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Math/Science/Computers

A formal manipulator in mathematics often experiences the discomforting feeling that his pencil surpasses him in intelligence. - Howard W. Eves

A linguist would be shocked to learn that if a set is not closed this does not mean that it is open, or again that "E is dense in E" does not mean the same thing as "E is dense in itself". - J. E. Littlewood

A polar bear is a rectangular bear after a coordinate transform.

A programmer is a person who passes as an exacting expert on the basis of being able to turn out, after innumerable punching, an infinite series of incomprehensive answers calculated with micrometric precisions from vague assumptions based on debatable figures taken from inconclusive documents and carried out on instruments of problematical accuracy by persons of dubious reliability and questionable mentality for the avowed purpose of annoying and confounding a hopelessly defenseless department that was unfortunate enough to ask for the information in the first place. - IEEE Grid newsmagazine

Act in haste and repent at leisure; Code too soon and debug forever. - Raymond Kennington

Advances are made by answering questions. Discoveries are made by questioning answers. - Bernhard Haisch, astrophysicist

Always code as if the guy who ends up maintaining, or testing your code will be a violent psychopath who knows where you live. - Dave Carhart

An Engineer is simply a machine for turning coffee into assembler code.

Applicants must also have extensive knowledge of Unix, although they should have sufficiently good programming taste to not consider this an achievement. - Hal Abelson, MIT job advertisement.

As a computer, I find your faith in technology amusing.

As an adolescent I aspired to lasting fame, I craved factual certainty, and I thirsted for a meaningful vision of human life, so I became a scientist. This is like becoming an archbishop so you can meet girls. - M. Cartmill

As soon as you start kludging it, you know you're just about there. - Gene Sewell

Bad or missing mouse driver. Spank cat? [Y/N]

Barium: what you do with dead chemists.

Biology is the only science in which multiplication means the same thing as division.

Black holes are where God divided by zero.

Blessed are the pessimists, for they make backups.

Charlie was a Chemist, but Charlie is no more. What Charlie thought was H20 was H2SO4.

DOS Computers manufactured by companies such as IBM, Compaq, Tandy, and millions of others are by far the most popular, with about 70 million machines in use wordwide. Macintosh fans, on the other hand, may note that cockroaches are far more numerous than humans, and that numbers alone do not denote a higher life form. - New York Times, November 26, 1991

ERROR 155 - You can't do that. - Data General S200 FORTRAN error code list

Everything you need to know is on the Internet. You just can't find it.

Failure is not an option... It already comes bundled with the software.

First law of science: don't spit into the wind.

Forget all this talk about reliability; if it plugs in, it's trouble.

Hitting your modem with an aluminum baseball bat is only going to get you electrocuted. Try a wooden one. - Lynn Marshall

Home pages are the pet rock of the 90s. They all have them, they all think they're very cute. But in a few years they're going to look back and be pretty embarrassed. - Kim Alm

I am acutely aware of the fact that the marriage between mathematics and physics, which was so enormously fruitful in past centuries, has recently ended in divorce. - Freeman Dyson, 1972

I am not very skeptical... a good deal of skepticism in a scientific man is advisable to avoid much loss of time, but I have met not a few men, who... have often thus been deterred from experiments or observations which would have proven servicable. - Charles Darwin

I can live with doubt and uncertainty and not knowing. I think it is much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers that might be wrong. - Richard Feynman

I have had my results for a long time: but I do not yet know how I am to arrive at them. - Karl Friedrich Gauss

I love fools' experiments, I am always making them. - Darwin

I tell my students that artificial intelligence is a property that a machine has if it astounds you. - Herbert Freeman

I want to know the thoughts of God. Everything else is just details. - Albert Einstein

I know that most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it be such as would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives. -Tolstoy

I’ve always wanted to write a little program that would pop up a window saying, 'I'm going to amputate a limb at random from you now,' to see how many people would instinctively click OK.

If a program makes you feel stupid, it's not because you are; it's because the person who wrote the program is. - Arthur Naiman

If a thing is worth doing, it's worth doing well - unless doing it well takes so long that it isn't worth doing any more. Then you just do it 'good enough'. - Programming Perl, Wall and Schwartz

If Bill Gates had a dime for every time Windows crashed... Oh, wait a minute, he already does.

