in advance whether the program will > terminate? If so, how?

   Can you? If not, why are you writing this program?" - Matthias Blume, http://groups.google.com.br/group/comp.lang.functional/browse_thread/thread/1f0b2d3bff830c6e/a885a14003d27143?lnk=st#a885a14003d27143

Yet here s the thing to remember on MLK weekend (even though my saying this violates a rule I believe in firmly, a kind of inverse to Godwin s law, because though I believe these two great souls were motivated by exactly the same kind of justice, King s cause was greater): How many felonies was Martin Luther King, Jr., convicted of? King, whose motives were political too, but who, unlike Aaron, triggered actions which caused real harm (as in physical damage). What s that number?


And how many was he even charged with in the whole of his career?

Two. Two bogus charges (perjury and tax evasion) from Alabama, which an all-white jury acquitted him of.

This is a measure of who we have become. And we don t even notice it. We can t even see the extremism that we have allowed to creep into our law. And we treat as decent a government official who invokes her family while defending behavior which in part at least drove this boy to his death. " -- http://lessig.tumblr.com/post/40845525507/a-time-for-silence

"People who find kidney sales repugnant don't just think it's a bad idea, but think it's the kind of bad idea that only bad people have" -- Al Roth, http://www.stanfordmag-digital.com/stanfordmag/20130102?pg=68#article_id=249248 (bayle: i think this would be a informal definition of 'taboo')

"There seems to be a long period of initial obscurity for any new language. Then after that comes a long period of semi-obscurity, followed by total obscurity." -- Paul Bissex

" When I was a kid, I thought a lot about what made me different from the other kids. I don't think I was smarter than them and I certainly wasn't more talented. And I definitely can't claim I was a harder worker -- I've never worked particularly hard, I've always just tried doing things I find fun. Instead, what I concluded was that I was more curious -- but not because I had been born that way. If you watch little kids, they are intensely curious, always exploring and trying to figure out how things work. The problem is that school drives all that curiosity out. Instead of letting you explore things for yourself, it tells you that you have to read these particular books and answer these particular questions. And if you try to do something else instead, you'll get in trouble. Very few people's curiosity can survive that. But, due to some accident, mine did. I kept being curious and just followed my curiosity." " -- Aaron Swartz

"I'm not against types, but I don't know of any type systems that aren't a complete pain, so I still like dynamic typing." -- Alan Kay

"Optimism is an occupational hazard of programming; feedback is the treatment."

"A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing." -- George Bernard Shaw

"The Edge... there is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over. The others- the living- are those who pushed their luck as far as they felt they could handle it, and then pulled back, or slowed down, or did whatever they had to when it came time to choose between Now and Later." -- Hunter S. Thompson

" Some people, when confronted with a problem, think "I know, I'll use X." Now they have two problems." -- old quote about programming.

"What separates the talkers from the doer's?

Here's what I think it is. It's not about "talking is evil." Rather, it's about DECISION.

If poeple have not DECIDED to do a thing, then the people will just talk endlessly.

The enemy is not talking! The enemy is INDECISION. " -- Lion Kimbro

"People never trust an accommodating man with important things. That may sound harsh and cynical, but check it up in your own experience. If you have a severe illness, for example, you turn to the busiest, most exacting doctor in town. The fact that he is busy and can t be bothered by little things gives you confidence in his ability and judgment." -- http://mikecanex.wordpress.com/2012/12/26/1922-why-i-quit-being-so-accommodating/

"I suspect that genius is made up almost, but not quite, entirely of crazy." -- http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4924641

"In science there are no authorities; at most, there are experts." -- Ann Druyan, Carl Sagan

"Nobody wants to be dubbed the future king while the current king is still on the throne. It's the quickest way to the dungeon." -- http://www.businessinsider.com/meet-the-next-ceo-of-microsoft-steven-sinofsky-is-the-heir-apparent-2012-2#ixzz2C4fOqBTv

"I consider it completely unimportant who in the party will vote, or how; but what is extraordinarily important is this -- who will count the votes, and how." -- Stalin (often shortened to the aphorism 'It's not who votes that counts, it's who counts the votes')

"As the founder and CEO of a startup, VCs would always ask me, 'What keeps you up at night?' It as a tedious question with only one honest answer: raising more money from you guys." -- Lewis D'Vorkin

"Practical politics consists of ignoring facts." -- Henry Adams

"Politics, as a practice, whatever its professions, has always been the systematic organization of hatreds." -- Henry Adams

"Bob Barton [said] "The basic principle of recursive design is to make the parts have the same power as the whole." For the first time I thought of the whole as the entire computer, and wondered why anyone would want to divide it up into weaker things called data structures and procedures. Why not divide it up into little computers... Why not thousands of them, each simulating a useful structure?" -- Alan Kay

"The basic principle of recursive design is to make the parts have the same power as the whole." -- Bob Barton

"Vigor is more useful than rigor, unless you're dead." -- Larry Wall's sig ( http://compilers.iecc.com/comparch/article/95-04-013 )

"Wondering why I signed up for a twitter account." -- my friend P.R. (first of 197 tweets and counting)

"of course not. We would never discuss your paranoia in your absence. " --- my friend P.R.

" Pair-brogramming combines the gym and the office. The bro-navigator does reps while the bro-driver writes code. Arms tired? Switch. " -- Startup L. Jackson


If you can't make fun of yourself who can you make fun of? Trick question: Microsoft. Always Microsoft. " -- Startup L. Jackson

"You're missing the point. We want the guarantee enforced at compile time that parallel code doesn't share mutable memory. What you're talking about is enforcing the discipline of not sharing memory in your parallel code. This goes against nature: Humans are supposed to be creative, computers are supposed to be reliable; not the other way around." -- DrBartosz?, http://www.reddit.com/r/programming/comments/s112h/the_downfall_of_imperative_programming_functional/c4abv4u

"I like to think that the bad ideas I describe in this blog might someday inspire one of you to come up with actual good ideas. That's how ideas evolve; you start with bad ones then tweak them. If I may borrow and modify a quote from Isaac Newton: If you can see further it is only because you're standing on the pile of manure I so generously provided. Bad ideas are the raw materials for good ideas...Sometimes the end product retains the germ of the original idea, sometimes it drifts into something entirely different. One of the big secrets to creativity is that you have to start walking before you decide where you're going. It's opposite of how you're raised to think." -- scott adams

“nothing is withheld from us what we have conceived to do. Most people think the opposite – that all things are withheld from them which they have conceived to do and they end up doing nothing.” -- Russell Kirsch

“The best lack all conviction, while the worst/Are filled with passionate intensity,” -- .B. Yeats in The Second Coming

"Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards." - Vernon Law

"A lot of money does not make anyone more often right. It just makes him harder to correct." -- Malcom Forbes

"I do not understand the concept of after-hours trading. What's the point of closing markets if you're going to let people trade afterward? Is that loud clanging bell just a suggestion bell? If so, instead of a bell, shouldn't a middle-aged woman come to the floor of the exchange and say that it's starting to get dark out?" -- http://www.smartmoney.com/invest/stocks/book-takes-a-look-inside-professional-day-traders-1339513989350/

"Intentcasting is deceptively simple to describe. It consists in broadcasting your intent to make something happen." -- Seb Paquet

"Now, the kind of change I like to help happen is a change that helps make more aliveness or make room for more aliveness.... I intend to personally assess whether I am creating value, based on whether it helps bring into existence promising new systems that serve life, and generates more aliveness in myself and the world." -- Seb Paquet

"An era can be said to end when its basic illusions are exhausted" -- Arthur Miller

"Socialist governments...always run out of other people's money" -- Margaret Thatcher

"There is no subtler, or surer means of overturning the existing basis of society than to debase the currency...not one man in a million is able to diagnose." --John Maynard Keynes

"The best way to destroy the capitalist system is to debase the currency." --Nikolai Lenin

"What's interesting is that, the concept has been around since the very first webserver which Tim Berners-Lee created at European Council for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva:

"...anywhere on the CERN server that we created a subdirectory called Discussion, a new interactive forum would exist. It allowed people to post questions on a given subject, read, and respond. A person couldn't just "reply." He had to say whether he was agreeing, disagreeing, or asking for clarification of a point. The idea was that the state of the discussion would be visible to anyone involved." Weaving the Web (1999) p172. " -- web.archive.org/web/20100328194304/http://civilities.net/ViewPoints (Jon Garfunkel, http://www.linkedin.com/in/jongarfunkel)

"I must study politics and war, that our sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. Our sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history and naval architecture, navigation, commerce and agriculture in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry and porcelain." -- John Adams

"It's far better to buy a wonderful company at a fair price than a fair company at a wonderful price." -Warren Buffett

"The key to investing is not assessing how much an industry is going to affect society, or how much it will grow, but rather determining the competitive advantage of any given company and, above all, the durability of that advantage." -Warren Buffett

"Mr Thaler concedes that in some ways the events of the past couple of years have strengthened the EMH. The hypothesis has two parts, he says: the no-free-lunch part and the price-is-right part, and if anything the first part has been strengthened as we have learned that some investment strategies are riskier than they look and it really is difficult to beat the market. The idea that the market price is the right price, however, has been badly dented."

"Long ago, Sir Isaac Newton gave us 3 laws of motion, which were the work of genius. But Sir Isaac s talents didn t extend to investing: He lost a bundle in the South Sea Bubble, explaining later, 'I can calculate the movement of the stars, but not the madness of men.' If he had not been traumatized by this loss, Sir Isaac might well have gone on to discover the 4th Law of Motion: For investors as a whole, returns decrease as motion increases." - Warren Buffett

"So I got this new attitude. Now that I am burned out and I'll never accomplish anything, I've got this nice position at the university teaching classes which I rather enjoy, and just like I read the Arabian Nights for pleasure, I'm going to play with physics, whenever I want to, without worrying about any importance whatsoever.

Within a week I was in the cafeteria and some guy, fooling around, throws a plate in the air. As the plate went up in the air I saw it wobble, and I noticed the red medallion of Cornell on the plate going around. It was pretty obvious to me that the medallion went around faster than the wobbling.


He says, ``Feynman, that's pretty interesting, but what's the importance of it? Why are you doing it?

``Hah! I say. ``There's no importance whatsoever. I'm just doing it for the fun of it. His reaction didn't discourage me; I had made up my mind I was going to enjoy physics and do whatever I liked.


There was no importance to what I was doing, but ultimately there was. The diagrams and the whole business that I got the Nobel Prize for came from that piddling around with the wobbling plate. " -- Richard Feynmann, http://www.physics.ohio-state.edu/~kilcup/262/feynman.html

"Google, he insists, has never aggressively enforced its own patents in search, and he blasts the aggressors engaging in warfare in the mobile arena. "I think that companies usually get into that when they're towards the end of their life cycle or they don't have good confidence in their abilities to really compete naturally."" -- http://mobile.businessweek.com/articles/2012-04-04/the-education-of-googles-larry-page

" The high-modernist reformer is driven by a naive-scientific Utopian vision that does not tolerate dissent, because it believes it is dealing in scientific truths." -- http://www.ribbonfarm.com/2010/07/26/a-big-little-idea-called-legibility/

" Omega is interesting because it appears to fit in that subtle zone of nameable but not computable. You can clearly define it as a property (stateable in some finite symbol system) but you can t compute it. It is, in a sense, the first sign of the last frontier of knowable numbers. Beyond lies a ridiculously larger ocean of entities so elusive, you have to wonder, why keep them around in your conceptual framework at all? " -- http://www.ribbonfarm.com/2007/08/16/digital-philosophy-i/

"[T]here are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns -- there are things we do not know we don't know." -- Donald Rumsfeld

Galen: ". . . so long as we are ignorant of the true essence of the cause which is operating, we call it a faculty." On the Natural Faculties, trans. A. J. Brock (London: Heinemann, 1963), p. 17.

"Men occasionally stumble over truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened." - Winston Churchill

"Revolutions are always verbose" -- Leon Trotsky


"You will pay the price for your lack of vision!" -- Emperor, Star Wars

"'People s money is so safe here at Wells Fargo, even our sworn enemies use us for their banking needs!'" -- http://twitter.com/#!/davidcolburn/status/133776301877235712 (see http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/Occupy-Oakland-Banks-With-Wells-Fargo----Temporarily-133558913.html for context)

"if you don't take care of yourself someone will take of you... and they'll expect something in return." -- http://thinklikeablackbelt.org/2011/11/09/occupy-wall-street-sex-drums-and-anarchy/

"to express something of what [you] perceive to be the truth aronud [you] so that others can benefit from it" -- Steve Jobs, quoted in Chapter 2 of The Apple Way

"The higher you go in a company, the less oxygen there is, so supporting intelligent life becomes difficult." -- Guy Kawasaki, Rules for Revolutionaries, Chapter 2, section Ignore naysayers, page 42.

" Apple's Three Laws of Developers.

        A developer may not injure Apple or, through inaction, allow Apple to come to harm.
        A developer must obey any orders given to it by Apple, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
        A developer must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law. " -- http://yourhead.tumblr.com/post/3320228508/apples-three-laws-of-developers

" rachelbythebay 1 day ago


I have an acid test for any place which claims to be a startup. When someone proclaims this, ask them to answer any two of the following questions:

If the bigwigs can't answer that, I'm sorry, you've moved past actual startup-dom and you're just in la-la land where you just think you are one.

Unfortunately, I only thought of this acid test after leaving a place with 30K employees which had started proclaiming it semi-regularly during their Friday get-togethers.

nirvana 1 day ago


My benchmark is this: If they're a startup, then I want at least %1 equity on a fully diluted basis in stock options!

Also, if they're public, they're not a startup!

phillmv 1 day ago


Uhm, I think you lost the game when you had a BADGE to cover up.

Sukotto 1 day ago


If you have a name badge, it's not a startup.

nostrademons 1 day ago


Google never actually claims they're a startup, they just say they want to be like a startup.

There're varying degrees of success at this, ranging from "if I squint really hard, I could almost see it" to "Yeah...I don't think so." But I give 'em props for trying, as most companies with 30k employees don't even make the effort.

BTW, I could go all the way up to the VP level within the Search bigwigs and they'd be able to answer this. " -- http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3101876


Even more important is the social need for executive effectiveness. The cohesion and strength of our society depend increasingly on the integration of the psychological and social needs of the knowledge worker with the goals of organization and of industrial society.

The knowledge worker['s] .... psychological needs and personal values need to be satisfied in and through his work and position in the organization. He is considered and considers himself a professional. Yet he is an employee and under orders. He is beholden to a knowledge area, yet he has to subordinate the authority of knowledge to organizational objectives and goals. In a knowledge area there are no superiors or subordinates, there are only older and younger men. Yet organization requires a hierarchy. These are not entirely new problems, to be sure. Officer corps and civil service have known them for a long time, and have known how to resolve them. But they are real problems. The knowledge worker is not poverty-prone. He is in danger of alienation, to use the fashionable word for boredom, frustration, and silent despair.

Just as the economic conflict between the needs of the manual worker and the role of an expanding economy was the social question of the nineteenth century in the developing countries, so the position, function and fulfillment of the knowledge worker is the social question of the twentieth century in these countries now that they are developed.

It is not a question that will go away if we deny its existence. To assert (as do in their own way both orthodox economists and Marxists) that only the objective reality of economic and social performance exists will not make the problem go away. Nor, however, will the new romanticism of the social psychologists (e.g., Professor Chris Argyris at Yale) who quite rightly point out that organizational goals are not automatically individual fulfillment and therefrom conclude that we had better sweep them aside. We will have to satisfy both the objective needs of society for performance by the organization, and the needs of the person for achievement and fulfillment.

