Quote Fest -- Part Two
Hard work has made it easy. That is my secret. That is why I win._ --Nadia Comaneci
What I think is extraordinary, apart from the inherent values in the ideas, is that we were experiencing ourselves a historical moment in the life of the internet, an example of how massive publishing power is in the hands of anyone with access to a PC.
The best science fiction, from "Frankenstein" on, has, perversely, always been about how beside the point science is--how it can't, ultimately, solve the Big Problems, because however sophisticated technology gets, human nature always stays pretty much the same.
--Daniel Mendelsohn, in a review of Michael Crichton's "Timeline" in the November 21, 1999 New York TImes Book Review
Practically everybody wants to give up their amateur standing as soon as possible. The irony is that if most writers of poetry and other dabblers would think entirely of the benefit to them and not at all of publication, the publishable merit of what they produce would be greatly and constantly increased.
--Northrop Frye, 1996 journal entry
Learning about music by reading about it is like making love by mail.
It must become a celebration of success in dealing with failure, an account of why failure in climbing one mountain, whether in music or in prose, may be success in climbing an unforeseen neighboring peak.
Think of how much human life has changed over the past two thousand years, with the development of science, the advent of universities, global communications and transportation, and the freeing of millions from ignorance, tyranny and an early grave. Then extrapolate that on a rising curve. Of course, it could also happen that the scope of human cruelty and folly will rise too. Either way, we're going to get what we deserve.
Modern life has made waiting a desperate act.
--Noelle Denlandler, July 16, 1997 New Yorker
Pain concentrates the mind, but what it concentrates the mind on is pain.
--Margaret Talbot, New York Times, October 31, 1999
We become scientists for the same reasons that people become artists--it is in our blood, a dream, a desire, a way of approaching the world. If we can communicate that feeling to nonscientists, we will all be enriched.
Science is what we understand well enough to explain to a computer. Art is everything else.
--Donald Knuth, in the November 1999 issue of Wired
Old cartoonists never retire. They just erase away.
Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance.
--Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
The fastest way to succeed is to double your failure rate.
--Thomas J. Watson
I've been alive for three popes.
--My sister, on Christmas day 1999
This business [the entertainment industry] is amazingly fair--unless you happen to be Asian, black, Hispanic, gay or a woman.
--an anomymous major entertainment executive, quoted in the October 8, 1999 issue of Entertainment Weekly
The human condition: that's one piece of machinery that seems not to get upgraded. The human brain is still operating at version 1.0: look at road rage, white supremacists, ATM scams, religious tunnelvision, macho idiot gun- love, and look at who we have up for president. Not to mention the upcoming Scopes Monkey Trial of the Year 2000 in that jerkwater state Kansas. Change? Learn? Evolve? Not bloody likely.
Is it possible to get an epidural for the brain?
--My sister, on writing a paper.
Proposed epitaph for the 20th century: You ain't seen nothing yet.
--Kim Stanley Robinson
How can we get the ideas we need to describe a realm where all intuitions derived from life in space-time become inapplicable?
I am so tired of the millennium. I don't want to hear about it again for a thousand years.
--Richard L. Phillips, in a December 31, 1999 letter to the New York Times
The kind of intelligence most valued in American society today is the intelligence needed to persuade other people that you are really intelligent. We have discovered that it takes brains to seem brainy.
--Louis Menand, in the New York Times magazine, about Clifton Fadiman
In anything at all, perfection is finally attained not when there is no longer anything to add, but when there is no longer anything to take away.
An attack on evolution is an attack on all science. Discredit that, and the next generation may wonder why they should support science at all.
--Eugene Scott, of the National Center for Science Education, in the April 22, 2000 New Scientist
What is the myth you are living?
Some people say things better than I, so I quote them.
--Rich Janda, former University of Chicago linguistics professor