Quotes


I have decided to start collecting some of my favorites quotes.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb quotes – a few choice selections from WikiQuote August 7, 2017.
History is opaque. You see what comes out, not the script that produces events, […] The generator of historical events is different from the events themselves, much as the minds of the gods cannot be read just by witnessing their deeds.

Categorizing is necessary for humans, but it becomes pathological when the category is seen as definitive, preventing people from considering the fuzziness of boundaries, let alone revising their categories.

The same past data can confirm a theory and its exact opposite! If you survive until tomorrow, it could mean that either a) you are more likely to be immortal or b) that you are closer to death.

Steven Greenberg – coined July 19, 2016
A journey never started will not get you to your destination.

Scott Santense – posted here June 3, 2015 – source
If you give a man a fish, he eats for a day. If you teach a man to fish, he eats for life. If you build a robot to fish, do all men starve, or do all men eat?

Steven Greenberg – coined on July 14, 2014
It is crucial to understand the history, but the future is the only thing you can change.

Thomas Pynchon – posted here July 10, 2014 – source
If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about the answers.

Mark Twain – posted here July 7, 2014 – source
It’s better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than open it and remove all doubt.

Barbara Greenberg – posted here April 24, 2014As pre-teenager I had accidentally broken a milk bottle that was standing on our porch. As the milk poured through the spaces in the porch floor, Barbara said to me:
Don’t just stand there, do something!!

Arthur C. Clarke (via RogerG) – posted here March 31, 2014
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

Steve Greenberg – May 18, 2013

loop invariant
This is a software term that used to be very important to me, but I haven’t been able to remember it until now. Maybe if I post it here, I’ll remember that I posted it here.

James Galbraith – posted here December 19, 2012 – source
A debt that can’t be paid won’t be paid.

Theologian Martin Niemoller – posted here May 17, 2012
First they came for the communists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me.

Steve Greenberg – December 31, 2011
“When your car’s engine is revving out of control and your gas tank is full, don’t think about where to get more gasoline. On the other hand, when your car stalls because the tank is empty, that is when you should think about getting some gasoline”

An automotive analogy when thinking about the timing of when to apply economic stimulus and when not to. Where is Will Rogers when you need him to say this in the most humorous way?

Steve Greenberg – November 17, 2011
“Don’t ask the car dealer’s service department if they can keep your car in good order or if you need to buy a new car.”

A takeoff on the proverbial “Don’t ask the barber if you need a haircut.”

Steve Greenberg – September 10, 2011
“Don’t let the expedient be the enemy of the adequate”

A takeoff on the proverbial “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.”

Mark Twain
“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.”

Steve Greenberg
“I pick things up and I write them down.”

A takeoff on a recent commercial for a local Gym and an inside joke to myself. The commercial had the over muscled body-builder looking to join a gym for ordinary people explain that “I pick things up and I put them down” as he was escorted by an affable trainer to the emergency exit.

Anonymous, often attributed to Mark Twain
“History doesn’t repeat itself – at best it sometimes rhymes”