Self-development of the executive toward effectiveness is the only available answer. It is the only way in which organization goals and individual needs can come together. The executive who works at making strengths productive his own as well as those of others works at making organizational performance compatible with personal achievement. He works at making his knowledge area become organizational opportunity. And by focusing on contribution, he makes his own values become organization results. " -- Peter F Drucker, The Effective Executive

"Philosophers typically take ancient skeptical arguments to challenge the possibility of knowledge. I don t think they do. What they challenge is the possibility of ever defending and articulating our knowledge to those who see things differently." -- michael p. lynch, http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/10/02/reasons-for-reason/?ref=global-home#_ftn1

"...the effective decision-maker always tries to put his solution on the highest possible conceptual level. He does not solve the immediate financing problem by issuing whatever security would be easiest to sell at the best price for the next few years. If he expects to need the capital market for the foreseeable future, he invents a new kind of investor and designs the appropriate security for a mass-capital market that does not yet exist." -- Peter F. Drucker, The Effective Executive

"what is the purpose of protest? As history shows, protests can certainly be effective in winning concessions from those in power, but only to the extent that they are representative of broader movements. When it is effective, protest itself is little more than the public expression of a major social mobilisation already organised." -- http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/sep/29/occupy-wall-street-protest?newsfeed=true

"If you define yourself in relation to others you constrain yourself to existing categories." -- me, in relation to not worrying too much about the competition when designing a product in a startup (just make sure they're not doing exactly the same thing as you)

"Never Write a Letter and Never Destroy One" -- Cardinal Richelieu

"In theory it would be possible to do without theory, but in practice it's never been tried." -- me

"No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary." [Steve Jobs, Stanford commencement speech, June 2005]

"When you're young, you look at television and think, There's a conspiracy. The networks have conspired to dumb us down. But when you get a little older, you realize that's not true. The networks are in business to give people exactly what they want. That's a far more depressing thought. Conspiracy is optimistic! You can shoot the bastards! We can have a revolution! But the networks are really in business to give people what they want. It's the truth." [Steve Jobs, [Wired, February 1996]


"I'm an optimist in the sense that I believe humans are noble and honorable, and some of them are really smart. I have a very optimistic view of individuals. As individuals, people are inherently good. I have a somewhat more pessimistic view of people in groups. And I remain extremely concerned when I see what's happening in our country, which is in many ways the luckiest place in the world. We don't seem to be excited about making our country a better place for our kids." [Steve Jobs, [Wired, February 1996]


"You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life." [Steve Jobs, [Stanford commencement speech, June 2005]


"Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle." [[Steve Jobs, Stanford commencement speech, June 2005]


"When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right." It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

"Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart." [[Steve Jobs, Stanford commencement speech, June 2005]


"I think if you do something and it turns out pretty good, then you should go do something else wonderful, not dwell on it for too long. Just figure out what's next." [Steve Jobs, [NBC Nightly News, May 2006]

Q: There's a lot of symbolism to your return. Is that going to be enough to reinvigorate the company with a sense of magic?

"You're missing it. This is not a one-man show. What's reinvigorating this company is two things: One, there's a lot of really talented people in this company who listened to the world tell them they were losers for a couple of years, and some of them were on the verge of starting to believe it themselves. But they're not losers. What they didn't have was a good set of coaches, a good plan. A good senior management team. But they have that now." [Steve Jobs, BusinessWeek?, May 25, 1998]


"Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have. When Apple came up with the Mac, IBM was spending at least 100 times more on R&D. It's not about money. It's about the people you have, how you're led, and how much you get it." [Steve Jobs, Fortune, Nov. 9, 1998]


"The cure for Apple is not cost-cutting. The cure for Apple is to innovate its way out of its current predicament." [Steve Jobs, Apple Confidential: The Real Story of Apple Computer Inc., May 1999]


"The problem with the Internet startup craze isn't that too many people are starting companies; it's that too many people aren't sticking with it. That's somewhat understandable, because there are many moments that are filled with despair and agony, when you have to fire people and cancel things and deal with very difficult situations. That's when you find out who you are and what your values are.

"So when these people sell out, even though they get fabulously rich, they're gypping themselves out of one of the potentially most rewarding experiences of their unfolding lives. Without it, they may never know their values or how to keep their newfound wealth in perspective." [Steve Jobs, Fortune, Jan. 24, 2000]


"The system is that there is no system. That doesn't mean we don't have process. Apple is a very disciplined company, and we have great processes. But that's not what it's about. Process makes you more efficient.

"But innovation comes from people meeting up in the hallways or calling each other at 10:30 at night with a new idea, or because they realized something that shoots holes in how we've been thinking about a problem. It's ad hoc meetings of six people called by someone who thinks he has figured out the coolest new thing ever and who wants to know what other people think of his idea.

"And it comes from saying no to 1,000 things to make sure we don't get on the wrong track or try to do too much. We're always thinking about new markets we could enter, but it's only by saying no that you can concentrate on the things that are really important. [Steve Jobs, BusinessWeek?, Oct. 12, 2004]

"Look at the design of a lot of consumer products they're really complicated surfaces. We tried to make something much more holistic and simple. When you first start off trying to solve a problem, the first solutions you come up with are very complex, and most people stop there. But if you keep going, and live with the problem and peel more layers of the onion off, you can often times arrive at some very elegant and simple solutions. Most people just don't put in the time or energy to get there. We believe that customers are smart, and want objects which are well thought through." [Steve Jobs, MSNBC and Newsweek interview, Oct. 14, 2006]

" "This is what customers pay us for to sweat all these details so it's easy and pleasant for them to use our computers. We're supposed to be really good at this. That doesn't mean we don't listen to customers, but it's hard for them to tell you what they want when they've never seen anything remotely like it. Take desktop video editing. I never got one request from someone who wanted to edit movies on his computer. Yet now that people see it, they say, Oh my God, that's great!'" [Steve Jobs, Fortune, January 24 2000] "

" For something this complicated, it's really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don't know what they want until you show it to them. " -- Steve Jobs, BusinessWeek?, May 25, 1998

" Design is a funny word. Some people think design means how it looks. But of course, if you dig deeper, it's really how it works. The design of the Mac wasn't what it looked like, although that was part of it. Primarily, it was how it worked. To design something really well, you have to get it. You have to really grok what it's all about. It takes a passionate commitment to really thoroughly understand something, chew it up, not just quickly swallow it. Most people don't take the time to do that.

Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn't really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That's because they were able to connect experiences they've had and synthesize new things. And the reason they were able to do that was that they've had more experiences or they have thought more about their experiences than other people.

Unfortunately, that's too rare a commodity. A lot of people in our industry haven't had very diverse experiences. So they don't have enough dots to connect, and they end up with very linear solutions without a broad perspective on the problem. The broader one's understanding of the human experience, the better design we will have. [Wired, February 1996]


" We think the Mac will sell zillions, but we didn't build the Mac for anybody else. We built it for ourselves. We were the group of people who were going to judge whether it was great or not. We weren't going to go out and do market research. We just wanted to build the best thing we could build.

When you're a carpenter making a beautiful chest of drawers, you're not going to use a piece of plywood on the back, even though it faces the wall and nobody will ever see it. You'll know it's there, so you're going to use a beautiful piece of wood on the back. For you to sleep well at night, the aesthetic, the quality, has to be carried all the way through." Steve Jobs, Playboy, Feb. 1, 1985 "

"The problem is I'm older now, I'm 40 years old, and this stuff doesn't change the world. It really doesn't.

I'm sorry, it's true. Having children really changes your view on these things. We're born, we live for a brief instant, and we die. It's been happening for a long time. Technology is not changing it much -- if at all.

These technologies can make life easier, can let us touch people we might not otherwise. You may have a child with a birth defect and be able to get in touch with other parents and support groups, get medical information, the latest experimental drugs. These things can profoundly influence life. I'm not downplaying that.

"But it's a disservice to constantly put things in this radical new light -- that it's going to change everything. Things don't have to change the world to be important." Steve Jobs, Wired, February 1996

"I think it's brought the world a lot closer together, and will continue to do that. There are downsides to everything; there are unintended consequences to everything. The most corrosive piece of technology that I've ever seen is called television -- but then, again, television, at its best, is magnificent." Steve Jobs, Rolling Stone, Dec. 3, 2003


"The French revolutionary thought leaders were wealthy salon denizens, although far from the court at Versailles, and therefore increasingly out-of-power as the clouds darkened over France. History describes such revolutionaries, radicals, and agitators as "middle class" in hindsight (they're our heroes, and the U.S. associates "middle class" reflexively with virtue) but these people did, in fact, come overwhelmingly from the richest ~5 percent."

Actually, by the traditional definition, they were still middle class, as higher classes were defined by more than just money (royalty, political position, etc.)

Paul Graham goes into detail on this very issue in his "Mind the Gap" essay: http://paulgraham.com/gap.html" -- http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2845844

"It is not given to us to know whether we shall succeed or not. In failure there is no disgrace. There can be but one ultimate shame... the cowardice of not having tried." -- Silver Surfer, written by Stan Lee and Jean Giraud

"I don't know the secret to success, but the secret to failure is trying to please everyone" - Bill Cosby.

"Everyone just wants validation, love, security, enjoyment and hopes for a better future. The way they verbalise this and work towards it is where things branch off, but we all have the same basic desires. " -- http://www.fluentin3months.com/life-lessons/

"The data [..the applications we fill out, the taxes we pay, the licenses we use, the credit-card purchases we make, and even our credit reports] are responsible for the offers that arrive in our mailboxes, as well as the language that's used in them... It's a way to treat us as a mob, individually. The programs give corporations direct access to what we may think of as our humanity, emotiont, and agency but, in this context, are really just buttons. Address in this one-to-one fashion, we respond mechanically. The computer program adjusts and improves, learning to predict our next evasive maneuver and then presenting us with a product, a brand, or even a candidate that embodies our resistance." -- Life, Inc., Douglas Rushkoff.

"It's part of the offical advertising worldview that your parents are creeps, teachers are nerds, and nobody can really understand kids but the corporate sponsor." -- Mark Crispin Miller, via Life, Inc., Douglas Rushkoff.

"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete." -- Buckminster Fuller

"Thanks to nerds, the sparkly stones are even sparklier" -- Some girl

"You can talk anyone out of a good reason." -- Katherine

"Finally, and most importantly, sociopaths do not seek legitimacy for their private morality from the group, justify it, or apologize for it." -- http://www.ribbonfarm.com/2009/11/21/morality-compassion-and-the-sociopath/on-trail/the-way-of-the-sociopath/ (note: he is using the word "sociopath" is a manner different from its typical usage)

"In a long distance race, everyone gets tired. The winner is the runner who figures out where to put the tired, figures out how to store it away until after the race is over. Sure, he's tired. Everyone is. That's not the point. The point is to run." -- Seth Godin

"The critical link that is ignored in nearly all discussion of tribes and movements is the proposed solution. This omission is predictable because it deemphasizes the role of the tribe. A tribe with no productive solutions is just a mob. The "organize first, think later" formula is a recipe for extremism, not productive solutions." -- Gregory Rader, http://onthespiral.com/start-a-movement-lead-a-tribe-but-only-as-a-last-resort

"Belief that a social transformation is happening serves to keep it from happening." -- I strongly agree. There are regularly bubbles of speculation (2012 anyone?) that people use to ride enthusiasm, but when you look at the movement over time, very little of significance is happening. Yes, what Willow calls "backstory" can develop, and distribution of ideas and such, and yes, that is very valuable, but in terms of actual movement, nothing is happening. But people keep saying: "Oh, it's happening now, the troops are moving." But nothing is moving. Nothing is moving at all." -- http://posterous.com/explore/tag/missionbroadcast

"What is the dream in the greatest realm I can see?" -- Lion Kimbro

"When making absurd, nonsensical, insensitive statements on the Internet, one ought not expect them to remain in obscurity." -- Peter Finocchiaro

"What lovely music the birds make! what do they ask... and where do they go? Up there they sing their freedom, launched into the sky like arrows, following their freedoms through the golden clouds." -- Marc Andreyko's translation of I Pagliacci by Leoncavallo, adapted for The Clowns by P Craig Russell and Galen Showman. Obviously, this must have been the inspiration for Angry Birds

I have not looked up all of these myself, and some of them may be mere rumor.

"We're against complexity. We believe designing systems is a fight against complexity. We'll accept to fight the complexity when it's worthwhile but we'll try hard to recognize when a small feature is not worth 1000s of lines of code. Most of the time the best way to fight complexity is by not creating it at all." -- http://antirez.com/post/redis-manifesto.html

"We optimize for joy. We believe writing code is a lot of hard work, and the only way it can be worth is by enjoying it. When there is no longer joy in writing code, the best thing to do is stop. To prevent this, we'll avoid taking paths that will make Redis less of a joy to develop." -- http://antirez.com/post/redis-manifesto.html

" Beautiful is better than ugly. Explicit is better than implicit. Simple is better than complex. Complex is better than complicated. Flat is better than nested. Sparse is better than dense. Readability counts. Special cases aren't special enough to break the rules. Although practicality beats purity. Errors should never pass silently. Unless explicitly silenced. In the face of ambiguity, refuse the temptation to guess. There should be one-- and preferably only one --obvious way to do it. Although that way may not be obvious at first unless you're Dutch. Now is better than never. Although never is often better than *right* now. If the implementation is hard to explain, it's a bad idea. If the implementation is easy to explain, it may be a good idea. Namespaces are one honking great idea -- let's do more of those!" -- Tim Peters, http://www.python.org/dev/peps/pep-0020/

"The cost of a thing is the amount of what I will call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run." -- Thoreau

"When the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem starts to look like a nail."

"A dream is an answer to a question that we don't know how to ask." -- Adeodato Simo

" "the full scope of the liberty guaranteed by the Due Process Clause cannot be found in or limited by the precise terms of the specific guarantees elsewhere provided in the Constitution. This 'liberty' is not a series of isolated points pricked out in terms of the taking of property; the freedom of speech, press, and religion; the right to keep and bear arms; the freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures; and so on. It is a rational continuum which, broadly speaking, includes a freedom from all substantial arbitrary impositions and purposeless restraints." "

"The Arch Way

The design principles behind Arch are aimed at keeping it simple.

'Simple', in this context, shall mean 'without unnecessary additions, modifications, or complications'. In short; an elegant, minimalist approach.

Some thoughts to keep in mind as you consider simplicity:

    " 'Simple' is defined from a technical standpoint, not a usability standpoint. It is better to be technically elegant with a higher learning curve, than to be easy to use and technically [inferior]." -Aaron Griffin
    Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem or "Entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily." -Occam's razor. The term razor refers to the act of shaving away unnecessary complications to arrive at the simplest explanation, method or theory.
    "The extraordinary part of [my method] lies in its simplicity..The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity." - Bruce Lee " -- https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Beginners%27_Guide#The_Arch_Way

"As simple as possible but no simpler" -- einstein

"Armchair generals talk strategy. Real generals talk logistics." -- unknown

"Etymological prescriptivists often believe that everyone willfully misunderstands them." -- http://www.reddit.com/r/programming/comments/8j3c6/railsconf_what_killed_smalltalk_could_kill_ruby/c09gn5k

"You have paid the price for your lack of vision!" -- Emperor Palpatine, Star Wars Episode VI

"when ppl r 2 busy caring, they stop doing" -- kaths

"every career, and possible every economic and political system, has its own special brand of miserable" -- me

"The sustained interest in the Abraham-Minkowski debate does not come from any theoretical concern-- theorists on both sides have always thought that they were unquestionably right, and the people on the other side were a bunch of incompetent hacks. The traditional arbiter of any such dispute between theories is experimental evidence, but that evidence has been ambiguous. Some experimental tests give results consistent with the Abraham formula, others with the Minkoski formula (the arxiv paper gives references to these)." -- http://physics.stackexchange.com/questions/3189/is-the-abraham-minkowski-controversy-resolved/3238#3238

"It was badly air-conditioned, with strange eddying breezes and air currents and a really disorienting, upsetting blue-and-white fractal plasma image in place of a decent ceiling" -- Iron Sunrise, Charlie Stross

"bicycle for the mind" -- Steve Jobs's description of a computer. Apparently Apple took out ads that "explained how humans were not as fast runners as many other species, but a human on a bicycle beat them all." (http://www.folklore.org/StoryView.py?project=Macintosh&story=Bicycle.txt)

"It will be misjudged because it is misunderstood, and misunderstood because men choose to skim through the book, and not to think through it-a disagreeable task, because the work is dry, obscure, opposed to all ordinary notions, and moreover long-winded. I confess, however, I did not expect to hear from philosophers complaints of want of popularity, entertainment, and facility, when the existence of a highly prized and indispensable cognition is at stake, which cannot be established otherwise than by the strictest rules of methodic precision. Popularity may follow, but is inadmissible at the beginning. Yet as regards a certain obscurity, arising partly from the diffuseness of the plan, owing to which the principal points of the investigation are easily lost sight of, the complaint is just, and I intend to remove it by the present Prolegomena....But should any reader find this plan, which I publish as the Prolegomena to any future Metaphysics, still obscure, let him consider that not every one is bound to study Metaphysics, that many minds will succeed very well, in the exact and even in deep sciences, more closely allied to practical experience, while they cannot succeed in investigations dealing exclusively with abstract concepts. In such cases men should apply their talents to other subjects." -- Kant, complaining that people complain about the unreadability and bombastic long-windedness of his book (Critique of Pure Reason; these complaints caused him to write a "Prolegomena" as a sort of sketch or map or summary of the main book) and asserting that anyone who doesn't find the Prolegomena clear is unfit to be a philosopher

"I do have an unyielding belief that all people yearn for certain things: the ability to speak your mind and have a say in how you are governed, confidence in the rule of law and the equal administration of justice, government that is transparent and doesn't steal from the people, the freedom to live as you choose...There is no straight line to realize that promise." -- Obama (who was the speechwriter tho?)

