Favorite Quotes

Secretary of State, John Quincy Adams, 1821

"America has abstained from interference in the concerns of others, even when conflict has been for principles to which she clings as to the last vital drop that visits the heart. She goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself beyond the power of extrication in all the wars of interest and intrique, of individual avarice, envy and ambition. The fundamental maxims of her policy would change from liberty to force."

Momo from "Alegria"

"When you step into the light to do the show, play your role with everything you've got. Invest every tear, every laugh, everything beautiful and ugly from your lives. Do you show and live your lives with humanity, because whatever you do, it changes someone's life forever."

Isaac Asimov

"Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent."

Joseph Weizenbaum (1923-2008)

"Perhaps the computer, as well as many other of our machines and techniques, can yet be transformed, following our own authentically revolutionary transformation, into instruments to enable us to live harmoniously with nature and with one another. But one prerequisite will first have to be met: there must be another transformation of man. And it must be one that restores a balance between human knowledge, human aspirations, and an appreciation of human dignity such that man may become worthy of living in nature."

Gerald Sussman

"Programming is debugging a blank sheet of paper."

Mark Guzdial based on comments by Roger Schank

"If you are always succesful, you don't learn much. But if you've failed, you're in the perfect position to learn a lot. Someone who has just failed is now interested in reading, in exploring theory, and in engaging in inquiry in order to understand the failure and how to avoid it next time. In order to fail, you must face a "test" of some kind. The test doesn't have to be of the paper-and-pencil type. It doesn't have to be formal at all. But if there isn't an event that tests your knowledge and provides the opportunity to fail, then the failing and the learning will never occur."

Nils Nilson

"Our students, twenty years from now, will be using the concepts, tools, and technology, that they will learn fifteen years from now."


There are only 11 kinds of people in the world. Those that understand binary. Those who don't. And those that don't give a hoot.

Swedish Saying

"There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes."

African Proverb

"Stretch your mind and fly."


"Work Like You Don't Need The Money, Love Like You've Never Been Hurt, And Dance Like Nobody's Watching!"

Winston Churchill

"We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give"

Yogi Berra

"In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is."


"Predictions are difficult to make, especially about the future"

Albert Einstein

"You see, wire telegraph is like a very, very long cat. You pull on its tail in New York and it meows in Los Angeles. Do you understand this? And radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here. They receive them there. However, there is no cat."

Yogi Berra

"When you come to a fork in the road, take it."

Amy in "Northern Exposure"

"You know Chris that stuff I said about pi. I meant every word. When I was in graduate school there were just so many choices. There was fractal geometry, imaginary numbers, non-linear differential equations. Nothing felt right. And then one day I walked in the computer lab and someone was writing pi. I stared at that monitor with all those numbers dancing across the screen. At that moment I knew... I just knew...."

From the movie Blade Runner

"I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I've watched sea beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhausen Gate. All those moments will be lost.... in time....like tears....in the rain.... Time to die....."

"I don't know why he saved my life. Maybe in those last moments he loved life more than he ever had before. Not just his life, any body's life, my life. All he wanted were the same answers the rest of us want: Where do I come from? Where am I going? How long have I got? All I could do was sit there and watch him die."

1992 Bumper Stickers

Saddam Hussein still has his job; do you?

Friends don't let friends vote Republican

Pat Buchanan's speech sounded better in the original German!

Mothers of teenagers know why animals eat their young.

Dick Cavett, mocking the TV-violence debate

There's so much comedy on television. Does that cause comedy in the streets?

Edward L. Thorndike (1912)

The best teacher uses books and applicances as well as his own insight, sympathy, and magnetism.

William James

A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices.

Mark Twain

Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.

D. Bynre

"I know I don't understand much of what it is that fills me up, and that much of the work on this project, or any project, is a process of trying to discover what is inside yourself. And half the time the work itself tells you, but you don't understand what it's saying until many years later, which is okay. I'm not saying it's ahead of its time. It's probably just about _on_ time, but none of us have any perspective on what we are doing, or why we are doing it, until years after the fact. ... We've moved on to an "information culture," a "software culture," or a "service culture," or whatever it is. But it's not really a culture of big machines anymore. We think of them as relics. And yet we still live with the biases, assumptions and beliefs that come out of this age. We are filled up with these ideas in our schools, through our newspapers, our televisions, our music, art and literature. One of the personal discoveries I made while working on this project is that we're a lot less "modern" than we think we are. For the most part, we're living and breathing in a new world, while thinking and feeling in an old one. We need to "take stock," to become aware of our prejudices and biases, before we can take the next step."

S. Dali

"The only difference between a crazy person and me is that fact that I am not crazy"


"Asking whether machines can think is like asking whether submarines can swim"

Ed from "Northern Exposure"


Bumper Sticker:

"Make it idiot proof and someone will make a better idiot."

Garrison Keelor

"Sometimes you have to look reality in the eye and deny it"

Leon in Blade Runner

"Wake up. Time to die."

Dave Olson

"Life would be so much easier if we could just look at the source code."

Edgar Pangborn in "The Night Wind"

"But I do tell you this, any manner of love is good, so long as there is kindness in it."

A. Perlis

"A Lisp programmer knows the value of everything, but the cost of nothing"

Robert Pirsig

"Mountains should be climbed with as little effort as possible and without desire. The reality of your own nature should determine the speed. If you become restless, speed up. If you become winded, slow down. You climb the mountain in an equilibrium between restlessness and exhaustion. Then, when you're no longer thinking ahead, each footstep isn't just a means to an end but a unique event in itself. This leaf has jagged edges. This rock looks loose. From this place the snow is less visible, even though closer. These are the things you should notice anyway. To live only for some future goal is shallow. It's the sides of the mountain which sustain life, not the top. Here's where things grow."


A professor is one who talks in someone else's sleep.


I was sitting in a graduate level computer science class during a particularly incomprehensible lecture. The instructor was speaking far above the level of the class and no one would ask a question and risk being considered ignorent. Finally somebody in the front row raised his hand.

"Excuse me," he asked the instructor, "Are you talking to US?"

Dan Quayle

"What a waste it is to lose one's mind"


"The problem with the gene pool is that there is no lifeguard"

Josey Wales to Ten Bears in "The Outlaw Josey Wales"

"Dying's easy for men like you and me; it's living that's hard, when everything you've ever cared about has been butchered or raped."

Zen proverb

"Live every day like your hair was on fire."

President John F. Kennedy
A speech written but never delivered, Dallas, TX, November 22, 1963

There always will be dissident voices heard in the land, expressing opposition without alternatives, finding fault but never favor, perceiving gloom on every side and seeking influence without responsibility. Their voices are inevitable.


A computer geek: a person that thinks that the NFL team in St. Louis is named after a computer memory module, the RAMs.

Mahatmah Gandhi

I am a Hindu. I am also a Muslim. I am also a Jew and a Christian. Some would even say I'm an athiest. Religion and the color of one's skin - what useless ways to define and establish a nation!