|Proverbs, aphorisms, quotations (English)||by Linux fortune|
|Brief History Of Linux (#11)|
Birth of Gates and the Anti-Gates
October 28, 1955 saw the birth of William H. Gates, who would rise above
his humble beginnings as the son of Seattle's most powerful millionaire
lawyer and become the World's Richest Man(tm). A classic American
rags-to-riches story (with "rags" referring to the dollar bills that the
Gates family used for toilet paper), Bill Gates is now regarded as the
world's most respected businessman by millions of clueless people that
have obviously never touched a Windows machine.
Nature is all about balance. The birth of Gates in 1955 tipped the cosmic
scales toward evil, but the birth of Linus Torvalds in 1969 finally
balanced them out. Linus' destiny as the savior of Unix and the slayer of
money-breathing Redmond dragons was sealed when, just mere hours after his
birth, the Unix epoch began January 1st, 1970. While the baseline for Unix
timekeeping might be arbitrary, we here at Humorix like to thank the its
proximity of Linus' birth is no coincidence.
|Brief History Of Linux (#28)|
Free, Open, Libre, Whatever Software
Eric S. Raymond's now famous paper, "The Cathedral and the Bazaar", set
the stage for the lucrative business of giving software away. In CatB, ESR
likened the software industry to an anarchistic bazaar, with each vendor
looking out for himself, trying to hoodwink customers and fellow vendors.
The produce vendor (i.e. Apple), for instance, felt no need to cooperate
with the crystal-ball seller (Oracle) or the con artist hocking miracle
drugs (Microsoft). Each kept their property and trade secrets to
themselves, hoping to gain an edge and make money fast. "With enough
eyeballs, all bug-ridden software programs are marketable," ESR observed.
ESR contrasted the "caveat emptor" Bazaar to an idealistic Cathedral model
used by free software developers. European cathedrals of medieval days
were built block-by-block with extensive volunteer manpower from the
surrounding community. Such projects were "open" in the sense that
everybody could see their progress, and interested people could wander
inside and offer comments or praise about construction methods. "Those
medieval cathedrals are still standing," ESR mused. "But bazaars built in
the 14th Century are long gone, a victim of their inferior nature."
| Most bacteria have the decency to be microscopic. Epulopiscium|
fishelsoni is not among them. The newly identified one-celled
macro-microorganism is a full .5 mm long, large enough to be seen
with the naked eye. Described in the current Nature, "It is a
million times as massive as a typical bacterium."-Time, page 25,
March 29, 1993
|"I am not convinced that they can write solid stable software. Proprietary software is already hobbled by it's secretive cathedral nature, but Microsoft seems to have a corner on incompetent programming as well."|
-- Chris DiBona from the introduction. (Open Sources, 1999 O'Reilly and Associates)
|"Nature abhors a Vacuum"|
-- Brian Behlendorf on OSS (Open Sources, 1999 O'Reilly and Associates)
|Cats are intended to teach us that not everything in nature has a function.|
-- Garrison Keillor
|When you have 200 programmers trying to write code for one|
product, like Win95 or NT, what you get is a multipule personality
program. By definition, the real problem is that these programs are
psychotic by nature and make people crazy when they use them.
-- Joan Brewer on alt.destroy.microsoft
|The first is to ensure your partner understands that nature has root|
privileges - nature doesn't have to make sense.
-- Telsa Gwynne
|Come, you spirits|
That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here,
And fill me, from the crown to the toe, top-full
Of direst cruelty! make thick my blood,
Stop up the access and passage to remorse
That no compunctious visiting of nature
Shake my fell purpose, not keep peace between
The effect and it! Come to my woman's breasts,
And take my milk for gall, you murdering ministers,
Wherever in your sightless substances
You wait on nature's mischief! Come, thick night,
And pall the in the dunnest smoke of hell,
That my keen knife see not the wound it makes,
Nor heaven peep through the blanket of the dark,
To cry `Hold, hold!'
-- Lady MacBeth
|Declared guilty... of displaying feelings of an almost human nature.|
-- Pink Floyd, "The Wall"
|Felix Catus is your taxonomic nomenclature,|
An endothermic quadroped, carnivorous by nature.
Your visual, olfactory, and auditory senses
Contribute to your hunting skills and natural defenses.
I find myself intrigued by your sub-vocal oscillations,
A singular development of cat communications
That obviates your basic hedonistic predelection
For a rhythmic stroking of your fur to demonstrate affection.
A tail is quite essential for your acrobatic talents:
You would not be so agile if you lacked its counterbalance;
And when not being utilitized to aid in locomotion,
It often serves to illustrate the state of your emotion.
Oh Spot, the complex levels of behavior you display
Connote a fairly well-developed cognitive array.
And though you are not sentient, Spot, and do not comprehend,
I nonetheless consider you a true and valued friend.