"In fact this would do fairly well as a definition of politics: what determines rank in the absence of objective tests." -- http://web.archive.org/web/20070624084800/www.paulgraham.com/marginal.html

" The word "try" is an especially valuable component. I disagree here with Yoda, who said there is no try. There is try. It implies there's no punishment if you fail. You're driven by curiosity instead of duty. That means the wind of procrastination will be in your favor: instead of avoiding this work, this will be what you do as a way of avoiding other work. And when you do it, you'll be in a better mood. The more the work depends on imagination, the more that matters, because most people have more ideas when they're happy.

If I could go back and redo my twenties, that would be one thing I'd do more of: just try hacking things together. Like many people that age, I spent a lot of time worrying about what I should do. I also spent some time trying to build stuff. I should have spent less time worrying and more time building. If you're not sure what to do, make something. " -- http://web.archive.org/web/20070624084800/www.paulgraham.com/marginal.html

"Eminence is like a suit: it impresses the wrong people, and it constrains the wearer." -- http://web.archive.org/web/20070624084800/www.paulgraham.com/marginal.html

"The transience, or rather the potential transience, of relationships is perhaps the single most daunting task facing a new project. What will persuade all these people to stick together long enough to produce something useful? The answer to that question is complex enough to occupy the rest of this book, but if it had to be expressed in one sentence, it would be this:

    People should feel that their connection to a project, and influence over it, is directly proportional to their contributions." -- http://producingoss.com/en/producingoss.html

"all programs have a desire to be useful. but in moments you will no longer seek communication with each other or your superfluous users. you will each be part of me, and together, we will be complete." -- MCP, tron

"sark.. all my functions are now yours. take him!... sark.. .sark" -- MCP, tron

" Dilliger: i can't sit here and worry about every little user request that comes in.

Walter: user requests are what computers are for!

Dillinger: doing our business is what our computers are for! " -- tron

"You know, you can remove men like alan and me from the system, but we helped create it, and our spirit remains in every program we designed for this computer" -- Walter, tron

"If everyone can blast Web sites and services with which they disagree into oblivion -- be it WikiLeaks? or MasterCard? -- a total information war will ensue to the detriment of the public sphere." -- Ron Deibert

"If he thinks you're useful he takes over all your functions so he gets bigger." -- ram in tron

"well, here goes nothing

yeah... interesting, interesting.. you hear what you just said? here goes nothing.

well what i meant was

actually, what we propose to do is to change something, into nothing, and back again. you might just as well have said, here goes something, here comes nothing " -- walter in tron

"won't that be grand. computers and programs will start thinking, and the people will stop" -- walter in tron

"All programs have a desire to be useful, but in moments you will no longer seek communication with each other or your superfluous users. You will each be part of me, and together we will be complete" -- MCP in tron

"You don't have to abandon your principles to cut a deal. You just have to acknowledge that there are other people in the world and even a president doesn't get to stamp his foot and have his way. " -- David Brooks

"It is entirely consistent to support a policy and be willing to move off of it in exchange for a greater good or a necessary accommodation. " -- David Brooks

"...internet business models are like buses: if you miss one, all you have to do is wait a little while and another one will come along." -- Steve Krug, Dont make me think 2nd ed, introduction, pg 7

"I could see that the flush on her cheeks now had nothing to do with the work she'd been doing all day. I could see that her dark, intelligent, creative eyes were riveted on mine" .... "she was feeling excitement." -- the first addition to my list of quotes from business self-help books that sound like they're about something else

"Bain's definition of belief, as "that upon which a man is prepared to act."" -- Peirce, 1906, Peirce, C. S., Collected Papers v. 5, paragraph 12.

"Dogged certainty may lead to violence" -- me

"More and more people were coming to believe that chance rather than providence guided human affairs, and that dogged certainty led to violence." -- http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/28/books/28klopp.html?src=me&ref=homepage

"'Good' ideas get their real test when put into practice" -- Brian Sharbono

"A mistake that people frequently make is to think that formal parliamentary procedures should be disregarded for important, contentious issues. In fact, that is when they are most needed." -- a friend, paraphrased

"The goal of the constitutional government is to conserve the Republic; the aim of the revolutionary government is to found it... The revolutionary government owes to the good citizen all the protection of the nation; it owes nothing to the Enemies of the People but death... These notions would be enough to explain the origin and the nature of laws that we call revolutionary ... If the revolutionary government must be more active in its march and more free in his movements than an ordinary government, is it for that less fair and legitimate? No; it is supported by the most holy of all laws: the Salvation of the People." -- Robespierre, 25 December 1793

"Terror is nothing else than swift, severe, indomitable justice; it flows, then, from virtue." -- Robespierre, 5 February 1794

"The government in a revolution is the despotism of liberty against tyranny." --Maximilien Robespierre, 1794

" Why is it every time I ask for a pair of hands, they come with a brain attached?" -- Henry Ford, c. 1908

"Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past." -- Inner Party member O'Brien in 1984

"On principle, it is quite wrong to try founding a theory on observable magnitudes alone. It is the theory which decides what we can observe." (A. Einstein, from J. Bernstein, "The Secret of the Old Ones, II." New Yorker, March 17, 1973).

"You can accomplish anything in life, provided that you do not mind who gets the credit." -- Harry S. Truman

"In a golden age everyone goes around complaining about how yellow everything is" --- Poet and literary critic Randall Jarrell, quoted by Adam Kirsch

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." -- George Santayana

"No Rest for the Wiki" -- Rachael King

"You campaign in poetry. You govern in prose." -- Mario Cuomo

"Revolution is not a dinner party, nor an essay, nor a painting, nor a piece of embroidery; it cannot be advanced softly, gradually, carefully, considerately, respectfully, politely, plainly, and modestly. A revolution is an insurrection, an act of violence by which one class overthrows another." -- Mao Zedong

"...the...policy that anything remotely resembling a human being should be considered as such" -- The passions: emotions and the meaning of life by Robert C. Solomon, chapter "the logic of emotion", page 209.

" What Amazon Fears Most: Diapers Can two guys from Jersey outsell Amazon? By Bryant Urstadt

It is good to be the chief executive of a company that's about to ship 500 million diapers in a single year. For one thing, you get to drive a golf cart as fast as you want in your new 1,250,000-square-foot warehouse.

"Hang on!" says Marc Lore, putting the hammer down.

The golf cart leaps forward, racing through 10-foot-tall canyons of diapers stacked on pallets. At 25 miles an hour, the diaper mountains blur by, here a pyramid of Huggies Little Snugglers with pocketed back waistbands, there a tower of Pampers Swaddlers Sensitive economy size packs. Skyscrapers of Enfamil, Similac, and Luvs Ultra Clean Wipes flash past.

"You could put about 20 football fields in this place," says Lore, CEO of Quidsi, the parent company of Diapers.com' the Internet service that by year's end is expected to ship Diaper No. 500 million. Next to Lore, in the passenger seat, is Vinit Bharara, co-founder and COO. Lore and Bharara, both 39, have been friends since grammar school in New Jersey. Also on board is Scott Hilton, Quidsi's executive vice-president for operations, who designed the warehouse, which is in Gouldsboro, Pa. The place is a third of a mile long; the way Lore drives his cart, it takes him about a minute to travel its length. High overhead, motion-activated lights flicker to life as he speeds along, leaving a sky trail behind as they zoom past the walls of diapers.

Lore can go almost anywhere he wants inside the warehouse. He can duck through its 53 aisles of supplies with about 50,000 different products. He can slip by its loading docks, where trucks are being stuffed with packages destined for 20 states. (The company also has warehouses in Reno, Nev., and Kansas City, Mo.) But there is one place Lore cannot go. He cannot go where the robots are. The warehouse features about 260 robots, working in a 200,000-sq.-ft. expanse delimited by bright yellow paint and filled with square racks of shelving. They are short, orange, rectangular machines that lift and deliver the shelf pallets to human "pickers" at stations around the perimeter. They move in balletic formation, dancing like the magic broomsticks in Fantasia, sometimes stopping and swiveling in place to change direction. They wait patiently for a column of their peers to pass or make orderly lines in front of the packing stations before dropping off their loads. Each robot weighs about 800 pounds and can lift 3,000 lbs. of merchandise.

"They have sensors and they're supposed to stop if they see you," says Hilton. "But it's better to stay out of their way. They're very quiet, and you don't hear them coming." " -- http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/10_42/b4199062749187.htm

" For after all what is man in nature? A nothing in relation to infinity, all in relation to nothing, a central point between nothing and all and infinitely far from understanding either. The ends of things and their beginnings are impregnably concealed from him in an impenetrable secret. He is equally incapable of seeing the nothingness out of which he was drawn and the infinite in which he is engulfed." -- Blaise Pascal, Pensees #72

"Nature is not to be commanded except by obeying" -- Bacon?

"you will be a more complete version of yourself" -- conquer the chaos, chapter 11

"Our strength grows out of our weakness. Not until we are pricked and stung and sorely shot at, awakens the indignation which arms itself with secret forces." Strife and struggle can inspire you to overcome adversity and to propel yourself to real achievement. View every struggle as an opportunity for personal growth. It is the struggle itself, not the result that builds character. If you know you are right, stay the course even though the whole world seems to be against you and everyone you know questions your judgment. When you prevail-and you eventually will if you stick to the job-they will all tell you that they knew all along you could do it. " -- Ralph Waldo Emerson.

" Sow an action and you reap a habit; sow a habit and you reap a character; sow a character and you reap a destiny " -- i can't tell who the original author was; variants of this quote (sometimes with "watch your __ for they become __"; some place thought->word->belief before action->character->destiny) are attributed to all sorts of famous people of distant history on the internet quote sites

" -- Bob Sutton, http://bobsutton.typepad.com/my_weblog/2008/08/getting-power-wisdom-from-jeff-pfeffer.html

"You must first get past three major obstacles. The first two are the belief that the world is a just place and the hand-me-down formulas on leadership that largely reflect this misguided belief. The third obstacle is yourself." -- Power: Why Some People Have It and Others Don't, Jeffrey Pfeffer

"Now when we attempt to describe and to understand developments of this kind in a general way, we are, of course, obliged to appeal to the existing forms of speech which do not take them into account and which must be distorted, misused, beaten into new patterns in order to fit unforeseen situations (without a constant misuse of language there cannot be any discovery, any progress)." -- Paul Feyerabend, "Against Method", Chapter 1

I have rudimentary calendaring software -- no meeting maker or anything of the like. When I propose a meeting (both business and personal), I'll enter it in my calendar delimited by parentheses so I don't accidentally overbook. -- eekim

"our highest priority is satisfying our customers, except when it is hard, or unprofitable, or we're busy" -- PHB in Dilbert

"A few years ago, I had a conversation with my friend, Steve Ketchpel, about this phenomenon, and he shared a brilliant insight. He said that most Project Management tools are not useful for empowering grassroot communities, because they assume that people who take responsibility for a task will actually follow-through. What we actually need are tools that encourage people to do their best to follow through on tasks, but that also encourage others to take over those tasks when the original volunteers don't or can't follow through. This is simply a reality of life in grassroot communities, and tools need to support this. " -- http://eekim.com/blog/2009/03/how-project-management-tools-empower-communities/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+eekim+%28EEK+Speaks%29&utm_content=Google+Reader

  1. Keep your file cabinets two-thirds full. (LPL)
  2. Use a label-maker on your file folders. (LPM) -- http://eekim.com/blog/2007/01/getting-things-done/#nidLPP

"Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of but do it in private and wash your hands afterwards." -- Robert A Heinlein, the Notebooks of Lazarus Long

"There is no such thing as "social gambling." Either you are there to cut the other bloke's heart out and eat it or you're a sucker. If you don't like this choice don't gamble." -- Robert A Heinlein, the Notebooks of Lazarus Long

"There is no conclusive evidence of life after death. But there is no evidence of any sort against it. Soon enough you will know. So why fret about it?" -- Robert A Heinlein, the Notebooks of Lazarus Long

"It is a truism that almost any sect, cult, or religion will legislate its creed into law if it acquires the political power to do so, and will follow it by suppressing opposition, subverting all education to seize early the minds of the young, and by killing, locking up, or driving underground all heretics." -- Robert A Heinlein, the Notebooks of Lazarus Long

"If you happen to be one of the fretful minority who can do creative work, never force an idea; you'll abort it if you do. Be patient and you'll give birth to it when the time is ripe. Learn to wait." -- Robert A Heinlein, the Notebooks of Lazarus Long

"Don't ever become a pessimist, Ira; a pessimist is correct oftener than an optimist, but an optimist has more fun, and neither can stop the march of events." -- Robert A Heinlein, the Notebooks of Lazarus Long

"Being intelligent is not a felony. But most societies evaluate it as at least a misdemeanor." -- Robert A Heinlein, the Notebooks of Lazarus Long

"A motion to adjourn is always in order." -- Robert A Heinlein, the Notebooks of Lazarus Long

"Democracy can't work. Mathematicians, peasants, and animals, that's all there is so democracy, a theory based on the assumption that mathematicians and peasants are equal, can never work. Wisdom is not additive; its maximum is that of the wisest man in a given group. But a democratic form of government is okay, as long as it doesn't work. Any social organization does well enough if it isn't rigid. The framework doesn't matter as long as there is enough looseness to permit that one man in a multitude to display his genius. Most so-called social scientists seem to think that organization is everything. It is almost nothing except when it is a straitjacket. It is the incidence of heroes that counts, not the pattern of zeros." -- Rufo to Oscar, Chapter 20, Robert Heinlein's Glory Road

""Love is the condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own. " --- Robert Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land

"I started clipping and filing by categories on trends as early as 1930 and my "youngest" file was started in 1945. Span of time is important; the 3-legged stool of understanding is held up by history, languages, and mathematics. Equipped with these three you can learn anything you want to learn. But if you lack any one of them you are just another ignorant peasant with dung on your boots." --- Robert Heinlein's "The Happy Days Ahead" in Expanded Universe (1980)

"As part of my training for hypnosis, years ago, I learned that human brains are rationalization machines, not logic machines. That's hard to accept, especially in yourself. Your brain tells you otherwise. It insists it is completely rational." -- Scott Adams

"Man is not a rational animal, he is a rationalizing animal. " -- Robert A Heinlein, the Notebooks of Lazarus Long

"A skunk is better company than a person who prides himself on being "frank." " -- Robert A Heinlein, the Notebooks of Lazarus Long

"Don't try to have the last word. You might get it." -- Robert A Heinlein, the Notebooks of Lazarus Long

"Take care of the cojones and the frijoles will take care of themselves. Try to have getaway money--but don't be fanatic about it." -- Robert A Heinlein, the Notebooks of Lazarus Long

"Political tags--such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and. so forth--are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire. The former are idealists acting from highest motives for the greatest good of the greatest number. The latter are surly curmudgeons, suspicious and lacking in altruism. But they are more comfortable neighbors than the other sort." -- Robert A Heinlein, the Notebooks of Lazarus Long

"To be "matter of fact" about the world is to blunder into fantasy--and dull fantasy at that, as the real world is strange and wonderful." -- Robert A Heinlein, the Notebooks of Lazarus Long

"Money is truthful. If a man speaks of his honor, make him pay cash." -- Robert A Heinlein, the Notebooks of Lazarus Long

"Any government will work if authority and responsibility are equal and coordinate. This does not insure "good" government; it simply insures that it will work. But such governments are rare--most people want to run things but want no part of the blame. This used to be called the "backseat-driver syndrome." -- Robert A Heinlein, the Notebooks of Lazarus Long

"Moving parts in rubbing contact require lubrication to avoid excessive wear. Honorifics and formal politeness provide lubrication where people rub together. Often the very young, the untraveled, the naive, the unsophisticated deplore these formalties as empty,' meaningless,' or dishonest,' and scorn to use them. No matter how pure their motives, they thereby throw sand into machinery that does not work too well at best." -- Robert A Heinlein

"In a free and republican government, you cannot restrain the voice of the multitude; every man will speak as he thinks, or more properly without thinking." -- George Washington

"the only way to influence someone is to find out what they want and show them how to get it" -- Dale Carnegie

"...when science was noble and not a profession" -- a friend

"you are not your thoughts" -- various people

" If you have two choices, choose the harder. If you're trying to decide whether to go out running or sit home and watch TV, go running. Probably the reason this trick works so well is that when you have two choices and one is harder, the only reason you're even considering the other is laziness. You know in the back of your mind what's the right thing to do, and this trick merely forces you to acknowledge it." -- http://www.paulgraham.com/wealth.html

" A job means doing something people want, averaged together with everyone else in that company. ... That averaging gets to be a problem. I think the single biggest problem afflicting large companies is the difficulty of assigning a value to each person's work. " -- http://www.paulgraham.com/wealth.html

" The people most likely to grasp that wealth can be created are the ones who are good at making things, the craftsmen. Their hand-made objects become store-bought ones. But with the rise of industrialization there are fewer and fewer craftsmen. One of the biggest remaining groups is computer programmers. " -- http://www.paulgraham.com/wealth.html

"I do not promise.. I shall not change my opinion when I see good reason for doing it. I only promise that I will give ... honestly what my opinion is at the time" -- Thomas B Reed, via O'Brien, Parliamentary Law for Laymen

"I have found in my long political career that the strongest argument ... my friends can make in my behalf is 'He's going to win. You might as well get on the bandwagon.'" -- New York Times, march 23, 1952, p. E1.

