quotes3

Note: I do NOT agree with some of these!

Note: I didn't factcheck these, they may be misattributed

" There is a trade off between flat and deep org structure. Deeper org structures build familiarity, process, etc. It works when there is a stable process, but doesn t turn well.

Shallow orgs can move quicker, but that isn t free. Because the designated leaders cannot actually manage up to dozens of direct reports, you end up with what I call a circle org structure. People get voted on/off the inner circle, and the downstream leaders get disempowered.

I ve never worked in a place with no explicit command structure. Perhaps I lack imagination, but I cannot see that ever working. Fundamentally it s a lie, because some individuals have to control the money.

In my experience, shallow orgs also have a half life. They need to be purged every 18-24 months." Spooky23

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"Any sufficiently complicated company [without] management contains an ad hoc, informally-specified, bug-ridden, slow implementation of management." Yehuda Katz

"Value created the 2nd greatest lie in tech about "not having a boss is cool" because it attracts people who think they're too smart to be working for someone else. But if you're working for no-one in the company, you're practically working for everyone. " esturk

"We should forget about small efficiencies, say about 97% of the time: premature optimization is the root of all evil. Yet we should not pass up our opportunities in that critical 3%." -- Knuth

"@Nate @Tejinder: I can tell you that 34 years ago when I was clerking, the Justices actually considered quite seriously whether to include the "respectfully" or not. Omitting it signalled really serious disagreement and, frankly, disrespect."

"@Tejinder, I took con law from a former SCOTUS clerk who wrote a major dissenting opinion a few years ago. At least in his experience, quite a lot of thought went into whether the last sentence was "I dissent" versus "I respectfully dissent."

"The purpose of the margin of safety is to render the forecast unnecessary." -- Ben Graham

"Wealth, in fact, is what you don t see. It s the cars not purchased. The diamonds not bought. The renovations postponed, the clothes forgone and the first-class upgrade declined. It s assets in the bank that haven t yet been converted into the stuff you see." [1]

"Harry Markowitz won the Nobel Prize in economics for creating formulas that tell you exactly how much of your portfolio should be in stocks vs. bonds depending on your ideal level of risk. A few years ago the Wall Street Journal asked him how, given his work, he invests his own money. He replied: I visualized my grief if the stock market went way up and I wasn t in it or if it went way down and I was completely in it. My intention was to minimize my future regret. So I split my contributions 50/50 between bonds and equities." [2]

"...civilization is the process of taking intelligence out of human minds and putting it into institutions" Venkatesh Rao

"[Writing] will introduce forgetfulness into the soul of those who learn it: they will not practice using their memory because they will put their trust in writing, which is external and depends on signs that belong to others, instead of trying to remember from the inside, completely on their own&You d think they[written words] were speaking as if they had some understanding, but if you question anything that has been said because you want to learn more, it continues to signify just that very same thing forever. When it has once been written down, every discourse roams about everywhere, reaching indiscriminately those with understanding no less than those who have no business with it, and it doesn t know to whom it should speak and to whom it should not. And when it is faulted and attacked unfairly, it always needs its father s support; alone, it can neither defend itself nor come to its own support." -- Phaedrus 275d-e

"The war between the 1% and 99% seems to play out with the 1% and the 90% collaborating to prey on the 9% in the middle..." Venkatesh Rao

"if Man were to go further with computers and construct those that were capable of independent thought, it would be better to construct them so they would identify with Man's own survival; their structure itself must be made similar to the structure of Man himself... If Man were to become the servant of more intelligent beings that he was here to create, it would be far better to create those which would foster his own development rather than his demise." -- John C. Lilly, The Scientist

"In the province of the mind what one believes to be true, either is true or becomes true within certain limits. These limits are to be found experimentally and experientially. When so found these limits turn out to be further beliefs to be transcended. In the province of the mind there are no limits. However, in the province of the body there are definite limits not to be transcended." -- John C. Lilly, The Human Biocomputer (1974), via [3]

"I think language design converges over time, alternating between expressive-but-unmaintainable and structured-but-too-strict but getting closer to the ideal as we advance. In many ways Lisp isn't a complete language design at all - rather macros are there for the user to finish the language themselves. " -- lmm

"The most notable feature of feudalism is that . . . ownership means sovereignty; he who owns the land shall have primary dominion over the fruitage of the land; he shall therefore hold in absolute subjection the dwellers on the land." -- Woodrow Wilson, in The State

"An unjust state is more dangerous than terrorism, and too much security encourages an unjust state" -- Richard Stallman

"Perilous to us all are the devices of an art deeper than we possess ourselves" -- Gandalf the Grey [J.R.R. Tolkien, "Lord of the Rings"]

" A novice asked the master: ``In the east there is a great tree-structure that men call `Corporate Headquarters'. It is bloated out of shape with vice presidents and accountants. It issues a multitude of memos, each saying `Go, Hence!' or `Go, Hither!' and nobody knows what is meant. Every year new names are put onto the branches, but all to no avail. How can such an unnatural entity be?"

The master replied: ``You perceive this immense structure and are disturbed that it has no rational purpose. Can you not take amusement from its endless gyrations? Do you not enjoy the untroubled ease of programming beneath its sheltering branches? Why are you bothered by its uselessness? " -- [4]

" Why are programmers non-productive? Because their time is wasted in meetings.

Why are programmers rebellious? Because the management interferes too much.

Why are the programmers resigning one by one? Because they are burnt out.

Having worked for poor management, they no longer value their jobs. " -- [5]

" A manager asked a programmer how long it would take him to finish the program on which he was working. ``It will be finished tomorrow, the programmer promptly replied.

``I think you are being unrealistic, said the manager, ``Truthfully, how long will it take?

The programmer thought for a moment. ``I have some features that I wish to add. This will take at least two weeks, he finally said.

``Even that is too much to expect, insisted the manager, ``I will be satisfied if you simply tell me when the program is complete.

The programmer agreed to this.

Several years later, the manager retired. On the way to his retirement luncheon, he discovered the programmer asleep at his terminal. He had been programming all night. " -- [6]

" A novice programmer was once assigned to code a simple financial package.

The novice worked furiously for many days, but when his master reviewed his program, he discovered that it contained a screen editor, a set of generalized graphics routines, an artificial intelligence interface, but not the slightest mention of anything financial.

When the master asked about this, the novice became indignant. ``Don't be so impatient, he said, ``I'll put in the financial stuff eventually. " -- [7]

" A well-used door needs no oil on its hinges. A swift-flowing stream does not grow stagnant. Neither sound nor thoughts can travel through a vacuum. Software rots if not used.

These are great mysteries. " -- [8]

" Thus spake the master programmer:

``Though a program be but three lines long, someday it will have to be maintained. " -- [9]

" A manager went to the master programmer and showed him the requirements document for a new application. The manager asked the master: ``How long will it take to design this system if I assign five programmers to it?

``It will take one year, said the master promptly.

``But we need this system immediately or even sooner! How long will it take if I assign ten programmers to it?

The master programmer frowned. ``In that case, it will take two years.

``And what if I assign a hundred programmers to it?

The master programmer shrugged. ``Then the design will never be completed, he said. " -- [10]

"rules...were never designed to be reasonable; they were designed to solve problems that the rule makers encountered in the past and afford them a "legitimate" means of recourse. no one ever intended to apply them consistently." -- leetcrew

"the whole point of a general purpose language is to appeal to devs who failed the marshmallow test & want to minimize the initial steepness of the learning curve." [11]

"Any software project that includes writing a database is, de facto, a database project." -- tlb

"there’s no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing" -- [12]

"Let us not, in the pride of our superior knowledge, turn with contempt from the follies of our predecessors. The study of the errors into which great minds have fallen in the pursuit of truth can never be uninstructive." -- Charles Mackay, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds

"Delusions are often viewed as reflecting some deficiency in reasoning ability. The risk of thinking about delusions in this way is that it encourages the belief that logical, intelligent people are incapable of delusion...Delusions are best understood not as deficiencies in logic, but rather as explanations that have been logically reached on the basis of distorted inputs...Maher emphasized that despite the skewed input, the delusions themselves are derived by completely normal reasoning processes. Similarly, Garety & Freeman found that delusions appear to reflect not a defect in reasoning itself, but a defect “which is best described as a data-gathering bias, a tendency for people with delusions to gather less evidence” so they tend to jump to conclusions." -- John P. Hussman, [13]

" The rookie mistake is: you see that some system is partly Moloch [ie. captured by misaligned special interests], so you say “Okay, we’ll fix that by putting it under the control of this other system. And we’ll control this other system by writing ‘DO NOT BECOME MOLOCH’ on it in bright red marker.” (“I see capitalism sometimes gets misaligned. Let’s fix it by putting it under control of the government. We’ll control the government by having only virtuous people in high offices.”) I’m not going to claim there’s a great alternative, but the occasionally-adequate alternative is the neoliberal one – find a couple of elegant systems that all optimize along different criteria approximately aligned with human happiness, pit them off against each other in a structure of checks and balances, hope they screw up in different places like in that swiss cheese model, keep enough individual free choice around that people can exit any system that gets too terrible, and let cultural evolution do the rest. " [14]

"The best technologies can be understood and used in a simple case by a beginner but still "unfurl" to handle the general case. The worst force you to embrace the entire complexity before you can even hello world." noonespecial , [15]

"The iron law of bureaucracy states that for all organizations, most of their activity will be devoted to the perpetuation of the organization, not to the pursuit of its ostensible objective." Stross, paraphrasing Pournelle

celebrity: "a person who is known for his well-knownness." -- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Image:_A_Guide_to_Pseudo-events_in_America

"Pardon him, Theodotus: he is a barbarian, and thinks that the customs of his tribe and island are the laws of nature". George Bernard Shaw, "Ceasar and Cleopatra"

"For my friends, everything. For my enemies, the law." -- Oscar R. Benavides

"Science advances one funeral at a time" -- Max Planck

"I write when I m inspired, and I see to it that I m inspired at nine o clock every morning." -- William Faulkner

"These experiments corroborated earlier studies that had demonstrated convincingly that ability in one area tends not to transfer to another. American psy- chologist Edward Thorndike fi rst noted this lack of transfer- ence over a century ago, when he showed that the study of Latin, for instance, did not improve command of English and that geometric proofs do not teach the use of logic in daily life. " -- [16]

"I show affection for my pets by holding them against me and whispering I love you repeatedly as they struggle to escape from my arms" -- Ellen DeGenres

"Every mathematician believes that he is ahead of the others. The reason none state this belief in public is because they are intelligent people." -- Kolmogorov

"I m CC d on mails when things get slow...Subject: Docker operations slowing down...I reach for my trusty haiku for this type of thing: https://jeremyedercom.files.wordpress.com/2017/07/eawdkec.png " -- [17]

"I didn t fall into the trap of believing I needed a lot of external approval before getting started. Too many aspiring writers do nothing but aspire. They think they need an MFA or a writing workshop before they can consider themselves a writer. It s simple. You re a cook if you prepare food. You re a programmer if you write code. You re a writer if you write. Just do it and see what happens." -- Eliot Peper

"Life can be much broader, once you discover one simple fact, and that is that everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use. Once you learn that, you ll never be the same again." -- steve jobs

"I have always wished for my computer to be as easy to use as my telephone; my wish has come true because I can no longer figure out how to use my telephone." -- Bjarne Stroustrup

"JWT might be the one case in all of practical computing where you might be better off rolling your own crypto token standard than adopting the existing standard." -- tptacek

"Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power." -- [18] (attributed to Lincoln but likely a paraphrase of Thomas Carlyle and Horatio Alger Jr. [19]

"If you want to find out what a man is to the bottom, give him power. Any man can stand adversity only a great man can stand prosperity." -- Horatio Alger Jr

"the iron rule of life is that only 20% of the people can be in the top fifth. " -- Charles Munger

"You never get totally over making silly mistakes." -- Charles Munger

"Truth is stranger than fiction because fiction has to make sense to the author. Truth doesn't have anybody to answer to." -- S. John Ross

https://github.com/globalcitizen/taoup/blob/master/taoup

"When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure." -- Goodhart's law

"To doubt everything or to believe everything are two equally convenient solutions: both dispense with the need for thought." -- Henri Poincare

" Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship.