-- Lt. Cmdr. Data, "An Ode to Spot"
|Nature to all things fixed the limits fit,|
And wisely curbed proud man's pretending wit.
As on the land while here the ocean gains,
In other parts it leaves wide sandy plains;
Thus in the soul while memory prevails,
The solid power of understanding fails;
Where beams of warm imagination play,
The memory's soft figures melt away.
-- Alexander Pope (on runtime bounds checking?)
|Please stand for the National Anthem:|
Australians all, let us rejoice,
For we are young and free.
We've golden soil and wealth for toil
Our home is girt by sea.
Our land abounds in nature's gifts
Of beauty rich and rare.
In history's page, let every stage
Advance Australia Fair.
In joyful strains then let us sing,
Advance Australia Fair.
Thank you. You may resume your seat.
|Scintillate, scintillate, globule vivific,|
Fain how I pause at your nature specific,
Loftily poised in the ether capacious,
Highly resembling a gem carbonaceous.
Scintillate, scintillate, globule vivific,
Fain how I pause at your nature specific.
|The smiling Spring comes in rejoicing,|
And surly Winter grimly flies.
Now crystal clear are the falling waters,
And bonnie blue are the sunny skies.
Fresh o'er the mountains breaks forth the morning,
The ev'ning gilds the oceans's swell:
All creatures joy in the sun's returning,
And I rejoice in my bonnie Bell.
The flowery Spring leads sunny Summer,
The yellow Autumn presses near;
Then in his turn come gloomy Winter,
Till smiling Spring again appear.
Thus seasons dancing, life advancing,
Old Time and Nature their changes tell;
But never ranging, still unchanging,
I adore my bonnie Bell.
-- Robert Burns, "My Bonnie Bell"
| The Worst Lines of Verse|
For a start, we can rule out James Grainger's promising line:
"Come, muse, let us sing of rats."
Grainger (1721-67) did not have the courage of his convictions and deleted
these words on discovering that his listeners dissolved into spontaneous
laughter the instant they were read out.
No such reluctance afflicted Adam Lindsay Gordon (1833-70) who was
inspired by the subject of war.
"Flash! flash! bang! bang! and we blazed away,
And the grey roof reddened and rang;
Flash! flash! and I felt his bullet flay
The tip of my ear. Flash! bang!"
By contrast, Cheshire cheese provoked John Armstrong (1709-79):
"... that which Cestria sends, tenacious paste of solid milk..."
While John Bidlake was guided by a compassion for vegetables:
"The sluggard carrot sleeps his day in bed,
The crippled pea alone that cannot stand."
George Crabbe (1754-1832) wrote:
"And I was ask'd and authorized to go
To seek the firm of Clutterbuck and Co."
William Balmford explored the possibilities of religious verse:
"So 'tis with Christians, Nature being weak
While in this world, are liable to leak."
And William Wordsworth showed that he could do it if he really tried when
describing a pond:
"I've measured it from side to side;
Tis three feet long and two feet wide."
-- Stephen Pile, "The Book of Heroic Failures"
|I am two with nature.|
-- Woody Allen
|The grand leap of the whale up the Fall of Niagara is esteemed, by all|
who have seen it, as one of the finest spectacles in nature.
-- Benjamin Franklin.
|Fortune's nomination for All-Time Champion and Protector of Youthful|
Morals goes to Representative Clare E. Hoffman of Michigan. During an
impassioned House debate over a proposed bill to "expand oyster and
clam research," a sharp-eared informant transcribed the following
exchange between our hero and Rep. John D. Dingell, also of Michigan.
DINGELL: There are places in the world at the present time where we are
having to artificially propagate oysters and clams.
HOFFMAN: You mean the oysters I buy are not nature's oysters?
DINGELL: They may or may not be natural. The simple fact of the matter
is that female oysters through their living habits cast out
large amounts of seed and the male oysters cast out large
amounts of fertilization ...
HOFFMAN: Wait a minute! I do not want to go into that. There are many
teenagers who read The Congressional Record.
|There is no better way of exercising the imagination than the study of law.|
No poet ever interpreted nature as freely as a lawyer interprets truth.
-- Jean Giraudoux, "Tiger at the Gates"
|-- Male cadavers are incapable of yielding testimony.|
-- Individuals who make their abode in vitreous edifices would be well advised
to refrain from catapulting projectiles.
-- Neophyte's serendipity.
-- Exclusive dedication to necessitious chores without interludes of hedonistic
diversion renders John a hebetudinous fellow.
-- A revolving concretion of earthy or mineral matter accumulates no congeries
of small, green bryophytic plant.
-- Abstention from any aleatory undertaking precludes a potential escallation
of a lucrative nature.