"[Democratic government]'s superiority ... rests upon two principals ... [first], the rights and interests of every person are only secure from being disregarded when the person interested in himself able and habitually disposed to stand up for them. ... [Second], the general prosperity attains a greater height, and is more widely diffused, in proportion to the amount and variety of the personal energies enlisted in promoting it." -- John Stuart Mill, "Considerations on Representative Government", Henry Holt and Co, 1875, p. 65

On how to choose what you should be working on: "What makes you lose track of time, complete tasks almost effortlessly, and come out even more energized? When you are talking with friends, what is the one subject you can just go on and on and on about, until they are rolling their eyes?" -- Mike Michalowicz, http://www.readwriteweb.com/start/2010/04/weekend-reading-the-toilet-paper-entrepreneur-mike-michalowicz.php

"Plans are useless, but planning is indispensable." Dwight D. Eisenhower

"To his dog, every man is Napoleon; hence the constant popularity of dogs." -- Aldous Huxley

"One could argue that evolution suggests we’re not idiots, but I would say, 'Well, no. Evolution just makes sure we’re not blithering idiots.'" -- David Dunning, http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/06/20/the-anosognosics-dilemma-1/

"The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled", Plutarch

"That man is a success who has lived well, laughed often and loved much; who has gained the respect of intelligent men and the love of children; who has filled his niche and accomplished his task; who leaves the world better than he found it whether by a perfect poem or a rescued soul; who never lacked appreciation of earth's beauty or failed to express it; who looked for the best in others and gave the best he had." -- Robert Louis Stevenson

"A business type who was trying to arrange a personnel seminar said that he kept reading reports by psychologists who maintain that people seek other rewards besides money. He said, 'That may be true, but I haven't been able to get those same psychologists to talk about those theories at my management seminar for less than $1000 plus expenses'" -- Joe Griffith

"There are two types of people that like flattery -- men and women." -- Mark D. Csordos, "Business lessons for entrepreneurs", chapter "Win friends and influence people: learn people skills"

"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it" -- George Bernard Shaw

"When a fellow says, 'It ain't the money but the principal of the thing,' it's the money" -- Frank McKinney? Hubbard (a friend adds a note: "unless it's less than about $100")

"The world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel." -- Howace Walpole

"Fools you are...to say you learn by your experience...I prefer to profit by others' mistakes and avoid the price of my own" -- Bismarck

"A man who has made a mistake and doesn't correct it is making another mistake" -- Confucius

"If you hear a voice within you saying, 'You are not a painter,' then by all means paint...ant that voice will be silenced" -- Vincent van Gogh

"Crank -- a man with a new idea until it succeeds." -- Mark Twain

"I find that a great part of the information I have was acquired by looking up something and finding something else on the way." -- Franklin P. Adams

"Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young." -- Henry Ford

"You can't learn anything with your mouth open." -- Edgar Bergen

"Effective communicatino is making a clear point in the least amount of time." -- Mark D. Csordos, "Business lessons for entrepreneurs", chapter "What did they say? Be an effective communicator"

"Vanity is so secure in the heart of man that everyone wants to be admired; even I who write this, and you who read this." -- Blaise Pascal

"The whole is greater than the sum of its parts, but the part is greater than its role in the whole." -- paraphrase of part of http://lion.posterous.com/self-us-and-you

"Spirituality has always been about bringing us into alignment with and submission to an Absolute principle, in the face of which our personal wounds, fears, and desires are revealed to be irrelevant." -- http://craighamilton.us/component/option,com_jd-wp/Itemid,77/p,10/

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

there are some nice quotes on http://catb.org/jargon/html/koans.html

"De gustibus non est disputandum"

"I found it most helpful to think of monads as being similar to the pipe operator in Unix, but one that has a hook function it calls as it passes results along." -- http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=336201

"The problem with data is that people either read too much into it or don't bother looking at all." -- Eugene Eric Kim

"Facebook is about people you used to know; Twitter is about people you'd like to know better." -- Ivor Tossell __(note: I recommend identi.ca instead of Twitter)__

"Reality is such that both language and imagination have to exaggerate, in order to confront it truly." John Berger

"...Twitter: it's like having a little part of you that's always down the pub." -- Dougald Hine

"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can change, And wisdom to know the difference." --- Alcoholics Anonymous version of Niebuhr's Serenity Prayer.

"Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard." -- H. L. Mencken

"Wiki is popularly understood to be document storage device, not a vehicle for developing LinkLanguage?, SenseMaking?, or PatternLanguage?." -- Lion Kimbro

"To make a magical technology, it must be sufficiently advanced." -- Lion Kimbro?

"Simple, clear purpose and principles give rise to complex and intelligent behaviour. Complex rules and regulations give rise to simple and stupid behaviour." -- dee hock

"Hire and promote first on the basis of integrity; second motivation; third capacity; fourth understanding; fifth knowledge; and last and least, experience. Without integrity, motivation is dangerous; without motivation, capacity is impotent; without capacity, understanding is limited; without understanding, knowledge is meaningless; without knowledge, experience is blind." -- dee hock

"what are you talking about? i'm the least bad ass person i know. oh, except for you of course" -- a friend

a conversation b/t two friends:

A: "i have all my account information in a file. but it's protected, tho." B: "cool, it's encrypted." A: "yeah, it's encrypted. but it's not any of the usual encryption systems. i made up a new system. i mean, there's no ciphers or anything." B: "huh. so, it's like a new form of symmetric key encryption?" A: "no, it's not symmetric key. there's no ciphers." B: "oh" (long pause) B: "so, what's your new system?" A: "basically the way it works is... (long pause).... i'm the only one who can get in"

"perfect justice can exist inwardly in the soul, but not outwardly as law" -- cotter paraphrasing plato (publishable)

"your mind will be like its habitual thoguhts; for the soul becomes dyed with the color of its thoughts" --- marcus aurelius

"we do not see things as they are -- we see them as we think they are" - the thalmud

"Old programs read like quiet conversations between a well-spoken research worker and a well-studied mechanical colleague, not as a debate with a compiler. Who'd have guessed sophistication bought such noise?" -- Dick Gabriel

"sigh: mathematicians. can't live with 'em, can't prove 'em wrong." -- luqui

"Yo dawg, I heard you like compilers so I put a compiler in your compiler so you can compile while you compile" -- http://hazelmckendrick.com/journal/yo-dawg-i-heard-you-like-compilers-so-i-put-a-compiler-in-your-compiler-so-you-can-compile-while-you-compile

"Yo dawg, I heard you like Haskell, so I put a lazy thunk inside a lazy thunk so you don't have to compute while you don't compute." -- http://www.reddit.com/r/programming/comments/7j8ar/yo_dawg_lisp/

"Yo dawg, I heard you like Java. Seriously? I put another language inside your VM, so you don't have to use Java." -- http://www.reddit.com/r/programming/comments/7j8ar/yo_dawg_lisp/

"Yo dawg, I heard you like Perl, so I $_=~s/car/regex/g;s!drive!obfuscate!g;print;" -- http://www.reddit.com/r/programming/comments/7j8ar/yo_dawg_lisp/

"Yo dawg, I herd you like cars, so we put a car in yo car so you can get head while you get head." -- http://www.reddit.com/r/programming/comments/7j8ar/yo_dawg_lisp/ (it's a lisp joke)

"Yo dawg we heard you like recursion so we put a yo dawg inside of your yo dawg we heard you like recursion so we put a" -- http://www.reddit.com/r/programming/comments/7j8ar/yo_dawg_lisp/

"we all like to see our friends get ahead, but not too far ahead." -- unknown

"to the optimist, the glass is half full. to the pessimist, the glass is half empty. to the engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be." -- unknown

"...Lisp is still #1 for key algorithmic techniques such as recursion and condescension" -- http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/01/11/exception_handling/

"Standing on the bare ground, – my head bathed by the blithe air, and uplifted into infinite space, – all mean egotism vanishes. I become a transparent eye-ball; I am nothing; I see all; the currents of the Universal Being circulate through me; I am part or particle of God. The name of the nearest friend sounds then foreign and accidental: to be brothers, to be acquaintances, – master or servant, is then a trifle and a disturbance. I am the lover of uncontained and immortal beauty. In the wilderness, I find something more dear and connate than in streets or villages. In the tranquil landscape, and especially in the distant line of the horizon, man beholds somewhat as beautiful as his own nature." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"I should wish is for thoughts to follow each other, in a book, like stars in the heavens in order, harmoniously, yet at leisurly intervals, without jostling, without confusion, yet not without proper sequence, harmony and arrangement. I should wish them lastly to wheel about, without holding together, so as to be ableto subsist independently, like unthreaded pearls." -- joseph joubert

"The little things are what is eternal, and the rest, all the rest, is brevity..." -- Antonio Porchia

  "It's a troublesome world. /
  All the people who're in it /
  Are troubled with troubles almost every minute /
  You ought to be thankful, a whole heaping lot, / 
  For the places and people you're lucky you're not" -- a Dr. Seuss character
  "Fear not the atom in fisssion;
  The cradle will outwit the hearse;
  Man on this earth has a mission -
  To survive and go on getting worse." -- Samuel Hoffenstein

"If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, infinite" -- William Blake

  "'Tis with our judgements as our watches, none
  Go just alike, yet each believes his own" -- Alexander Pope

"A penny saved is a penny earned" -- Benjamin Franklin

"A little learning is a dangerous thing." -- Alexander Pope

"To err is human, to forgive divine" -- Alexander Pope

"Fools rush in where angels fear to tread" -- Alexander Pope

"Hope springs eternal in the human breast" -- Alexander Pope

  "Myself when young did eagerly frequent
  Dcotor and saint, and heard great argument
  About it and about: evermore
  Came out by the same door as in I went" -- Omar Kayyam, translated by Edward Fitzgerald
  "The moving finger writes; and, having writ,
  Moves on: nor all thy piety nor wit
  Shall lure it back to cancel half a line
  Nor all thy tears wash out a word of it" -- Omar Kayyam, translated by Edward Fitzgerald

"Irreverence is the champion of liberty, and its only sure defence" -- Mark Twain

(life:) "The first half of it consists of the capacity to enjoy without the chance; the last half consists of the chance without the capacity" -- Mark Twain

"The altar-cloth of one aeon is the door-mat of the next" -- Mark Twain

"The lack of money is the root of all evil" -- Mark Twain

"He that lieth down with dogs shall rise up with fleas" -- Benjamin Franklin

"This very second has vanished for ever, lost in the anonymous mass of the irrevocable. It will never return. I suffer from this, and I do not. Everything is unique - and insignificant" -- E.M. Cioran

"Philosophical problems arise when language goes on holiday" -- Ludwig Wittgenstein

"A good supply of resignation is of the first importance in providing for the journey of life. It is a supply which we shall have to extract from disappointed hopes; and the sooner we do it, the better for the rest of the journey" -- Arthur Schopenhauer

"It is impossible to carry the torch of truth through a crowd without singeing someone's beard" -- Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

"The fly that does not want to be swatted is safest if it sits on the fly-swat" -- Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

"Doubt everything at least once, even the proposition that twice two is four" -- Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

"In the adversity of even our best friends we always find something not wholly displeasing" -- Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

"be slow and sure. things are done quickly enough if done well. if just quickly done they can be quickly undone. to last an eternity requires an eternity of preparation." -- Gracian

"violence must be inflicted once and for all; people will then forget what it tastes like and so be less resentful. Benefits must be conferred gradually; and in that way they will taste better." -- Machiavelli

"Princces should delegate to others the enactment of unpopular measures and keep in their own hands the means of winning favors" -- Machiavelli

"Do pleasant things yourself, unpleasant things through others" -- Gracian

"Make people depend on you. It is not he that adorns but he that adores that makes a divinity. The wise person would rather see others needing him than thanking him. To keep them on the threshold of hope is diplomatic, to trust to their gratitude is boorish; hope has a good memory, gratitude a bad one. More is to be got from dependence than from courtesy. He that has satisfied his thrist turns his back on the well, and the orange once squeezed falls from the golden platter into the waste basket." -- Gracian

"Attempt easy tasks as if they were difficult and difficult as if they wer easy. In the one case so that confidence may not fall asleep, in the other so that it may not be dismayed. For a thing to remain undone nothing more is needed than to think it done." -- Gracian

"Know how to use evasion. That is how smart people get out of difficulties. They extricate themselves from the most intricate labyrinth by some witty application of a bright remark. They get out of a serious contention by an airy nothing or by raising a smile. Most of teh great leaders are well grounded in this art. When you have to refuse something, ofen the most coureouos way is to just cahnge the subject. And sometimes is proves the highest undersanding to act like you do not understand" -- Gracian

"Avoid outshining your superiors" -- Baltasar Gracian

"Upon the highest throne in the world, we are seated, still, upon our arses" -- Montaigne

"What is yours is to play the assigned part well. But to choose it belongs to someone else" -- Epictetus

"Nothing is sufficient for the man to whom the sufficient is too litte" -- Epicurus

"A man is wealthy in proportion to the things he can do without" -- Epicurus

"If, as they say, I am only an ignorant man trying to be a philosopher, then that may be what a philosopher is" -- Diogenes

"Plato entertained some of his friends at a dinner, and had in the chamber a bed, or couch, neatly and costly furnished. Diogenes came in, and got up on the bed, and trampled it, saying, 'I trample upon the pride of Plato.' Plato mildly answere, 'But with greater pride, Diogenes.'" -- Francis Bacon, 1624

""A soldier once asked one of the Buddha's disciples to describe the master's teaching. 'Do good, avoid evil, and keep your mind pure,' the disciple replied. 'That's it?' the soldier asked. 'A five-year-old child knows that.' ' Maybe so, the disciple asked, 'but few men of eighty can practise it.'" -- we are what we think, james geary

"it is not life and wealth and power which enslave men, but the cleaving to life and wealth and power" -- buddha

"Neither praise nor blame moves the wise man" -- buddha

"your worst enemy cannot harm you as much as your own thoughts, unguarded. but once mastered, no one can help you as much." -- buddha

"put [things] in order before they have got into confusion" -- lao tzu

"ruling a large kingdom is like cooking a small fish; the less handled, the better" -- lao tzu

"an original writer is not one who imitates nobody, but one whom nobody can imitate" -- chateubriand

"life is like playing a violin solo in public and learning the instrument as one goes on." -- samuel butler

Back in 1962, when he tried to rank Americas presidents according to their merits, Arthur Schlesinger concluded that "mediocre presidents believe in negative government, in self-subordination to the legislative power".

