All quotes recorded and attributed to the best of my knowledge. Amended data welcomed.
The only thing to do with good advice is to pass it on. It is never any use to oneself.
I have yet to see any problem, however complicated, which, when you looked at it in the right way, did not become still more complicated.
-- Poul Anderson
You have to anticipate the worst that can happen, multiply it by a factor of three, and then hope you're lucky.
-- Odom in Starship: Mercenary by Mike Resnick
It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education.
-- Albert Einstein
The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you can see.
Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.
-- Oscar Wilde
I went to a restaurant that serves "breakfast at any time". So I ordered French Toast during the Renaissance.
A lot of people are afraid of heights. Not me. I'm afraid of widths.
I'm not under the alkafluence of inkahol that some thinkle peep I am. It's just the drunker I sit here the longer I get.
Guitar for sale. Cheap! No strings attached.
There's an old proverb that says just about whatever you want it to.
An invincible determination can accomplish almost anything and in this lies the great distinction between great men and little men.
The idea is to die young as late as possible.
-- Ashley Montagu
Politics and Religion
...I never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any party of men whatever in religion, in philosophy, in politics, or in any thing else where I was capable of thinking for myself. Such an addiction is the last degradation of a free and moral agent. If I could not go to heaven but with a party, I would not go there at all.
Life in Lubbock, Texas, taught me two things: One is that God loves you and you're going to burn in hell. The other is that sex is the most awful, filthy thing on earth and you should save it for someone you love.
The anti-regulation business ethos is based on the charmingly naive notion that people will not do unspeakable things for money.
-- Dana Carpender
Under capitalism man exploits man. Under communism it's the other way around.
-- a Slashdot user's sig
Of course the people don't want war. But after all, it's the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it's always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it's a democracy, 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 greater danger.
-- Herman Goering at the Nuremberg trials
Trying to child-proof the world makes us neglect the more important task of world-proofing the child.
-- a Slashdot user's sig
The Constitution may not be perfect, but it's a lot better than what we've got!
Trespassers will be shot. Survivors will be prosecuted.
Political speeches are like steer horns. A point here, a point there, and a lot of bull in between.
--Alfred E. Neuman
Freedom is just a hallucination created by a pathological lack of paranoia.
Epistemology and Logic
Ignorance is preferable to error, and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing than he who believes what is wrong.
Like the ski resort of girls looking for husbands and husbands looking for girls, the situation is not as symmetrical as it might seem.
I'm generalizing from one example, here, but everyone generalizes from one example. At least, I do.
-- Vlad Taltos (Steven Brust)
It takes a very unusual mind to undertake the analysis of the obvious.
--Alfred North Whitehead
Proud member of the American Non Sequitur Society. We might not make much sense, but boy do we love pizza!
Trees moving back and forth is what makes the wind blow.
In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.
--attritbuted to Jan L. A. van de Snepscheut
Language and General Fiction
As someone said, "One thing that never changes--the avant-garde."
-- Gardner Dozois, YBSF23
I am one of the heretics who believes that art must be enjoyed first and analyzed later.
-- Kristine Kathryn Rusch
As his small boat scudded before a brisk breeze under a sapphire sky dappled with cerulean clouds with indigo bases, through cobalt seas that deepened to navy nearer the boat and faded to azure at the horizon, Ian was at a loss as to why he felt blue.
-- Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest entry seen on IRC
Short words are best and the old words when short are the best of all.
Ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which I will not put.
aibohphobia, n.: a fear of palindromes
As Gore Vidal commented from a supine position after being felled by a punch from Norman Mailer at a dinner party, "Words fail Norman Mailer, yet again."
-- quoted by Francis Wheen
The pitcher wound up and he flang the ball at the batter. The batter swang and missed. The pitcher flang the ball again and this time the batter connected. He hit a high fly right to the center fielder. The center fielder was all set to catch the ball, but at the last minute his eyes were blound by the sun and he dropped it.
-- Dizzy Dean (former baseball player and commentator)
For all intensive porpoises your a bunch of rediculous loosers
-- a Slashdot user's sig
Science Fiction and Fantasy
Because I'm a robot, I don't have any emotions and sometimes that makes me sad.
The Warner Bros president/CEO thanked the unsung little people, saying that Warner 'deeply valued the contribution of the Tolkien novels to the success of our films ...'
-- cited in Ansible 267
"My dog! It's full of rats!" - 2001, A Dyslexic Odyssey
Science fiction should get out of the classroom and back in the gutter where it belongs!
Science and Technology
That's not right. It's not even wrong.
We should not be alchemists. They wanted a goal and that's what they thought about. After a while they were doing nothing useful. They were replaced by chemists who had the desire to learn about the world as it is, and not the desire to do some particular thing.
