Tuesday, April 30, 2013

I Do Not Yet Know

I have had my results for a long time: but I do not yet know how I am to arrive at them.

-- Carl Friedrich Gauss, (1777 - 1855), German mathematician, astronomer, and physicist, quoted in The Mind and the Eye (1954) by A. Arber

Monday, April 29, 2013

Mass Of Expectations

One isn't born one's self.  One is born with a mass of expectations, a mass of other people's ideas -- and you have to work through it all.

-- Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul (1932-), British writer, 2001 Nobel laureate in Literature, New York Times, 24 April 1994

Friday, April 26, 2013

An Ounce To A Pound

An ounce of mother wit is worth a pound of clergy.

-- Vice President John Adams (1735-1826), subsequently second President of the United States, correspondence with Abigail Adams (1794)

Thursday, April 25, 2013


The community as a whole doesn't listen patiently to critics who adopt alternative viewpoints.  Although the great lesson of history is that knowledge develops through the conflict of viewpoints.  If you simply have a consensus, it generally stultifies.  It fails to see the problems of that consensus and it depends on the existence of critics to break up that iceberg and permit knowledge to develop.  This is in fact one of the underpinnings of democratic theory.  It is one of the reasons why we believe in notions of free speech and it's one of the great forces in terms of intellectual development.

-- Walter Gilbert (1932-), American physicist, 1980 Nobel laureate in Chemistry, Meditel (1990)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Talent To Endure

Children's talent to endure stems from their ignorance of alternatives.

-- Maya Angelou (1928-), African-American poet and author, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings (1969)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

All Mankind Is Us

Let us do something while we have the chance!  It is not every day that we are needed.  Not indeed that we personally are needed.  Others would meet the case equally well, if not better.  To all mankind they were addressed, those cries for help still ringing in our ears!  But at this place, at this moment of time, all mankind is us, whether we like it or not.  Let us make the most of it, before it is too late!  Let us represent worthily for once the foul brood to which a cruel fate consigned us!

-- Samuel Beckett (1906-1989), Irish playwright, novelist, and poet, 1969 Literature Nobel laureate, Waiting for Godot Act II (1952)

Monday, April 22, 2013

Jahar Jahar

Ain't no love in the heart of the city, stay safe people

-- First of about a dozen tweets posted on Twitter by @J_tsar, Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, between the time of the bombing and his 19 April arrest, posted 7:04 PM - 15 Apr 13

Friday, April 19, 2013


Did we talk about the Newtown shooter as having become "radicalized"?  That incident became about mental health and guns.  This one, we're going straight to ideological issues.

-- Virginia Heffernan, Yahoo! News, 19 April 2013

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Silent Partnern

To see a wrong and not expose it, is to become a silent partner to its continuance.

-- Quotation found 16 April 2013 in ricin-tainted mailings to President Obama and Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS), attributed to Texas chiropractor John Raymond Baker

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Cavity Search

They can give me a cavity search right now and I'd be perfectly happy.

-- Daniel Wood, a video producer from New York City who was waiting for a train at Boston's South Station, and who clearly doesn't read Bruce Schneier, 16 April 2013

Monday, April 15, 2013


It wasn't a good scene.  It was awful.

-- Aaron Michael, a bystander at the scene of a pair of explosions near the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon, 15 April 2013

Thursday, April 11, 2013


Character in many ways is everything in leadership.  It is made up of many things, but I would say character is really integrity.  When you delegate something to a subordinate, for example, it is absolutely your responsibility, and he must understand this.  You as a leader must take complete responsibility for what the subordinate does.  I once said, as a sort of wisecrack, that leadership consists of nothing but taking responsibility for everything that goes wrong and giving your subordinates credit for everything that goes well.

-- Dwight David Eisenhower (1890 - 1969), American soldier and politician, 34th President of the United States, as quoted in Nineteen Stars : a Study in Military Character and Leadership 1971) by Edgar F. Puryear Jr.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Actions And Consequences

His mother had often said, "When you choose an action, you choose the consequences of that action." She had emphasized the corollary of this axiom even more vehemently: when you desired a consequence you had damned well better take the action that would create it.

-- Lois McMaster Bujold (1949-), American author of science fiction and fantasy, Memory (1996)

Tuesday, April 09, 2013


With the rise of the state, statesmen became possible -- men whose vision embraced truly grand adventures and enterprises in exploitation, oppression, plunder, and mass mayhem.

-- Robert Higgs (1944-), American economic historian and economist, The State -- Crown Jewel of Human Social Organization, 4 April 2013


Monday, April 08, 2013

Substance, Quality, Or Relation?

But suppose we take the noun "truth": here is a case where the disagreements between different theorists have largely turned on whether they interpreted this as a name of a substance, of a quality, or of a relation.

-- John Langshaw Austin (1911 - 1960), English philosopher of language and speech theorist, Philosophical Papers, 3rd ed. (New York: Oxford, 1979), p 73

Friday, April 05, 2013

Grave Situation

We formally inform the White House and Pentagon that the ever-escalating U.S. hostile policy toward the DPRK and its reckless nuclear threat will be smashed by the strong will of all the united service personnel and people and cutting-edge smaller, lighter and diversified nuclear strike means. The U.S. had better ponder over the prevailing grave situation.

-- Spokesman from the General Bureau of the North Korean People's Army to state media, 3 April 2013

Thursday, April 04, 2013

My Real Voice

It is human nature to look away from illness.  We don't enjoy a reminder of our own fragile mortality.  That's why writing on the Internet has become a life-saver for me.  My ability to think and write have not been affected. And on the Web, my real voice finds expression.

-- Roger Joseph Ebert (18 June 1942 - 4 April 2013), American film critic and screenwriter, first film critic to win a Pulitzer Prize for Criticism, Ted Talk (March 2011)

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

The Strong

The true purpose of the strong is to promote greater strength in the weak, and not to keep the weak in that state where they are at the mercy of the strong.

-- Christian D. Larson (1874-1962), American New Thought leader, teacher, and author, Your Forces and How to Use Them (1912) Chapter 14, p. 210

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

The Maker's Intentions

The primary purpose of all art forms, whether it's music, literature, or the visual arts, is to say something to the outside world; in other words, to make a personal thought, a striking idea, an inner emotion perceptible to other people's senses in such a way that there is no uncertainty about the maker's intentions.

-- M. C. Escher (1898-1972), Dutch artist, On Being a Graphic Artist

Monday, April 01, 2013

Should The Value Change

The primary purpose of the DATA statement is to give names to constants; instead of referring to pi as 3.141592653589793 at every appearance, the variable PI can be given that value with a DATA statement and used instead of the longer form of the constant.  This also simplifies modifying the program, should the value of pi change.

-- Early FORTRAN manual for Xerox Computers, attributed