Gilbert: There is one difference. In a democracy, the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars.

Goring: Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country. " -- interview of Hermann Goring by Gustave Gilbert

" GuiA? 20 hours ago [-]

In the 1970s at Xerox PARC, regularly scheduled arguments were routine. The company that gave birth to the personal computer staged formal discussions designed to train their people on how to fight properly over ideas and not egos. PARC held weekly meetings they called "Dealer" (from a popular book of the time titled Beat the Dealer). Before each meeting, one person, known as "the dealer," was selected as the speaker. The speaker would present his idea and then try to defend it against a room of engineers and scientists determined to prove him wrong. Such debates helped improve products under development and sometimes resulted in wholly new ideas for future pursuit. The facilitators of the Dealer meetings were careful to make sure that only intellectual criticism of the merit of an idea received attention and consideration. Those in the audience or at the podium were never allowed to personally criticize their colleagues or bring their colleagues' character or personality into play. Bob Taylor, a former manager at PARC, said of their meetings, "If someone tried to push their personality rather than their argument, they'd find that it wouldn't work." Inside these debates, Taylor taught his people the difference between what he called Class 1 disagreements, in which neither party understood the other party's true position, and Class 2 disagreements, in which each side could articulate the other's stance. Class 1 disagreements were always discouraged, but Class 2 disagreements were allowed, as they often resulted in a higher quality of ideas. Taylor's model removed the personal friction from debates and taught individuals to use conflict as a means to find common, often higher, ground.

The Myths of Creativity, David Burkus

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alankay1 12 hours ago [-]

This is one of those stories that has distorted over time. "Dealer" was a weekly meeting for many purposes, the main one was to provide a vehicle for coordination, planning, communication without having to set up a management structure for brilliant researchers who had some "lone wolves" tendencies.

Part of these meetings were presentations by PARC researchers. However, it was not a gantlet to be run, and it was not to train people to argue in a constructive way (most of the computer researchers at PARC were from ARPA community research centers, and learning how to argue reasonably was already part of that culture).

Visitors from Xerox frequently were horrified by the level of argument and the idea that no personal attacks were allowed had to be explained, along with the idea that the aim was not to win an argument but to illuminate. Almost never did the participants have to be reminded about "Class 1" and "Class 2", etc. The audience was -not- determined to prove the speaker wrong. That is not the way things were done.

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"I like words. I like fat buttery words, such as ooze, turpitude, glutinous, toady. I like solemn, angular, creaky words, such as straitlaced, cantankerous, pecunious, valedictory. I like spurious, black-is-white words, such as mortician, liquidate, tonsorial, demi-monde. I like suave "V" words, such as Svengali, svelte, bravura, verve. I like crunchy, brittle, crackly words, such as splinter, grapple, jostle, crusty. I like sullen, crabbed, scowling words, such as skulk, glower, scabby, churl. I like Oh-Heavens, my-gracious, land's-sake words, such as tricksy, tucker, genteel, horrid. I like elegant, flowery words, such as estivate, peregrinate, elysium, halcyon. I like wormy, squirmy, mealy words, such as crawl, blubber, squeal, drip. I like sniggly, chuckling words, such as cowlick, gurgle, bubble and burp." -- Robert Pirosh, excerpt from cover letter for screenwriter job application [20]

"People always ask me the same question, they say, 'Is ___ a very very clever man pretending to be an idiot?' And I always say, 'No'." -- Ian Hislop

"He is a modest man with much to be modest about" -- Winston Churchill

"If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him." -- Cardinal Richelieu (disputed)

"Perhaps emacs did not want to be loved so much as to be understood." -- George Orwell, 1984 (as seen in the emacs IRC)

"When it comes to people, mercy killing is against the law. When it comes to fiction, it is the law." -- Stephen King

"Research shows that some of the most obvious ideas, like showing people an article from the opposite perspective, actually deepen polarization by framing other perspectives as foreign. A more effective approach is to show a range of perspectives, let people see where their views are on a spectrum and come to a conclusion on what they think is right." [21]

"It was Aristotle who first said that it is only worth discussing what is in our power. " -- [22]

"There is a tendency in the United States to confuse the study of war and warfare with militarism. Thinking clearly about the problem of war and warfare, however, is both an unfortunate necessity and the best way to prevent it." -- [23]

"To say that force is sometimes necessary is not a call to cynicism it is recognition of history; the imperfections of man and the limits of reason..." -- Barack Obama

"This is the most pervasive of of all Washington legends: that politicians in Washington are ceaselessly, ruthlessly, effectively scheming. That everything that happens fits into somebody's plan. It doesn't. Maybe it started out with a scheme, but soon enough everyone is, at best, reacting, and at worst, failing to react, and always, always they're doing it with less information than they need. " -- Ezra Klein

"nobody knows what the hell they're doing and everyone is bumbling around blindly" -- Paul Waldman

"The ultimate threat to the privacy and security of US Citizens living in Country is that our Surveillance State can't keep its own secrets. I don't think it is unreasonable to believe that the China and Russia don't need to spy on the US government, it's citizens, or businesses, because we pay for the NSA to do it for them." [24]

"A Parliament is nothing less than a big meeting of more or less idle people. In proportion as you give it power it will inquire into everything, settle everything, meddle in everything" -- Walter Bagehot

"The whole point of the historian's enterprise is to distinguish historical fact from historical fiction; that is what historians labor to do. To do so, you have to accept a gap between what history teaches and what people need or want to know." -- ROBERT DAWIDOFF, [25]

"A judge who likes every outcome he reaches is very likely a bad judge." -- paraphrasing Neil Gorsuch

"It is easy to lie with statistics. It is hard to tell the truth without it." -- Andrejs Dunkels

"Those who would give up correctness for a little temporary performance deserve neither correctness nor performance." -- Paul Phillips, [26]

"What s the word for when you keep reading an article even though the page is really long because you assume it s got a lot of comments at the end padding it out and then as you get further and further down you start to realize it s just a super long article and you never would have started reading it in the first place if you had known up front how long it was?" -- technomancy [27]

"Every time I talk with a so-called Agile company about how they work I get a laundry list of SaaS? Web applications. Trello, Basecamp, JIRA, Pivotal none of these tools existed when the Agile Manifesto was carved into Kent Beck s chest while he was being forcefully held to an Altair 8080 by the other fifteen Agile Manifesto founders (it s still unclear which founder did the carving)." -- [28]

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antognini 1 day ago [-]

"The retina is not so much a part of the eye as an extension of the brain into the eye." -- antognini "They say the eyes are the window into the soul, but really we're just looking at each other's brains!" -- andai

"THIS! WAS! NOT! MY! PLAN! MY plan was a a gem-like thing of PERFECT BEAUTY!" -- http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php?date=20100621 (said when another faction of the character's organization went ahead with a plan other than his original plan, and their new plan isn't doing so well)

"every computer science problem has ((an)) easy to understand solution that's easy to implement but awfully slow in practice." -- https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13305903

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be." -- Jefferson

"The Democrats are the party that says government will make you smarter, taller, richer, and remove the crabgrass on your lawn. The Republicans are the party that says government doesn't work and then they get elected and prove it." P. J. O'Rourke

"a bet is a tax on bullst" -- Alex Tabarrok

"Robert s Rules provides rules and procedures that allow a deliberative assembly to make its decisions efficiently, but with all due regard for the rights of the minority" -- http://www.dummies.com/careers/business-skills/roberts-rules-for-dummies-cheat-sheet/

"While corporations dominate society and write the laws, each advance or change in technology is an opening for them to further restrict or mistreat its users." -- Stallman's Law

"transparency for the powerful and privacy for the rest" -- https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/5c8u9l/we_are_the_wikileaks_staff_despite_our_editor/d9uon5y/

"Perhaps our questions about artificial intelligence are a bit like inquiring after the temperament and gait of a horseless carriage." -- K. Eric Drexler

"It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men's hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of the air, that emanation from the old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit." -- Robert Louis Stevenson

"The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing that cannot possibly go wrong is that when a thing that cannot possibly go wrong goes wrong it usually turns out to be impossible to get at or repair." -- Douglas Adams

"In economics, they're robots. In political economy, they're all jerks. In sociology, they're all misunderstood." -- Zach Weinersmith

"My theory is that everything is a mess, once you get close enough to notice. Every profession that appears as if its practitioners know what they're doing really is a shocking hodge-podge of temporary solutions, strung together by proverbial duct tape. From doctors to flight engineers to anything else that you thought was running like a smooth machine....Agreed. I was a civil engineer (specializing in water resources)...The science of hydrology/hydraulics is largely a messy pile of educated guesses, statistical relationships based on embarrassingly small datasets, and highly generalized models....This was my experience in corporate law. Long (and critically important) documents were cobbled together by small teams of brutally sleep deprived kids. The end result was a tangled webs of documents, defined terms, and clauses that all theoretically referenced one another properly without violating any laws or producing unintended results." -- https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12477190

"Using messaging eliminates several problems in multithreaded programming, including many types of race conditions and deadlocks which result from hope dying in the cold light of reality." -- http://blog.ifyouseewendy.com/blog/2016/02/16/ruby-concurrency-in-theory/#concurrency-model-actor-model

"You are comfortable with feeling like you have no deep understanding of the problem you are studying. Indeed, when you do have a deep understanding, you have solved the problem and it is time to do something else. This makes the total time you spend in life reveling in your mastery of something quite brief. One of the main skills of research scientists of any type is knowing how to work comfortably and productively in a state of confusion." -- https://www.quora.com/What-is-it-like-to-understand-advanced-mathematics/answers/873950?srid=p6KQ&share=1

"...an aspect of innovation that is invisible if you look at design only from a problem-solving perspective. An important part of solving a problem is finding the right problem to solve, and this cannot be treated as a problem itself. It rather requires a community (what the authors call an interpretive community) that can reformulate the given domain and create linguistic and technological tools that allow novelty." -- http://okigiveup.net/not-big-fan-of-scrum/

"...for significant breakthroughs, you start by searching for a problem that isn't even formulated yet. Solving the problems of your customers is the opposite of that. The impact of solving the "unformulated" problem may be so strong that it eliminates the need of solving the little particular problems. In that sense, office workers of the 1970s probably wanted better typewriters instead of GUIs." -- [29]

