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#10510The feeling persists that no one can simultaneously be a respectable writer
and understand how a refrigerator works, just as no gentleman wears a brown
suit in the city. Colleges may be to blame. English majors are encouraged,
I know, to hate chemistry and physics, and to be proud because they are not
dull and creepy and humorless and war-oriented like the engineers across the
quad. And our most impressive critics have commonly been such English majors,
and they are squeamish about technology to this very day. So it is natural
for them to despise science fiction.
-- Kurt Vonnegut Jr., "Science Fiction"
#10511The following statement is not true. The previous statement is true.
#10512The Force is what holds everything together. It has its dark side, and
it has its light side. It's sort of like cosmic duct tape.
#10513"The four building blocks of the universe are fire, water, gravel and vinyl."
-- Dave Barry
#10514The function of the expert is not to be more right than other people,
but to be wrong for more sophisticated reasons.
-- Dr. David Butler, British psephologist
#10515The generation of random numbers is too important to be left to chance.
#10516The goal of science is to build better mousetraps. The goal of nature
is to build better mice.
#10517The Greatest Mathematical Error
The Mariner I space probe was launched from Cape Canaveral on 28
July 1962 towards Venus. After 13 minutes' flight a booster engine would
give acceleration up to 25,820 mph; after 44 minutes 9,800 solar cells
would unfold; after 80 days a computer would calculate the final course
corrections and after 100 days the craft would cirlce the unknown planet,
scanning the mysterious cloud in which it is bathed.
However, with an efficiency that is truly heartening, Mariner I
plunged into the Atlantic Ocean only four minutes after takeoff.
Inquiries later revealed that a minus sign had been omitted from
the instructions fed into the computer. "It was human error", a launch
spokesman said.
This minus sign cost L4,280,000.
-- Stephen Pile, "The Book of Heroic Failures"
#10518The herd instinct among economists makes sheep look like independent thinkers.
#10519The ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they
are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is generally
understood. Indeed, the world is ruled by little else.
-- John Maynard Keyes
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