The proprietor of N-gate is an engineer who grew up in Palo Alto and now
lives in the Pacific Northwest, where he works in high-performance
computing. He agreed to exchange e-mails on condition of anonymity.
"Almost every post deals with the same topics: these are people who
spend their lives trying to identify all the ways they can extract
money from others without quite going to jail," he wrote. "They're
people who are convinced that they are too special for rules, and too
smart for education. They don't regard themselves as inhabiting the
world the way other people do; they're secret royalty, detached from
society's expectations and unfailingly outraged when faced with
normal consequences for bad decisions. Society, and especially
economics, is a logic puzzle where you just have to find the right set of
loopholes to win the game. Rules are made to be slipped past, never
stopping to consider why someone might have made those rules to start
with. Silicon Valley has an ethics problem, and 'Hacker' 'News' is where
it's easiest to see."
The New Yorker - The Lonely Work of Moderating Hacker News
It's not that solutions proposed are unlikely to work but that, in solving the "problem," solutionists twist it in such an ugly and unfamiliar way that, by the time it is "solved," the problem becomes something else entirely. Everyone is quick to celebrate victory, only no one remembers what the original solution sought to achieve.
Evgeny Morozov - To Save Everything, Click Here
It is just this lack of connection to a concern with truth - this indifference to how things really are - that I regard as of the essence of bullshit.
Harry G. Frankfurt - On Bullshit
What I had not realized is that extremely short exposures to a relatively simple computer program could induce powerful delusional thinking in quite normal people.
Joseph Weizenbaum about the effects of ELIZA
filtering the internet is like trying to vacuum the desert
Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you should set up a life you don't need to escape from.
The weakness of 'learning to code' alone might be argued in the opposite direction too: you should be able to understand technological systems without having to lean to code at all, just as one should not need to be plumber to take a shit, nor to live without fear that your plumbing system is trying to kill you.
James Bridle - New Dark Age
Ignorance is a wonderful thing - it's the state you have to be in before you can really learn anything.
Terry Pratchett - Doctor Who?, A Slip of the Keyboard
Escapism isn't good or bad of itself. What is important is what you are escaping from and where you are escaping to. I write from experience, since in my case I escaped to the idea that books could be really enjoyable, an aspect of reading that teachers had not hitherto suggested. The fantasy books led me on to mythology, the mythology led painlessly to ancient history... and I quietly got an education, courtesy of the public library.
Terry Pratchett - Magic Kingdoms, A Slip of the Keyboard
People today spend a great deal of money on holidays abroad because they are true believers in the myths of romantic consumerism.
Yuval Noah Harari - Sapiens
If you love a thing, let that thing talk to the world as little as possible because the world wants to cough in its eye.
James Mickens - Not Even Close: The State of Computer Security
Friends don't let friends use HTML mail.
Meredith L. Patterson
Those who can do, those who can't write and those who can't write make ezines.
Jeder Zuwachs an Technik bedingt, wenn damit ein Zuwachs und nicht eine Schmälerung des menschlichen Glücks verbunden sein soll, einen entsprechenden Zuwachs an Weisheit.
Never underestimate the determination of a kid who is time-rich and cash-poor.
Cory Doctorow - Little Brother
All programmers are optimists.
Frederick P. Brooks, Jr. - The Mythical Man-Month
Goodness without wisdom always accomplishes evil.
Mike in Heinlein's Stranger in a strange land
The kids have changed, Sandy. They're not like we were. And it gets worse every year. They're docile. They're practical. They're polite. They don't bite. Well, hardly ever. I've been at four colleges now, never been higher than an assistant professor, so I get all the big introductory lecture courses. I used to try to do Socratic dialogues, get arguments going, controversies. Disaster. I gave that up. And no matter how outrageous I am in lecture, no one argues back. They write it all down. [...]
Froggy in G.R.R. Martin - The Armageddon Rag
Perhaps the greatest of all pedagogical fallacies is the notion that a person learns only what he is studying at the time. Collateral learning in the way of formation of enduring attitudes... may be and often is more important than the spelling lesson or lesson in geography or history... For these attitudes are fundamentally what count in the future.
John Dewey - Experience and Education as cited by Neil Postman
Only four years after Morse opened the nation's first telegraph line on May 24, 1844, the Associated Press was founded, and news from nowhere, addressed to no one in particular, began to crisscross the nation. Wars, crimes, crashes, fires, floods - much of it the social and political equivalent of Adelaide's whooping cough - became the content of what people called "the news of the day."
Neil Postman - Amusing Ourselves to Death
The idea that creative endeavor and mind-altering substances are entwined is one of the great pop-intellectual myths of our time.