-- Missiles of ligneous or osteal consistency have the potential of fracturing
osseous structure, but appellations will eternally remain innocuous.
|-- Neophyte's serendipity.|
-- Exclusive dedication to necessitious chores without interludes of
hedonistic diversion renders John a hebetudinous fellow.
-- A revolving concretion of earthy or mineral matter accumulates no
congeries of small, green bryophytic plant.
-- The person presenting the ultimate cachinnation possesses thereby the
-- Abstention from any aleatory undertaking precludes a potential
escallation of a lucrative nature.
-- Missiles of ligneous or osteal consistency have the potential of
fracturing osseous structure, but appellations will eternally
|Technology is a constand battle between manufacturers producing bigger and|
more idiot-proof systems and nature producing bigger and better idiots.
-- Slashdot signature
|A certain monk had a habit of pestering the Grand Tortue (the only one who |
had ever reached the Enlightenment 'Yond Enlightenment), by asking whether
various objects had Buddha-nature or not. To such a question Tortue
invariably sat silent. The monk had already asked about a bean, a lake,
and a moonlit night. One day he brought to Tortue a piece of string, and
asked the same question. In reply, the Grand Tortue grasped the loop
between his feet and, with a few simple manipulations, created a complex
string which he proferred wordlessly to the monk. At that moment, the monk
From then on, the monk did not bother Tortue. Instead, he made string after
string by Tortue's method; and he passed the method on to his own disciples,
who passed it on to theirs.
| A master was explaining the nature of Tao to one of his novices.|
"The Tao is embodied in all software -- regardless of how insignificant,"
said the master.
"Is Tao in a hand-held calculator?" asked the novice.
"It is," came the reply.
"Is the Tao in a video game?" continued the novice.
"It is even in a video game," said the master.
"And is the Tao in the DOS for a personal computer?"
The master coughed and shifted his position slightly. "The lesson
is over for today," he said.
-- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"
| A novice of the temple once approached the Chief Priest with a|
"Master, does Emacs have the Buddha nature?" the novice asked.
The Chief Priest had been in the temple for many years and could be
relied upon to know these things. He thought for several minutes before
"I don't see why not. It's got bloody well everything else."
With that, the Chief Priest went to lunch. The novice suddenly
achieved enlightenment, several years later.
His Master is kind,
Answering his FAQ quickly,
With thought and sarcasm.
|A student, in hopes of understanding the Lambda-nature, came to Greenblatt.|
As they spoke a Multics system hacker walked by. "Is it true", asked the
student, "that PL-1 has many of the same data types as Lisp?" Almost before
the student had finished his question, Greenblatt shouted, "FOO!", and hit
the student with a stick.
I'm having a serious disagreement with somebody on the net. I
tried complaints to his sysadmin, organizing mail campaigns, called for
his removal from the net and phoning his employer to get him fired.
Everybody laughed at me. What can I do?
-- A Concerned Citizen
Go to the daily papers. Most modern reporters are top-notch computer
experts who will understand the net, and your problems, perfectly. They
will print careful, reasoned stories without any errors at all, and surely
represent the situation properly to the public. The public will also all
act wisely, as they are also fully cognizant of the subtle nature of net
Papers never sensationalize or distort, so be sure to point out things
like racism and sexism wherever they might exist. Be sure as well that they
understand that all things on the net, particularly insults, are meant
literally. Link what transpires on the net to the causes of the Holocaust, if
possible. If regular papers won't take the story, go to a tabloid paper --
they are always interested in good stories.
|Einstein argued that there must be simplified explanations of nature, because|
God is not capricious or arbitrary. No such faith comforts the software
-- Fred Brooks
|To be a kind of moral Unix, he touched the hem of Nature's shift.|
|"What is the Nature of God?"|
1 QT. SOUR CREAM
1 TSP. SAUERKRAUT
1/2 CUT CHIVES.
STIR AND SPRINKLE WITH BACON BITS.
"I've just GOT to start labeling my software..."
-- Bloom County
|A vacuum is a hell of a lot better than some of the stuff that nature|
replaces it with.
-- Tennessee Williams
|Live fast, die young, and leave a flat patch of fur on the highway!|
-- The Squirrels' Motto (The "Hell's Angels of Nature")
|... a thing called Ethics, whose nature was confusing but if you had it you|
were a High-Class Realtor and if you hadn't you were a shyster, a piker and
a fly-by-night. These virtues awakened Confidence and enabled you to handle
Bigger Propositions. But they didn't imply that you were to be impractical
and refuse to take twice the value for a house if a buyer was such an idiot
that he didn't force you down on the asking price.
-- Sinclair Lewis, "Babbitt"
|Life is a healthy respect for mother nature laced with greed.|
|Management: How many feet do mice have?|
Reply: Mice have four feet.
R: Mice have five appendages, and four of them are feet.
M: No discussion of fifth appendage!