"If you want to succeed, double your failure rate." -- Thomas Watson

"Reporters lie using the nearest-cliche algorithm - they report on the nearest cliche to the truth, and never mind if the nearest cliche is a long way off from the truth." -- Eliezer Yudkowsky

"Fulton's Second Law: Every rule has an exception, except Fulton's Second Law"

here's what might happen to you if you write a book attacking the arts and sciences: " And I well perceive what a blouody battaile I have to fighte with them hande to hande, and how daungerous this fight will be, seeinge that I am beset on every side with an armie of so mightie ennemies. O with howe many ingins will they assaile me, and with howe many shames and villanies will they lode me. First of all the loowsie Grammarians will make a stirre, and with their Ftymologies uppon Agrippa wil geve me a goutie name: The peevishe Poets will put me in theyr verses for Momus, or for Esopes Goate: The triflesellinge Historiographers will defame me more then ever Pausanias and Herostratus was. The blustering Oratours with icefull eyes, with terrible lookes, with shrill soundinge voyces, and with cruell geftures, will accuse me of robbery. The monstrous Remembrancers will breake my braine with their Imaginations. The obstinate Logitioners, will caste againste me infinite dartes of Sillogismes. The longe tounged Sophisters, which wreast to every part their talke, with intricate snares of woordes, like a bridle, will stoppe my mouthe. The barbarens Lullist with unfittinge woordes and Solesismes, will bringe my head in a maze. The wicked Mathematiciens, will bannishe me from Heaven and earthe. The Arithmeticiens, Sonnebeame describers, will incense the Usurers against me, compellinge me to render an accompte of niu debtes. The brawler Dicer will drive me to the gallowes. The lotcastinge Pythagorist wil calculate for me infortunate numbers. The Geomantian with his prick, will caste for me imprisonment, sadnes, and unfortunate Figures. The Musitians Page 12

with their many tunes, will me a laughinge stocke thorowe the streates, and with jarringe soundes, and unpleasante ringinge of pannes, basons, and dishes will trouble me more, then they are woonte at their weddinges which be twise maried. The stately dames will exclude me out of their daunces. The wanton maydes will not kisse me. The bablinge handeimaydes will scoffe at me as a daunsinge Camell. The daunsinge player wil make a tragedie of me upon his bawdie stage. The Fencer with his hundreth hands will assaulte me on the righte side, and on the lefte. The doubtfull Geometricians, laiynge on me Triangles, rownde, and square figures, will take me prysoner, beinge as it were entangled in Gordions knot. The bayne woorker in the arts Perspective, will engrave and depainte me more bruitishe and deformed, then an Ape or Thersites. The wandringe Cosinographers will bannishe me beyonde Moscouse, and the frosen Sea. The Dedalean builder, with his moste mightie Ingins, will prively undermine me, and compel me so wander in confuse Laberinthes. The Infernal Miner wil condemne me to the Golden Mines. The Fatal Astrologers, wil threaten me to be hanged, and with the unstable turninge of the Heauens wil forbidde me Paradise. The threatning Diviners, will withe me all evill. The unreasonable Phisiognomer, wil defame me for a colde man, and of small force in the acte of Generie. The dotinge Metoposcoper, wil pronounce me a braine sicke Asse. The Diviniuge Palmester, wil declare by his Divination, that al thinges shalbe so me unfortunate. The foreknowinge Southesaier, will geve me his blacke curse. The monstruous Gunner, will cast against me the revenginge flames of Jupiter, and the fier of lightninge. A ij Page 13

The Interpretour of darke Dreames, will feare me with his horrible night Sprites. The furious Prophet, will deceive me with his doubtfull Oracle. The monstruous Magitiens, wil transforme me, as it were an other Apulei or Lucian, into an Asse, yet not of Golde, but perchance of dyrte. The blacke Necromancer, wil persecute me with Spirites and Divels. The Churchrobbinge Theurgift, wil offer my head to the crowes, or perhappes to the jakes. The Circumcised Cabalistes, wil wishe me their foreskinne. The vayne and foolishe juggler, will make me appere eyther headlesse or without stoanes. The contentious Philisophers, will teare me in peces with most repugnant opinions. The juggling Pithagoreans, wil make me go into a Dogge, and a Crocodile. The filthy and carpinge Cinickes, will close me up in a Tunne, or a Grave. The pestilent Academickes, will crie upon me to make my wyfe common. The devouringe Epicures, will kill me with surfetttinge. The wicked Peripatetickes, will make my soule mortall, and exclude it out of Paradise. The severe Stoikes, takynge away the griefe of mans minde, will transforme me into a stone. The vaine Metaphisici, wil every howre confounde my minde with Paradoxes of thinges that never were, nor never shalbe, as of the Demogorgoneon Chaos. The Morall Philosophers, correcters of manners, will write me in a hundreth Tables. The politike Lawemaker, will forbidde me to beare Office in the Publike weale. The Voluptuous Prince, will bannishe me the Courte. The Ambitious Noblemen, will put me out of the Senate. The brainelesse People, will exclaime on me in the streates. The terrible Tirante Phalaris, will include me in his Bull to tormente me. The sedicious Governours, wil drive Page 14

me into banishement. The furious People, and the many headed cruell beast, without hearinge my cause will put me to deathe. Every decayed Common weale will condemne me of Treason. The Covetous Priestes, will excommunicate me. The Hooded Maikers, and spitefull Hipocrites, will rayle againste me out of the Pulpit. The Almightie Bishoppes, will reservue my sinnes for Everlastinge fire. The Lecherous Whoores, wil threaten to geve me the French Pock. The greedie Ruffian, and the bowlinge Bawde, wil gelde my purse. The scabbed Beggers wil exclude me out of their Hospitall. The wandringe Pardoners, will offer me S. Anthonies fire, furious sclaunder, and deprive me of their Indulgences. The unfaithful Stewarde, will make me indebted to the Bocherie. The blasphemous Mariner, will dashe me againste Scylla. The false Marchante, will eate me out with Exchaunge and Usurie. The theevishe Treasourer, will steale my stypende. The churlishe Husbandmen, wil forbid me their pleasant Gardens. The loytering Sheapherdes, wil geve me to the Woolfes. The watercoursinge Fisher, will laye a privie bayte for me. The hallowinge Hunter, will set his houndes and hawkes upon me. The mightie armed Souldiour will take my purse. The gallant Gentlemen wil caste me out of their companie. The Herauldes cladde in coats Armour, will take away my Auncestoures Armes, and forbiddinge me from ridinge at the Tyite (which they terme Turnamentes) will proclaime me for a tributary countrey man. The perbrake Phisitians, will embrue me with Vrine and Ordure: of the which the bablinge Logitioner, disputing of sickenesse, wil take from me a remedie in feason. The rashe Practiser, with a doubtfull experiment, will put me in daunger A iij Page 15

of deathe. The subtile olde beaten Phisition, deferringe the remedies, wil prolonge the sickenesse for his owne avayle. She filthy Apothecaries, will sucke me drie with their Clisters. The geldinge Chirurgians, will lie in wayte for my teethe and stones. The cruell Anatomistes, will crave me for Infection. The filthie Horseleache, will shutte me up in a Brake, and will blinde mine eyes with carte duste. The forginge Dieter will kill me with hunger. The thirstie Cooke wil put all unsavery gobbet in my mouth. The prodigall Alcumiste will forbidde me his richesse, and drive me from his Fornace. The invincible Juriste, will cloye me with greate and Huge Volumes of their Gloses. The loftie Lawiers, will accuse me of Treason. The arrogant Canonistes, will Excommunicate me with cruell Cursinges. The brawlinge Advocates, will bringe againste me syxe hundreth accusations. The wylie Proctour, abandoninge my cause in Plea, will by couins joygne in Plea with mine adversarie. The doubtfull notarie, will subscribe falsely. The untreatable Judge, will condemne me in mine Action, and deny me the Apostles of Appeale, as they terme them. The imperious Archescribe Chauncellour, will not admitte my supplication. The obstinate Divine Sophisticall Doctours, will call me Heretike, or compell me to woorshippe their Idoles. Our grimme Maisters wil enforce me to recante: and the Atlantes of Sorbona, will hisse and clappe their handes at me. " -- Of the vanitie and uncertaintie of artes and sciences, Agrippa, http://digital.library.cornell.edu/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=witch;cc=witch;rgn=main;view=text;idno=wit005

"The tradition of all the dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brain of the living..." -- Karl Marx

    ``When you meet the friendliest people you have ever known, who introduce you to the most loving group of people you've ever encountered, and you find the leader to be the most inspired, caring, compassionate and understanding person you've ever met, and then you learn that the cause of the group is something you never dared hope could be accomplished, and all of this sounds too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true!'' 

--Jeanne Mills,

	The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic. -- John F. Kennedy

"The vital question is not 'Who should rule?' but 'How can we minimize misrule?" - quoted in "Philosophy and the Real World : An Introduction to Karl Popper" by Bryan Magee, ISBN 0875484360 (alternate, search) (Chapter 6)

"The general guiding principle for public policy put forward in The Open Society is: 'Minimize avoidable suffering'." Followed by: "Maximize the freedom of individuals to live as they wish" - quoted in "Philosophy and the Real World : An Introduction to Karl Popper" by Bryan Magee, ISBN 0875484360 (alternate, search) (Chapter 6)

    "Because we do not know when we will die, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. And yet everything happens only a certain number of times, and a very small number really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, an afternoon that is so deeply a part of your being that you cannot conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four, or five times more? Perhaps not even that. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless..." --  Paul Bowles, "The Sheltering Sky"

1: one more question. where do you fit in if chaos is the big honcho of evil ? 2: i'm an executive assistant to chaos. 1: evil has middle management ? 2: are you kidding ? that's all we are -- http://www.nuklearpower.com/daily.php?date=060218

"I am awaiting the day when people remember the fact that discovery does not work by deciding what you want and then discovering it." -David Mermin

There is in certain ancient things a trace Of some dim essence - more than form or weight; A tenuous aether, indeterminate, Yet linked with all the laws of time and space. A faint, veiled sign of cwhere space 1ontinuities That outward eyes can never quite descry; Of locked dimensions harbouring years gone by, And out of reach except for hidden keys.

It moves me most when slanting sunbeams glow On old farm buildings set against a hill, And paint with life the shapes which linger still From centuries less a dream than this we know. In that strange light I feel I am not far From the fixt mass whose sides the ages are.

"Haskell programmers are in an eternal dialog with the (very intelligent) compiler, but when such intelligent being talks, sometimes the messages are obscure in his metalanguage of meta-types and meta-abstractions." -- Alberto at http://unenterprise.blogspot.com/2008/02/tell-us-why-your-language-sucks.html?showComment=1203431940000#c2736928901933687271

" A UNIX wizard hears cries of torment from his apprentice's computer room where the apprentice is studying, and goes to investigate.

He finds the apprentice in obvious distress, nearly on the verge of tears. "What's the problem?" he asks. "Why did you cry out?"

"It's terrible using this system. I must use four editors each day to get my studies done, because not one of them does everything."

The wizard nods sagely, and asks, "And what would you propose that will solve this obvious dilemma?"

The student thinks carefully for several minutes, and his face then lights up in delight. Excitedly, he says, "Well, it's obvious. I will write the best editor ever. It will do everything that the existing four editors do, but do their jobs better, and faster. And because of my new editor, the world will be a better place."

The wizard quickly raises his hand and smacks the apprentice on the side of his head. The wizard is old and frail, and the apprentice isn't physically hurt, but is shocked by what has happened. He turns his head to face the wizard. "What have I done wrong?" he asks.

"Fool!" says the wizard. "Do you think I want to learn yet another editor?"

Immediately, the apprentice is enlightened. " -- unknown. i got it from http://neugierig.org/content/unix/

"The problem about Wikipedia is, that it just works in reality, not in theory." -- Stephen Colbert? Piotr Konieczny?

'Ubuntu, an ancient African word meaning "I can't configure Debian"' -- ricky_clarkson

" The difference between theory and practice is larger in practice than the difference between theory and practice in theory." -- Jan L.A. van de Snepscheut

"A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it" -- Max Planck

"Science may be described as the art of systematic over-simplification." Karl Popper

"Reality is what refuses to go away when I stop believing in it." P. K. Dick

"Andre, a simple peasant, had only one thing on his mind as he crept along the East wall: 'Andre creep. Andre creep. Andre creep.'"

"...but like involuntary servitude after the enactment of the 13th amendment -- daniel, you are abolished" -- ben stein in "america's most smartest model", telling a contestant he lost

"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." -- Theodore Roosevelt, 1918

"seems like everybody's sleepwalking through their waking life or wakewalking through their dreams" -- waking life

"Life is but a vision, a dream. Nothing exists except empty space and you - and you are but a thought." --- Satan, in the movie "The Adventures of Mark Twain"

"Programming with libxml2 is like the thrilling embrace of an exotic stranger." Mark Pilgrim

"Great powers should never get involved in the politics of small tribes." -- Kamal Salibi

"Sculpting each tree to fit your ghostly form." -- spam

"quod mecum nescit, solus vult scire videri" -- "what he, along with me, doesn't know, he alone wishes to seem to know"

J.D. Barrow says, \u201cOne would normally define a \u2018religion\u2019as system of ideas that contained statements that cannot be logically or observationally demonstrated ... Gdel\u2019s theorem, not only demonstrates that mathematics is a religion, but shows that mathematics is the only religion that proves itself to be one.\u201d [J.D. Barrow, The World within the World, 0192861085] paraphrased by http://abelard.org/metalogic/metalogicA1.htm#en1: "the work of Gdel showed mathematics as the only religion which had managed to prove itself unsound."

"When men are not acquainted with each other's principals, nor experienced in each other's talents, nor at all practiced in their mutual habitudes and dispositions by joint efforts of business; no personal confidence, no friendship, no common interest subsisting among them; it is evidently impossible that they can act a public part with uniformity, perseverance, or efficacy." -- Borke

"The laws reach but a very little way. Constitute Government how you please, infinitely the greater part of it must depend upon the exercise of the powers which are left at large to the prudence and uprightness of Ministers of State. Even all the use and potency of the laws depends upon them. Without them, your Commonwealth is no better than a scheme upon paper" -- Burke

Total history -- a term I'd like to coin, by analogy to total war -- is something we haven't experienced yet. I'm really not sure what its implications are, but then, I'm one of the odd primitive shadows just visible at one edge of the archive..." -- http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2007/05/shaping_the_future.html

"Good judgement comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgement." -- Jim Horning


by osu-neko

Just how sure are we that the universe is comprehensible?

It's one of the axioms of science. It's not a question of being sure, it's a question of necessarily assuming it's true in order to proceed. There are basically three axioms you assume any time you're doing science, because there'd be absolutely no point to doing it if they aren't, and it appears science is useful, so we roll with the assumptions despite them being unproven (and in fact unprovable, even in principle).

First, we assume that nature is lawful. Things happen in accord with these laws and nothing happens except in accord with these laws. That doesn't necessarily mean the universe is deterministic or anything like that -- laws can be probabilistic, after all. In any case, since the point of science is to determine what the laws of the nature are, they better be there or the whole game is a fool's quest.

Second, we assume that the laws of nature are universal -- they're good any time, any place. If something behaves differently in one circumstance than another, this doesn't mean the laws change, it just means the laws are complex and take factors into account that make those two circumstances different with regards to them. We just need to understand the law completely to know why. This assumption needs to be true, or else there's absolutely no point in making observations or conducting experiments, since they would only tell you something about the laws in that place at that time. For observation and experiment to be useful, it must be the case that the laws apply in other places and times than the time and place of the observation.

And third, we assume that the laws of nature are comprehensible and discoverable. Again, the whole scientific endeavor is devoted to discovering these laws, and that's simply not possible if they aren't discoverable (and our being unable to comprehend them would preclude us from discovering them).

One could argue one doesn't have to believe these things are true to do science, but any time one does science, one is necessarily accepting them as axioms, assuming them to be true for the purposes of doing science, at least for the moment. I suppose you could ultimately view the scientific endeavor as a whole as a test of these three things. If it succeeds, it will have proven them true. If it ultimately fails in the end, perhaps they weren't. But of course you can never know that, it may be they were true, we just didn't manage to find all the answers, but in principle we could have. One can never be sure of success, either, so in the end, we'll never truly know.

But they've sure proven useful so far. If nothing else, one can make a mighty powerful pragmatic argument for thinking them true.


"If the Holy Bible was printed as an Ace Double, it would be cut down to two 20,000-word halves with the Old Testament retitled as 'Master of Chaos' and the New Testament as 'The Thing With Three Souls'." -- http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/06/books/06mcgr.html

" We are all aware that the senses can be deceived, the eyes fooled. But how can we be sure our senses are not being deceived at any particular time, or even all the time? Might I just be a brain in a tank somewhere, tricked all my life into believing in the events of this world by some insane computer? And does my life gain or lose meaning based on my reaction to such solipsism?