Stephen King - On Writing
I don't want to speak too disparagingly of my generation (actually I do, we had a chance to change the world and opted for the Home Shopping Network instead) [...]
Stephen King - On Writing
There's a need to understand, but that doesn't require knowledge. The God hypothesis, for example, allows you to have an unparalleled understanding of absolutely everything while knowing absolutely nothing... Give a man a highly simplified model of the world and interpret every event on the basis of this simple model. This approach requires no knowledge. A few rote formulas, plus some so-called intuition, some so-called practical acumen, and some so-called common sense.
Valentin in Arkady and Boris Strugatsky - Roadside Picnic
I'm always delighted by the light touch and stillness of early programming languages. Not much text; a lot gets done. Old programs read like quiet conversations between a well-spoken research worker and a well-studied mechanical colleague, not as a debate with a compiler. Who'd have guessed sophistication bought such noise?
Richard P. Gabriel
Welcome to a dangerous new era - the Unlightenment - in which centuries of rational thought are overturned by idiots. Superstitious idiots. They're everywhere - reading horoscopes, buying homeopathic remedies, consulting psychics, babbling about "chakras" and "healing energies", praying to imaginary gods, and rejecting science in favour of soft-headed bunkum. But instead of slapping these people round the face till they behave like adults, we encourage them. We've got to respect their beliefs, apparently.
Charlie Brooker's screen burn
'Cause that's always a question: Is this an art or is it a craft? To which I respond: I don't give a shit.
Nick Offerman: "Good Clean Fun" | Talks At Google
Orandum est, ut sit mens sana in corpore sano.
Beten muss man, dass in einem gesunden Körper ein gesunder Geist ist.
Juvenal - Satura X
The idea of a pattern is, as Peter Norvig has expressed very well, just evidence of a failure in your notation.
Rob Pike - OSCON 2010: "Public Static Void"
Choose your favorite spade and dig a small, deep hole, located deep in the forest or a desolate area of the desert or tundra. Bury your cell phone and then find a hobby.
Nick Offerman - Paddle your own canoe
[I]f you carefully read its literature and analyse what its devotees actually do, you will discover that software engineering has accepted as its charter "How to program if you cannot."
E.W. Dijkstra in EWD 1036 (On the cruelty of really teaching computing science)
The trouble was that he was talking in philosophy, but they were listening in gibberish.
Terry Pratchett in "Small Gods"
'Which path do you intend to take, Nell?' said the Constable, sounding very interested. 'Conformity or rebellion?'
'Neither one. Both ways are simple-minded - they are only for people who cannot cope with contradiction and ambiguity.'
Neal Stephenson in "The Diamond Age"
Wer zeigt, wer er ist - nicht durch Sekundärtugenden, sondern durch Accessoires -, der muss es auch zeigen, weil man es sonst nicht wüsste.
Hellmuth Karasek in "Hand in Handy"
The dwarf waited, unable to move, and a sombre voice said, PLEASE DO NOT PANIC. YOU ARE MERELY DEAD.
The vandal stared at the skeletal figure, managed to get himself in order and said to Death, 'Oh... I don't regret it, you know. I was doing the work of Tak, who will now welcome me into paradise with open arms!'
For a person who didn't have a larynx Death made a good try at clearing his throat. WELL, YOU CAN HOPE, BUT CONSIDERING WHAT YOU INTENDED, IF I WERE YOU I WOULD START HOPING HARDER RIGHT NOW AND, PERHAPS, VERY QUICKLY INDEED. Death continued, in tones as dry as granite, TAK MIGHT INDEED BE GENTLE. STRIVE AS YOU HAVE NEVER STRIVEN. YES, TAK MIGHT BE GENTLE, OR...
The vandal listened to the sound of silence, the sound like a bell with, alas, no clapper, but finally the dreadful silence ended in ...NOT
Terry Pratchett - Raising Steam
Although he wasn't the driving force behind the innovations, he did know how to spot and recruit talent to his work teams. If history was any guide, that was the primary skill necessary for success in Silicon Valley.
Daniel Suarez - Kill Decision
At all costs the Christian must convince the heathen and the atheist that God exists, in order to save his soul. At all costs, the atheist must convince the Christian that the belief in God is but a childish and primitive superstition, doing enormous harm to the cause of true social progress. And so they battle and storm and bang away each other. Meanwhile, the Taoist Sage sits quietly by the stream, perhaps with a book of poems, a cup of wine, and some painting materials, enjoying the Tai to his hearts content, without ever worrying whether or not Tao exists. The Sage has no need to affirm the Tao; he is far too busy enjoying it!
