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Page history last edited by Alex Backer, Ph.D. 16 years, 2 months ago

It is not enough to be busy ... The question is: What are we busy about?

      • Henry David Thoreau (1817 - 1862) American Author ***


Ralph Waldo Emerson summed up success thusly: "To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; to leave the world a little better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is the meaning of success!"


The best inspiration for writing is reading.

La mejor inspiración para escribir es la lectura.




The nation that makes a great distinction between its scholars and its

warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting done by


--- Thucydides


When a task cannot be partitioned because of sequential constraints, the

application of more effort has no effect on the schedule. The bearing of a

child takes nine months, no matter how many women are assigned.

--- Frederick P. Brooks, Jr., The Mythical Man-Month


Some ideas are so stupid that only intellectuals could believe them.

--- George Orwell


Intelligence is like a four-wheel drive. It allows you to get stuck in more

remote places.

--- Garrison Keillor


Do one thing every day that scares you.

--- Eleanor Roosevelt


My ability to keep cool in a crisis is based entirely on not knowing all the


--- Garrison Keillor


The one common experience of all humanity is the challenge of problems.

--- R. Buckminster Fuller


The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful


We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the


--- Albert Einstein


Integrity without knowledge is weak and useless, and knowledge without

integrity is dangerous and dreadful.

--- Samuel Johnson


Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we

can find information upon it.

--- Samuel Johnson


Iron rusts from disuse,

stagnant water loses its purity and in cold weather becomes frozen;

so does inaction sap the vigors of the mind.

--- Leonardo da Vinci


Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is the probable reason why so

few engage in it.

--- Henry Ford


In the field of observation, chance favors the prepared mind.

--- Louis Pasteur


We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will

be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.

-- T. S. Eliot


Creativity and Innovation

Anxiety is the hand maiden of creativity.

-- T. S. Eliot

He that will not apply new remedies must expect new evils; for time is the

greatest innovator.

-- Francis Bacon

I want to stay as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on

the edge you see all kinds of things you can't see from the center.

-- Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., writer


A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.

Emerson (in Duda & Hart, p. 119).


The researches of many commentators have already thrown much darkness on this subject, and it is probable that, if they continue, we shall soon know nothing at all about it.

Mark Twain, (The Scinces, Sept-Oct 1989)


First get your facts, and then you can distort them at your leisure.

Mark Twain


Don't lie if you don't have to.

Leo Szilard


A cynic once said, “Committees are made up of people who never arrive on time, to prove that they are not novices; that don’t say much to indicate just how wise they are; who act as vague as possible to avoid irritating other members; who always suggest the formation of sub-committees when in doubt, and who always are the first to suggest adjournments, which is what everyone is waiting for, anyway."

Sir Barnet Cocks said: “A committee is a cul-de-sac down which ideas are lured and then quietly strangled.”


"Would that I could discover truth as easily as I can uncover falsehood."

Cicero in De Natura Deorum (44 BC)


Nothing motivates a man more than to see his boss put in an honest day’s work.



A people living under the perpetual menace of war and invasion is very easy to govern. It demands no social reforms. It does not haggle over expenditures on armaments and military equipment. It pays without discussion, it ruins itself, and that is an excellent thing for the syndicates of financiers and manufacturers for whom patriotic terrors are an abundant source of gain."

Anatole France



When Hitler attacked the Jews I was not a Jew, therefore I was not concerned. And when Hitler attacked the Catholics, I was not a Catholic, and therefore, I was not concerned. And when Hitler attacked the unions and the industrialists, I was not a member of the unions and I was not concerned. Then Hitler attacked me and the Protestant church — and there was nobody left to be concerned.

Martin Niemöller, Congressional Record, 14, October 1968, page 31636.


Time is that quality of nature which keeps events from happening all at once. Lately it doesn’t seem to be working. – Unattributed


From :


"I disapprove of what you say but will defend to the death your right to say it."


The quotation "I may not agree with what you have to say, but will defend

to the death... etc." is not by Voltaire. It comes from a biography of

Voltaire published early in this century and supposedly sums up Voltaire's

attitude to free speech (but didn't he in fact try to get one of

Rousseau's works banned?).


The Three Laws of Thermodynamics

1. You can't win.

2. You can't break even.

3. You can't quit the game.


"Certainly the game is rigged. Don't let that stop you; if you don't bet, you can't win."

- Robert Heinlein


Frodo: I wish the ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened."

Gandalf: "So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us."


"Always listen to experts. They'll tell you what can't be done, and why. Then do it."

- Robert Heinlein


"Yield to temptation. It may not pass your way again."

- Robert Heinlein


"Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen."

- Albert Einstein


Weiner's Law of Libraries:

There are no answers, only cross references.


Seeger's Law:

Anything in parentheses can be ignored.


Duggan's Law of Scholarly Research:

The most valuable quotation will be the one for which you cannot determine the source.


"There is a related "Theorem" about progress in AI: once some

mental function is programmed, people soon cease to consider it as an

essential ingredient of "real thinking". The ineluctable core of

intelligence is always in that next thing which hasn't yet been

programmed. This "Theorem" was first proposed to me by Larry Tesler, so

I call it Tessler's Theorem: "AI is whatever hasn't been done yet."

- Douglas R. Hofstadter


"The price one pays for pursuing any profession, or calling, is an intimate knowledge of its ugly side."

- James Baldwin


"A fanatic is a person who can't change his mind and won't change the subject."

- Winston Churchill


Fudd's First Law of Opposition:

Push something hard enough and it will fall over.


"Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd."

