Note: this file/page is in 'fortune' format NOT dokuwiki markup. % Fast multidimensional entropy % I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain. —Bene Gesserit (in 'Dune', Fank Herbert) % No art, however minor, demands less than total dedication if you want to excel in it. — Leon Battista Alberti (architect, painter and mathematician) % I have great faith in fools. Self-confidence, my friends call it. —Edgar Allen Poe % Being famous has its benefits, but fame isn't one of them. —Larry Wall % A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices. —William James % It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. —Aristotle % Space isn't remote at all. It's only an hour's drive away if your car could go straight upwards. —Fred Hoyle % I don't see any god up here. —Yuri Gagarin (in orbit, 1961) % The world has arrived at an age of cheap complex devices of great reliability; and something is bound to come of it. —Vannevar Bush (1945) % Power corrupts, and obsolete power corrupts obsoletely. —Ted Nelson (on the Microsoft DOS operating system) % Computers make it easier to do a lot of things, but most of the things they make it easier to do don't need to be done —Andy Rooney % As soon as we started programming, we found out to our surprise that it wasn't as easy to get programs right as we had thought. Debugging had to be discovered. I can remember the exact instant when I realized that a large part of my life from then on was going to be spent in finding mistakes in my own programs. —Maurice Wilkes % Nothing is destroyed until it is replaced. —Auguste Comte (1798-1857) % If you give someone Fortran, he has Fortran. If you give someone Lisp, he has any language he pleases. —Guy L. Steele % [Lisp] is the only computer language that is beautiful. —Neal Stephenson % If you can't hear me, it's because I'm in parentheses. —Steven Wright % He who refuses to do arithmetic is doomed to talk nonsense. —John McCarthy % Belief is no substitute for arithmetic. —Henry Spencer % Computers are useless. They can only give you answers. —Pablo Picasso % I do not believe in objects. I believe only in their relationships. —George Braque % I don't paint things. I only paint the difference between things. —Henri Matisse % Mathematicians do not study objects, but relations among objects; they are indifferent to the replacement of objects by others as long the relations don't change. Matter is not important, only form interests them. —Henri Poincare % Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful. —William Morris % All models are wrong. Some models are useful. —George Box % God is a hacker, not an engineer. —Francis Crick % You can do reverse engineering, but you can't do reverse hacking. — V.S. Ramachandran % When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth. —Sir Arthur Conan Doyle % There must be idealism, but there must also be contempt. —Raymond Chandler % Pascal is for building pyramids — imposing, breathtaking, static structures built by armies pushing heavy blocks into place. Lisp is for building organisms — imposing, breathtaking, dynamic structures built by squads fitting fluctuating myriads of simpler organisms into place.
—Alan J. Perils % There is a myth about such highs. The user has an illusion of great insight, but it does not survive scrutiny in the morning. I am convinced that this is an error, and that the devastating insights achieved while high are real insights; the main problem is putting these insights in a form acceptable to the quite different self we are when we're down the next day…If I find in the morning a message from myself the night before informing me that there is a world around us which we barely sense, or that we can become one with the universe, or even that certain politicians are desperately frightened men, I may tend to disbelieve; but when I'm high I know about this disbelief. And so I have a tape in which I exhort myself to take such remarks seriously. I say 'Listen closely, you son-of-a-bitch of the morning! This stuffis real!'
— Carl Sagan % Not only do living things lessen the disorder in their environments; they are in themselves, their skeletons and their flesh, vesicles and membranes, shells and carapaces, leaves and blossoms, circulatory systems and metabolic pathways— miracles of pattern and structure. It sometimes seems as if curbing entropy is our quixotic purpose in this universe.
—James Gleick, The Information % Why not believe it? The world, however wide, has folds and wrinkles that bring distant places together in strange ways.
—Ethan Coen % May the coctails be colourful, the knots Gordian and multiply twisted and the physics digital. % The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear; and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is the fear of the unknown.
— H.P. Lovecraft % Q: If you're paddling upstream in a canoe and a wheel falls off, how many pancakes fit in a doghouse? A: None! Ice cream doesn't have bones! % It is impossible to sharpen a pencil with a blunt ax. It is equally vain to try to do it with ten blunt axes instead.
—Edsger Dijkstra % Do what you will, this world's a fiction and is made up of contradiction.
—William Blake % I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, it’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. Which is what I do, and that enables you to laugh at life’s realities.
—Dr. Seuss % Metaphor is the great human revolution, at least on a par with the invention of the wheel…Metaphor is a weapon in the hand-to-hand struggle with reality.
—Yehuda Amichai % When you only know one formalism to describe some phenomenon […], it’s easy to talk yourself into believing that formalism is the Truth: to paraphrase Caliph Omar, “if it agrees with Bayesianism, it is superfluous; if it disagrees, it is heresy.” The antidote is to learn other formalisms.
—Scott Aaronson % I don't believe anything, but I have many suspicions.
—Robert Anton Wilson % But the real world is contingent. The real world is weird. The real world is full of stuff that you couldn't get away with if you stuck it in a slapstick comedy.
—Charles Stross % There are no differences but differences of degree between different degrees of difference and no difference.
—William James % Even the most stable brain operates just a millimeter from madness. % I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had an underlying truth.
—Umberto Eco % it would all be done with keys on alphanumeric keyboards that stood for weightless, invisible chains of electronic presence or absence. If patterns of ones and zeroes were “like” patterns of human lives and deaths, if everything about an individual could be represented in a computer record by a long strings of ones and zeroes, then what kind of creature could be represented by a long string of lives and deaths? It would have to be up one level, at least — an angel, a minor god, something in a UFO. It would take eight human lives and deaths just to form one character in this being's name — its complete dossier might take up a considerable piece of history of the world. We are digits in God's computer, she not so much thought as hummed to herself to sort of a standard gospel tune, And the only thing we're good for, to be dead or to be living, is the only thing He sees. What we cry, what we contend for, in our world of toil and blood, it all lies beneath the notice of the hacker we call God.
—Thomas Pynchon, Vineland % benzene molecules, PV = nRT, snowflakes, cyclonic storms, kittens, cats, young love, middle-aged remorse, financial euphoria accompanied with acute gullibility, prevaricating candidates for public office, tapeworms, jet-lag, and unfolding cherry blossoms.
—Cosma Shalizi % You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.
—Buckminster Fuller % The breakthrough comes when people realize this is not a “dystopia” — this is our open space, this is the new public realm. We could “worship insects” if we want, but we might find ourselves doing astounding things we don’t even have words for.
—Bruce Sterling % We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. We must remember always that accusation is not proof, and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law. We will not walk in fear - one, of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of un-reason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men; Not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate, and to defend causes that were - for the moment - unpopular.
—Edward Murrow, 1954 % Is it a fact, or have I dreamt it, that by means of electricity, the world of matter has become a great nerve, vibrating thousands of miles in a breathless point of time?
—Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864) % We social scientists would do well to hold back our eagerness to control that world which we so imperfectly understand. The fact of our imperfect understanding should not be allowed to feed our anxiety and so increase the need to control. Rather our studies could be inspired by a more ancient, but today less honoured, motive: a curiosity about the world of which we are part. The rewards of such work are not power but beauty.
—Gregory Bateson %