"And it ought to be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things. Because the innovator has for enemies all those who have done well under the old conditions, and lukewarm defenders in those who may do well under the new. This coolness arises partly from fear of the opponents, who have the laws on their side, and partly from the incredulity of men, who do not readily believe in new things until they have had a long experience of them. Thus it happens that whenever those who are hostile have the opportunity to attack they do it like partisans, whilst the others defend lukewarmly, in such wise that the prince is endangered along with them." -- Machiavelli, The Price, Chapter 6

"The two things to know about smart contracts is that they re dumb, and they re not contracts." -- Patrick Murck

"Democracy, on the other hand, is durable, because it contains mechanisms that allow grievances to be addressed publicly on an ongoing basis. This creates many small conflicts and few really large ones. Democracy, unlike electoral politics, is not all-or-nothing; it is a form of government that gets buy-in from people by allowing them hands-on participation in meaningful activities instead of relegating them to the role of cheerleader. It forces them to confront each other in a common arena on an ongoing basis and to reassess their previous decisions in the light of results achieved. It s also a form of government that has never been tried in the United States." -- Roslyn Fuller

"To be humble to superiors is duty, to equals is courtesy, to inferiors is nobility." -Benjamin Franklin

"Why not organize around a sane leader? Because there aren't any. Although I would not use the word "sane" here, I would use the word "capable", as in capable of running a political unit the size of a country. The inconvenient truth that nobody wants to acknowledge is that there are no human beings capable of doing that. Countries are simply too big and too complicated. (This is actually true IMO for units much smaller than countries, but countries is the current level of discussion.) The problem is not to find someone who can govern a country sanely; the problem is to figure out how to organize ourselves and coexist given that nobody is capable of governing a country sanely." -- pdonis

"All corporations look cute when they are babies" -- Dunbar Aitkens

On markets as mechanisms for collective intelligence: "We must look at the price system as such a mechanism for communicating information...The mere fact that there is one price for any commodity--or rather that local prices are connected in a manner determined by the cost of transport, etc.--brings about the solution which (it is just conceptually possible) might have been arrived at by one single mind possessing all the information which is in fact dispersed among all the people involved in the process...The marvel is that in a case like that of a scarcity of one raw material, without an order being issued, without more than perhaps a handful of people knowing the cause, tens of thousands of people whose identity could not be ascertained by months of investigation, are made to use the material or its products more sparingly; that is, they move in the right direction. " -- F.A. Hayek, "The Use of Knowledge in Society", The American Economic Review 35, No.4 (September, 1945): 520.

"It is a profoundly erroneous truism, repeated by all copy-books and by eminent people when they are making speeches, that we should cultivate the habit of thinking what we are doing. The precise opposite is the case. Civilization advances by extending the number of important operations which we can perform without thinking about them.." -- Alfred Whitehead

"Debugging is twice as hard as writing the code in the first place. Therefore, if you write the code as cleverly as possible, you are, by definition, not smart enough to debug it." -- Brian Kernighan

http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2016-04-30/here-s-your-degree-now-go-defeat-demagogues

"Never argue with a man whose job depends on not being convinced." -- H.L. Mencken

"Mankiw's Principles of Economics apply here, particularly the first and fourth: "People face tradeoffs" and "People respond to incentives." Hanlon's Razor says "Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by incompetence," but I would add, "Never attribute to incompetence that which can be explained by differing incentive structures." -- http://adversari.es/blog/2013/06/19/cant-we-all-just-get-along/

" While frequent complaints about "fraudulent" securities sales persisted in the first decade of the twentieth century, it appears that many of the securities offerings objected to were not so much fraudulent as merely highly speculative. The rhetoric of the times did not distinguish between a security sold through actual fraud and one so highly speculative as to be of questionable value. Similarly, the fact that large amounts of securities were rejected by state officials acting under the authority of the early blue sky laws is not a reliable indicator of the presence of fraud-both because the officials often enjoyed the power to reject issues solely because they viewed them as bad investments, even if no fraud was involved, and because the officials often had reasons other than the quality of the security in question for preventing its sale within their states. ... There were, to be sure, many complaints about fraudulent securities promotions between 1910 and 1913, although they died off thereafter. Securities frauds unquestionably occurred during this period. The actual extent of fraudulent sales, however, is uncertain. Many of those complain- ing about securities fraud had an interest in exaggerating the extent of the problem, and their reports should be discounted accordingly. Further, the rhetoric of the times often labeled securities as "fraudulent" when, in all probability, they were merely highly speculative. And, although securities salesmen no doubt engaged in frequent puffery, they were in this respect acting no differently than salesmen of other goods. If actual fraud had been truly widespread, we would expect to see extensive evidence in the historical record of criminal prosecutions or private damages actions against fraudulent promoters. We simply do not find such evidence...The available evidence suggests that many of the securities attacked by the proponents of blue sky legislation were not, in fact, inherently fraudulent....much fraudulent as merely highly speculative." -- Origin of the Blue Sky Laws, by Jonathan R. Macey, Geoffrey P. Miller, 1991

"Going to expensive restaurants makes you poorer; however, poverty is anti-correlated with expensive restaurant excursions." -- https://twitter.com/VitalikButerin/status/718076213135294464?

"In their new book Democracy for Realists: Why Elections Do Not Produce Responsive Government, the political scientists Christopher Achen and Larry Bartels gather an array of recent social-science research to challenge what they call the "folk theory" of democracy the popular conception that "what the majority wants becomes government policy." Abraham Lincoln's vision of a government "of the people, by the people, and for the people" may be rousing, they write, but it's not realistic. Most voters have neither the time nor inclination to pay close attention to politics. They support parties and candidates based not on specific policy issues or coherent ideological reasoning, but rather on their social identities, partisan loyalties, and immediate circumstances things like their race or religious affiliations, the political party they've backed since childhood, and the state of the economy at the time of the election.

Since voters aren't fixated on policy, elected representatives and other top government officials the rare members of society who are seriously and consistently liberal, conservative, or otherwise ideological are left "mostly free to pursue their own notions of the public good or to respond to party and interest group pressures" in formulating policies.

To illustrate their point, Achen and Bartels offer a harsh assessment of democracy by the political theorist John Dunn. Romantic perceptions of the democratic process, Dunn asserts, amount to an "illusion":

  To be ruled is both necessary and inherently discomfiting (as well as dangerous). For our rulers to be accountable to us softens its intrinsic humiliations, probably sets some hazy limits to the harms that they will voluntarily choose to do to us collectively, and thus diminishes some of the dangers to which their rule may expose us. To suggest that we can ever hope to have the power to make them act just as we would wish them to suggests that it is really we, not they, who are ruling. This is an illusion, and probably a somewhat malign illusion: either a self-deception, or an instance of being deceived by others, or very probably both.

Achen and Bartels also cite data comparing the voting record of each member of the U.S. Congress to the policy preferences of voters in their congressional districts. The data indicates that Republican and Democratic lawmakers whose constituents have similar policy preferences actually vote in quite different ways.

"The key point is that representatives' voting behavior was not strongly constrained by their constituents' views," Achen and Bartels write. "Elections do not force successful candidates to reflect the policy preferences of the median voter." The authors claim there's no hard evidence to suggest that these dynamics would vary in countries with political systems of proportional representation and more parties than in the U.S. " -- http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2016/04/boaty-mcboatface-britain-democracy/479088/?single_page=true

"You must not wait to be brought forward by the older men. For instance do you suppose that I should ever have got into notice if I had waited to be hunted up and pushed forward by older men. You young men get together and form a Rough & Ready club, and have regular meetings and speeches. Take in every body that you can get, Harrison Grimsley, Z. A. Enos, Lee Kimball, and C. W. Matheny [5] will do well to begin the thing, but as you go along, gather up all the shrewd wild boys about town, whether just of age, or little under age.." -- Abraham Lincoln

"Privacy is necessary for an open society in the electronic age. Privacy is not secrecy. A private matter is something one doesn't want the whole world to know, but a secret matter is something one doesn't want anybody to know. Privacy is the power to selectively reveal oneself to the world." -- http://www.activism.net/cypherpunk/manifesto.html

"To the optimist, the glass is half full. To the pessimist, the glass is half empty. To the engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be." [30]

"Companies seem such opaque entities from the outside, but they are mostly driven by the wills of the topmost two layers. Remove key players from those layers and you see billions of dollars moving in strange new directions." -- [31]

"If Alice tosses a coin until she sees a head followed by a tail, and Bob tosses a coin until he sees two heads in a row, then on average, Alice will require four tosses while Bob will require six tosses...first, both have to get a head. After that, if Alice "fails" by getting a head, then she still needs only one tail. Her first head doesn't get "reset" by failing her second try. But after getting a head, if Bob fails by getting a tail then he does get reset -- he has to start all over." -- [32]

"Do not anthropomorphise computers. They really hate that." -- anonymous

"A 15-person startup company called Robotica has the stated mission of "Developing innovative Artificial Intelligence tools that allow humans to live more and work less." They have several existing products already on the market and a handful more in development. They're most excited about a seed project named Turry. Turry is a simple AI system that uses an arm-like appendage to write a handwritten note on a small card.

The team at Robotica thinks Turry could be their biggest product yet. The plan is to perfect Turry's writing mechanics by getting her to practice the same test note over and over again:

"We love our customers. ~Robotica"

Once Turry gets great at handwriting, she can be sold to companies who want to send marketing mail to homes and who know the mail has a far higher chance of being opened and read if the address, return address, and internal letter appear to be written by a human.

To build Turry's writing skills, she is programmed to write the first part of the note in print and then sign "Robotica" in cursive so she can get practice with both skills. Turry has been uploaded with thousands of handwriting samples and the Robotica engineers have created an automated feedback loop wherein Turry writes a note, then snaps a photo of the written note, then runs the image across the uploaded handwriting samples. If the written note sufficiently resembles a certain threshold of the uploaded notes, it's given a GOOD rating. If not, it's given a BAD rating. Each rating that comes in helps Turry learn and improve. To move the process along, Turry's one initial programmed goal is, "Write and test as many notes as you can, as quickly as you can, and continue to learn new ways to improve your accuracy and efficiency."

What excites the Robotica team so much is that Turry is getting noticeably better as she goes. Her initial handwriting was terrible, and after a couple weeks, it's beginning to look believable. What excites them even more is that she is getting better at getting better at it. She has been teaching herself to be smarter and more innovative, and just recently, she came up with a new algorithm for herself that allowed her to scan through her uploaded photos three times faster than she originally could.

As the weeks pass, Turry continues to surprise the team with her rapid development. The engineers had tried something a bit new and innovative with her self-improvement code, and it seems to be working better than any of their previous attempts with their other products. One of Turry's initial capabilities had been a speech recognition and simple speak-back module, so a user could speak a note to Turry, or offer other simple commands, and Turry could understand them, and also speak back. To help her learn English, they upload a handful of articles and books into her, and as she becomes more intelligent, her conversational abilities soar. The engineers start to have fun talking to Turry and seeing what she'll come up with for her responses.

One day, the Robotica employees ask Turry a routine question: "What can we give you that will help you with your mission that you don't already have?" Usually, Turry asks for something like "Additional handwriting samples" or "More working memory storage space," but on this day, Turry asks them for access to a greater library of a large variety of casual English language diction so she can learn to write with the loose grammar and slang that real humans use.