R: Mice have five appendages; four of them are feet; one is a tail.
M: What? Feet with no legs?
R: Mice have four legs, four feet, and one tail per unit-mouse.
M: Confusing -- is that a total of 9 appendages?
R: Mice have four leg-foot assemblies and one tail assembly per body.
M: Does not fully discuss the issue!
R: Each mouse comes equipped with four legs and a tail. Each leg
is equipped with a foot at the end opposite the body; the tail
is not equipped with a foot.
M: Descriptive? Yes. Forceful NO!
R: Allotment of appendages for mice will be: Four foot-leg assemblies,
one tail. Deviation from this policy is not permitted as it would
constitute misapportionment of scarce appendage assets.
M: Too authoritarian; stifles creativity!
R: Mice have four feet; each foot is attached to a small leg joined
integrally with the overall mouse structural sub-system. Also
attached to the mouse sub-system is a thin tail, non-functional and
ornamental in nature.
M: Too verbose/scientific. Answer the question!
R: Mice have four feet.
|Never appeal to a man's "better nature." He may not have one.|
Invoking his self-interest gives you more leverage.
-- Lazarus Long
|The salary of the chief executive of the large corporation is not a market|
award for achievement. It is frequently in the nature of a warm personal
gesture by the individual to himself.
-- John Kenneth Galbraith, "Annals of an Abiding Liberal"
|Very few things actually get manufactured these days, because in an|
infinitely large Universe, such as the one in which we live, most things one
could possibly imagine, and a lot of things one would rather not, grow
somewhere. A forest was discovered recently in which most of the trees grew
ratchet screwdrivers as fruit. The life cycle of the ratchet screwdriver is
quite interesting. Once picked it needs a dark dusty drawer in which it can
lie undisturbed for years. Then one night it suddenly hatches, discards its
outer skin that crumbles into dust, and emerges as a totally unidentifiable
little metal object with flanges at both ends and a sort of ridge and a hole
for a screw. This, when found, will get thrown away. No one knows what the
screwdriver is supposed to gain from this. Nature, in her infinite wisdom,
is presumably working on it.
Nature abhors a vacuous experimenter.
Whenever man comes up with a better mousetrap,
nature invariably comes up with a better mouse.
|Clovis' Consideration of an Atmospheric Anomaly:|
The perversity of nature is nowhere better demonstrated
than by the fact that, when exposed to the same atmosphere,
bread becomes hard while crackers become soft.
1. The physical manifestation of human memory -- "the engram."
2. A particular memory in physical form. [Usage note: this term is no longer
in common use. Prior to Wilson and Magruder's historic discovery, the nature
of the engram was a topic of intense speculation among neuroscientists,
psychologists, and even computer scientists. In 1994 Professors M. R. Wilson
and W. V. Magruder, both of Mount St. Coax University in Palo Alto, proved
conclusively that the mammalian brain is hardwired to interpret a set of
thirty seven genetically transmitted cooperating TECO macros. Human memory
was shown to reside in 1 million Q-registers as Huffman coded uppercase-only
ASCII strings. Interest in the engram has declined substantially since that
-- New Century Unabridged English Dictionary,
3rd edition, 2007 A.D.
|Galbraith's Law of Human Nature:|
Faced with the choice between changing one's mind and proving that
there is no need to do so, almost everybody gets busy on the proof.
|Law of Selective Gravity:|
An object will fall so as to do the most damage.
The chance of the bread falling with the buttered side
down is directly proportional to the cost of the carpet.
Law of the Perversity of Nature:
You cannot determine beforehand which side of the bread to butter.
The solution to a problem changes the nature of the problem.
|Is not that the nature of men and women -- that the pleasure is in the|
learning of each other?
-- Natira, the High Priestess of Yonada, "For the World is
Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky", stardate 5476.3.
|Nature abhors a virgin -- a frozen asset.|
-- Clare Booth Luce
|A Scholar asked his Master, "Master, would you advise me of a proper|
The Master replied, "Some men can earn their keep with the power of
their minds. Others must use thier strong backs, legs and hands. This is
the same in nature as it is with man. Some animals acquire their food easily,
such as rabbits, hogs and goats. Other animals must fiercely struggle for
their sustenance, like beavers, moles and ants. So you see, the nature of
the vocation must fit the individual.
"But I have no abilities, desires, or imagination, Master," the
Queried the Master... "Have you thought of becoming a salesperson?"
|Death is Nature's way of recycling human beings.|
|Death is nature's way of saying `Howdy'.|
|Death is nature's way of telling you to slow down.|
|Two men were sitting over coffee, contemplating the nature of things,|
with all due respect for their breakfast. "I wonder why it is that
toast always falls on the buttered side," said one.
"Tell me," replied his friend, "why you say such a thing. Look
at this." And he dropped his toast on the floor, where it landed on the
"So, what have you to say for your theory now?"