If I cannot use the users as playthings, I don't really see too much purpose in having them on my systems. - Chris Magagna

If I were a fraction, my goal would be world denomination. - Chris Lipe

If it's not on fire then it's a software problem.

If some unemployed punk in New Jersey can get a cassette to make love to Elle McPherson for $19.95 this virtual reality stuff is going to make crack look like Sanka.

If you disregard the very simplest cases, there is in all of mathematics not a single infinite series whose sum has been rigorously determined. In other words, the most important parts of mathematics stand without a foundation. - Niels H. Abel

If you think C++ is not overly complicated, just what is a protected abstract virtual base pure virtual private destructor, and when was the last time you needed one? - Tom Cargil, C++ Journal

If you want to bake an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the Universe. - Carl Sagan

If your experiment needs statistics, you ought to have done a better experiment. - Ernest Rutherford

In mathematics, you don't understand things. You just get used to them.- Johann von Neumann

In science as in love, too much concentration on technique can often lead to impotence. - P. L. Berger

In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is a big difference.

Insofar as the laws of mathematics are certain, they do not refer to reality; and insofar as they refer to reality, they are not certain. - Albert Einstein

It is important to realize that any lock can be picked with a big enough hammer. - Sun System & Network Admin manual

It is our responsibility as scientists, knowing the great progress which comes from a satisfactory philosophy of ignorance, the great progress which is the fruit of freedom of thought, to proclaim value of this freedom; to teach how doubt is not to be feared but welcomed and discussed; and to demand this freedom as our duty to all coming generations. - Richard P. Feynman

It is really quite amazing by what margins competent but conservative scientists and engineers can miss the mark, when they start with the preconceived idea that what they are invesigating is impossible. When this happens, the most well-informed men become blinded by their prejudices and are unable to see what lies directly ahead of them. - Arthur C. Clarke, 1963

It is not uncommon for engineers to accept the reality of phenomena that are not yet understood, as it is very common for physicists to disbelieve the reality of phenomena that seem to contradict contemporary beliefs of physics - H. Bauer

It's like religion. Heresy [in science] is though of as a bad thing, whereas it should be just the opposite. - T. Gold

It would be very discouraging if somewhere down the line you could ask a computer if the Riemann hypothesis is correct and it said, `Yes, it is true, but you won't be able to understand the proof.' - Ronald Graham

Life is good for only two things, discovering mathematics and teaching mathematics - Siméon Poisson

Like other occult techniques of divination, the statistical method has a private jargon deliberately contrived to obscure its methods from non-practitioners. - G. O. Ashley

Like the ski resort full of girls hunting for husbands and husbands hunting for girls, the situation is not as symmetrical as it might seem. - Alan Lindsay Mackay

Logic is the art of going wrong with confidence. - Morris Kline

Managing senior programmers is like herding cats. - Dave Platt

Mathematicians are like Frenchmen: whatever you say to them, they translate it into their own language, and forthwith it means something entirely different.- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Mathematics consists of proving the most obvious thing in the least obvious way. - George Polya

Microsoft is the only corporate colossus in history whose entire product line could be eliminated with a giant magnet.-David Shenk

Microsoft: One OS to rule them all, One OS to find them, One OS to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.

Never worry about theory as long as the machinery does what it's supposed to do. - Robert A. Heinlein

New and stirring things are belittled because if they are not belittled, the humiliating question arises, 'Why then are you not taking part in them?' - H. G. Wells

Normal people don't understand this concept; they believe that if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Engineers believe that if it ain't broke, it doesn't have enough features yet. - G. Harry Stine

Old programmers never die. They just terminate and stay resident.

On two occasions I have been asked, 'Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?' I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question. - Charles Babbage

Once you accept the universe as matter expanding into nothing that is something, wearing stripes with plaid becomes easy. - Albert Einstein

One of the endearing things about mathematicians is the extent to which they will go to avoid doing any real work.- Matthew Pordage

One thing I have learned in a long life: that all our science, measured against reality, is primitive and childlike - and yet it is the most precious thing we have. - Einstein

Or as Schrodinger's wife once said, "What did you do to the cat? It looks half dead."

Pi R squared? Nooo! Pie R round, cornbread R square!

Profanity: the universal programming language

Programming is like sex: One mistake and you support it a lifetime. - Paul S. Sears

Quantum particles: The dreams that stuff is made of.

Save the whales. Feed the hungry. Free the mallocs.