-- Ken Olum at the 100 Year Starship Symposium as quoted in Slate
Somebody is saying this is inevitable - and whenever you hear somebody saying that, it's very likely to be a set of businesses campaigning to make it true.
-- RMS on cloud computing (rarely see eye-to-eye with him but this is true and applicable to everything, especially ebooks)
For a list of the ways which technology has failed to improve our quality of life, press 3.
-- a Slashdot user's sig
If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.
If it moves and isn't supposed to, put duct tape on it. If it's supposed to move and doesn't, spray WD-40 on it.
Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible.
We are all agreed that your theory is crazy. The question which divides us is whether it is crazy enough to have a chance of being correct. My own feeling is that it is not crazy enough.
The Old Handyman's Maxim: All tools are hammers except chisels which are screwdrivers.
With sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine.
According to every stud finder I've tried to use, my walls contain a rapidly shifting network of hundreds and hundreds of studs.
-- xkcd "Stud Finder" pop-up text
The sensor that senses that the sensor is broken, is broken.
'Flashlight' -- A case for holding dead batteries.
As an adolescent I aspired to lasting fame, I craved factual certainty, and I thirsted for a meaningful vision of human life -- so I became a scientist. This is like becoming an archbishop so you can meet girls.
Two hydrogen atoms walk into a bar.
One says, "I think I've lost an electron."
The other says, "Are you sure?"
The first replies, "Yes, I'm positive..."
<Orphic> you any good at physics?
<meowcow> when i run into a wall i usually stop
There will certainly be no lack of human pioneers when we have mastered the art of flight... Let us create vessels and sails adjusted to the heavenly ether, and there will be plenty of people unafraid of the empty wastes. In the meantime, we shall prepare for the brave sky-travelers maps of the celestial bodies. I shall do it for the moon, you Galileo, for Jupiter.
-- Letter from Kepler to Galileo, 1610
Cutting the space budget really restores my faith in humanity. It eliminates dreams, goals, and ideals and lets us get straight to the business of hate, debauchery, and self-annihilation.
-- Johnny Hart
Since, in the long run, every planetary civilization will be endangered by impacts from space, every surviving civilization is obliged to become spacefaring - not because of exploratory or romantic zeal, but for the most practical reason imaginable: Staying alive.... If our long-term survival is at stake, we have a basic responsibility to our species to venture to other worlds.
-- Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot, 1994
The Earth is just too small and fragile a basket for the human race to keep all its eggs in.
-- Robert Heinlein, speech
A computer lets you make more mistakes faster than any invention in human history - with the possible exceptions of handguns and tequila.
Debugging is twice as hard as writing 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.
When in doubt, use brute force.
...elegance is "power cloaked in simplicity".
--Arnold Robbins & Nelson H.F. Beebe quoting Dan Forsyth
Any sufficiently advanced bug is indistinguishable from a feature.
-- Rich Kulawiec
A debugged program is one for which you have not yet found the conditions that make it fail.
The cheapest, fastest, and most reliable components are the ones that aren't there.
Give someone a program, frustrate them for a day... Teach someone to program, frustrate them for a lifetime.
Hollerith, v.: What thou doest when thy phone is on the fritzeth.
It's always a long day. 86400 doesn't fit into a short.
When you start with Linux, you use the stock kernel, because it is easily available and works. When you gain experience, you start to compile your own. When you become a professional sysadmin, you use the stock kernels, because they are easily available and work.
Machine-Independent, adj.: Does not run on any existing machine.
Both [ODF and OOXML] are basically memory dumps with angle brackets around them.
--Hakon Wium Lie
Hardware: the parts of a computer that can be kicked.
Unix: It's a nice place to live but you wouldn't want to visit there.
Good judgment is the result of experience ... Experience is the result of bad judgment.
It should be noted that no ethically-trained software engineer would ever consent to write a DestroyBaghdad procedure. Basic professional ethics would instead require him to write a DestroyCity procedure, to which Baghdad could be given as a parameter.
--Nathaniel S. Borenstein
There are two ways of constructing a software design. One way is to make it so simple that there are obviously no deficiencies. And the other way is to make it so complicated that there are no obvious deficiencies.
UNIX was not designed to stop its users from doing stupid things, as that would also stop them from doing clever things.
We are Pentium of Borg. Division is futile. You will be approximated.
02:15:22 < kosmonaft> ok.. I installed some glibc packages and I'm getting a lot less errors now..
--seen in ##slackware
A patch in time saves kill -9
--seen in an IRC part message
The question of whether computers can think is just like the question of whether submarines can swim.
--Edsger W. Dijkstra
The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.
-- Bill Gates
I have always wished that my computer would be as easy to use as my telephone. My wish has come true. I no longer know how to use my telephone.