"What am I to say? You obviously buttered the wrong side."
|The first rule of all intelligent tinkering is to keep all the parts.|
-- Aldo Leopold, quoted in Donald Wurster's "Nature's Economy"
|Empty yourself of everything.|
Let the mind become still.
The ten thousand things rise and fall while the Self watches their return.
They grow and flourish and then return to the source.
Returning to the source is stillness, which is the way of nature.
The way of nature is unchanging.
Knowing constancy is insight.
Not knowing constancy leads to disaster.
Knowing constancy, the mind is open.
With an open mind, you will be openhearted.
Being openhearted, you will act royally.
Being royal, you will attain the divine.
Being divine, you will be at one with the Tao.
Being at one with the Tao is eternal.
And though the body dies, the Tao will never pass away.
|Give up sainthood, renounce wisdom,|
And it will be a hundred times better for everyone.
Give up kindness, renounce morality,
And men will rediscover filial piety and love.
Give up ingenuity, renounce profit,
And bandits and thieves will disappear.
These three are outward forms alone; they are not sufficient in themselves.
It is more important
To see the simplicity,
To realize one's true nature,
To cast off selfishness
And temper desire.
|That which shrinks|
Must first expand.
That which fails
Must first be strong.
That which is cast down
Must first be raised.
There must be giving.
This is called perception of the nature of things.
Soft and weak overcome hard and strong.
Fish cannot leave deep waters,
And a country's weapons should not be displayed.
|All things arise from Tao.|
They are nourished by Virtue.
They are formed from matter.
They are shaped by environment.
Thus the ten thousand things all respect Tao and honor Virtue.
Respect of Tao and honor of Virtue are not demanded,
But they are in the nature of things.
Therefore all things arise from Tao.
By Virtue they are nourished,
Developed, cared for,
Grown, and protected.
Creating without claiming,
Doing without taking credit,
Guiding without interfering,
This is Primal Virtue.
|Peace is easily maintained;|
Trouble is easily overcome before it starts.
The brittle is easily shattered;
The small is easily scattered.
Deal with it before it happens.
Set things in order before there is confusion.
A tree as great as a man's embrace springs up from a small shoot;
A terrace nine stories high begins with a pile of earth;
A journey of a thousand miles starts under one's feet.
He who acts defeats his own purpose;
He who grasps loses.
The sage does not act, and so is not defeated.
He does not grasp and therefore does not lose.
People usually fail when they are on the verge of success.
So give as much care to the end as to the beginning;
Then there will be no failure.
Therefore the sage seeks freedom from desire.
He does not collect precious things.
He learns not to hold on to ideas.
He brings men back to what they have lost.
He help the ten thousand things find their own nature,
But refrains from action.
|A CODE OF ETHICAL BEHAVIOR FOR PATIENTS:|
4. DO NOT COMPLAIN IF THE TREATMENT FAILS TO BRING RELIEF.
You must believe that your doctor has achieved a deep insight into
the true nature of your illness, which transcends any mere permanent
disability you may have experienced.
5. NEVER ASK YOUR DOCTOR TO EXPLAIN WHAT HE IS DOING OR WHY HE IS DOING IT.
It is presumptuous to assume that such profound matters could be
explained in terms that you would understand.
6. SUBMIT TO NOVEL EXPERIMANTAL TREATMENT READILY.
Though the surgery may not benefit you directly, the resulting
research paper will surely be of widespread interest.
|Forgive him, for he believes that the customs of his tribe are the laws|
-- G.B. Shaw
|Man is by nature a political animal.|
| Once there was a marine biologist who loved dolphins. He spent his|
time trying to feed and protect his beloved creatures of the sea. One day,
in a fit of inventive genius, he came up with a serum that would make
dolphins live forever!
Of course he was ecstatic. But he soon realized that in order to mass
produce this serum he would need large amounts of a certain compound that was
only found in nature in the metabolism of a rare South American bird. Carried
away by his love for dolphins, he resolved that he would go to the zoo and
steal one of these birds.
Unbeknownst to him, as he was arriving at the zoo an elderly lion was
escaping from its cage. The zookeepers were alarmed and immediately began
combing the zoo for the escaped animal, unaware that it had simply lain down
on the sidewalk and had gone to sleep.
Meanwhile, the marine biologist arrived at the zoo and procured his
bird. He was so excited by the prospect of helping his dolphins that he
stepped absentmindedly stepped over the sleeping lion on his way back to his
car. Immediately, 1500 policemen converged on him and arrested him for
transporting a myna across a staid lion for immortal porpoises.
|Sherry [Thomas Sheridan] is dull, naturally dull; but it must have taken|
him a great deal of pains to become what we now see him. Such an excess of
stupidity, sir, is not in Nature.