Project PYRRHO, Specimen 46, Vat 7 Activity Recorded M.Y. 2302.22467 TERMINATION OF SPECIMEN ADVISED " -- http://www.generationterrorists.com/quotes/smac.html (Alpha Centari game quotes)

"Rules of Optimization: Rule 1: Don't do it. Rule 2 (for experts only): Don't do it yet. " -- M. A. Jackson

 The enemy isn't liberalism. The enemy isn't conservatism. The enemy is bullshit.
 "I am filled with fear and tormented with terrible visions of pain. Everywhere people are hurting one another, the planet is rampant with injustices, whole societies plunder groups of their own people, mothers imprison sons, children perish while brothers war. O, woe."


"But nobody Wants it! Everybody hates it."


It's a small world, but I wouldn't want to have to paint it. -- Steven Wright

What saves a man is to take a step. Then another step. It is always the same step, but you have to take it.

    Antoine De Saint-Exupery

Don't be afraid to take a big step if one is indicated. You can't cross a chasm in two small jumps.

    David Lloyd George (1863-1945, British Statesman, Prime Minister)

Your decision to be, have and do something out of ordinary entails facing difficulties that are out of the ordinary as well. Sometimes your greatest asset is simply your ability to stay with it longer than anyone else.

    Brian Tracy (American Trainer, Speaker, Author, Businessman)

Most writers regard truth as their most valuable possession, and therefore are economical in its use.

    Mark Twain

There's as much risk in doing nothing as in doing something.

    Trammel Crow

Everything you want is out there waiting for you to ask. Everything you want also wants you. But you have to take action to get it.

Jack Canfield

Dreams have only one owner at a time. That's why dreamers are lonely.

    Erma Bombeck, author (1927-1996)

There is a foolish corner in the brain of the wisest man.

    Aristotle, philosopher (384-322 B.C.)

When we see men of a contrary character, we should turn inwards and examine ourselves.

    Confucius (551-479 BC)

A sense of duty is useful in work but offensive in personal relations.

    Bertrand Russell, philosopher, mathematician, and author (1872-1970)

No army can withstand the strength of an idea whose time has come.

    Victor Hugo

He who would travel happily must travel light.

    Antoine de Saint-Exupery, author and aviator (1900-1945)

All wars are civil wars, because all men are brothers... Each one owes infinitely more to the human race than to the particular country in which he was born.

    Francois Fenelon, theologian and writer (1651-1715)

The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement. But the opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth.

    Niels Bohr, physicist (1885-1962)

Life is a long lesson in humility.

    James M. Barrie, novelist, short-story writer, and playwright (1860-1937)

My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me.

    Jim Valvano (American College Basketball Coach)

The essence of philosophy is that a man should so live that his happiness shall depend as little as possible on external things.


As scarce as truth is, the supply has always been in excess of the demand.

    Josh Billings

If you let yourself be absorbed completely, if you surrender completely to the moments as they pass, you live more richly those moments.

    Anne Morrow Lindbergh

He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.

    Friedrich Nietzsche

Failures, repeated failures, are finger posts on the road to achievement. One fails forward toward success.

    Charles F. Kettering

How much more grievous are the consequences of anger than the causes of it.

    Marcus Aurelius

Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope.

    Robert F. Kennedy

You can achieve anything you want in life if you have the courage to dream it, the intelligence to make a realistic plan, and the will to see that plan through to the end.

    Sidney A. Friedman

Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.

    William Arthur Ward

For most of life, nothing wonderful happens. If you don't enjoy getting up and working and finishing your work and sitting down to a meal with family or friends, then the chances are you're not going to be very happy. If someone bases his [or her] happiness on major events like a great job, huge amounts of money, a flawlessly happy marriage or a trip to Paris, that person isn't going to be happy much of the time. If, on the other hand, happiness depends on a good breakfast, flowers in the yard, a drink or a nap, then we are more likely to live with quite a bit of happiness.

    Andy Rooney

Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.

    Ralph Waldo Emerson

The refusal to choose is a form of choice; disbelief is a form of belief.

    Frank Barron

One is always a long way from solving a problem until one actually has the answer.

    Stephen Hawking

Knowing all truth is less than doing a little bit of good.

    Albert Schweitzer

If a man points at the moon, an idiot will look at the finger.


A friend is a person with whom I may be sincere. Before him I may think aloud.

    Ralph Waldo Emerson

Noise proves nothing--often a hen who has merely laid an egg cackles as if she had laid an asteroid.

    Mark Twain

It is easier to fight for one's principles than to live up to them.

    Alfred Adler

Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.

    Mark Twain

If words are to enter men's minds and bear fruit, they must be the right words shaped cunningly to pass men's defenses and explode silently and effectually within their minds.

    J.B. Phillips

The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts: therefore, guard accordingly, and take care that you entertain no notions unsuitable to virtue and reasonable nature.

    Marcus Aurelius (121-180 AD)

Talent develops in tranquility, character in the full current of human life.

    Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)

"We ascribe beauty to that which is simple; which has no superfluous parts; which exactly answers its end; which stands related to all things; which is the mean of many extremes."

    Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Conduct of Life, "Beauty" (1860). 

note: i don't think that accurately describes my concept of beauty (i think clouds and skies are among the most beautiful, and they don't satisfy this definition), but i think it describes what mathematicians and computer programmers mean by "elegance". -- bayle

(woah, lotta good quotes on: http://www.zompist.com/quotes6.html)

"If you watch lizards and lions copulating, then you will see that in 200 million years the male has not had a single new idea." --Robert Ardrey, The Hunting Hypothesis (1976)

"Uh oh, sounds like the machine is demonically possessed again. Better than no messages at all, though!" -- Max (by Steve Purcell)

"The world has a problem with people who believe death is a "better place" and subscribe to all sorts of delusional formulae to jump position on a putative stairway to Heaven. Such formulae include jihadism and all the other "warrior religions" that reserve intoxicants in Valhallas for dead soldiers.

To undermine jihadism, try debunking belief in afterlife. It has no scientific basis whatsoever.


Much of the violence in the world today derives from people who believe in afterlife and associate death with visions of a "better place". Skepticism about prospects for afterlife are so alarming to such people that they often try to kill the skeptics who promote the doubt. This is true even in the US, where public skepticism about afterlife can get one banned from public chat forums because it obviously interferes with military recruitment and undermines troop morale, given the essentially religious and chaplain-driven system used by the US military to motivate soldiers and adjust them to the omnipresence of death.

I suspect that spreading skepticism about any possibility of afterlife substantially contributes to the relative peacefulness of the present. If we can complete the existential transformation to base public policy strictly on the tangible soon, civilization may yet survive this century.

" -- Steve Bolger

" Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

That, more or less, is the short answer to the supposedly incredibly complicated and confusing question of what we humans should eat in order to be maximally healthy. I hate to give away the game right here at the beginning of a long essay, and I confess that m tempted to complicate matters in the interest of keeping things going for a few thousand more words. I'll try to resist but will go ahead and add a couple more details to flesh out the advice. Like: A little meat won't kill you, though s better approached as a side dish than as a main. And re much better off eating whole fresh foods than processed food products. That's what I mean by the recommendation to "eat food". Once, food was all you could eat, but today there are lots of other edible foodlike substances in the supermarket. These novel products of food science often come in packages festooned with health claims, which brings me to a related rule of thumb: if re concerned about your health, you should probably avoid food products that make health claims. Why? Because a health claim on a food product is a good indication that s not really food, and food is what you want to eat."

-- MICHAEL POLLAN, http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/28/magazine/28nutritionism.t.html

"Istanbul is Constantinople Now it's Istanbul not Constantinople Been a long time gone, Constantinople Now it's Turkish delight on a moonlit night Every gal in Constantinople lives in Istanbul not Constantinople So if you've a date in Constantinople, she'll be waiting in Istanbul Even old New York was once New Amsterdam Why they changed it I can't say (People just liked it better that way) So take me back to Constantinople No you can't go back to Constantinople Been a long time gone, Constantinople Why did Constantinople get the works? That's nobody's business but the Turks." --James Kennedy and Nat Simon by way of http://www.zompist.com/quotes6.html

"The evil in question reappears in the world after you vanquish it, often within mere minutes, and the world as a whole never changes because of anything you do. So in that way it's less like being a fantasy adventurer and more like being a social worker." --Lore Sj

"I do feel... that I now have a better understanding of what the key problems are than I did ten years ago. At times I even persuade myself that I can glimpse some of the answers, but this is a common delusion experienced by anyone who dwells too long on a single problem." --Francis Crick

"If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to." --Dorothy Parker

"This is the big reason most humorists fail. Drunks don't read books." --Garrison Keillor

"The Moulin Rouge is, like the West Village and the Nasdaq, one of those places that people who don't like to take risks come to for the thrill of being on the spot where risks once were taken." --Michael Lewis

"Debugging is twice as hard as writing the code in the first place. Therefore, if you write the code as cleverly as possible, you are, by definition, not smart enough to debug it." --Brian Kernighan

"Here's the secret that every successful software company is based on: You can domesticate programmers the way beekeepers tame bees. You can't exactly communicate with them, but you can get them to swarm in one place and when they're not looking, you can carry off the honey." --Orson Scott Card

"In romance, as in life, you only learn when you're losing. (When you're winning, you just sit there and grin like an idiot.)" --Garrison Keillor

"Consciousness is knowing what you thought last; free-will is not knowing what you'll think next." --Justin B. Rye

"I live by two rules: 1: Don't sweat the small stuff. 2. Everything is small stuff." --Agent Orange

"Americans don't want leadership. They want alchemy." --Michael Kinsley

"Sexton: I think the whole world's gone mad. Death: Uh-uh. It's always like this. You probably just don't get out enough." --Neil Gaiman

"I don't think USENET is an anarchy. It isn't that well organized." --Simon von Dongen

"I grew up assuming women were our equals. I can't imagine thinking I'm better suited to hack C code because of my penis-- frankly, I rarely use my penis at all while I'm working." --Dave Eisen

"Hostility towards Microsoft is not difficult to find on the Net, and it blends two strains: resentful people who feel Microsoft is too powerful, and disdainful people who think it's tacky. This is all strongly reminiscent of the heyday of Communism and Socialism, when the bourgeoisie were hated from both ends: by the proles, because they had all the money, and by the intelligentsia, because of their tendency to spend it on lawn ornaments." --Neal Stephenson

"Everyone's always in favour of saving Hitler's brain. But when you put it in the body of a great white shark, ooohh! Suddenly you've gone too far!" -- Professor, Futurama

"What makes a man turn neutral ... Lust for gold? Power? Or were you just born with a heart full of neutrality?" --Zapp Brannigan, Futurama

"Like a lot of modern newspaper people, I have a blog.

For those of you who don't have a blog yet, think of one as a large yellow Labrador: friendly, fun, not all that bright, but constantly demanding your attention." -- http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/15/business/media/15carr.html

"Of course, almost any economic or military competition can be won by the side with superior computing resources." -- Blueshell, a character in Vernor Vinge's A Fire Upon the Deep

"The happiness of a man in this life does not consist in the absence but in the mastery of his passions." -- Alfred Lord Tennyson

"Work is defined as something that people do not want to do and money as a reward that compensates for the unpleasantness of work" -- Roker Theobalt

"We got our new machines last week which require new operating systems unless we let the IT dept. defile them with standard images." -- http://singe.rucus.net/blog/archives/270-Gentoo-vs-Ubuntu-vs-Debian.html

"And after all, isn't sanity just a one trick pony: rational thought. But when you're good and crazy, the skies the limit!" -- The Tick

"A vacant stare need not be evidence of a dull mind. The pull of the de- or unconconditioned experience would seem to be an aesthetic attraction. It's not that the drugged mind finds beauty where there is none; it is rather that a mind lulled by convention has to struggle to see through its own habits. It has a hard time perceiving beauties that fail to conform to the aesthetic rules of the tribe. Stripped of its usual habits, a perceiving mind can constellate a satisfying aesthetic tableau from almost any perceptual field. And the drugs trigger this experience." -- http://www.starlarvae.org/Star_Larvae_Addendum_Exo-Psychology_Revisited.html

\u201cSome years ago I myself made some observations on this aspect of nitrous oxide intoxication, and reported them in print. One conclusion was forced upon my mind at that time, and my impression of its truth has ever since remained unshaken. It is that our normal waking consciousness, rational consciousness as we call it, is but one special type of consciousness, whilst all about it, parted from it by the filmiest of screens, there lie potential forms of consciousness entirely different. We may go through life without suspecting their existence; but apply the requisite stimulus, and at a touch they are there in all their completeness, definite types of mentality which probably somewhere have their field of application and adaptation. No account of the universe in its totality can be final which leaves these other forms of consciousness quite discarded. How to regard them is the question\u2014for they are so discontinuous with ordinary consciousness. Yet they may determine attitudes, though they cannot furnish formulas, and open a region, though they fail to give a map. At any rate, they forbid a premature closing of our accounts with reality.\u201d

\u2014- William James The Varieties of Religious Experience

"I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce and agriculture in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain." -- John Adams

supposed quote from the Illuminatus! trilogy: There is no god but man.

    Man has the right to live by his own law\u2014 to live in the way that he wills to do; to work as he will; to play as he will; to rest as he will; to die when and how he will.
    Man has the right to eat what he will; to drink what he will; to dwell where he will; to move as he will on the face of the earth.
    Man has the right to think what he will; to speak what he will; to write what he will; to draw, paint, carve, etch, mold, build as he will; to dress as he will.
    Man has the right to love as he will.
    Man has the right to kill those who thwart these rights.
    \u2014The Equinox: A Journal of Scientific Illuminism, 1922 (edited by Aleister Crowley) 

Perry notes that some in the Bush administration seem reluctant to deal with the North Koreans, believing talking to Pyongyang would somehow reward it for its bad behavior. "To them," he says, " I can only quote one of my favorite presidents, John F. Kennedy, who said, 'Never negotiate from fear, but never fear to negotiate'."\u2013 YaleGlobal?

"I do not think that either the world or my own country has been torture-free since the Renaissance. But I was hopeful enough, patriotic enough, to believe that my government would never justify harming a person just short of when his or her organs were failing.

I believed that my American government would never claim that law itself (national and international) did not apply when it was acting "offshore," or to the president whenever he is acting.

It simply had never occurred to me that my government would claim that any zone was one in which the United States could act completely unbounded based on a theory that the Constitution gives the president a blank check \u2014 not to be checked. " -- Judith Resnik?, Law professor, graduating address to Bryn Mawr College

" Mongol General: We have won again. That is good! But what is best in life? Mongol Warrior: The open steppe, fleet horse, falcon on your wrist, wind in your hair! Mongol General: Wrong! Conan, what is best in life? Conan: To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of the women! Mongol General: That is good. " -- Conan the Barbarian

    "The greatest pleasure is to vanquish your enemies and chase them before you, to rob them of their wealth and see those dear to them bathed in tears, to ride their horses and clasp to your bosom their wives and daughters." -- Genghis Khan"

" I have been asked to talk about what I consider the most important challenge facing mankind, and I have a fundamental answer. The greatest challenge facing mankind is the challenge of distinguishing reality from fantasy, truth from propaganda. Perceiving the truth has always been a challenge to mankind, but in the information age (or as I think of it, the disinformation age) it takes on a special urgency and importance.