- Voltaire


"The truth." Dumbledore sighed. "It is a beautiful and terrible thing,

and should therefore be treated with great caution. However, I shall

answer your questions unless I have a very good reason not to, in

which case I beg you'll forgive me. I shall not, of course, lie."

- Harry Potter


A university is what a college becomes when the faculty loses interest in students. -- John Ciardi


The nice thing about being a celebrity is that when you bore people, they think it's their fault. -- Henry Kissinger


When ideas fail, words come in very handy. -- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


?Bang?, 1976: All models are wrong, but some are useful.


First secure an independent income, then practice virtue. — Greek proverb


Honest criticism is hard to take, particularly from a relative, a friend, an acquaintance, or a stranger. — Franklin P. Jones


The reason lightning doesn’t strike twice in the same place is that the same place isn’t there the second time. — Willie Tyler


Comparing information and knowledge is like asking whether the fatness

of a pig is more or less green than the designated hitter rule."

-- David Guaspari


" Reputation is what other people know about you.

Honor is what you know about yourself. "

- Lois McMaster Bujold, "A Civil Campaign", 1999


What the large print giveth, the small print taketh away.


No amount of genius can overcome a preoccupation with detail.



If you don’t know where you’re going, you’re going end up somewhere else.

Yogi Berra


"I cannot do better," he said, than to quote from a lecture by the painter John Minton "in which he said of his own artistic creations, 'The important thing is to be there when the picture is painted.' And this, it seems to me, is partly a matter of luck and partly good judgment, inspiration and persistent application."

Francis Crick on whether he enjoyed his life.


Knowing when to walk away and let people do their jobs, Varsavksy added, was what made the company such a success.

Martin Varsavsky


  1. "Science is a wonderful thing if one does not have to earn one's living at it."
  2. "The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources."

Albert Einstein,


"The supreme irony of life is that hardly anyone gets out of it alive." - Robert Heinlein


Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards.

--Vernor Sanders Law


The great tragedy of life is not that people set their sights too high and fail to achieve their goals but that they set their sights too low and do.



Failure is the only opportunity to begin again more intelligently.

--Henry Ford


It must be considered that there is nothing more difficult to carry out nor

more doubtful of success nor more dangerous to handle than to initiate a

new order of things; for the reformer has enemies in all those who profit

by the old order, and only lukewarm defenders in all those who would profit

by the new order; this lukewarmness arising partly from the incredulity of

mankind who does not truly believe in anything new until they actually have

experience of it.


      • Machiavelli ***


Remember, happiness doesn't depend upon who you are or what you have; it

depends solely upon what you think.


      • Dale Carnegie ***


Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and

leave a trail.


      • Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 - 1882) American Essayist & Poet ***



Bob Marley - "Don't gain the world and lose your soul, wisdom is better than silver or gold."


Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.


      • Martin Luther King (1929 - 1968) American Civil Rights Leader ***



The liar's punishment is not in the least that he is not believed but that he cannot believe anyone else.


George Bernard Shaw


The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it.

-- George Bernard Shaw


The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.

-- George Bernard Shaw


The more things a man is ashamed of, the more respectable he is.

-- George Bernard Shaw, "Man and Superman" (1903), act I


You'll never have a quiet world till you knock the patriotism out of the human race.


George Bernard Shaw, "Misalliance"

- More quotations on: Patriotism


People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don't believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can't find them, make them.


George Bernard Shaw, "Mrs. Warren's Profession" (1893) act II


One man that has a mind and knows it can always beat ten men who haven't and don't.


George Bernard Shaw, "The Apple Cart" (1930), act I


"Do you know what a pessimist is?" "A man who thinks everybody is as nasty as himself, and hates them for it."


George Bernard Shaw, An Unsocial Socialist (1887) ch. 5


All great truths begin as blasphemies.


George Bernard Shaw, Annajanska (1919)


When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty.


George Bernard Shaw, Caesar and Cleopatra (1901) Act III


Every man over forty is a scoundrel.


George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman (1903) "Maxims for Revolutionists"


It is dangerous to be sincere unless you are also stupid.


George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman (1903) "Maxims for Revolutionists"


The golden rule is that there are no golden rules.


George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman (1903) "Maxims for Revolutionists"


Do not do unto others as you would that they should do unto you. Their tastes may not be the same.


George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman (1903), Maxims for Revolutionists


I never resist temptation because I have found that things that are bad for me do not tempt me.


George Bernard Shaw, The Apple Cart (1930)


A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.


George Bernard Shaw


Americans adore me and will go on adoring me until I say something nice about them.


George Bernard Shaw


Democracy is a device that ensures we shall be governed no better than we deserve.


George Bernard Shaw



Everything happens to everybody sooner or later if there is time enough.


George Bernard Shaw


Hegel was right when he said that we learn from history that man can never learn anything from history.


George Bernard Shaw


If the lesser mind could measure the greater as a footrule can measure a pyramid, there would be finality in universal suffrage. As it is, the political problem remains unsolved.


George Bernard Shaw


Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will.


George Bernard Shaw


Patriotism is your conviction that this country is superior to all other countries because you were born in it.


George Bernard Shaw


Self-sacrifice enables us to sacrifice other people without blushing.


George Bernard Shaw



Reading made Don Quixote a gentleman. Believing what he read made him mad.


George Bernard Shaw


The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one.


George Bernard Shaw


I never think of the future - it comes soon enough.

--Albert Einstein


Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.

--Albert Einstein


Franklin D. Roosevelt - "There is nothing to fear but fear itself."


Edward Bulwer-Lytton - "Talent does what it can; genius does what it must."


Anatole France - "It is human nature to think wisely and act in an absurd fashion."





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