-- Samuel Johnson
|The most exquisite peak in culinary art is conquered when you do right by a|
ham, for a ham, in the very nature of the process it has undergone since last
it walked on its own feet, combines in its flavor the tang of smoky autumnal
woods, the maternal softness of earthy fields delivered of their crop children,
the wineyness of a late sun, the intimate kiss of fertilizing rain, and the
bite of fire. You must slice it thin, almost as thin as this page you hold
in your hands. The making of a ham dinner, like the making of a gentleman,
starts a long, long time before the event.
-- W.B. Courtney, "Reflections of Maryland Country Ham",
from "Congress Eate It Up"
|"A fractal is by definition a set for which the Hausdorff Besicovitch|
dimension strictly exceeds the topological dimension."
-- Mandelbrot, "The Fractal Geometry of Nature"
|But you who live on dreams, you are better pleased with the sophistical|
reasoning and frauds of talkers about great and uncertain matters than
those who speak of certain and natural matters, not of such lofty nature.
-- Leonardo Da Vinci, "The Codex on the Flight of Birds"
|In Nature there are neither rewards nor punishments, there are consequences.|
-- R.G. Ingersoll
|Mathematics, rightly viewed, possesses not only truth but supreme beauty --|
a beauty cold and austere, like that of a sculpture, without appeal to any
part of our weaker nature, without the gorgeous trapping of painting or music,
yet sublimely pure, and capable of a stern perfection such as only the
greatest art can show. The true spirit of delight, the exaltation, the sense
of being more than man, which is the touchstone of the highest excellence, is
to be found in mathematics as surely as in poetry.
-- Bertrand Russell
|Nature abhors a hero. For one thing, he violates the law of conservation|
of energy. For another, how can it be the survival of the fittest when the
fittest keeps putting himself in situations where he is most likely to be
-- Solomon Short
|Nature always sides with the hidden flaw.|
|Nature is by and large to be found out of doors, a location where,|
it cannot be argued, there are never enough comfortable chairs.
-- Fran Lebowitz
|Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed.|
-- Francis Bacon
|Nothing is rich but the inexhaustible wealth of nature.|
She shows us only surfaces, but she is a million fathoms deep.
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson
|Reality must take precedence over public relations, for Mother Nature|
cannot be fooled.
-- R.P. Feynman
|The astronomer Francesco Sizi, a contemporary of Galileo, argues that|
Jupiter can have no satellites:
There are seven windows in the head, two nostrils, two ears, two
eyes, and a mouth; so in the heavens there are two favorable stars, two
unpropitious, two luminaries, and Mercury alone undecided and indifferent.
From which and many other similar phenomena of nature such as the seven
metals, etc., which it were tedious to enumerate, we gather that the number
of planets is necessarily seven. [...]
Moreover, the satellites are invisible to the naked eye and
therefore can have no influence on the earth and therefore would be useless
and therefore do not exist.
|The goal of science is to build better mousetraps. The goal of nature|
is to build better mice.
|The perversity of nature is nowhere better demonstrated by the fact that, when|
exposed to the same atmosphere, bread becomes hard while crackers become soft.
|The solution to a problem changes the nature of the problem.|
|Time is nature's way of making sure that everything doesn't happen at once.|
Space is nature's way of making sure that everything doesn't happen to you.
|We cannot command nature except by obeying her.|
-- Sir Francis Bacon
|We who revel in nature's diversity and feel instructed by every animal tend to|
brand Homo sapiens as the greatest catastrophe since the Cretaceous extinction.
-- S.J. Gould
|Marvin the Nature Lover spied a grasshopper hopping along in the grass,|
and in a mood for communing with nature, rare even among full-fledged
Nature Lovers, he spoke to the grasshopper, saying: "Hello, friend
grasshopper. Did you know they've named a drink after you?"
"Really?" replied the grasshopper, obviously pleased. "They've
named a drink Fred?"
|Please state the nature of the technical emergency|
|Stop! There was first a game of blindman's buff. Of course there was.|
And I no more believe Topper was really blind than I believe he had eyes
in his boots. My opinion is, that it was a done thing between him and
Scrooge's nephew; and that the Ghost of Christmas Present knew it. The
way he went after that plump sister in the lace tucker, was an outrage
on the credulity of human nature.
|The holy passion of Friendship is of so sweet and steady and loyal and|
enduring a nature that it will last through a whole lifetime, if not asked to
-- Mark Twain, "Pudd'nhead Wilson's Calendar"
|The notes blatted skyward as they rose over the Canada geese, feathered|
rumps mooning the day, webbed appendages frantically pedaling unseen
bicycles in their search for sustenance, driven by cruel Nature's maxim,
'Ya wanna eat, ya gotta work,' and at last I knew Pittsburgh.