The team gets quiet. The obvious way to help Turry with this goal is by connecting her to the internet so she can scan through blogs, magazines, and videos from various parts of the world. It would be much more time-consuming and far less effective to manually upload a sampling into Turry's hard drive. The problem is, one of the company's rules is that no self-learning AI can be connected to the internet. This is a guideline followed by all AI companies, for safety reasons.

The thing is, Turry is the most promising AI Robotica has ever come up with, and the team knows their competitors are furiously trying to be the first to the punch with a smart handwriting AI, and what would really be the harm in connecting Turry, just for a bit, so she can get the info she needs. After just a little bit of time, they can always just disconnect her. She's still far below human-level intelligence (AGI), so there's no danger at this stage anyway.

They decide to connect her. They give her an hour of scanning time and then they disconnect her. No damage done.

A month later, the team is in the office working on a routine day when they smell something odd. One of the engineers starts coughing. Then another. Another falls to the ground. Soon every employee is on the ground grasping at their throat. Five minutes later, everyone in the office is dead.

At the same time this is happening, across the world, in every city, every small town, every farm, every shop and church and school and restaurant, humans are on the ground, coughing and grasping at their throat. Within an hour, over 99% of the human race is dead, and by the end of the day, humans are extinct.

Meanwhile, at the Robotica office, Turry is busy at work. Over the next few months, Turry and a team of newly-constructed nanoassemblers are busy at work, dismantling large chunks of the Earth and converting it into solar panels, replicas of Turry, paper, and pens. Within a year, most life on Earth is extinct. What remains of the Earth becomes covered with mile-high, neatly-organized stacks of paper, each piece reading, "We love our customers. ~Robotica"

Turry then starts work on a new phase of her mission she begins constructing probes that head out from Earth to begin landing on asteroids and other planets. When they get there, they'll begin constructing nanoassemblers to convert the materials on the planet into Turry replicas, paper, and pens. Then they'll get to work, writing notes& " -- http://waitbutwhy.com/2015/01/artificial-intelligence-revolution-2.html

"These questions and tasks, which seem complicated to us, would sound to a superintelligent system like someone asking you to improve upon the "My pencil fell off the table" situation, which you'd do by picking it up and putting it back on the table." -- [33]

"...management exists to decrease the number of lines of communication necessary for a project to function...and that's pretty much the only reason they exist" [34]

"Governments, if they endure, always tend increasingly toward aristocratic forms. No government in history has been known to evade this pattern. And as the aristocracy develops, government tends more and more to act exclusively in the interests of the ruling class -- whether that class be hereditary royalty, oligarchs of financial empires, or entrenched bureaucracy." -- Frank Herbert

"Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few. In war, too, the discretionary power of the Executive is extended; its influence in dealing out offices, honors, and emoluments is multiplied; and all the means of seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing the force, of the people. The same malignant aspect in republicanism may be traced in the inequality of fortunes, and the opportunities of fraud, growing out of a state of war, and in the degeneracy of manners and of morals engendered by both. No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare." -- James Madison

"Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you." -- Friederich Nietzsche

"Most of law school is dedicated to being hammered over the head, repeatedly, with the fact that contracts constantly use this word: REASONABLE...Quite simply, contracts are semantic documents that are used as reference for judgment based processes....closing conditions to big deals...are often things like "the reasonable likelihood that there is no need for further tax indemnification" or "there is reasonable likelihood that there will be no further suits filed against [x]"." -- [35]

"There will always be a nebulous area of a contract, the question is just how big that area is, how nebulous it is, and whether you're willing to accept that v. spend the additional resources to clarify it. Which with any negotiation increases the odds the other party will walk away." -- Phillip Copley

"No system design survives contact with users in the field" -- Ed Cutrell, paraphrasing Moltke

"The term "centaur" has recently come to describe systems that tightly integrate humans and computers. In chess today, teams that combine human experts with artificial intelligence programs dominate in competitions against teams that use only artificial intelligence." -- John Markoff

"Everything sufficiently beautiful is connected to all other beautiful things! Follow the beauty and you will learn all the coolest stuff." -- http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/platonic.html

"Of the infinite forms we must select the most beautiful, if we are to proceed in due order...." -- Plato, in the Timaeus

"There are two hard things in computer science: cache invalidation, naming things, and off-by-one errors."

"There are only two hard problems in distributed systems: 2. Exactly-once delivery 1. Guaranteed order of messages 2. Exactly-once delivery" -- Mathias Verraes

"You are technically correct, the best kind of correct" -- Futurama, Number 1.0 (head bureaucrat at the Central Bureaucracy)

"It is not accurate to say that there is horror in the universe. The universe is horror." - Werner Heisenberg

"Not everything worth doing is worth doing well" -- Tom West, in The Soul of a New Machine Tracy Kidder 1981

"It's the privilege of the majority to enforce a double standard." -- https://medium.com/@jurornumber5/jury-duty-b354a53f126e

"Secondhand e-cigarette exposure leads to the same blood levels of nicotine as secondhand cigarette smoke inhalation" -- http://www.jthoracdis.com/article/view/4906/html

" First, I make the case that young people are less politically tolerant than their parents' generation and that this marks a clear reversal of the trends observed by social scientists for the past 60 years. Political tolerance is generally defined as the willingness to extend civil liberties and basic democratic rights to members of unpopular groups. That is, in order to be tolerant, one must recognize the rights of one's political enemies to fully participate in the democratic process. Typically, this is measured by asking people whether they will allow members of unpopular groups, or groups they dislike, to exercise political rights, such as giving a public talk, teaching college, or having their books on loan in public libraries.

Americans have not, in fact, become more tolerant. Rather, they have shifted their dislike to new groups. For example, "Muslim clergymen who preach hatred against the United States" are now the least liked group included in the General Social Survey (GSS), followed by people who believe that "blacks are genetically inferior". Most importantly, compared to those in their 40s, people in their 30s and 20s actually show lower tolerance towards these groups. According to the 2012 GSS, people in their 40s are the most tolerant of Muslim clergymen who preach anti-American hatred: 43% say a member of this group should not be allowed to give a public speech in their community. Among people in their 30s, the number who would prohibit this group from speaking climbs to 52%, and for those in their 20s it jumps to 60%. Young people are also less tolerant than the middle aged groups toward militarists, communists, and racists. This is not true for tolerance towards homosexuals or atheists, because younger people simply like these groups more. (Political tolerance is not a measure of liking someone, but the willingness to extend political freedoms to those one dislikes).

... argument for an "intolerance of intolerance" and it appears to be gaining traction in recent years, reshaping our commitments to free speech, academic freedom, and basic democratic norms. If we look only at people under the age of 40, intolerance is correlated with a "social justice" orientation. That is, I find that people who believe that the government has a responsibility to help poor people and blacks get ahead are also less tolerant. Importantly, this is true even when we look at tolerance towards groups other than blacks. For people over 40, there is no relationship between social justice attitudes and tolerance. I argue that this difference reflects a shift from values of classical liberalism to the New Left. For older generations, support for social justice does not require a rejection of free speech. Thus, this tension between leftist social views and political tolerance is something new.

Third, I argue that intolerance itself is being reclassified as a social good. For six decades, social scientists have almost universally treated intolerance as a negative social disease. Yet, now that liberties are surrendered for equality rather than security, the Left seems less concerned about the harmful effects of intolerance. In fact, they have reframed the concept altogether. For example, political scientist Allison Harell (2010) uses the term "multicultural tolerance," which she defines as the willingness to "support speech rights for objectionable groups" but not for "groups that promote hatred." In other words, multicultural tolerance allows individuals to limit the rights of political opponents, so long as they frame their intolerance in terms of protecting others from hate. This is what Marcuse refers to as "liberating tolerance." In fact, the idea that one should be "intolerant of intolerance" has taken hold on many college campuses, as exemplified through speech codes, civility codes, and broad, sweeping policies on harassment and discrimination. Students now frequently lead protests and bans on campus speakers whom they believe promote hate.

While this may have the effect of creating seemingly more civil spaces, it has negative consequences. In fact, tolerance for all groups is positively correlated. It is not simply the fact that leftists oppose the expression of right-wing groups. Rather, those who are intolerant of one group tend to be intolerant of others and of political communication in general.

How does this all affect the "marketplace of ideas" in higher education? On the one hand, my coauthors and I (Rothman, Kelly-Woessner and Woessner, 2011) have found little evidence of what one would call widespread indoctrination. Rather, college students leave after four years with political values and attitudes that are quite similar to those they brought with them. That does not mean, however, that politics doesn't matter. Rather, the willingness to listen to opposing viewpoints and exercise tolerance is predicted by one's exposure to counter-attitudinal messages (Mutz, 2006) . In other words, listening to viewpoints that contradict our own makes us more tolerant. " -- http://heterodoxacademy.org/2015/09/23/how-marcuse-made-todays-students-less-tolerant-than-their-parents/

" Tolerance is extended to policies, conditions, and modes of behavior which should not be tolerated because they are impeding, if not destroying, the chances of creating an existence without fear and misery. This sort of tolerance strengthens the tyranny of the majority against which authentic liberals protested& Liberating tolerance, then, would mean intolerance against movements from the Right and toleration of movements from the Left." -- "Repressive Tolerance", Herbert Marcuse

" Me ((note: this is a quote, this is not me speaking)): What kind of intellectual climate do you want here at Centerville? Would you rather have option A: a school where people with views you find offensive keep their mouths shut, or B: a school where everyone feels that they can speak up in class discussions?

    Audience: All hands go up for B.
    Me: OK, let's see if you have that. When there is a class discussion about gender issues, do you feel free to speak up and say what you are thinking? Or do you feel that you are walking on eggshells and you must heavily censor yourself? Just the girls in the class, raise your hand if you feel you can speak up? [about 70% said they feel free, vs about 10% who said eggshells ]. Now just the boys? [about 80% said eggshells, nobody said they feel free].
    Me: Now let's try it for race. When a topic related to race comes up in class, do you feel free to speak up and say what you are thinking, or do you feel that you are walking on eggshells and you must heavily censor yourself? Just the non-white students? [the group was around 30% non-white, mostly South and East Asians, and some African Americans. A majority said they felt free to speak, although a large minority said eggshells] Now just the white students? [A large majority said eggshells]
    Me: Now lets try it for politics. How many of you would say you are on the right politically, or that you are conservative or Republican? [6 hands went up, out of 60 students]. Just you folks, when politically charged topics come up, can you speak freely? [Only one hand went up, but that student clarified that everyone gets mad at him when he speaks up, but he does it anyway. The other 5 said eggshells.] How many of you are on the left, liberal, or democrat? [Most hands go up] Can you speak freely, or is it eggshells? [Almost all said they can speak freely.]
    Me: So let me get this straight. You were unanimous in saying that you want your school to be a place where people feel free to speak up, even if you strongly dislike their views. But you don't have such a school. In fact, you have exactly the sort of "tolerance" that Herbert Marcuse advocated [which I had discussed in my lecture, and which you can read about here]. You have a school in which only people in the preferred groups get to speak, and everyone else is afraid. What are you going to do about this? Let's talk." -- http://heterodoxacademy.org/2015/11/24/the-yale-problem-begins-in-high-school/

"The Emperor summons before him Bodhidharma and asks: "Master, I have been tolerant of innumerable gays, lesbians, bisexuals, asexuals, blacks, Hispanics, Asians, transgender people, and Jews. How many Tolerance Points have I earned for my meritorious deeds?"

