sentences by various people (partly German)

If you open your mind too much, your brain will fall out.
Tim Minchin

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"

'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"

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

On the other hand, human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.
Douglas Adams - Last Chance to See

The gorillas were not the animals we had come to Zaire to look for. It is very hard, however, to come all the way to Zaire and not go and see them. I was going to say that this is because they are our closest living relatives, but I'm not sure that that's an appropriate reason. Generally, in my experience, when you visit a country in which you have any relatives living there's a tendency to want to lie low and hope they don't find out you're in town.
Douglas Adams - Last Chance to See

The kakapo is a solitary creature: it doesn't like other animals. It doesn't even like the company of other kakapos. One conservation worker we met said he sometimes wondered if the mating call of the male didn't actively repel the female, which is the sort of biological absurdity you otherwise only find in discotheques.
Douglas Adams - Last Chance to See

I remembered once, in Japan, having been to see the Gold Pavillion Temple in Kyoto and being mildly surprised at quite how well it had weathered the passage of time since it was first built in the fourteenth century. I was told it hadn't weathered well at all, and had in fact been burnt to the ground twice in this century. "So it isn't the original building?" I had asked my Japanese guide. "But yes of course it is," he insisted, rather surprised at my question. "But it's been burnt down?" "Yes." "Twice." "Many times." "And rebuilt." "Of course. It is an important and historic building." "With completely new materials." "But of course. It was burnt down." "So how can it be the same building?" "It is always the same building."
Douglas Adams - Last Chance to See

With a large majority of prospective tourists and outers, "camping out" is a leading factor in the summer vacation. And during the long winter months they are prone to collect in little knots and talk much of camps, fishing, hunting, and "roughing it". The last phrase is very popular and always cropping out in the talks on matters pertaining to a vacation in the woods. I dislike the phrase. We do not go to the green woods and crystal waters to rough it, we go to smooth it. We get it rough enough at home; in towns and cities; in shops, offices, stores, banks - anywhere that we may be placed - with the necessity always present of being on time and up to our work; of providing for the dependent ones; of keeping up, catching up, or getting left. "Alas for the life-long battle, whose braves slogan is bread."
Nessmuk - Woodcraft

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

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

Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you should set up a life you don't need to escape from.
Seth Godin

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

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

Friends don't let friends use HTML mail.
Meredith L. Patterson

Jeder Zuwachs an Technik bedingt, wenn damit ein Zuwachs und nicht eine Schmälerung des menschlichen Glücks verbunden sein soll, einen entsprechenden Zuwachs an Weisheit.
Bertrand Russell

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

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'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

'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

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"

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"

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"

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 (, 5 July, 1992)

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

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"

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