"Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen."
The greatest disloyalty one can offer to great pioneers is to refuse to move an inch from where they stood.
"Common sense is no longer common."
There are two types of people in the world: 1. Those who can extrapolate from incomplete data.
"My current hobby is not collecting stamps. I'll be adding not collecting coins as soon as I don't have time."
"Logic is a systematic method of coming to the wrong conclusion with confidence."
"If I have seen further it is by standing on ye shoulders of Giants."
The great enemy of clear language is insincerity.
"In 1947, ... the U. S. ... changed the name of the Department of War to the Department of Defense.
This ... was one of the greatest Orwellian doublespeak deceptions of all time."
"Why shouldn't I work for the N.S.A.? That's a tough one, but I'll
give it a shot. Say I'm working at N.S.A. Somebody puts a code on
my desk, something nobody else can break. So I take a shot at it
and maybe I break it. And I'm real happy with myself, 'cause I did
my job well. But maybe that code was the location of some rebel
army in North Africa or the Middle East. Once they have that location,
they bomb the village where the rebels were hiding and fifteen
hundred people I never had a problem with get killed. Now the
politicians are sayin', "Send in the marines to secure the area"
'cause they don't give a shit. It won't be their kid over there,
gettin' shot. Just like it wasn't them when their number was called,
'cause they were pullin' a tour in the National Guard. It'll be
some guy from Southie takin' shrapnel in the ass. And he comes home
to find that the plant he used to work at got exported to the country
he just got back from. And the guy who put the shrapnel in his ass
got his old job, 'cause he'll work for fifteen cents a day and no
bathroom breaks. Meanwhile my buddy from Southie realizes the only
reason he was over there was so we could install a government that
would sell us oil at a good price. And of course the oil companies
used the skirmish to scare up oil prices so they could turn a quick
buck. A cute little ancillary benefit for them but it ain't helping
my buddy at two-fifty a gallon. And naturally they're takin' their
sweet time bringin' the oil back, and maybe even took the liberty
of hiring an alcoholic skipper who likes to drink martinis and play
slalom with the icebergs, and it ain't too long 'til he hits one,
spills the oil and kills all the sea life in the North Atlantic.
So my buddy's out of work and he can't afford to drive, so he's got
to walk to the job interviews, which sucks 'cause the shrapnel in
his ass is givin' him chronic hemorrhoids. And meanwhile he's
starvin' 'cause every time he tries to get a bite to eat the only
blue plate special they're servin' is North Atlantic scrod with
Quaker State. So what do I think? I'm holdin' out for somethin'
better. Why not just shoot my buddy, take his job and give it to
his sworn enemy, hike up gas prices, bomb a village, club a baby
seal, hit the hash pipe and join the National Guard? I could be
Will in 'Good Will Hunting'
The more advanced the technology, the more fragile it becomes.
The more advanced the civilization, the more fragile the culture.
...and in general terms:
The more advanced something is, the more fragile it is.
An expert is someone who knows more and more, about less and less,
untill he knows everything about nothing.
"...Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural
equilibrium with the surrounding environment but you humans do
not. You move to an area and you multiply and multiply until every
natural resource is consumed and the only way you can survive is
to spread to another area. There is another organism on this
planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A
virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet. ..."
Agent Smith, The Matrix
Now what is the message there? The message is that there are no
"knowns." There are thing we know that we know. There are known
unknowns. That is to say there are things that we now know we
don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things
we don't know we don't know. So when we do the best we can and
we pull all this information together, and we then say well that's
basically what we see as the situation, that is really only the
known knowns and the known unknowns. And each year, we discover
a few more of those unknown unknowns.
Donald Rumsfeld, during one of his clearer states of mind.
The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them.
Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard.
H. L. Mencken
The second-cheapest department to run at a university is Mathematics;
they only need paper, pencils and a trash bin. The cheapest department
is Philosophy; they don't need a trash bin. And if funding for their
paper and pencils runs out you can just tell them, "It's OK, the
pencils don't really exist anyway."
The online encyclopedia that anyone can edit, so long
as they're willing to devote hundreds of hours of energy to fighting people with autistically long attention spans
Patrick Nielsen Hayden (about Wikipedia)
Modern industrial civilization has developed within a certain system
of convenient myths. The driving force of our industrial civilization
has been individual material gain, which is accepted as legitimate,
even praiseworthy on the grounds that private vices yield public
benefits, in the classic formulation. Now it's long been understood,
very well, that a society that is based on this principle will
destroy itself in time. It can only persist with whatever suffering
and injustice it entails, as long as it's possible to pretend that
the destructive forces that humans create are limited, that the
world is an infinite resource, and that the world is an infinite
These are not just academic exercises. We're not analyzing the media
on Mars, or in the 18th century, or something like that. We're
dealing with real human beings who are suffering and dying and being
tortured and starving, because of policies that we are involved in
we as citizens of democratic societies are directly involved in and
responsible for. And what the media are doing is ensuring that we
do not act on our responsibilities, and that the interests of power
are served, not the interests of suffering people and not the needs
of the American people who would be horrified if they realized the
blood that's dripping from their hands because of the way they're
allowing themselves to be deluded and manipulated by the system.
That which does not kill me has made its last mistake.
Seen on everything2
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
Arthur C. Clarke
Forget magic. Any technology distinguishable from divine power is insufficiently advanced.
Gehm's Corollary to Clarke's Third Law (unsourced)
Any sufficiently simple magic can be passed off as mere advanced technology.
Advanced technology is indistinguishable from a sufficiently rigged demo.
Any sufficiently advanced incompetence tends to be indistinguishable from malice.
"They redundantly repeated themselves over and over again incessantly without end ad infinitum"
Millions long for immortality who do not know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon.
There is no contest in life for which the unprepared have the advantage.
Patriotism is your conviction that this country is superior to all other countries because you were born in it.
George Bernard Shaw
I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.