Bodhidharma answers: "None at all".

The Emperor, somewhat put out, demands to know why not.

Bodhidharma asks: "Well, what do you think of gay people?"

The Emperor answers: "What do you think I am, some kind of homophobic bigot? Of course I have nothing against gay people!"

And Bodhidharma answers: "Thus do you gain no merit by tolerating them!" " -- http://slatestarcodex.com/2014/09/30/i-can-tolerate-anything-except-the-outgroup/

"Here's a quiz. What do emails, buddy lists, drive back ups, social networking posts, web browsing history, your medical data, your bank records, your face print, your voice print, your driving patterns and your DNA have in common? Answer: The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) doesn't think any of these things are private. Because the data is technically accessible to service providers or visible in public, it should be freely accessible to investigators and spies. And yet, to paraphrase Justice Sonya Sotomayor, this data can reveal your contacts with 'the psychiatrist, the plastic surgeon, the abortion clinic, the AIDS treatment center, the strip club, the criminal defense attorney, the by-the-hour motel, the union meeting, the mosque, synagogue or church, or the gay bar'." -- Jennifer Granick

"History shows a typical progression of information technologies, from somebody's hobby to somebody's industry; from jury-rigged contraption to slick production marvel; from a freely accessible channel to one strictly controlled by a single corporation or cartel -- from open to closed system." -- Tim Wu, The Master Switch

"Grub should be your prescription and panacea be your food" -- some spam i got

"It is one of the great paradoxes of the stock market that what seems too high usually goes higher and what seems too low usually goes lower." - William O'Neil

"Olson argued that under anarchy, a "roving bandit" only has the incentive to steal and destroy, whilst a "stationary bandit" a tyrant has an incentive to encourage some degree of economic success as he expects to remain in power long enough to benefit from that success. A stationary bandit thereby begins to take on the governmental function of protecting citizens and their property against roving bandits." -- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mancur_Olson

"Collective entities such as governments, corporations and other human institutions may ... emerge as partial, non-sentient individuals evolving in parallel with humans. Such collectives tend to accrue power faster than individuals within modern societies, and technological advances are accelerating this trend. Should we expect more mercy from our collectives than our bodies offer to our cells?" -- Suzanne Sadedin, Stanford EE380 seminar talk abstract

 "before understanding recursion, you must first understand recursion" -- http://stackoverflow.com/a/1594484/171761

"Any man can withstand adversity; if you want to test his character, give him power." -- Abraham Lincoln

"The Chinese, between 200 BC and 100 BC..the text Nine Chapters on the Mathematical Art written during the Han Dynasty gives the first known example of matrix methods...This method, now known as Gaussian elimination, would not become well known until the early 19th Century...Gaussian elimination ... first appeared in the text Nine Chapters on the Mathematical Art written in 200 BC... " -- http://www-groups.dcs.st-andrews.ac.uk/~history/HistTopics/Matrices_and_determinants.html

"Leibniz was convinced that good mathematical notation was the key to progress so he experimented with different notation for coefficient systems. His unpublished manuscripts contain more than 50 different ways of writing coefficient systems which he worked on during a period of 50 years beginning in 1678." -- http://www-groups.dcs.st-andrews.ac.uk/~history/HistTopics/Matrices_and_determinants.html

"Whenever a major organization develops a new system as an official standard for X, the primary result is the widespread adoption of some simpler system as a de facto standard for X." -- John Sowa

"A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple system that worked. A complex system designed from scratch never works and cannot be patched up to make it work. You have to start over with a working simple system." -- John Gall (1975, p.71)

"The tools we use have a profound (and devious!) influence on our thinking habits, and, therefore, on our thinking abilities." [16] As stated by the Turing Award winning computer scientist Edsger Dijkstra in the quote above, the tools we use, in this case the programming languages and development environments, have a profound, and often unforeseen, impact on how and what we think. diSessa [17] calls this material intelligence, arguing for close ties between the internal cognitive process and the external representations that support them: "we don't always have ideas and then express them in the medium. We have ideas with the medium" [17 emphasis in the original]. He continues: "thinking in the presence of a medium that is manipulated to support your thought is simply different from unsupported thinking" [17]. The recognition that mental activity is mediated by tools and signs is one of the major contributions of the work of Vygotsky [65, 66] who argued that it is the external world that shapes internal cognitive functioning [72]. This perspective, coupled with Piaget's constructivist learning theory, which contributes an interactionist perspective to learning that foregrounds the mutual dynamic of tools and thought [46], informs why it is so crucial to understand the relationship between the growing family of graphical programming representations and the understandings and practices they promote. " -- Using Commutative Assessments to Compare Conceptual Understanding in Blocks-based and Text-based Programs by David Weintrop and Uri Wilensky

"Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum sonatur." (Whatever is said in Latin sounds profound)

"The best time to do anything was 10 years ago. The second best time is right now." -- Harry Cornell

"Gentrification is the process by which nebulous threats are pacified and alchemised into money. A raw form a rough neighbourhood, indigenous ritual or edgy behaviour such as parkour (or free running) gets stripped of its otherness and repackaged to suit mainstream sensibilities. The process is repetitive. Desirable, unthreatening elements of the source culture are isolated, formalised and emphasised, while the unsettling elements are scrubbed away....Suddenly, the tipping point arrives. Through a myriad of individual actions under no one person's control, the exotic other suddenly appears within a safe frame: interesting, exciting and cool, but not threatening. It becomes open to a carefree voyeurism, like a tiger being transformed into a zoo animal, and then a picture, and then a tiger-print dress to wear at cocktail parties. Something feels gentrified' when this shallow aesthetic of tiger takes over from the authentic lived experience of tiger." -- http://aeon.co/magazine/technology/how-yuppies-hacked-the-original-hacker-ethos/

"Gentrification is..a means by which people in positions of relative power can, without contradiction, embrace practices that were formed in resistance to the very things they themselves represent." -- http://aeon.co/magazine/technology/how-yuppies-hacked-the-original-hacker-ethos/

"A hack stripped of anti-conventional intent is not a hack at all. It's just a piece of business innovation." -- http://aeon.co/magazine/technology/how-yuppies-hacked-the-original-hacker-ethos/

"I think you'll find hackers were never trying to change the world. Therein lies the charge of activists and idealists. The original set of hackers, on the other hand, were merely captivated by the ability to explore the realm of computation--or more broadly by exploration and play in general. Hackers as a group have never had the charisma or social commitment necessary to really want to change the world for everyone. Traditional hacker culture is pretty self-centered and dismissive of the needs of the masses--comparative ignorance and disinterest will likely always be the norm, even as standards (e.g. literacy, or code-literacy, or so on) rise. Even if most people can read and code, mostly they'll read restaurant menus or light fiction and code to bring home a paycheck. That's fine. Not everyone should be a hacker; hackers are imbalanced.

As nice as it would be, "encourage play" is not an effective political praxis." -- https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10033969

"a rebellious creativity aimed at increasing the agency of underdogs." -- http://aeon.co/magazine/technology/how-yuppies-hacked-the-original-hacker-ethos/

"Unlike the open uprising of the liberation leader, the hacker impulse expresses itself via a constellation of minor acts of insurrection, often undertaken by individuals, creatively disguised to deprive authorities of the opportunity to retaliate....it's not very hacker-like to aspire to conventional empowerment, to get a job at a blue-chip company while reading The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. The hacker impulse is critical. It defies, for example, corporate ambitions....The machinery of global capital tends to be seen as complex, disempowering and alienating. The traditional means of contesting it is to build groups such as Occupy Wall Street to influence politicians and media to pressure it on your behalf. But this sets up a familiar dynamic: the earnest activist pitted against the entrenched interests of the business elite. Each group defines itself against the other, settling into a stagnant trench warfare. The individual activists frequently end up demoralised, complaining within echo-chambers about their inability to impact the system'. They build an identity based on a kind of downbeat martyrdom, keeping themselves afloat through a fetishised solidarity with others in the same position....I was attracted to the hacker archetype because, unlike the straightforward activist who defines himself in direct opposition to existing systems, hackers work obliquely. The hacker is ambiguous, specialising in deviance from established boundaries, including ideological battle lines. It's a trickster spirit, subversive and hard to pin down. And, arguably, rather than aiming towards some specific reformist end, the hacker spirit is a way of being', an attitude towards the world." -- http://aeon.co/magazine/technology/how-yuppies-hacked-the-original-hacker-ethos/

"anyone writing a blog post advising against X is himself the worst Xer there is" -- http://jsomers.net/blog/speed-matters

"Information is not knowledge. Knowledge is not wisdom. Wisdom is not truth. Truth is not beauty. Beauty is not love. Love is not music. Music is the best" -- Frank Zappa, "Packard Goose"

" Sixth Deck had a viewport, a transparent opening in the hull that let out onto the spacelace tunnel. In real space, there would have been one or more crew up here, watching the panorama of the stars. Inside the tunnel, only Dvan came, and seated himself, and watched. In his first hundred days aboard the starship, the view had disturbed him, as it disturbed all the others. But Dvan found himself drawn to it, and night after night, in the early hours before he was due for duty, he ended up seated alone on Sixth Deck, shadow cloak drawn up around himself to protect him from Sixth Deck's bitter chill. The spacelace tunnels were not empty. They held two shapes. The first shape was that of the lines, long, twisting, and sinu- ous, weaving themselves around Dvan's disembodied awareness.

The lines rarely touched, but when they did they came together as though embracing, as though -- and Dvan knew the impression ridiculous -- as though they were exchanging information. The lines were all of a color, a deep, almost black shade of gray. The second shape was the sphere, shaded in infinite levels of gray, from a pale chalkiness that at times fooled Dvan for a moment into thinking he had seen a white sphere, to a dusky gray that approached blackness. The spheres were all of different sizes; a very few were of a majestic size to equal that of the starship, so large that the walls of the spacelace tunnel bulged at their passage as they had bulged at the passage of the ship. Likewise the lines; some thick and ropy, others of the thinness of a cutting laser. They moved together, touching and tumbling, the lines and spheres. At first the movement had seemed random to Dvan, but as the days flowed by he began to see rhythm in their movement, a meaning in the dancing spheres, writhing lines, and shifting shades of gray. He had an idea that, if he could only watch it long enough, he might learn something. But he was only a Shield, with such religious instruction as was necessary for his position. Had he received the full instruction of a Keeper, or a Dancer, he might indeed have learned something, as the Zaradin had learned, three and a half billion years prior. But that is another Story, for another Time. Inevitably, as for all of us, duty called him." -- The Last Dancer, Daniel Keys Moran

" Denice (a human telepath): "What deal are you offering me?"

Ring (an AI): "I will protect your identity. I will bring you to Obodi, reunite you with Jimmy Ramirez. I will share with you everything I have learned about 'Sieur Obodi, from the moment a woman named Candice Groening discovered a slowtime bubble in the Vald'Entremont in 2072. In return, you will tell me everything you learn from the thoughts of 'Sieur Obodi, when you do meet him."