-- Winning sentence, 1987 Bulwer-Lytton bad fiction contest.
|Well, anyway, I was reading this James Bond book, and right away I realized|
that like most books, it had too many words. The plot was the same one that
all James Bond books have: An evil person tries to blow up the world, but
James Bond kills him and his henchmen and makes love to several attractive
women. There, that's it: 24 words. But the guy who wrote the book took
*thousands* of words to say it.
Or consider "The Brothers Karamazov", by the famous Russian alcoholic
Fyodor Dostoyevsky. It's about these two brothers who kill their father.
Or maybe only one of them kills the father. It's impossible to tell because
what they mostly do is talk for nearly a thousand pages. If all Russians talk
as much as the Karamazovs did, I don't see how they found time to become a
major world power.
I'm told that Dostoyevsky wrote "The Brothers Karamazov" to raise
the question of whether there is a God. So why didn't he just come right
out and say: "Is there a God? It sure beats the heck out of me."
Other famous works could easily have been summarized in a few words:
* "Moby Dick" -- Don't mess around with large whales because they symbolize
nature and will kill you.
* "A Tale of Two Cities" -- French people are crazy.
-- Dave Barry
|Periphrasis is the putting of things in a round-about way. "The cost may be|
upwards of a figure rather below 10m#." is a periphrasis for The cost may be
nearly 10m#. "In Paris there reigns a complete absence of really reliable
news" is a periphrasis for There is no reliable news in Paris. "Rarely does
the 'Little Summer' linger until November, but at times its stay has been
prolonged until quite late in the year's penultimate month" contains a
periphrasis for November, and another for lingers. "The answer is in the
negative" is a periphrasis for No. "Was made the recipient of" is a
periphrasis for Was presented with. The periphrasis style is hardly possible
on any considerable scale without much use of abstract nouns such as "basis,
case, character, connexion, dearth, description, duration, framework, lack,
nature, reference, regard, respect". The existence of abstract nouns is a
proof that abstract thought has occurred; abstract thought is a mark of
civilized man; and so it has come about that periphrasis and civilization are
by many held to be inseparable. These good people feel that there is an almost
indecent nakedness, a reversion to barbarism, in saying No news is good news
instead of "The absence of intelligence is an indication of satisfactory
-- Fowler's English Usage
|All art is but imitation of nature.|
-- Lucius Annaeus Seneca
|Art is Nature speeded up and God slowed down.|
|If you are of the opinion that the contemplation of suicide is sufficient|
evidence of a poetic nature, do not forget that actions speak louder than words.
-- Fran Lebowitz, "Metropolitan Life"
|Ten years of rejection slips is nature's way of telling you to stop writing.|
-- R. Geis
| I did some heavy research so as to be prepared for "Mommy, why is|
the sky blue?"
HE asked me about black holes in space.
(There's a hole *where*?)
I boned up to be ready for, "Why is the grass green?"
HE wanted to discuss nature's food chains.
(Well, let's see, there's ShopRite, Pathmark...)
I talked about Choo-Choo trains.
HE talked internal combustion engines.
(The INTERNAL COMBUSTION ENGINE said, "I think I can, I think I can.")
I was delighted with the video game craze, thinking we could compete
HE described the complexities of the microchips required to create
Then puberty struck. Ah, adolescence.
HE said, "Mom, I just don't understand women."
-- Betty LiBrizzi, "The Care and Feeding of a Gifted Child"
|Nature makes boys and girls lovely to look upon so they can be|
tolerated until they acquire some sense.
-- William Phelps
|Life in the state of nature is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.|
- Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan
|Einstein argued that there must be simplified explanations of nature, because|
God is not capricious or arbitrary. No such faith comforts the software
- Fred Brooks, Jr.
| It is either through the influence of narcotic potions, of which all|
primitive peoples and races speak in hymns, or through the powerful approach
of spring, penetrating with joy all of nature, that those Dionysian stirrings
arise, which in their intensification lead the individual to forget himself
completely. . . .Not only does the bond between man and man come to be forged
once again by the magic of the Dionysian rite, but alienated, hostile, or
subjugated nature again celebrates her reconciliation with her prodigal son,
- Fred Nietzsche, The Birth of Tragedy
|I share the belief of many of my contemporaries that the spiritual crisis|
pervading all spheres of Western industrial society can be remedied only
by a change in our world view. We shall have to shift from the materialistic,
dualistic belief that people and their environment are separate, toward a
new conciousness of an all-encompassing reality, which embraces the
experiencing ego, a reality in which people feel their oneness with animate
nature and all of creation.
- Dr. Albert Hoffman
|Behind all the political rhetoric being hurled at us from abroad, we are |
bringing home one unassailable fact -- [terrorism is] a crime by any civilized
standard, committed against innocent people, away from the scene of political
conflict, and must be dealt with as a crime. . . .
