Modern technology has enabled us to communicate and organize with speed and efficiency never before possible. People have gotten less competent to compensate for this. - alt.home.repair.
"Any sufficiently complicated C or Fortran program contains an ad-hoc, informally-specified bug-ridden slow implementation of half of Common Lisp." - Greenspun's Tenth Rule of Programming.
"We have an interfaith marriage: my wife is an agnostic, and I am an atheist." - George Holden.
"Never complain and never explain." - Benjamin Disraeli.
"Anyone who thinks they've designed something completely foolproof has underestimated the ingenuity of complete fools." - Douglas Adams, Mostly Harmless.
"A communist is one who has nothing and wishes to share it with the world." - Sir Winston Churchill.
"The formula for prison is a lack of space counterbalanced by a surplus of time." - Joseph Brodsky, Less Than One.
"An armed society is one where the men are polite. Correction: An armed society is one where the old men are polite." - Anonymous.
"Let the credulous and the vulgar continue to believe that all mental woes can be cured by a daily application of old Greek myths to their private parts." - Vladimir Nabokov.
"The best argument against "intelligent design" has always been humanity itself. At a time when only 40 percent of Americans believe in evolution, and only 13 percent know what a molecule is, we're an argument at best for "mediocre design." - Nicholas D. Kristof, The Hubris of the Humanities, The New York Times, December 6, 2005.
Lord, protect me from those to whom you speak directly. - Anonymous
"In the desktop software business, doing a release is a huge trauma, in which the whole company sweats and strains to push out a single, giant piece of code. Obvious comparisons suggest themselves, both to the process and the resulting product." - Paul Graham, The Other Road Ahead, from Hackers and Painters
"People are funny. They buy a pig and then complain that it's not kosher." - Douglas Flint, via The Car Connection
"In truth, there was only one Christian, and he died on the cross". - Friedrich Nietzsche, The Antichrist.
"You can pretend to be serious. You cannot pretend to be witty". - Sacha Guitry.
"...the meaning of this [Ph.D] degree [was] that the recipient of instruction is examined for the last time in his life, and is pronounced completely full. After this, no new ideas can be imparted to him". - Stephen Leacock, Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town
"Any technology that has the outward features of Java (hype, accessibility, committee design, ulterior commercial motives, ...) is probably designed for drones, so avoid it for the same reason you would avoid a novel with Fabio on the cover, or an inn that advertises parking for trucks. They may be right for their target audience. They may be created by smart people. They're just not meant for you." - Trevor Blackwell, via Paul Graham
"IREM puts out a lot of lame books. Their courses are better, probably because the committee that destroys their books cant edit the instructors during their presentations." - John T. Reed.
(...describing a training session with a beginner pilot:"I'd look out over the nose of the plane, where the horizon usually was, and see nothing but clouds and sky, the little airplane hanging from the prop. "This attitude might work in an F16, " I noted, "but I have a feeling that 125 horsepower won't hold us here indefinitely.." - Philip Greenspun's blog.
"If builders built buildings the way programmers wrote programs, then the first woodpecker that came along would destroy civilization." - Weinberg's Second Law
"Software gets slower faster than hardware gets faster.
" - Wirth's Law
"To say the least, you were born, which is in itself half the battle, and you live in a democracy - this halfway house between nightmare and utopia - which throws fewer obstacles in the way of an individual than its alternatives." - Joseph Brodsky, commencement address, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 1988
"As long as we accept the principle that religious faith must be respected simply because it is religious faith, it is hard to withhold respect from the faith of Osama bin Laden and the suicide bombers." - Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion.
"Nonbelievers like myself stand beside you, dumbstruck by the Muslim hordes who chant death to whole nations of the living. But we stand dumbstruck by you as well -- by your denial of tangible reality, by the suffering you create in service to your religious myths, and by your attachment to an imaginary God." - Sam Harris, Letter to a Christian Nation.
"Ultimately, there are better arguments in favor of democracy and freedom than the fact that Marx is not quite so hostile to them as he at first appears." - attributed to Leszek Kolakowski
"A man reads a shocking fact in a newspaper headline. Unable to believe its veracity, he goes out to buy all the rest of the copies of the same newspaper from his newsstand to make sure they confirm the headline." - Anonymous.
"The unsuccessful strugglers against tyranny have been the chief martyrs of treason laws in all countries." - Thomas Jefferson, Report on Spanish Convention, 1792.
"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention to arrive safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming: Wow!! What a ride!" - Anonymous.
"An unexamined life is not worth living." -- Socrates.
"Freedom isn't free, it's usually heavily subsidized." -- Anonymous.
"Law may prescribe that the male nipples be made equal to the female ones, but they still will not give milk." - Allan Bloom.
"In our company, there are two planning processes, short-term and long-term. Short term means in our lifetime." - Jim Press, President of Toyota Motor North America.
"In America fundamentalist Christians believe the world was created 6,000 years ago - in England people drink in bars that are older than that." - Steve Aylett.
"When I am the weaker, I ask you for my freedom, because that is your principle; but when I am the stronger, I take away your freedom, because that is my principle." - Louis Veuillot.
"Man, I hate it when people use free speech to say something I disagree with!." - Anonymous on Slashdot.
"If I must be enslaved let it be by a King at least, and not by a parcel of upstart lawless Committeemen. If I must be devoured, let me be devoured by the jaws of a lion, and not gnawed to death by rats and vermin." - Samuel Seabury.