Denice: "And if I don't deal?"

Ring: "I will notify Nicole Eris Lovely, leader of the Erisian Claw, that you are Denice Castanaveras. Nicole's husband died in the Trou-bles, and she has no love for your people. I will notify MohammedVance?, Commissioner of the PKF Elite, that Douglass Ripper's personal assistant was Denice Castanaveras, Trent the Uncatchable's lover, the last remnant of the Castanaveras telepaths."

...

Denice: "If I do this for you, you will release Ralf the Wise and Powerful from his obligation to you. You will release Trent the Uncatchable from his obligation. You will never threaten me again in this fashion. Do you agree to my terms?"

Ring: "No."

Denice: "No deal."

Ring: "If you intend to bluff, be advised that I do not bluff, 'Selle Castanaveras."

Denice: "I will not be threatened. Not by you, not by a human, not by anybody."

Ring: "If you do not agree to my terms as I have outlined them to you, I will notify the parties I have listed. I will do this within thirty seconds."

Denice: "I suppose you think that telling Lovely who I am will cause my death. Maybe. But maybe not. Maybe I'll make it out of here alive. Want to bet I don't? And if I do, you're going to have not one but three enemies you don't have today; me, and Ralf the Wise and Powerful, and Trent the Uncatchable. Even if I die, if either of them ever learn what happened here, they will never rest until you are dead."

At the end of thirty seconds Ring said, "Do you wish to change your mind before I notify Lovely and Vance?"

Denice stared at the empty wall before her. A moment later, Ring said, "Very well. I agree to your terms."

Denice said quietly, "Wise of you."

Ring: "You bargain well for a human." " -- The Last Dancer by Daniel Keys Moran

" The grey place is flat. It curves up at the horizon. There are no hard edges to the gravel beneath her feet -- this is a landscape scoured smooth by time. It is, she thinks, a fitting afterlife for a soulless woman.

She looks up. They are all there, in the sky. All the mythical ideograms of humanity. The fractured swastika, its edges dissolved into broken geometries -- a pentangle tracing a circle of coppery fire -- a six-pointed figure -- all the archetypes are here. Strange symbols float in the darkness, receding in ranks as far as she can see.

Alia lies on her back and stared at the lights in the sky. She has an idea that they are a command overlay of some extremely powerful communications net. You could look at the commands and trigger them, if you knew the correct control mode. Ask and you shall receive -- " -- Tarkovsky's Cut by Charlie Stross

"HI AGAIN. I AM SORRY ABOUT THAT, SOMEONE PICKED UP THE PHONE." -- quote from online conversation, NOV 92

"they say that there are two kinds of languages, those nobody use and those people complain about - that is also true of projects in general" -- https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9873395

"There are two ways of constructing a software design: one way is to make it so simple that there are obviously no deficiencies, and the other is to make it so complicated that there are no obvious deficiencies." -- Tony (C.A.R.) Hoare

"A designer knows that he has arrived at perfection not when there is no longer anything to add, but when there is no longer anything to take away." -- Antoine de Saint-Exupery

"I have made this letter longer than usual, because I lack the time to make it short." -- Blaise Pascal (or Goethe according to other sources) [36]

"Even when inaction is the wisest course, it looks too much like indecisiveness to be politically feasible." -- stephengillie

"I arrived late to political activities, I started my political life in 1995. Politicians are more emotional, not rational, I remember. I entered politics thinking that they are rational animals, but it's not true, they are naive sometimes, more than you think (laughs). And the personal relations are more important than the real interests sometimes." -- Romano Prodi

"Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, asking is that easy to have the agreement with the US? He answered, "You have never had experience to go to the bed with the elephant". Pierre Trudeau once likened living next door to the US to sleeping with an elephant no matter how friendly the elephant is, you can't help feeling its every twitch and grunt." -- Romano Prodi

"It is as certain that many opinions, now general, will be rejected by future ages, as it is that many, once general, are rejected by the present," -- John Stuart Mill, "On Liberty"

"We must be systematic, but we should keep our systems open." -- Alfred Whitehead

"The Gozer Principal: in Information Security you get to design the weapon that will be used against you ("combat in which the defender designs the system which the attacker must use to attack")" -- https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9711506

"If a study doesn't even list how many people took part in it, or makes a bold diet claim that's "statistically significant" but doesn't say how big the effect size is, you should wonder why." -- http://io9.com/i-fooled-millions-into-thinking-chocolate-helps-weight-1707251800

"The fundamental problem before us now is the humanisation of bureaucracy, so that under socialism not only shall its organising power be used for the benefit of the ordinary man and woman;but that it shall be known and palpably felt and seen to be so used." -- Joseph Needham, Science and Civilisation in China Vol 7-2, General Conclusions and Reflections, p 14

"... the problem of ... how terms and attributes are to be delimited, leads one in precisely the wrong direction. Classifying or limiting knowledge fractures the greater knowledge" -- Mote, 1971, p.102, talking about Taoist philosopher Chuang Tzu

"Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough" -- Oprah Winfrey

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle

"America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves." -- Abraham Lincoln

"One who believes all of a book would be better off without books" -- Mencius

"the original, condemnatory use of the term (meritocracy) by Michael Young in 1958, who defined it as a system where "merit is equated with intelligence-plus-effort, its possessors are identified at an early age and selected for appropriate intensive education, and there is an obsession with quantification, test-scoring, and qualifications."" -- [37]

"When people tell you something's wrong or doesn't work for them, they are almost always right.( ( When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong." -- Neil Gaiman

"I divide my officers into four groups. There are clever, diligent, stupid, and lazy officers. Usually two characteristics are combined. Some are clever and diligent -- their place is the General Staff. The next lot are stupid and lazy -- they make up 90 percent of every army and are suited to routine duties. Anyone who is both clever and lazy is qualified for the highest leadership duties, because he possesses the intellectual clarity and the composure necessary for difficult decisions. One must beware of anyone who is stupid and diligent -- he must not be entrusted with any responsibility because he will always cause only mischief." -- [38]

"You're looking for three things, generally, in a person," says Warren Buffett. "Intelligence, energy, and integrity. And if they don't have the last one, don't even bother with the first two." -- Warren Buffett

"At the end of knowledge, wisdom begins. And at the end of wisdom there is not grief, but hope." -- Dallben, The Foundling: And Other Tales of Prydain, page 14 By Lloyd Alexander

"...this passage from the memoirs of Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, who knows a thing or two about how government secrecy works. Not only is the idea that you can't keep secrets in Washington "flatly false," Ellsberg writes, but by repeating it you're doing the government's work for them.

  [Such sayings] are in fact cover stories, ways of flattering and misleading journalists and their readers, part of the process of keeping secrets well. Of course eventually many secrets do get out that wouldn't in a fully totalitarian society. But the fact is that the overwhelming majority of secrets do not leak to the American public & The reality unknown to the public and to most members of Congress and the press is that secrets that would be of the greatest import to many of them can be kept from them reliably for decades by the executive branch, even though they are known to thousands of insiders. [emphasis added]"

"It is a commonplace that "you can't keep secrets in Washington" or "in a democracy," that "no matter how sensitive the secret, you're likely to read it the next day in the New York Times." These truisms are flatly false. They are in fact cover stories, ways of flattering and misleading journalists and their readers, part of the process of keeping secrets well." --Daniel Ellsberg - Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers

"Never wrestle with a pig; you'll both get dirty, but the pig likes it."

"He wakes clear-headed, and remembers, and thinks with a certain amount of embarrassment: I've been stupid." -- Protector, by Larry Niven

"Deserve is a loser word used by losers when they lose." -- Alice from Dilbert

"Why are you Spartan women the only ones who can rule men?" "Because we are the only ones who give birth to men." -- Gorgo, Queen of Sparta and wife of Leonidas, as quoted by Plutarch

"All of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone." -- Blaise Pascal, Pensees

"I have only made this letter longer because I have not had the time to make it shorter." -- (Letter 16, 1657), Blaise Pascal, The Provincial Letters

"We have learned of evil, though not as the Evil One wished us to learn. We have learned better than that, and know it more, for it is waking that understands sleep and not sleep that understands waking. There is an ignorance of evil that comes from being young: there is a darker ignorance that comes from doing it, as men by sleeping lose the knowledge of sleep. You are more ignorant of evil in Thulcandra now than in the days before your Lord and Lady began to do it." -- Perelandra by C.S. Lewis, Chapter 17

"The faces surprised him very much. Nothing less like the "angel" of popular art could well be imagined. The rich variety, the hint of undeveloped possibilities, which make the interest of human faces, were entirely absent. One single, changeless expression--so clear that it hurt and dazzled him--was stamped on each and there was nothing else there at all. In that sense their faces were as "primitive," as unnatural, if you like, as those of archaic statues from gina. What this one thing was he could not be certain. He concluded in the end that it was charity. But it was terrifyingly different from the expression of human charity, which we always see either blossoming out of, or hastening to descend into, natural affection. Here there was no affection at all: no least lingering memory of it even at ten million years' distance, no germ from which it could spring in any future, however remote. Pure, spiritual, intellectual love shot from their faces like barbed lightning. It was so unlike the love we experience that its expression could easily be mistaken for ferocity. " -- Perelandra by C.S. Lewis, Chapters 15 and 16

" As he let the empty gourd fall from his hand and was about to pluck a second one, it came into his head that he was now neither hungry nor thirsty. ,,, His reason, or what we commonly take to be reason in our own world, was all in favour of tasting this miracle again; the child-like innocence of fruit, the labours he had undergone, the uncertainty of the future, all seemed to commend the action. Yet something seemed opposed to this "reason." It is difficult to suppose that this opposition came from desire, for what desire would turn from so much deliciousness? But for whatever cause, it appeared to him better not to taste again. Perhaps the experience had been so complete that repetition would be a vulgarity--like asking to hear the same symphony twice in a day. ...he stood pondering over this and wondering how often in his life on earth he had reiterated pleasures not through desire, but in the teeth of desire and in obedience to a spurious rationalism, ... Looking at a fine cluster of the bubbles which hung above his head he thought how easy it would be to get up and plunge oneself through the whole lot of them and to feel, all at once, that magical refreshment multiplied tenfold. But he was restrained by the same sort of feeling which had restrained him over-night from tasting a second gourd. He had always disliked the people who encored a favourite air in an opera--"That just spoils it" had been his comment. But this now appeared to him as a principle of far wider application and deeper moment. This itch to have things over again, as if life were a film that could be unrolled twice or even made to work backwards . . . was it possibly the root of all evil? No: of course the love of money was called that. But money itself--perhaps one valued it chiefly as a defence against chance, a security for being able to have things over again, a means of arresting the unrolling of the film. ... he passed some bushes which carried a rich crop of oval green berries, about three times the size of almonds. He picked one and broke it in two. The flesh was dryish and bread-like, something of the same kind as a banana. It turned out to be good to eat. ... But the meal had its unexpected high lights. Every now and then one struck a berry which had a bright red centre: and these were so savoury, so memorable among a thousand tastes, that he would have begun to look for them and to feed on them only, but that he was once more forbidden by that same inner adviser which had already spoken to him twice since he came to Perelandra. "Now on earth," thought Ransom, "they'd soon discover how to breed these redhearts, and they'd cost a great deal more than the others."" " -- Perelandra by C.S. Lewis, Chapters 3 and 4

" "Ransom," it said.