Raymond M. Smullyan - The Tao is Silent
Consider this illustrative joke. Question 1: How does a mathematician make a cup of tea, given a kettle of water at room temperature? Answer 1: He puts the kettle on the stove. When the water boils, he pours some into a cup with tea leaves. Question 2: How does a mathematician make a cup of tea, given a kettle of boiling water? Answer 2: He sets the kettle aside until the water cools to room temperature, thereby reducing the problem to one previously solved.
Allen Van Gelder - Efficient Computation of Polygon Area and Polyhedron Volume
"Simple. I got very bored and depressed, so I went and plugged myself in to its external computer feed. I talked to the computer at great length and explained my view of the Universe to it," said Marvin.
"And what happened?" pressed Ford.
"It committed suicide," said Marvin and stalked off back to the Heart of Gold. -
Douglas Adams in "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"
WARNUNG: Könnte Nüsse enthalten!
Aus dem Vorwort von "Die Philosophen der Rundwelt" von Terry Pratchett, Ian Stewart und Jack Cohen
Die Modelle der Wissenschaft sind nicht wahr, und eben darum sind sie nützlich. Sie erzählen einfache Geschichten, die unser Geist erfassen kann. Es sind Lügen-für-Kinder, einfache Geschichten für den Unterricht und darum keinen Deut schlechter. Der Fortschritt der Wissenschaft besteht darin, dass immer klügeren Kindern immer überzeugendere Lügen erzählt werden.
Terry Pratchett, Ian Stewart und Jack Cohen in "Die Philosophen der Rundwelt"
'It would seem that you have no useful skill or talent whatsoever,' he said. 'Have you thought of going into teaching?'
Terry Pratchett in "Mort"
The very foundation of the American Dream of a better and richer life for all is that all, in varying degrees, shall be capable of wanting to share in it.
James Truslow Adams, "Epic of America", 1931
Es heißt, wenn die Götter jemanden vernichten wollen, schicken sie ihm zunächst den Wahnsinn. Das stimmt nicht ganz. Wenn die Götter wirklich jemanden vernichten wollen, dann geben sie dem Betreffenden das Äquivalent einer Sprengstoffstange, auf der 'Dynamit' geschrieben steht und deren Zündschnur brennt. Das ist viel interessanter und geht schneller.
Terry Pratchett in "Rollende Steine"
...if they don't keep exercising their lips, their brains start working
Im "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" der von Ford Prefect angenommene Grund dafür, dass Menschen andauernd reden und Dinge sagen, die offensichtlich sind...
There are no inconsistencies in the Discworld books, merely alternative pasts.
Terry Pratchett - The Discworld Companion
I keep vaguely wondering what Macs are like, but the ones I've seen spend too much time being friendly.
Terry Pratchett im Usenet (alt.fan.pratchett, 5 July, 1992)
There should be a notice ahead of the movie that says 'This movie is PG. Can you read? You are a Parent. Do you understand what Guidance is? Or are you just another stupid toddler who thinks they're an adult simply because they've grown older and, unfortunately, have developed fully-functioning sexual organs? Would you like some committee somewhere to decide *everything* for you? Get a damn grip, will you? And shut the wretched kid up !'
Terry Pratchett im Usenet (alt.fan.pratchett, 10 July 2001)
Life doesn't happen in chapters - at least, not regular ones. Nor do movies. Homer didn't write in chapters. I can see what their purpose is in children's books ("I'll read to the end of the chapter, and then you must go to sleep") but I'm blessed if I know what function they serve in books for adults.
Terry Pratchett, als er auf das Fehlen von Kapiteln in seinen Discworld Novels angesprochen wird
No, I happen to be one of those people whose memory shuts down under pressure. The answers would come to me in the middle of the night in my sleep! Besides, I am a millionaire.
Terry Pratchett auf die Frage, ob er bei "Who wants to be a millionaire" mitmachen wolle
And all those exclamation marks, you notice? Five? - A sure sign of someone who wears his underpants on his head.
Terry Pratchett zum übermäßigen Gebrauch von Ausrufezeichen - in Maskerade / Mummenschanz
Do not start me on The Da Vinci Code ... a novel so bad that it gives bad novels a bad name. ... Even Dan Brown must live. Preferably not write, but live.
Salman Rushdie interview The Lawrence Journal-World (7 October 2005)
Hell wasn't a major reservoir of evil, any more then Heaven, in Crowley's opinion, was a fountain of goodness; they were just sides in the great cosmic chess game. Where you found the real McCoy, the real grace and the real heart-stopping evil, was right inside the human mind.
Terry Pratchett und Neil Gaiman in "Good Omens. The nice and accurate prophecies of Agnes Nutter, witch"
She was convinced that she was anorexic, because every time she looked in the mirror she did indeed see a fat person.
Terry Pratchett und Neil Gaiman in "Good Omens"