Themes 3

  • “I intend to live forever.  So far, so good.” – Steven Wright.
  • “I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.” -Bill Cosby
  • These data do not support the hypothesis.  Well … The first one does, but the second and third don’t, now the fourth … – unknown
  • “He who would do good to another must do it in minute particulars.  General good is the plea of the scoundrel, hypocrite and flatterer.” – William Blake (1757-1827)
  • Hofstadter’s Law – It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take Hofstadter’s Law into account. – Douglas Hofstadter: Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid (1979)
  • “In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice.  In practice, there is.” – attributed to many
  • “Advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer, but wish we didn’t.” – Erica Jong
  • “Any man who is under 30, and is not a liberal, has no heart; and any man who is over 30, and is not a conservative, has no brains.” attributed to Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)
  • Always do right.  This will gratify some and astonish the rest. – Mark Twain (1835-1910)
  • “All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope.” — Winston Churchill
  • “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” – Edmund Burke (1729-1797)
  • The difference between men and women is that, if given the choice between saving the life of an infant or catching a fly ball, a woman will automatically choose to save the infant, without even considering if there’s a man on base. – Dave Barry
  • I find that in contemplating the natural world my pleasure is greater if there are not too may others contemplating it with me at the same time. – Edward Abbey
  • Never express yourself more clearly than you are able to think. – Niels Bohr
  • A person who has a cat by the tail knows a whole lot more about cats than someone who has just read about them. – Mark Twain
  • Don’t be so humble – you are not that great. – Golda Meir (1898-1978) to a visiting diplomat
  • The theoretical broadening which comes from having many humanities subjects on the campus is offset by the general dopiness of the people who study these things … – Richard Feynman
  • Anyone who conducts an argument by appealing to Authority is not using his intelligence, he is just using his memory. – Leonardo da Vinci, 1452-1519
  • p-values are dangerous, especially large, small, and in-between ones.” – Frank E Harrell Jr, Professor and Chairman, School of Medicine, Department of Biostatistics, Vanderbilt University
  • The great tragedy of science – the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact. – Thomas H. Huxley
  • Rule of Scarcity – If it’s not allocated by a market, then it’s more expensive than money. – unknown
  • Those are my principles. If you don’t like them I have others. – Groucho Marx
  • Do not put your faith in what statistics say until you have carefully considered what they do not say. – William W. Watt
  • The quickest way to end a war is to lose it. – George Orwell
  • First, do no harm. (Primum non nocere.)
  • When you’re talkin’, you ain’t learnin’ nothin’.
  • There are a number of mechanical devices that increase sexual arousal, particularly  in women.  Chief among these is the Mercedes-Benz 380SL convertible. – P.J. O’Rourke
  • “The sciences do not try to explain, they hardly even try to interpret, they mainly make models.  By a model is meant a mathematical construct which, with the addition of certain verbal interpretations, describes observed phenomena.  The justification of such a mathematical construct is solely and precisely that it is expected to work.” – John von Neumann
  • Confidence is contagious.  So is lack of confidence. – Vince Lombardi
  • “I have yet to see any problem, however complicated, which, when you looked at it in the right way, did not become still more complicated.” – Poul Anderson
  • If you optimize everything, you will always be unhappy. – Donald Knuth
  • If an exchange between two parties is voluntary, it will not take place unless both believe they will benefit from it.  Most economic fallacies derive from the neglect of this simple insight, from the tendency to assume that there is a fixed pie, that one party can only gain at the expense of another. – Milton Friedman
  • A cynic knows the price of everything but the value of nothing. – Oscar Wilde
  • The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a new result. – Albert Einstein
  • The laws of mathematics are not merely human inventions or creations.  They simply are; they exist quite independently of the human intellect. The most that any(one) … can do is to find that they are there and to take cognizance of them. – Maurits Escher
  • Simply not understanding the nature of the assumptions being made does not mean that they do not exist. – Ildiko Frank and Jerome Freidman,  “A Statistical View of some Chemometrics Regression Tools,” Technometrics, V35, N2, 1993, p 110
  • Laws of thermodynamics:
    1. You cannot win.
    2. You cannot break even.
    3. You cannot stop playing the game.
    – Anon
  • I may not be the richest man on earth.  Or the smartest.  Or the handsomest. – Homer J. Simpson
  • “Business is slow.  People today are healthier and drinking less.  You know, if it wasn’t for the junior high school next door, no one would even use the cigarette machine.” – Moe Szyslak
  • “Things aren’t as happy as they used to be down here at the unemployment office.  Joblessness is no longer just for philosophy majors.  Useful people are starting to feel the pinch.” – Kent Brockman
  • Bad Guy: “Who are you and how did you get in here?”
    Sgt. Frank Drebin (Leslie Nielson): “I’m a locksmith.  And I’m a locksmith.”
    – Police Squad!
  • There’s no system foolproof enough to defeat a sufficiently great fool. – Edward Teller (1908-2003)
  • …man will occasionally stumble over the truth, but usually manages to pick himself up, walk over or around it, and carry on. – Winston Churchill (1874-1965)
  • “Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them” – Karl Popper, in “The Open Society and its Enemies” (1945)
  • “Success is that happy feeling you get between the time you do something and the time you tell a woman what you did.” – Dilbert (Scott Adams)
  • Because I place my trust in reason, I place it in the individual.  There is a madness in crowds from which even the wisest, caught up in their ranks, are not immune.  Stupidity and cruelty are the attributes of the mob, not wisdom and compassion. – Bernard Baruch (1870-1965)  He read this text over CBS radio in 1953; it has been reprinted many times since, most recently in the Wall Street Journal, 20 November, 2010
  • Never argue with an idiot; they’ll drag you down to their level and beat you with experience. – anonymous
  • The production of useful work is strictly limited by the laws of thermodynamics.  The production of useless work seems to be unlimited. – Donald E. Simanek (1936- )
  • “You can’t no more teach what you ain’t learned than you can come from where you ain’t been.” – attributed to Mark Twain
  • Re: Diversified investing.  If you know nothing about poisonous snakes, keeping several species won’t make you any safer. – Michael Kaplan, reviewing “Risk Intelligence” by David Apgar in the Dec 8, 2006 WSJ
  • “If everybody’s thinking alike, somebody isn’t thinking.” – George S. Patton
  • Sometimes I lie awake at night, and ask, “Where have I gone wrong?”  Then a voice says to me, “This is going to take more than one night.” – Charlie Brown
  • I often say that when you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot measure it, when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meagre and unsatisfactory kind. – Lord Kelvin (1824-1907)
  • “Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.” – index card tacked to Einstein’s office wall
  • Philosophy of science is about as useful to scientists as ornithology is to birds. – Attributed to Richard Feynman (1918-88)
  • Scientists are explorers.  Philosophers are tourists. – Richard Feynman
  • “Ah, there’s nothing more exciting than science.  You get all the fun of sitting still, being quiet, writing down numbers, paying attention.  Science has it all.” – Principal Skinner
  • “Resentment is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die.” – Malachy McCourt
  • “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
    “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
    “I don’t much care where.” said Alice.
    “Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.” said the Cat.
    – Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
  • “Contradictions do not exist.  Whenever you think you are facing a contradiction, check your premises.  You will find that one of them is wrong.” – Ayn Rand