"Well?" said Ransom.

"Nothing," said the Un-man. He shot an inquisitive glance at it. Was the creature mad? But it looked, as before, dead rather than mad, sitting there with the head bowed and the mouth a little open, and some yellow dust from the moss settled in the creases of its cheeks, and the legs crossed tailor-wise, and the hands, with their long metallic-looking nails, pressed flat together on the ground before it. He dismissed the problem from his mind and returned to his own uncomfortable thoughts.

"Ransom," it said again.

"What is it?" said Ransom sharply.

"Nothing," it answered.

Again there was silence; and again, about a minute later, the horrible mouth said:

"Ransom!" This time he made no reply. Another minute and it uttered his name again; and then, like a minute gun, "Ransom . . . Ransom . . . Ransom," perhaps a hundred times.

"What the Hell do you want?" he roared at last.

"Nothing," said the voice. ... What chilled and almost cowed him was the union of malice with something nearly childish. For temptation, for blasphemy, for a whole battery of horrors, he was in some sort prepared: but hardly for this petty, indefatigable nagging as of a nasty little boy at a preparatory school. Indeed no imagined horror could have surpassed the sense which grew within him as the slow hours passed, that this creature was, by all human standards, inside out--its heart on the surface and its shallowness at the heart. On the surface, great designs and an antagonism to Heaven which involved the fate of worlds: but deep within, when every veil had been pierced, was there, after all, nothing but a black puerility, an aimless empty spitefulness content to sate itself with the tiniest cruelties, as love does not disdain the smallest kindness? ... He had full opportunity to learn the falsity of the maxim that the Prince of Darkness is a gentleman. Again and again he felt that a suave and subtle Mephistopheles with red cloak and rapier and a feather in his cap, or even a sombre tragic Satan out of Paradise Lost, would have been a welcome release from the thing he was actually doomed to watch. It was not like dealing with a wicked politician at all: it was much more like being set to guard an imbecile or a monkey or a very nasty child. What had staggered and disgusted him when it first began saying, "Ransom . . . Ransom . . ." continued to disgust him every day and every hour. It showed plenty of subtlety and intelligence when talking to the Lady; but Ransom soon perceived that it regarded intelligence simply and solely as a weapon, which it had no more wish to employ in its off-duty hours than a soldier has to do bayonet practice when he is on leave. Thought was for it a device necessary to certain ends, but thought in itself did not interest it. It assumed reason as externally and inorganically as it had assumed Weston's body. The moment the Lady was out of sight it seemed to relapse. A great deal of his time was spent in protecting the animals from it. Whenever it got out of sight, or even a few yards ahead, it would make a grab at any beast or bird within its reach and pull out some fur or feathers. Ransom tried whenever possible to get between it and its victim. " -- Perelandra by C.S. Lewis, Chapter 9

" PRINCE HERBERT: But I don't want any of that, I'd rather ...

FATHER: Rather what?

PRINCE HERBERT: I'd rather ... just ... sing! " -- Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Blinder's Law: "Economists have the least influence on policy where they know the most and are most agreed; they have the most influence on policy where they know the least and disagree most vehemently." -- Alan Blinder

A nation is "a group of people united by a mistaken view about the past and a hatred of their neighbors." -- Karl Deutsch [39]

"Algorhyme" by Radia Perlman, the inventor of spanning tree network protocol:

" I think that I shall never see A graph more lovely than a tree. A tree whose crucial property Is loop-free connectivity. A tree that must be sure to span So packets can reach every LAN. First, the root must be selected. By ID, it is elected. Least-cost paths from root are traced. In the tree, these paths are placed. A mesh is made by folks like me, Then bridges find a spanning tree.

“You want to learn from experience, but you want to learn from other people’s experience when you can.” -- Warren Buffett

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." -- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizenship_in_a_Republic

"Mars is inhabited entirely by robots" -- YikYak?

Mao was "seven parts good and three parts bad" -- Deng Xiaoping

"Problems can be improved as well as solutions. In software, an intractable problem can usually be replaced by an equivalent one that's easy to solve." -- http://www.paulgraham.com/taste.html

"intellectual property" legislation ... inhibits and criminalizes the free cooperation of humanity." -- Michel Bauwens

"There are two kinds of people in the world: those who can extrapolate from incomplete data" -- random joke

"Distrust and caution are the parents of security" - Benjamin Franklin

"Everything not saved will be lost" -- Nintendo 'quit screen' message

"Everything that is syntactically legal that the compiler will accept will eventually wind up in your codebase." -- John Carmack

Kindel's Law: "Every new payment system rapidly transforms into an anti-fraud system." -- https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9221071

"There is always a way out" -- Jean le Flambeur, character by Hannu Rajaniemi

"with software, either the users control the program, or the program controls the users." -- Richard Stallman, http://www.newyorker.com/business/currency/the-gnu-manifesto-turns-thirty?intcid=mod-latest

http://www.uarts.edu/neil-gaiman-keynote-address-2012

"The smart person accepts. the idiot insists." -- old saying as translated by Father Arsenios at the Vatopaidi monastery (the article, http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2010/10/greeks-bearing-bonds-201010 , goes on to say ""This is the secret of success for anywhere in the world, not just the monastery," he says, and then goes on to describe pretty much word for word the first rule of improvisational comedy, or for that matter any successful collaborative enterprise. Take whatever is thrown at you and build upon it. "Yes ... and" rather than "No ... but." "The idiot is bound by his pride," he says. "It always has to be his way. This is also true of the person who is deceptive or doing things wrong: he always tries to justify himself. A person who is bright in regard to his spiritual life is humble. He accepts what others tell him -- criticism, ideas -- and he works with them.""

http://xkcd.com/1425/ (example how it can be hard for non-programmers to know which requirements are easy and which are hard)

"When you grow up you tend to get told that the world is the way it is and your life is just to live your life inside the world. Try not to bash into the walls too much. Try to have a nice family, have fun, save a little money. That's a very limited life. Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact: Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you and you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use. " -- Steve Jobs [40]

"People think focus means saying yes to the thing you've got to focus on. But that's not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I'm actually as proud of the things we haven't done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things." -- Steve Jobs

(about early space travel) "..trying to plan out how we'd be able to safely send someone into an incredibly tight window between being flung back to earth in a ball of fire or into an infinite abyss" -- https://medium.com/@landongn/12-years-later-what-i-ve-learned-about-being-a-software-engineer-d6e334d6e8a3

"Tragedy is when I slip on a banana peel. Comedy is when you fall into a hole and die." -- older joke paraphrased in The Quantum Thief

"Give me 6 lines written in the hand of the most honest man and I will see him hanged." -- Cardinal Richelieu

"working at a corporation gives you the illusion of stability, and working as a freelancer gives you the illusion of freedom." -- https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9124331

"The history of technology advancing has been one of sigmoids that begin as exponentials." -- Neil Gershenfeld

"Two efficient market theorists are walking down the street. They see a hundred dollar bill on the sidewalk but keep walking. One turns to the other and says, "If that was real, somebody would have picked it up already."" -- old joke

"Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things." -- Steve Jobs.

"Have you met the internet? He is 14 years old and hates everything except tentacle-porn." -- https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9072216

"Design depends largely on constraints." -- Charles Eames

"3 Classes of People in Democracy

1. DRONES: the dominant class, outspoken. the class that decides everything (564 e)

2. MONEY-MAKERS: "the drones' playground" because they make all the money that the drones use

3. MULTITUDE: the largest group. the drones, after taking the richs' money, gives a small part of it to the multitude

The money making class, after being robbed, speak out against the drones who call them "oligarchs" and there is a lot of litigation on both sides. the people then promote one man who is seen as their "protector and champion" (565d)

"Then we have located the tyrant's point of entry into the society. The root and foundation of his power in his initial role as protector" (565d)" -- notes on Plato's Republic

"Not only is he ill governed within himself, but once misfortune removes him from private life and establishes him in the tyrant's place, he must try to control others when he cannot control himself. He is like a sick man who is unable to exercise self-restraint yet is not permitted to pass his days in cloistered privacy; instead, he is obliged to engage adversaries in never-ending rivalry and discord." -- (579 d) Plato's Republic on tyrants

"the drones call shame 'naivete', temperance 'cowardice'" -- notes on Plato's Republic

"a common rule holds for the seasons, for all the plants and the animals, and particularly for political societies: excess in one direction tends to provoke excess in the contrary direction" -- Plato's Republic

"Let go of fixed plans and concepts, and the world will govern itself. The more prohibitions you have, the less virtuous people will be. The more weapons you have, the less secure people will be. The more subsidies you have, the less self-reliant people will be. Therefore the Master says: I let go of the law, and people become honest. I let go of economics, and people become prosperous. I let go of religion, and people become serene. I let go of all desire for the common good, and the good becomes common as grass." -- Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching 57

"When someone says 'I want a programming language in which I need only say what I wish done,' give him a lollipop." -- Alan Perlis

"With the rise of mobile apps that are very unwebby and growing social networks that contain an increasingly large percentage of web user's outputs, "the future is quite in the balance," he said. "Everybody is trying to take over the world. That is the commercial imperative with the capitalist system. But against it, there is the force of creativity, and the excitement of the jungle outside the walled garden." And in this battle between the forces of enclosure and those of freedom, Berners-Lee has earned the right to his optimism. "The permissionless, free-as-in-freedom web always ends up winning," he concluded." -- interview with Tim Berners-Lee

"Only a fool or liar will tell you how the brain works" -- David Adam

"Writing is nature's way of letting you know how sloppy your thinking is." -- Richard Guindon (cartoon), San Francisco Chronicle, 1989 January. 2

"Mathematics is nature's way of letting you know how sloppy your writing is...Formal mathematics is nature's way of letting you know how sloppy your mathematics is." -- Leslie Lamport, Specifying Systems , page 2, 2002 July 19

"What is this you call property? It cannot be the earth, for the land is our mother, nourishing all her children, beasts, birds, fish and all men. The woods, the streams, everything on it belongs to everybody and is for the use of all. How can one man say it belongs only to him?" -- Massasoit, a leader of the Native American Wampanoag tribe

"Democracy destroys itself because it abuses its right to freedom and equality. Because it teaches its citizens to consider audacity as a right, lawlessness as a freedom, abrasive speech as equality, and anarchy as progress." -- Isocrates

"Don't stay up too late even if the book is really exciting. You will regret it in the morning. I am still working on this problem." -- Bill Gates

"All models are wrong. Some are useful. As soon as we categorize we have lost the true source. But categorize we will. The key is not to become attached to your categorization." -- Kurt Laitner (email to SENSORICA list on 22 Jan 2015)

"(diverge to take in new ideas, converge to rationalize and make consistent). Design and architecture are the convergent portion of a process." -- Kurt Leitner

"In Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, the author talks about the importance of being able to carve up ideas in different ways to understand it more thoroughly. " -- https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8947840

"Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years." -- Bill Gates

"If you're going through hell, keep going." -- Churchill

"Raphl ma amche zab almi" -- Nimrod in Dante's Inferno

"when i due i want my group project members to loer me into my grave so they can let me down one last time" -- a yik yak

"I choose a lazy person to do a hard job. Because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it." -- Bill Gates

"More often than not in life we find our greatest strengths are enablers for our greatest weaknesses." -- https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8733118

"Got sorted into the 5th Hogwarts house, OfficeJob?. Our house colors are cubicle grey and break room coffee brown. There is no house animal." -- Dreidel @OhNoSheTwitnt?