Science is a differential equation. Religion is a boundary condition. - Alan Turing

Skeptic's Law: If it violates known theory, it must be pseudoscience.

Since the mathematicians have invaded the theory of relativity, I do not understand it myself anymore.- Albert Einstein

Smash forehead on keyboard to continue.

Something is wrong. - ATARI 520ST and 1040ST BASIC error warning

Sometimes I think we're alone in the universe, and sometimes I think we're not. In either case the idea is quite staggering. - Arthur C. Clarke

Sometimes it pays to stay in bed in Monday, rather than spending the rest of the week debugging Monday's code. – Dan Salomon

The best way to accelerate a Macintosh is at 9.8m/sec/sec. – Marcus Dolengo

The danger from computers is not that they will eventually get as smart as men, but we will meanwhile agree to meet them halfway. – Bernard Avishai

The facts, although interesting, are irrelevant.

The moment I win the lottery, my computer becomes the world's most expensive boat anchor. - Jacques Hughes

The most important thing in the application development is the name. An application will not succeed without a good name. I have recently invented a very good name and now I am looking for a suitable application.

The most likely way for the world to be destroyed, most experts agree, is by accident. That's where we come in; we're computer professionals. We cause accidents. - Nathaniel Borenstein

The most overlooked advantage of owning a computer is that if they foul up there's no law against whacking them around a little. - Porterfield

The person who thinks there can be any real conflict between science and religion must be either very young in science or very ignorant of religion. - Joseph Henry, early American physicist

The use of 'goto' statements is discouraged, especially with the label HELL

The weaker the math, the more elaborate the graphics need to be.

There are children playing in the street who could solve some of my top problems in physics, because they have modes of sensory perception that I lost long ago. - Robert Oppenheimer

There are three kinds of death in this world. There's heart death, there's brain death, and there's being off the network. – Guy Almes

There are three roads to ruin; women, gambling and technicians. The most pleasant is with women, the quickest is with gambling, but the surest is with technicians. - Georges Pompidou

There are two major products that come out of Berkeley: LSD and UNIX. We don't believe this to be a coincidence. – Jeremy S. Anderson

There is no order; there is no chaos. Only patterns of increasing perplexity.

There is only one nature. The division into science and engineering is a human imposition, not a natural one. Indeed, the division is a human failure; it reflects our limited capacity to comprehend the whole. - Bill Wulf

Those who do not understand Unix are condemned to reinvent it, poorly. - Henry Spencer

Trust the computer industry to shorten "Year 2000" to "Y2K". It was this kind of thinking that caused the problem in the first place.

Under the most rigorously controlled conditions of pressure, temperature, volume, humidity, and other variables, the organism will do as it damn well pleases.

UNIX is user friendly. It's just selective about who its friends are.

Unnamed Law: If it happens, it must be possible.

Usually mathematicians have to shoot somebody to get this much publicity. - Thomas R. Nicely (on the attention he received after finding the flaw in Intel's Pentium chip in 1994)

We forget that you cannot impress software, no matter what your rank. - Rear Admiral Grace Hopper

We offer them mediocrity while calling it magic. We offer them the illusion of intelligent software, seducing them into surrendering the task of thinking to the machine. Of course, the machine isn't thinking, which means that nobody is. - Larry Constantine

We used to think that if we knew one, we knew two, because one and one are two. We are finding that we must learn a great deal more about `and'. - Sir Arthur Eddington

We've all heard that a million monkeys banging on a million typewriters will eventually reproduce the entire works of Shakespeare. Now, thanks to the Internet, we know this is not true. - University of Cambridge Professor Robert Silensky

When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong. - Arthur C. Clarke's First Law

When asked to testify that Emmy Noether was a great woman mathematician, E. Landau said, "I can testify that she is a great mathematician, but that she is a woman, I cannot swear."

Why did the chicken cross the Moebius strip? To get to the other... er... um...

"Why is the sky blue?" "It's a fault in the universe's ray tracing algorithm."

Windows 95: n. 32 bit extensions and a graphical shell for a 16 bit patch to an 8 bit operating system originally coded for a 4 bit microprocessor, written by a 2 bit company that can't stand 1 bit of competition.

Word cannot edit the unknown. - error message from Word 6.0, 1993

You are in a maze of twisty little passages, all alike. - the original Adventure computer game

You know we all became mathematicians for the same reason: we were lazy. - Max Rosenlicht

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