"As the Nazi regime developed over the years, the whole structure of decision-making was changed. At first there were laws. Then there were decrees implementing laws. Then a law was made saying, "There shall be no laws." Then there were orders and directives that were written down, but still published in ministerial gazettes. Then there was government by announcement; orders appeared in newspapers. Then there were the quiet orders, the orders that were not published, that were within the bureaucracy, that were oral. Finally, there were no orders at all. Everybody knew what he had to do." - Raul Hilberg.
"Anyone who believes that the laws of physics are mere social conventions is invited to try transgressing those conventions from the windows of my apartment. (I live on the twenty-first floor.)" - Alan Sokal.
"If you have always believed that everyone should play by the same rules and be judged by the same standards, that would have gotten you labeled a radical 60 years ago, a liberal 30 years ago and a racist today." - Thomas Sowell.
"We had hallway sex. You know, pass each other in the hall: Fuck you. No, fuck you." - Sergeant First Class Jake Holland, via the Wired blog.
Hell, at least the Virgin Mary was married to somebody, even if it wasn't the baby's father. - Baby's Named a Bad, Bad Thing
"...there is no lower form of life than the military recruiter. Just combine the high pressure sales tactics of the slimiest used car salesman you've ever met, the hunting instincts of a child predator, and the legal immunity of a foreign diplomat...and you've got a military recruiter." - Anonymous in a Wired blog comment.
"To make health care a right, one would have to enslave doctors. One does not have a right to other peoples labor nor their income from labor efforts. Ask Kunta Kinte." - Anonymous on The Truth About Cars
"I want you to fight Nazism without arms or ... with non-violent arms. I would like you to lay down the arms you have as being useless for saving you or humanity. You will invite Herr Hitler and Signor Mussolini to take what they want of the countries you call your possessions. Let them take possession of your beautiful island, with your many beautiful buildings. You will give all these but neither your souls, nor your minds. If these gentlemen choose to occupy your homes, you will vacate them. If they do not give you free passage out, you will allow yourself, man, woman and child, to be slaughtered, but you will refuse to owe allegiance to them ... I am telling His Excellency the Viceroy that my services are at the disposal of His Majesty's Government, should they consider them of any practical use in advancing the object of my appeal." - Gandi, To Every Briton, 1940
"If we had the atom bomb, we would have used it against the British." - Gandi in his speech June 16, 1947, as quoted in Mahatma Gandhi : The Last Phase.
"You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: when men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours." - Sir Charles James Napier, responding to Hindu demands for a lifting of the ban on suttee.
"Is the "Dont ask dont tell" policy enough to let them [gays] serve [in the U.S. military]? No. Its nutty. I know of no other law that can only be broken merely by revealing a non-criminal aspect of ones life. It sounds Taliban-ishlike beheading someone for saying he was converting from Islam to Christianity... The most delicious aspect of ending the Dont ask, dont tell policy would be forcing the colleges and universities who ban ROTC and military recruiters to admit their real agenda: they just hate the military. As long as the Dont ask dont tell policy exists, the academics can cite that as their reason for banning the military. Once the policy is ended, they would have to allow the ROTC and recruiters. I cannot imagine that would happen. But they would then have to come up with a new reason for continuing the ban." - John T. Reed.
"Never hire a human being who had a 4.0 in college. If they had a perfect GPA, it means they bought the act and never screwed around. Now a 2.0 is probably not so good. But the ones who had 3.0, yeah! Those are the freaks you want!" - Tom Peters.
"The statement at Town Hall that was considered the most insolent and provocative was: Imagine the preposterous case of somebody who read only the Reader's Digest between 1950 and 1970, and somebody else who read only The Nation between 1950 and 1970. Who would be getting more truth about the nature of Communism? There's no doubt it would have been the Reader's Digest reader, and for a specific reason, which I'm sorry I didn't explain, because that too has been misunderstood. It's because the Reader's Digest was open to a lot of immigrant writers and their testimony about life in the Soviet Union." - Susan Sontag.
"Complaints about the plight of the average worker seem to be contradicted by everyday experience. Habitually drunken carpenters who seldom show up to work are driving around in $35,000 SUVs, living in brand-new sprawl housing, and buying $2,500 flat-screen TVs that nobody in the 1970s could have imagined a need for. Brazilian house cleaners with questionable immigration status are driving the 4-year-old SUV that was traded in on that new one. Whole Foods is packed with people willing to line up to pay $150 for a slice of cheese, plate of sushi, bowl of soup, and bunch of free-range carrots. It is tough to hire anyone competent. We see the oppressed masses in Michael Moore movies, but we dont see them on the streets or in the stores agonizing over whether to buy bread or medicine." - Philip Greenspun's blog.
"[A professor] used proof by induction, proof by reductio ad absurdum, proof by exhaustionthe class was late in the day and we were already running forty minutes overand, in desperation, proof by graduate student, whereby, she says, I cant really remember how to prove this step, and a graduate student in the front row says, yes, yes, professor, thats right." - Joel on Software
"I can't understand why the professors on the curriculum committees at CS schools have allowed their programs to be dumbed down to the point where not only can't they produce working programmers, they can't even produce CS grad students who might get PhDs and compete for their jobs. Oh wait. Never mind. Maybe I do understand." - The Perils of JavaSchools by Joel Spolsky.
"With or without religion, good people will do good, and evil people will do evil. But for good people to do evil, that takes religion." - Steven Weinberg.
"After the Marxist claims about the proletariat proved false and capitalism was vindicated as the best way to achieve economic affluence, leftists had to stop pretending that they could accomplish much with state-owned factories and national economic plans. As a result, the oppressed replaced the proletariat as the Lefts object of affection. The enemy became, not capitalists, but successful nations." - Why Dont Jews Like the Christians Who Like Them? by James Q. Wilson writing in the City Journal.