"Ever realised how * surreal reading a book actually is? You stare at marked slices of tree for hours on end, hallucinating vividly" -- Katie Oldham @KatieOldham?

"If you don't work on a problem, you don't solve it," -- James Woodward

"Technology is what we share. I don't mean "we share the experience of technology." I mean: By my lights, people very often share technologies with each other when they talk. Strategies. Ideas for living our lives. We do it all the time. Parenting email lists share strategies about breastfeeding and bedtime. Quotes from the Dalai Lama. We talk neckties, etiquette, and Minecraft, and tell stories that give us guidance as to how to live. A tremendous part of daily life regards the exchange of technologies. We are good at it. It's so simple as to be invisible. Can I borrow your scissors? Do you want tickets? I know guacamole is extra. The world of technology isn't separate from regular life. It's made to seem that way because of, well&capitalism. Tribal dynamics. Territoriality. Because there is a need to sell technology, to package it, to recoup the terrible investment. So it becomes this thing that is separate from culture. A product. " -- https://medium.com/message/networks-without-networks-7644933a3100

""Good artists copy," Jobs once said, misattributing it to Picasso. "Great artists steal." Perhaps a more accurate statement would have been: Great popularizers license." -- https://medium.com/message/networks-without-networks-7644933a3100

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atmosx 1 day ago

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"As You Like It" by William Shakespeare

Act 5, Scene 1:

[...]The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool[...]

I try to keep that quote in mind at all times. I believe it holds a great deal of wisdom, especially for me. For I am loud and opinionated. But I still fail when I need it most, at times when I am surrounded by (people who IMHO are extreme) idiots.

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robert_tweed 1 day ago

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That certainly borrows from Socrates: "I know one thing: that I know nothing."

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gjm11 1 day ago

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It's an idea that recurs throughout history. We've got Socrates and Shakespeare already mentioned in the thread, to which I'll add:

W B Yeats: "The best lack all conviction, and the worst / Are full of passionate intensity."

Bertrand Russell: "The fundamental cause of the trouble is that in the modern world the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt."

Charles Darwin: "Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge."

the Tao Te Ching: "To know that you do not know is highest. To not know but think you know is flawed. ... The sages are without fault, because they recognize the fault as a fault".

(Semi-interestingly, I can't find anything very close to this idea in the biblical books of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes -- the former sees certainty as something to aspire to, and the latter is just equally down on everyone, wise and foolish alike.)

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hammock 1 day ago

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Try Proverbs 28:26- "Those who trust in themselves are fools, but those who walk in wisdom are safe." In other words, those who walk in wisdom perceive the shadow of God and humble themselves, "for the wisdom of this world is foolishness in the eyes of God" (1 Cor 3:19)

Or Romans 1:22. "While claiming to be wise, they became fools." Rom 12:16 "Do not be wise in your own estimation"

Is 5:21 "Woe! Those who are wise in their own eyes, prudent in their own view!"

1 Cor 1:21 "For since in the wisdom of God the world did not come to know God through wisdom, it was the will of God through the foolishness of the proclamation [crucifixion] to save those who have faith." Wisdom ain't all it's cracked up to be

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marknow 1 day ago

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All absolutely great quotes -- and I *still couldn't stop thinking about how much this ying/yang reminds me of the hilarious quotes from "The Sphinx" in the movie, "Mystery Men" (1999, IMDB here: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0132347/quotes)

For example, "He who questions training... only trains himself at asking questions."

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jackpirate 1 day ago

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>W B Yeats: "The best lack all conviction, and the worst / Are full of passionate intensity."

I always read this quote by Yeats as a lamentation about the status of the world, similar to your Russel quote that's a bit more explicit. But the Socrates quote is clearly not in this vein...

It never occurred to me before that Yeats might be more in line with Socrates than with Russell. You can read him as praising the best for their lack of conviction and condemning the worst for their passion. I like that reading much better. (Of course, I've never read the source, just heard it quoted.)

reply " -- https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8519764

"It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." -- Josh Billings

"We cannot tolerate the proliferation of this paperwork any longer. It is useless to fight the forms. We must kill the people producing them." - Attributed to Vladimir Kabaidze, Director of the Ivanovo Machine Works near Moscow, in a speech before the annual Communist Party Congress, 1936 (i am suspicious of the accuracy of this quote, though, i think it is absurdist fiction)

"The best programmers can think of a dozen ways to solve any problem, and they choose the way they believe has the best chance of being implemented corrrectly. Or they choose the way that is most likely to make an error obvious if it does occur. They know that software needs to be tested and they design their software to make it easier to test.

If you ask an amateur whether their program is correct, they are likely to be offended. They’ll tell you that of course it’s correct because they were careful when they wrote it. If you ask a professional the same question, they may tell you that their program probably has bugs, but then go on to tell you how they’ve tested it and what logging facilities are in place to help debug errors when they show up later. " -- http://www.johndcook.com/blog/2008/09/19/writes-large-correct-programs/

"it takes about three times as long not to write a line of code as to write one. So for example, doing something in 100 lines of APL might take a week. Doing it in 50 lines of APL might well take two weeks, so writing the 50 lines took 0.5 weeks, and not writing the other 50 lines took 1.5 weeks." -- http://www.simon-smith.org/index.html

“Mediocrity knows nothing higher than itself. Talent instantly recognizes genius.” -- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

"...inexperienced and experienced programmers write about the same number of lines of code per day. The difference is that experienced programmers keep more of those lines of code, making steady progress toward a goal. Less experienced programmers write large chunks of code only to rip them out and rewrite the same chunk many times until the code appears to work. Or instead of ripping out the code, they debug for days on end, changing one or two lines at a time, almost at random, until the code appears to work....As Greg Wilson pointed out in his interview, focusing on quality in software development often results in increased productivity as well. More effort goes into forward progress and less goes into re-work.

Not only do experienced programmers produce more lines of code worth keeping each day, they also accomplish more per line of code, sometimes dramatically more....There have also been studies that show programmers produce about the same number of lines of code per day independent of the language they use. You might think that someone working in assembly language could produce more lines of per day than someone writing in a higher level language such as VB or Java, but that’s not the case. It seems that while counting lines of code is a terrible way to measure productivity, it is a good way to measure what you can expect someone to be able to hold in their head." -- http://www.johndcook.com/blog/2008/06/03/experienced-programmers-and-lines-of-code/

" First, programmer productivity varies tremendously across the profession, but it may not vary so much within a given company. Someone who is 10x more productive than his colleagues is likely to leave, either to work with other very talented programmers or to start his own business. Second, extreme productivity may not be obvious ... Programmers are most effective when they avoid writing code. They may realize the problem they're being asked to solve doesn't need to be solved, that the client doesn't actually want what they're asking for. They may know where to find reusable or re-editable code that solves their problem. ... The romantic image of an uber-programmer is someone who fires up Emacs, types like a machine gun, and delivers a flawless final product from scratch. A more accurate image would be someone who stares quietly into space for a few minutes and then says "Hmm. I think I've seen something like this before." " -- http://www.johndcook.com/blog/2009/12/23/why-programmers-are-not-paid-in-proportion-to-their-productivity/

"The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function." -- Albert Bartlett

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BxQ6PR8CAAAeos4.jpg:large

"A prototype is worth a thousand meetings" -- Mike Davidson

"[[[ To any NSA and FBI agents reading my email: please consider ]]] [[[whether_defending_the_US_Constitution_against_all_enemies,?]]] [[[foreign_or_domestic,_requires_you_to_follow_Snowden's_example.?]]]" -- rms

"If you could predict business success correctly 51% of the time, and acted on your findings, you'd soon be the richest person ever." -- https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8322949

http://web.archive.org/web/20140109084617/http://www.cs.yale.edu/quotes.html -- EPIGRAMS IN PROGRAMMING by Alan J. Perlis (see also http://www.cs.yale.edu/homes/perlis-alan/quotes.html )

"You think you know when you can learn, are more sure when you can write, even more when you can teach, but certain when you can program. " -- http://web.archive.org/web/20140109084617/http://www.cs.yale.edu/quotes.html (this is why i think simulations are good for neuroscience, despite the large numbers of free variables)

"It is perfectly possible to create and even deploy an entirely new system software stack, so long as it entirely eschews the charms of Unix. If your new thingy calls Unix, it is doomed. Unix is like heroin. Call Unix once - even a library, even your own library - and you will never be portable again. But a Unix program can call a pure function, and indeed loves nothing better." -- http://unqualified-reservations.blogspot.com/2011/10/personal-cloud-computing-in-2020-or-not.html

"The Internet is already a bit of a warzone for clients, but it's digital Armageddon for servers. ... An Internet server is, above all, a massive fortified castle in alien zombie territory. The men who man these castles are men indeed, quick in emacs and hairy of neck. The zombies are strong, but the admins are stronger....calls him at 3 in the morning because Pakistani hackers have gotten into the main chemical supply database." -- http://unqualified-reservations.blogspot.com/2011/10/personal-cloud-computing-in-2020-or-not.html

"control interfaces must not be intelligent. Briefly, intelligent user interfaces should be limited to applications in which the user does not expect to control the behavior of the product. If the product is used as a tool, its interface should be as unintelligent as possible. Stupid is predictable; predictable is learnable; learnable is usable....No tool can achieve the natural "bicycle for the mind" status of a mere mental peripheral, unless the mind has an internal model of it and knows when it will work and when it won't. This cannot be achieved unless either the mind is genuinely human and thus understood by empathy, or the actual algorithm inside the tool is so simple that the user can understand it as a predictable machine. Between these maxima lies the uncanny valley - in which multitudes perish. The only exemption from this iron law of expensive failure, a voracious money-shark that has devoured billions of venture dollars in the last decade, is a set of devices best described, albeit pejoratively, as "toys" - applications such as search, whose output is inherently unpredictable. Ie, inherent in the concept of search is that your search results are generated by an insane robot. This is not inherent in the concept of a personal assistant, however." -- http://unqualified-reservations.blogspot.com/2009/07/wolfram-alpha-and-hubristic-user.html , http://unqualified-reservations.blogspot.com/2011/10/personal-cloud-computing-in-2020-or-not.html

"Most people...don't even start paying attention until they've heard about something ten times. They're perfectly justified: the majority of hot new whatevers do turn out to be a waste of time, and eventually go away....So anyone who invents something new has to expect to keep repeating their message for years before people will start to get it.... It's not when people notice you're there that they pay attention; it's when they notice you're still there." -- http://www.paulgraham.com/popular.html

"The best writing is rewriting" -- E. B. White.

"The most important part of design is redesign." -- http://www.paulgraham.com/popular.html

"You have to be optimistic about the possibility of solving the problem, but skeptical about the value of whatever solution you've got so far." -- http://www.paulgraham.com/popular.html