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Favorite Quotes


When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.
Goodheart's Law:
When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure.
Gore Vidal:
It is not enough to succeed. Others must fail.
Sign hanging in Einstein's office at Princeton:
Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.
Blaise Pascal, Lettres Provinciales, 1657:
Je n'ai fait celle-ci plus longue que parce que je n'ai pas eu le loisir de la faire plus courte.

(I have made this [letter] longer because I did not have the leisure to make it shorter.)

Ralph Waldo Emerson:
A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.
Groucho Marx:
I wouldn't be a member of any club that would have me as a member.
Plato, Phaedrus:
Then anyone who leaves behind him a written manual, and likewise anyone who receives it, in the belief that such writing will be clear and certain, must be exceedingly simple-minded.
A. A. Milne:
One of the advantages of being disorderly is that one is constantly making exciting discoveries.
Albert Einstein:
If A equals success, then the formula is: A=X+Y+Z. X is work. Y is play. Z is keep your mouth shut.
Johannes Bjelke-Petersen:
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. But do it first, do it fast, and do it best.
The Golden Rule:
Them that has the gold makes the rules.
Teddy Roosevelt:
It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes up short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who at the worst, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.
Albert Einstein:
As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain, and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality.


Pablo Picasso:
Computers are useless. They can only give you answers.
Alan Perlis:
It is against the grain of modern education to teach children to program. What fun is there in making plans, acquiring discipline in organizing thoughts, devoting attention to detail, and learning to be self-critical?
Alan Perlis:
I think that it's extraordinarily important that we in computer science keep fun in computing. When it started out, it was an awful lot of fun. Of course, the paying customer got shafted every now and then, and after a while we began to take their complaints seriously. We began to feel as if we really were responsible for the successful, error-free perfect use of these machines. I don't think we are. I think we're responsible for stretching them, setting them off in new directions, and keeping fun in the house. I hope the field of computer science never loses its sense of fun. Above all, I hope we don't become missionaries. Don't feel as if you're Bible salesmen. The world has too many of those already. What you know about computing other people will learn. Don't feel as if the key to successful computing is only in your hands. What's in your hands, I think and hope, is intelligence: the ability to see the machine as more than when you were first led up to it, that you can make it more.
Manuel Blum, FOCS 94:
I have a good idea why it's hard to verify programs. They're usually wrong.

Thinking and Problem Solving

Hoare's Law of Large Problems:
Inside every large problem is a small problem struggling to get out.
H. L. Mencken:
For every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong.
Murray Gell-mann:
The Feynman Problem-Solving Algorithm: (1) write down the problem; (2) think very hard; (3) write down the answer.
Bertrand Russell:
Many people would rather die than think. In fact they do.
Michel de Montaigne:
Difficulty is a coin the learned make use of like jugglers, to conceal the inanity of their art.
I have hardly ever known a mathematician who was capable of reasoning.
Marvin Minsky:
I bet the human brain is a kludge.
Daniel Dennett, Consciousness Explained:
The juvenile sea squirt wanders through the sea searching for a suitable rock or hunk of coral to cling to and make its home for life. For this task it has a rudimentary nervous system. When it finds its spot and takes root, it doesn't need its brain any more so it eats it. It's rather like getting tenure.

Created March 7, 1995. Written in HTML 4.01 and CSS 3 using vi. Last updated October 18, 2014.

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