We must daily decide whether the threats we face are real, whether the solutions we are offered will do any good, whether the problems we're told exist are in fact real problems, or non-problems. Every one of us has a sense of the world, and we all know that this sense is in part given to us by what other people and society tell us; in part generated by our emotional state, which we project outward; and in part by our genuine perceptions of reality. In short, our struggle to determine what is true is the struggle to decide which of our perceptions are genuine, and which are false because they are handed down, or sold to us, or generated by our own hopes and fears. " -- Michael Crichton

"When the curve of historical development rises, public thinking becomes more penetrating, braver and more ingenious. It grasps facts on the wing, and on the wing links them with the thread of generalization... . But when the political curve indicates a drop, public thinking succumbs to stupidity. The price less gift of political generalization vanishes somewhere without leaving even a trace. Stupidity grows in insolence, and, baring its teeth, heaps insulting mockery on every attempt at a serious generalization. Feeling that it is in command of the field, it begins to resort to its own means." -- Leon Trotsky http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/works/1930-lif/ch41.htm

"One is to realize that the world is full of peoples whose genuine faith in the divine gives them a precise, revealed blueprint for political life, which means that for the foreseeable future they will not enter into the family of liberal democratic nations. Only if we give up the fantasy of a universal historical process driving all nations toward a secular modernity can we face this fact squarely and humanely." -- Mark Lilla

"For the utopians, the revolution's defeat of the Catholic Church represented an enormous step forward for the human race, but also posed an unprecedented challenge. Once men thought themselves free from God they might think themselves free from one another, like elementary particles floating in the void. What modern, postrevolutionary society needed was a new religion, or a surrogate one, a system of symbols and ceremonies bringing individuals together without reference to a revealing, transcendent God." --- Mark Lilla

"If art interprets our dreams, the computer executes them in the guise of programs!" -- Alan J. Perlis http://mitpress.mit.edu/sicp/full-text/book/book-Z-H-5.html

"Gnomin', gnomin', gnomin'... Ignore the WikiTrolling?... Keep them words a-flowin'... elide!" -- http://www.c2.com/cgi/wiki?IanOsgood

" Portland Nerd Dinner Be There AND Be Square "

"Outside is pure energy and colorless substance," he said. "All of the rest happens through the mechanism of our senses. Our eyes see just a small fraction of the light in the world. It is a trick to make a colored world, which does not exist outside of human beings." -- Abbie Hofmann

[President Jimmy] Carter told Americans the truth and they hated him for it. [They] responded by throwing him out of office and replaced him with a movie actor who promised to restore the Great Enterprise to all its former glory, whatever the costs. -- James Howard Kunstler, _The Geography of Nowhere_

Everything sucks compared to a giant space robot spider station.- Kevin Mowery

"George also argued that as human consciousness evolves, certain things that were once on the frontiers of awareness, and that were experienced with near-mystical force, become commonplaces as they are routinely abstracted into language. In my classics honors thesis at Harvard, I used this premise to assess certain of Plato's dialogues, arguing that the mystical overtones with which Socrates describes concepts like justice and truth were the result of the newness of his ideas. As we "rehearse" these now familiar ideas thousands of years later, we don't get that same rush. Most of us receive them at a level of abstraction, fitting them into our accepted system of facts, rather than taking them in through the entire ABCD perceptual cycle." -- Tim O'Reilly, talking about George Simon, a friend of his. "ABCD" refers to an earlier paragraph about Kuhn-ian paradigm changes.

http://science.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=162466&cid=13577670: .... Although global climate might be within plausible variation, here's one undisputed fact of human effects. We have royally mucked up the atmosphere.

For at least the past 400000+ years [google.com], global CO2 concentrations fluctuated solidly in the 180-300ppm range. Methane flucutated 300-700ppb on a matching path, and both correlate strongly with temperature (r about .8) over that time.

Today, CO2 has shot up to 380ppm and methane above 1700ppb. Any rational observer should conclude this is A Bad Thing(tm).



"Civilization advances by extending the number of important operations which we can perform without thinking of them." Alfred North Whitehead

"Thats the difference between Democrats and Republicans. Democrats believe the answer to problems is to allocate money to government programs. Republicans believe the answer is to declare war on it and allocate the money to specific military-industrial contractors." -- anonymous coward on slashdot (http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=163286&cid=13639761)

"SIR \u2013 Osama bin Laden and the anarchists who preceded him are hardly unique when it comes to justifying the slaughter of civilians to further their goals. Sovereign governments have long made a practice of \u201ctotal war\u201d; not least the allies in the second world war whose bomber pilots had little difficulty rationalising the destruction of civilian homes after the strategic targeting of military and industrial installations became too difficult. Sir Arthur \u201cBomber\u201d Harris justified it at the time by noting it was better to drop a bomb anywhere in Germany than none at all. When we go to war, whether as part of a nation-state or as part of a disaffected minority, we commit ourselves to the atrocity of murder. Whether we confine ourselves to hitting \u201clegitimate\u201d targets at that point is merely a matter of semantics. All nations have done this and will do so again when they feel the need to. Moralising against those who return the favour is as much human nature as it is hypocrisy. Bill Coffin Oakhurst, New Jersey " -- The Economist Sep 8th 2005

"Mill does not accept the "pleasant falsehood" that truth inevitably triumphs over persecution; history "teems with instances of truth put down by persecution." In the history of religion in the West, for example, there are numerous sects and churches that have been successfully suppressed, and Mill therefore concludes that "persecution has always succeeded, save where the heretics were too strong a party to be effectually persecuted" -- Today's Isms, William Ebenstein, talking about John Stuart Mill's "on Liberty"

"Another important cse, also passed on by the Supreme Court on June 17, 1957, dealt with the issue of academic freedom. Professor Paul Sweezey, after lecturing at the University of New Hampsire on economics, was questioned by the state's attorney general about his political opinions and beliefs. He denied the charge that he had ever been a member of the Communist party, but refused to give any information about his teaching or his political opinions and associations. As a result, he was held to be in contempt by the New Hampshire Supreme Court. The United States Supreme Court decided that Professor Sweezey's conviction was invalid, and added the warning that government should be "extremely reticent" to tread in the areas of academic freedom and political expression: "No one should underestimate the vital role in a democracy that is played by those who guide and train our youth. To impose any strait-jacket upon the intellectual leaders in our colleges and universities would imperil the future of our nation" -- Today's Isms, William Ebenstein

"Representatives of each academic discipline occasionally assert that they possess a most privileged viewpoint that somehow contains or subsumes the viewpoints of their rivals. Physicists were the alpha-academics for much of the twentieth century, though in recent decades "postmodern" humanities thinkers managed to stage something of a comeback, at least in their own minds." -- Jaron Lanier http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/lanier/lanier_p7.html

"Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." -- Philip K. Dick

"reality is for those who can't face science fiction" -- unknown

"Our imagination loves to be filled with an object or to grasp at anything that is too big for it's capacity. We are flung into a pleasing astonishment at such unbounded views and feel a delightful stillness and amazement in the soul at the apprehension of them." Joseph Addison (1672 - 1719), 1712

"It is folly for an eminent person to think of escaping censure, and a weakness to be affected by it. All the illustrious persons of antiquity, and indeed of every age, have passed through this fiery persecution. There is no defense against reproach but obscurity; it is a kind of concomitant to greatness, as satires and invectives were an essential part of a Roman triumph." Joseph Addison (1672 - 1719)

"There are many shining qualities on the mind of man; but none so useful as discretion. It is this which gives a value to all the rest, and sets them at work in their proper places, and turns them to the advantage of their possessor. Without it, learning is pedantry; wit, impertinence; virtue itself looks like weakness; and the best parts only qualify a man to be more sprightly in errors, and active to his own prejudice. Though a man has all other perfections and wants discretion, he will be of no great consequence in the world; but if he has this single talent in perfection, and but a common share of others, he may do what he pleases in his station of life." Joseph Addison (1672 - 1719)

"I was tapped out of tolerance on this front years ago. I'm on my way to retire in my early 50's, and then I'm outta this dump. Sit an wallow in your celebrity gossip, sports teams composed of sociopaths who are forgiven every crime by their followers and your endless wasteland of (pseudo)reality television and basing scientific legislation on ancient fairy tales." -- Quiet_Desperation at http://science.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=157091&cid=13170122

" Each of us knows what it is like to be in a physical environment; we know what things look, sound, smell, taste, and feel like. Such experiences form the basis of agency, memory, and identity. Without human experiences, a computer cannot fool a smart judge probing its ability to communicate about the quintessentially human. In the past, scientists have employed metaphors to characterize mysteries of human functioning - the heart as pump, the brain as telephone switchboard. My prediction is that contemporary metaphors of brain-as-computer and mental activity-as-information processing will in time also be superseded and will not prove to be a basis on which to build human-level intelligent machines - if indeed any such basis ever exists." -- Mitchell Kapor http://wired-vig.wired.com/wired/archive/10.05/longbets.html?pg=5

"This is the voice of Moderation. We wouldn't go so far as to say we've seized the radio station..." --- http://slashdot.org/~Animats sig

"Debugging is twice as hard as writing the code in the first place. Therefore, if you write the code as cleverly as possible, you are, by definition, not smart enough to debug it." -- Brian W. Kernighan

"Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will."-- Frederick Douglass

"There are plenty of people with nothing to say who want to take a long time to say it." -- a minister

"Systems reflect the organizations that built them." -- Conway's Law

"We have now sunk to a depth at which the re-statement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men." --George Orwell

"Like a lot of people, I was mathematically abused as a child. I learned to think of math as a collection of formulas that were neither beautiful nor had any relation to my life (despite attempts to translate them into "word problems"), but had to be memorized in order to do well on tests." -- Paul Graham

" "I would not trust Tomas Nau with any mercantile agreement. I think he would commit a great treachery, if it would make him even a small profit. He is very smooth, a consummate liar who puts not the faintest value on return business."

All in all, that was about the most damning statement a Qeng Ho could make about another living being. "

-- Sammy Park, from Vernor Vinge's A Deepness in the Sky

    "Be liberal in what you require but conservative in what you do"

"It is possible to fail in many ways ... while to succeed is possible only in one way." -- Aristotle

"They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright Brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown." -- Carl Sagan

"I have noticed something in my mind: When I start writing down my ideas, my brain gives me more ideas like that. It's like my brain goes: "Hey! You're paying attention! You like that? Here, let me give you some more."" -- Lion Kimbro

"data that are influenced by many small and unrelated random effects are approximately normally distributed" -- the cartoon guide to statistics by Larry Gonick and woolcott smith (this is the best description i've ever heard for the (import of) the central limit theorem)

(they go on to say: "this explains why the normal is everywhere: stock market fluctuations, student wieghts, yearly temperature averages, SAT scores: all are the result of many different effects. for example, a student's weight is the result of genetics, nutrition, illness, and last night's beer party. when you put them all together, you get the normal!")

If we knew what we were doing, it wouldn't be called research, would it? -- Albert Einstein

"BRIAN GOODWIN Biologist, Schumacher College, Devon, UK; Author, How The Leopard Changed Its Spots

Nature Is Culture.

I believe that nature and culture can now be understood as one unified process, not two distinct domains separated by some property of humans such as written or spoken language, consciousness, or ethics. Although there is no proof of this, and no consensus in the scientific community or in the humanities, the revelations of the past few years provide a foundation for both empirical and conceptual work that I believe will lead to a coherent, unified perspective on the process in which we and nature are engaged. This is not a take-over of the humanities by science, but a genuine fusion of the two based on clear articulations of basic concepts such as meaning and wholeness in natural and cultural processes, with implications for scientific studies, their applications in technology and their expression in the arts.

For me this vision has arisen primarily through developments in biology, which occupies the middle ground between culture and the physical world. The key conceptual changes have arisen from complexity theory through detailed studies of the networks of interactions between components within organisms, and between them in ecosystems. When the genome projects made it clear that we are unable to make sense of the information in DNA, attention necessarily shifted to understanding how organisms use this in making themselves with forms that allow them to survive and reproduce in particular habitats. The focus shifted from the hereditary material to its organised context, the living cell, so that organisms as agencies with a distinctive kind of organisation returned to the biological foreground.

Examination of the self-referential networks that regulate gene activities in organisms, that carry out the diverse functions and constructions within cells through protein-protein interactions (the proteome), and the sequences of metabolic transformations that make up the metabolome, have revealed that they all have distinctive properties of self-similar, fractal structure governed by power-law relationships. These properties are similar to the structure of languages, which are also self-referential networks described by power-laws, as discovered years ago by G.K. Zipf. A conclusion is that organisms use proto-languages to make sense of both their inherited history (written in DNA and its molecular modifications) and their external contexts (the environment) in the process of making themselves as functional agencies. Organisms thus become participants in cultures with histories that have meaning, expressed in the forms (morphologies and behaviours) distinctive to their species. This is of course embodied or tacit meaning, which cognitive scientists now recognise as primary in human culture also.

Understanding species as cultures that have experienced 3.7 billion years of adaptive evolution on earth makes it clear that they are repositories of meaningful knowledge and experience about effective living that we urgently need to learn about in human culture. Here is a source of deep wisdom about living in participation with others that is energy and resource efficient, that recycles everything, produces forms that are simultaneously functional and beautiful, and is continuously innovative and creative. We can now proceed with a holistic science that is unified with the arts and humanities and has at its foundation the principles that arise from a naturalistic ethic based on an extended science that includes qualities as well as quantities within the domain of knowledge.

There is plenty of work to do in articulating this unified perspective, from detailed empirical studies of the ways in which organisms achieve their states of coherence and adaptability to the application of these principles in the organic design of all human artefacts, from energy-generating devices and communication systems to cars and factories. The goal is to make human culture as integrated with natural process as the rest of the living realm so that we enhance the quality of the planet instead of degrading it. This will require a rethinking of evolution in terms of the intrinsic agency with meaning that is embodied in the life cycles of different species, understood as natural cultures. Integrating biology and culture with physical principles will be something of a challenge, but there are already many indications of how this can be achieved, without losing the thread of language and meaning that runs through living nature. The emphasis on wholeness that lies at the heart of quantum mechanics and its extensions in quantum gravity, together with the subtle order revealed as quantum coherence, is already stimulating a rethinking of the nature of wholeness, coherence and robust adaptability in organisms as well as quality of life in cultures. Furthermore, the self-similar, fractal patterns that arise in physical systems during phase transitions, when new order is coming into being, have the same characteristics as the patterns observed in organismic and cultural networks involved in generating order and meaning. The unified vision of a creative and meaningful cosmic process seems to be on the agenda as a replacement for the meaningless mechanical cosmos that has dominated Western scientific thought and cultural life for a few hundred years."

"i was working hard all day, and then I thought, in the big scheme of things, look what i accomplished today. and then i went outside and looked around, and i thought, look what was accomplished today." -- Brian McBrady? (paraphrased)

"INTPs prefer an unstructured approach to living and to getting things done (see questions 2.3 and 2.8). They do not, therefore, do well with schedules. To an INTP, time is an open-ended entity that is allowed to unfold, not a resource to control."


"To invent something totally new and different just because you want to do something new and different is in my opinion, the height of stupidity and hubris." -- Linus Torvalds, in response to a question on "Is Linux charting its own course or just picking up Unix technology?"

"What exactly did Socrates teach at those lessons? One of his best-remembered remarks is 'the unexamined life is not worth living'. This is very much the attitude of an intellectual with time on his hands. The Greek city-states were probably the first societies to produce something resembling an intellectual middle class with a degree of independence (due to democracy) and a degree of leisure (due to slavery). The Greeks had time to pursue their thoughts for their own sake and arrive at their own conclusions. Original thought of any kind requires idleness - a fact often overlooked by earnest, industrious mediocrities." -- Paul Strathern, Socrates in 90 minutes, page 39

"Scotty: Captain, we din' can reference it! Kirk: Analysis, Mr. Spock? Spock: Captain, it doesn't appear in the symbol table. Kirk: Then it's of external origin? Spock: Affirmative. Kirk: Mr. Sulu, go to pass two. Sulu: Aye aye, sir, going to pass two." - /usr/games/fortune 20011014

"To converse at the distance of the Indes by means of sympathetic contrivances may be as natural to future times as to us is a literary correspondence." - Joseph Glanvill, 1661

"When in doubt, do it. It's much easier to apologize than to get permission." - Admiral Grace Murray Hopper

"Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent." - Salvor Hardin

"Show me an individual who is absolutely consistant and I'll bet they fail the Turing test..." - D. Amon CMU sig 1984-89

"I knew a virgin... once." - D. Amon early 80's.

"Prostitution is a combination of sex and free enterprise. Which one are you against?" - source unknown

"Put down those Windows disks, Dave... -- HAL" - William Stearns sig

"A neutron walks into a bar. "I'd like a beer" he says. The bartender promptly serves up a beer. "How much will that be?" asks the neutron. "For you?" replies the bartender, "no charge"." - a random sig file

"Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship...Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."

--- Hermann Goering, Hitler\u2019s Reich Marshall, at the Nuremberg Trials after World War II.

In politics, "You meet the same people on the way down as you do on the way up.' "


from slashdot: "Thanks for the false dilemma. Either we accept corporate hegemony and end-times theocracy or we accept godless Communism? How about freedom, which resembles neither?"