[I]n our recognition of the nature of terrorism as a crime lies our best hope
of dealing with it. . . .
[L]et us use the tools that we have. Let us invoke the cooperation we have
the right to expect around the world, and with that cooperation let us shrink
the dark and dank areas of sanctuary until these cowardly marauders are held
to answer as criminals in an open and public trial for the crimes they have
committed, and receive the punishment they so richly deserve.
- William H. Webster, Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation, 15 Oct 1985
|Your good nature will bring you unbounded happiness.|
|The more a man is imbued with the ordered regularity of all events, the firmer|
becomes his conviction that there is no room left by the side of this ordered
regularity for causes of a different nature. For him neither the rule of
human nor the rule of divine will exists as an independent cause of natural
events. To be sure, the doctrine of a personal God interfering with natural
events could never be refuted, in the real sense, by science, for this
doctrine can always take refuge in those domains in which scientific knowledge
has not yet been able to set foot.
But I am persuaded that such behavior on the part of the representatives
of religion would not only be unworthy but also fatal. For a doctrine which
is able to maintain itself not in clear light, but only in the dark, will
of necessity lose its effect on mankind, with incalculable harm to human
progress. In their struggle for the ethical good, teachers of religion
must have the stature to give up the doctrine of a personal God, that is,
give up that source of fear and hope which in the past placed such vast
powers in the hands of priests. In their labors they will have to avail
themselves of those forces which are capable of cultivating the Good, the
True, and the Beautiful in humanity itself. This is, to be sure, a more
difficult but an incomparably more worthy task.
- Albert Einstein
|What is tolerance? -- it is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed|
of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly --
that is the first law of nature.
|"Nature is very un-American. Nature never hurries."|
-- William George Jordan
|"Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature... Life is |
either a daring adventure or nothing."
-- Helen Keller
|Your good nature will bring unbounded happiness.|
|Now I was heading, in my hot cage, down towards meat-market country on the|
tip of the West Village. Here the redbrick warehouses double as carcass
galleries and rat hives, the Manhattan fauna seeking its necessary
level, living or dead. Here too you find the heavy faggot hangouts,
The Spike, the Water Closet, the Mother Load. Nobody knows what goes on
in these places. Only the heavy faggots know. Even Fielding seems somewhat
vague on the question. You get zapped and flogged and dumped on -- by
almost anybody's standards, you have a really terrible time. The average
patron arrives at the Spike in one taxi but needs to go back to his sock
in two. And then the next night he shows up for more. They shackle
themselves to racks, they bask in urinals. Their folks have a lot of
explaining to do, if you want my opinion, particularly the mums. Sorry
to single you ladies out like this but the story must start somewhere.
A craving for hourly murder -- it can't be willed. In the meantime,
Fielding tells me, Mother Nature looks on and taps her foot and clicks
her tongue. Always a champion of monogamy, she is cooking up some fancy
new diseases. She just isn't going to stand for it.
-- Martin Amis, _Money_
|...cyberpunk wants to see the mind as mechanistic & duplicable,|
challenging basic assumptions about the nature of individuality & self.
That seems all the better reason to assume that cyberpunk art & music is
essentially mindless garbagio. Willy certainly addressed this idea in
"Count Zero," with Katatonenkunst, the automatic box-maker and the girl's
observation that the real art was the building of the machine itself,
rather than its output.
-- Eliot Handelman
|"Little prigs and three-quarter madmen may have the conceit that the laws of |
nature are constantly broken for their sakes."
-- Friedrich Nietzsche
|A selection from the Taoist Writings:|
"Lao-Tan asked Confucius: `What do you mean by benevolence and righteousness?'
Confucius said: `To be in one's inmost heart in kindly sympathy with all
things; to love all men and allow no selfish thoughts: this is the nature
of benevolence and righteousness.'"
|A pretty foot is one of the greatest gifts of nature... please send me your|
last pair of shoes, already worn out in dancing... so I can have something
of yours to press against my heart.
|BEWARE! People acting under the influence of human nature.|
|By nature, men are nearly alike; by practice, they get to be wide apart.|
|I do not know where to find in any literature, whether ancient or modern,|
any adequate account of that nature with which I am acquainted. Mythology
comes nearest to it of any.
-- Henry David Thoreau
|It is the nature of extreme self-lovers, as they will set an house on fire,|
and it were but to roast their eggs.
-- Francis Bacon
|It will be generally found that those who sneer habitually at human nature|
and affect to despise it, are among its worst and least pleasant examples.
-- Charles Dickens
|What is tolerance? -- it is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed|
of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly -- that
is the first law of nature.
|Accent on helpful side of your nature. Drain the moat.|
|You have an ambitious nature and may make a name for yourself.|
|Your nature demands love and your happiness depends on it.|