Scramblings

Dev scratchpad. Digital garden

Quotes


Life

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
I have this thought experiment I do in moments like that.... I imagine being nothing at all. Dead and gone. And while being dead and gone and nothing, you were allowed to re-live just one moment again of your long lost life for a just a couple minutes and it just so happens to be the one you are in living in right now. Its an amazing feeling. You will see your life with rare fresh eyes for just a few seconds. And then life goes on....
-- Kurt Vonnegut
Be kind, for everyone is fighting a hard battle.
-- Ian MacLaren
A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.
-- George Bernard Shaw
Security is mostly a superstition. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.
-- Helen Keller
Share your knowledge. It’s a way to achieve immortality.
-- Dalai Lama
I said to my soul, be still, wait without hope For hope would be hope for the wrong thing.
-- T.S. Elliot
Humor is the only divine quality to be found in humanity.
-- Schopenhauer
We are shaped and fashioned by what we love.
-- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Above all, don’t fear difficult moments. The best comes from them.
-- Rita Levi Montalcini
Take the path to Nothing, and go Nowhere until you reach it.
-- The tao of Pooh

Self

Eventually, I decided that thinking was not getting me very far and it was time to try building.
-- Rob Pike
It’s possible that I understand better what’s going on, or it’s equally possible that I just think I do.
-- Russ Cox
Inspiration does exist, but it must find you working.
-- Pablo Picasso
Reality is what refuses to go away when I stop believing in it.
-- Philip K. Dick
If you don’t know where you are going, every road will get you nowhere.
-- Henry Kissinger
There is nothing worse than imagination without taste.
-- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.
-- Antoine-Marie- Roger de Saint-Exupery. Wind, Sand and Stars
Fanaticism consists in redoubling your efforts when you have forgotten your aim.
-- Santayana
They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.
-- Andy Warhol
If you obey all the rules, you will miss all the fun.
-- Katharine Hepburn
If you can’t get rid of the skeleton in your closet, you’d best teach it to dance.
-- George Bernard Shaw
If you’re the smartest person in the room, go look for a room with smarter people in it.
-- Unknown
Curiosity is insubordination in its purest form.
-- Vladimir Nabokov
A good leader is someone whose troops will follow him, if only out of curiosity.
-- Gen. Colin Powell
A superior pilot uses his superior judgment to avoid having to exercise his superior skill.
-- Frank Borman
The shortest path to exceeding expectations doesn’t generally pass through meeting expectations.
-- Ward Cunningham
Your mind is credulous enough to believe any narrative you feed it. Choose wisely.
-- Stephen Sadowski
The most personal is the most creative.
-- Martin Scorsese

Morality

Never let your sense of morals prevent you from doing what’s right.
-- Isaac Asimov
There are no whole truths: all truths are half-truths. It is trying to treat them as whole truths that plays to the devil.
-- Alfred North Whitehead
Morality is doing what’s right regardless of what you’re told. Obedience is doing what you’re told regardless of what is right.
-- Unknown

People

You must defend people you disagree with, it is how you find out what your principles really are.
-- Penn Jillette
Brandolini’s law: The amount of energy needed to refute bullshit is an order of magnitude bigger than to produce it.
-- Alberto Brandolini
A lie is halfway round the world before the truth has got its boots on.
-- Old proverb
The power of accurate observation is often called cynicism by those who have not got it.
-- George Bernard Shaw
The reasonable man adapts himself to the world. The unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. All progress, therefore, depends upon the unreasonable man.
-- George Bernard Shaw
Fools ignore complexity. Pragmatists suffer it. Some can avoid it. Geniuses remove it.
-- Alan Perlis
There are some ideas so wrong that only a very intelligent person could believe in them.
-- George Orwell
It takes considerable knowledge just to realize the extent of your own ignorance.
-- Thomas Sowell
Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.
-- Hanlon’s razor
Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocrities. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence.
-- Albert Einstein
One is never so dangerous as when he’s utterly convinced he is right.
-- John Perry Barlow
I like offending people because I think people who get offended should be offended.
-- Linus Torvalds

Miscellaneous

Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.
-- John F. Kennedy
A witty saying proves nothing.
-- Voltaire
The future is always scary to those who cling to the past.
-- Tim O’Reilly
The future has a way of arriving unannounced.
-- George F. Will
Good communication is as stimulating as black coffee, and just as hard to sleep after.
-- Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Technology

Parkinson's law of triviality: Members of an organization give disproportionate weight to trivial issues.

Bikeshedding (Metaphor): Futile investment of time and energy in discussion of marginal technical issues.

-- C. Northcote Parkinson
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%.
-- Donald Knuth, Tony Hoare
Rules of Programming
  1. You can’t tell where a program is going to spend its time. Bottlenecks occur in surprising places, so don’t try to second guess and put in a speed hack until you’ve proven that’s where the bottleneck is.
  2. Measure. Don’t tune for speed until you’ve measured, and even then don’t unless one part of the code overwhelms the rest.
  3. Fancy algorithms are slow when n is small, and n is usually small. Fancy algorithms have big constants. Until you know that n is frequently going to be big, don’t get fancy. (Even if n does get big, use Rule 2 first.)
  4. Fancy algorithms are buggier than simple ones, and they’re much harder to implement. Use simple algorithms as well as simple data structures.
  5. Data dominates. If you’ve chosen the right data structures and organized things well, the algorithms will almost always be self-evident. Data structures, not algorithms, are central to programming.
  • Pike’s rules 1 and 2 restate Donald Knuth/Tony Hoare’s famous maxim: Premature optimization is the root of all evil.
  • Ken Thompson rephrased Pike’s rules 3 and 4 as: When in doubt, use brute force.
  • Rules 3 and 4 are instances of the design philosophy KISS. Rule 5 was previously stated by Fred Brooks in The Mythical Man-Month.
  • Rule 5 is often shortened to: write stupid code that uses smart objects.

Incompleteness theorem:

Any … formal system capable of expressing elementary arithmetic cannot be both consistent and complete. In particular, for any consistent, … formal system that proves certain basic arithmetic truths, there is an arithmetical statement that is true, but not provable in theory

-- Gödel