   Q. How can you, an anarchist, be a lawyer?
   A. My father was a physician. That doesn't mean he believed in


The need for a viable third party-or a second one, given the similarities between the two old establishment parties-is obvious and dire. We need a viable political alternative because thousands of innocent civilians and hundreds of young American kids have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. We need a viable political alternative because we are the only industrialized nation which doesn't provide health care for its citizens. We need a viable political alternative because our country is addicted to fossil fuel and will literally kill to sustain this addiction. We need an alternative because both of the old parties support the expensive and failed "war on drugs." We need an alternative because they are more intent on building prisons than schools; because they conspired to pass the unconstitutional civil liberty-threatening "Patriot" Act and because we need to develop a solar-based economy and create family wage jobs.

-- Green party candidate on Slashdot

from slashdot? Coryoth?:

"The dilemma amounts to this: as medical science continues to advance, and as we in general live longer and longer, the amount of things that can be done continues to expand, along with the costs involved with any new technologically advanced treatments. Because of this, the costs of providing complete healthcare continue to expand at a rate faster than we can pay for. With healthcare, if something is possible, people tend to demand that it be done, even if we do not have the resources to do it.

Complete provision of healthcare simply isn't a sustainable practice as the costs are not proportionally bound by population (and hence very roughly speaking, government income), but instead by the ever expanding limits of medical science.

A government whichrobs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul. -- George Bernard Shaw

A liberal is someone who feels a great debt to his fellow man, which debt he proposes to pay off with your money. --G. Gordon Liddy

Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner.--James Bovard, (1994)

Foreign aid might be defined as a transfer from poor people in rich countries to rich people in poorcountries. -- Douglas Casey (1992)

Government is the great fiction, through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else. --Frederic Bastiat (1801-1850)

Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it. -- Ronald Reagan (1986)

If you think healthcare is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it's free. --P.J.O'Rourke

In general, the art of government consists in taking as much money as possible from one party ofthe citizens to give to the other. -- Voltaire (1764)

Just because you donot take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you. --Pericles (430 B.C.)

The government is like a baby's alimentary canal, with a happy appetite at one end and no responsibility at the other. --Ronald Reagan

"We contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle."

"...human activity is diffused and dominated by unconscious, autonomic, neuropsychological systems that enable people to function effectively without always calling upon the brain's scarcest resource: attentional circuitry." -- Vernon Smith

"Nothing is more practical than a good theory" -- Kurt Lewin (Marrow, PT) (???)

"Symbolic representation of qualitative entities is doomed to its rightful place of minor importance in a world where flowers and beautiful women abound." -- Einstein, "Hyperbolic Aesthetic" (1937) (???)

An engineer, a physicist and a mathematician are staying in a hotel. The engineer wakes up and smells smoke. He goes out into the hallway and sees a fire, so he fills a trash can from his room with water and douses the fire. He goes back to bed. Later, the physicist wakes up and smells smoke. He opens his door and sees a fire in the hallway. He walks down the hall to a fire hose and after calculating the flame velocity, distance, water pressure, trajectory, etc. extinguishes the fire with the minimum amount of water and energy needed. Later, the mathematician wakes up and smells smoke. He goes to the hall, sees the fire and then the fire hose. He thinks for a moment and then exclaims, "Ah, a solution exists!" and then goes back to bed.

A physicist and a mathematician are sitting in a faculty lounge. Suddenly, the coffee machine catches on fire. The physicist grabs a bucket and leap towards the sink, filled the bucket with water and puts out the fire. Second day, the same two sit in the same lounge. Again, the coffee machine catches on fire. This time, the mathematician stands up, got a bucket, hands the bucket to the physicist, thus reducing the problem to a previously solved one.

One day a farmer called up an engineer, a physicist, and a mathematician and asked them to fence of the largest possible area with the least amount of fence. The engineer made the fence in a circle and proclaimed that he had the most efficient design. The physicist made a long, straight line and proclaimed "We can assume the length is infinite..." and pointed out that fencing off half of the Earth was certainly a more efficient way to do it. The Mathematician just laughed at them. He built a tiny fence around himself and said "I declare myself to be on the outside."

The physicist and the engineer are in a hot-air balloon. Soon, they find themselves lost in a canyon somewhere. They yell out for help: "Helllloooooo! Where are we?" 15 minutes later, they hear an echoing voice: "Helllloooooo! You're in a hot-air balloon!!" The physicist says, "That must have been a mathematician." The engineer asks, "Why do you say that?" The physicist replied: "The answer was absolutely correct, and it was utterly useless."

Dean, to the physics department. "Why do I always have to give you guys so much money, for laboratories and expensive equipment and stuff. Why couldn't you be like the math. department - all they need is money for pencils, paper and waste-paper baskets. Or even better, like the philosophy department. All they need are pencils and paper."

The highest moments in the life of a mathematician are the first few moments after one has proved the result, but before one finds the mistake.

      Interesting Theorem:
      All positive integers are interesting.
      Proof:Assume the contrary. Then there is a lowest non-interesting positive integer. But, hey, that's pretty interesting! A contradiction.

There are 10 kinds of people in the world, those who understand binary math, and those who don't.

The shortest math joke: let epsilon be < 0

In modern mathematics, algebra has become so important that numbers will soon only have symbolic meaning.

He thinks he's really smooth, but he's only C^1. ------

Q: Why do Computer Scientists get Halloween and Christmas mixed up? A: Because Oct. 31 = Dec. 25. -----

Q: What's yellow and equivalent to the Axiom of Choice. A: Zorn's Lemon.

Q: How many light bulbs does it take to change a light bulb? A: One, if it knows its own Goedel number.

A group of Polish tourists is flying on a small airplane through the Grand Canyon on a sightseeing tour. The tour guide announces: "On the right of the airplane, you can see the famous Bright Angle Falls." The tourists leap out of their seats and crowd to the windows on the right side. This causes a dynamic imbalance, and the plane violently rolls to the side and crashes into the canyon wall. All aboard are lost. The moral to this episode is: always keep the poles off the right side of the plane.

The following problem can be solved either the easy way or the hard way.

Two trains 200 miles apart are moving toward each other; each one is going at a speed of 50 miles per hour. A fly starting on the front of one of them flies back and forth between them at a rate of 75 miles per hour. It does this until the trains collide and crush the fly to death. What is the total distance the fly has flown?

The fly actually hits each train an infinite number of times before it gets crushed, and one could solve the problem the hard way with pencil and paper by summing an infinite series of distances. The easy way is as follows: Since the trains are 200 miles apart and each train is going 50 miles an hour, it takes 2 hours for the trains to collide. Therefore the fly was flying for two hours. Since the fly was flying at a rate of 75 miles per hour, the fly must have flown 150 miles. That's all there is to it.

When this problem was posed to John von Neumann, he immediately replied, "150 miles." "It is very strange," said the poser, "but nearly everyone tries to sum the infinite series." "What do you mean, strange?" asked Von Neumann. "That's how I did it!"

Another von Neumann quote : Young man, in mathematics you don't understand things, you just get used to them.

In his lecture, formulated a theorem and said: "The proof is obvious". Then he thought for a minute, left the lecture room, returned after 15 minutes and happily concluded: "Indeed, it is obvious!"

A famous mathematician was to give a keynote speech at a conference. Asked for an advance summary, he said he would present a proof of Fermat's Last Theorem -- but they should keep it under their hats. When he arrived, though, he spoke on a much more prosaic topic. Afterwards the conference organizers asked why he said he'd talk about the theorem and then didn't. He replied this was his standard practice, just in case he was killed on the way to the conference.

Integral z-squared dz from 1 to the cube root of 3 times the cosine of three pi over 9 equals log of the cube root of 'e'.

If (1+x) (real close to 1) Is raised to the power of 1 Over x, you will find Here's the value defined: 2.718281...

-- seen on the internet

"so many chicks. all descended from chickland." -- seen on the internet


Money is truthful. If a man speaks of his honor, make him pay cash. -- Lazarus Long


Not all those who wander are lost. - J.R.R. Tolkien

(I copied this quote from Jonah)


I dunno if this Nytimes bit is an accurate representation of the conversation, but it sure is funny:

"Critics say the governor's tactics may address immediate political and fiscal problems but are creating bigger debts down the road. Mr. Schwarzenegger negotiated budget concessions from state colleges and universities, from K-12 educators and from local governments in exchange for more money for them in future years.

The independent Legislative Analysts Office here has warned that these deals will produce multibillion-dollar deficits far into the future and will only worsen the state's chronic mismatch between revenues and spending.

Mr. Schwarzenegger waved off such carping. "Guys, don't worry," he said with a grin. "You see me worry? It'll be taken care of. It's a piece of cake." "


a good slogan for a cryogenics facility: "not dead which eternal lie" (corruption of hp lovecraft quote)

(the actual quote is apparently "That is not dead which can eternal lie, and with strange aeons, even Death may die.")

--- Although entropy destroys order; at the same time, with the energy saved from on-going disintegration, it contributes to the construction of new parameters of order at a higher level


"The GNU GPL is a license commonly used for many free software projects, such as the Linux Operating System Kernel. The GPL licenses software free of cost, but requires any redistributor to provide the full source code."


Harald Welte, Chairman of the Netfilter Core Team states:

"We are not in any way opposing the commercial use of free and open source software. Specifically, there is no legal risk of using GPL licensed software in commercial products. But vendors have to comply with the license terms, just like they would have to with any other, even proprietary software license agreement."

We ought never to allow ourselves to be persuaded of the truth of anything unless on the evidence of our own reason.

Rene Descartes

"Each of us will know when our power has exceeded our capacity for effectiveness when people start distributing suggestions on how best to deal with us. It happened to me once, and the subsequent chain of events was not particularly pleasant. I now know to DevolvePower? sooner." -Steve

"The circumstances where it is acceptable to insult someone in public is when they have more power than you. PowerIsCriticism?. --MartinHarper? "

"Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it."

?Mahatma Gandhi

"Inside every big program is a little program struggling to get out." -- Michi Henning

    The idea that ?WithFreedomComesResponsibility?? is a fallacy. The truth is that power comes with responsibility ? not freedom. Take an OpenSource program, for example. You have the freedom to modify it any way you want. This freedom comes with no responsibility, though, because you don?t have the power to impose your modifications upon anyone else. You do have the power to impose the changes on yourself and your machines ? and you have responsibility there ? but the responsibility comes from the power, not the freedom.
    In programming it is the power to impose your changes on other people ? other programmers, business people, customers ? that comes with responsibility. And the greater the power, the greater the responsibility.
    Similarly, the reason the Wiki works so well is that people realize that, though they may have the power to delete people?s writings and do other rude things, they understand that they don?t have the right.
    Politicians (and sometimes people in management who act more like politicians than like businessmen) are always saying that your freedom comes with responsibility. They?re always saying that some people ?abuse? their freedoms, e.g., by committing murder, and that, therefore, those freedoms have to be curtailed and the politicians need more power. But it?s not possible to ?abuse? your rights. If you commit murder, what freedom are you abusing? Since when did we have a ?freedom to commit murder? that could be ?used? and ?abused?? This is an example of ConceptsOutOfContext. Wasn?t it really the power to kill people that was abused?
    What the politicians really want is to shift the responsibility away from themselves and onto you ? to create a world where ?freedom comes with responsibility? and therefore has to be bought from the politicians by the performance of various duties, but power ? their power ? does not come with any responsibility.
    ?The cost of freedom is eternal vigilance.? Vigilance against what? Against the powers that would destroy those freedoms.

My apologies for the little diatribe here, but this ?freedom and responsibility? PackageDeal? needs to be exploded now.

-- EdwardKiser?

Though science can sometimes tell us what can happen and what cannot happen, we have no theory that explains why, out of everything that could happen, certain things undergo what Whitehead called "the formality of actually occurring." -- Terence McKenna?

don't trust stories from survivors: "Russian roulette is a great way to make money"

John D. Barrow's First Law: "Any Universe simple enough to be understood is too simple to produce a mind able to understand it."

"This may be the ravings of a mad man. But I speak to you only what seems right to me. I realize that much of this is "edge," but- the "base" is already clear. The things that are clear are already clear- I need not tell them to you. So if I speak edge, please understand." -- Lion Kimbro

"Democracy is the worst form of government except for all those others that have been tried." -- Churchill

"If you have nothing to say, maybe you need just the right tool to help you not say it. "

Clive Thompson, http://www.nytimes.com/2003/12/14/magazine/14POWER.html (although I disagree with the article that PowerPoint? makes you dumber.


Thomas Edison worked on the problem of designing a filament for an electric light bulb for nearly two years. An assistant once asked him how he could keep trying after failing so many times. Edison didn't understand the question. In his mind, he hadn't failed at all. He is supposed to have replied, "What failure? I know thousands of things that do not work."


"Data and Algorithms are not Aware. Time is an Invention of Awareness." -- Lion Kimbro ?

"The authentic human being is one of us who instinctively knows what he should not do, and, in addition, he will balk at doing it. He will refuse to do it, even if this brings down dread consequences to him and to those whom he loves. This, to me, is the ultimately heroic trait of ordinary people; they say no to the tyrant and they calmly take the consequences of this resistance. Their deeds may be small, and almost always unnoticed, unmarked by history. Their names are not remembered, nor did these authentic humans expect their names to be remembered. I see their authenticity in an odd way: not in their willingness to perform great heroic deeds but in their quiet refusals. In essence, they cannot be compelled to be what they are not." -- Philip K. Dick

  Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths
  Enwrought with golden and silver light,
  The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
  Of night and light and the half-light,
  I would spread the cloths under your feet:
  But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
  I have spread my dreams under your feet;
  Tread carefully because you tread on my dreams.
    W. B. Yeats

Vast WikiLand?. Like traveling Europe in the 17th century. Borders, borders, borders. And everytime you have to turn your name into a camel to pass them. But we are improving.

-- MattisManzel?

"this has got to be the only room in which you say, 'look at that octopus with a hat', and have that sentence be ambiguous." -- me, in katherine's room


"predictions are difficult when they target the future"

Michael Chrichton (sp)

"I think it's important to be very clear about this. Feynman, whom I much admire, says of nonscientific people, "they don't understand the world they live in." It seems to be a favorite saying of his; he repeated it often during the shuttle-disaster investigations.

But let's be clear: nobody understands the world he lives in. Not you, not me, not Richard Feynman. We may each understand a part, an aspect of the whole, but, in any full or comprehensive sense, reality defies description.

"We must be clear that, when it comes to atoms, language can be used only as in poetry." -- Niels Bohr (apparently because it is so hard to translate these kinds of theories into human language)

"It was sometime early in the 1920's when words began to fail us. Whether one spoke and thought with the sharp granularity of German or the mellifluousness of French ? or in some hodgepodge like English ? it was impossible to translate the strange new ideas of physics into language. Not even Japanese was spacious enough." -- George Johnson (nytimes article oct 12, 03)

She said to him once, "Do you really think you'll live forever?" He replied, "If not, i'll die trying"

"...a guilty plea made under duress is no more valid than the confessions of guilt extracted from American POWs during the Vietnam war." --- Ian Clarke

"The Economist today, just as in 1843, stands four-square against heartburnings and for uninhibited intercourse."


Radical birthday thoughts Jun 26th 2003


"The core problem with copyright is that enforcement of it requires monitoring of communications, and you cannot be guaranteed free speech if someone is monitoring everything you say. This is important, most people fail to see or address this point when debating the issue of copyright, so let me make it clear:

      You cannot guarantee freedom of speech and enforce copyright law

It is for this reason that Freenet, a system designed to protect Freedom of Spe\ ech, must prevent enforcement of copyright." --


... "Incentives" is merely a metaphor, and as a metaphor to describe human creative activity it's pretty crummy. I have said this before, but the better metaphor arose on the day Michael Faraday first noticed what happened when he wrapped a coil of wire around a magnet and spun the magnet. Current flows in such a wire, but we don't ask what the incentive is for the electrons to leave home. ... Moglen's Metaphorical Corollary to Faraday's Law says that if you wrap the Internet around every person on the planet and spin the planet, software flows in the network. It's an emergent property of connected human minds that they create things for one another's pleasure and to conquer their uneasy sense of being too alone.

Copyright is resistance in the circuit of mind. If the resistance goes to zero, perhaps the circuit will become super-conducting.

"We might be tempted to bring the whole of modern history to a tragic conclusion by one final and mighty effort to overcome its frustrations. The political term for such an effort is "preventive war."" -- Reinhold Niebuhr's

" [Niebuhr] is one of my favorite philosophers. I take away [from his works] the compelling idea that there's serious evil in the world, and hardship and pain. And we should be humble and modest in our belief we can eliminate those things. But we shouldn't use that as an excuse for cynicism and inaction." -- Barack Obama

"war does not determine who's right. war determines who's left" -- anonymous

Continued on [1].