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"hoyle (n): the point at which a genius transcends our reality and becomes a madman" —Merriam Webster's Previous Favorite Words (Not in the Dictionary)

"I don't want the world, I just want your half." —They Might Be Giants, Ana Ng

"Great sport begins at a point where it has ceased to be healthy." —Bertolt Brecht

"I am certainly not an advocate for frequent and untried changes in laws and constitutions. I think moderate imperfections had better be borne with; because, when once known, we accommodate ourselves to them, and find practical means of correcting their ill effects. But I know also, that laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths disclosed, and manners and opinions change with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also, and keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the same coat which fitted him when a boy, as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors." — Thomas Jefferson, letter to Samuel Kercheval, July 12, 1810 "A committee is a cul-de-sac down which ideas are lured and then quietly strangled." —attributed to Barnett Cocks, Hilaire Belloc, and others.

"If you've been in the game 30 minutes and you don't know who the patsy is, you're the patsy.'" —anonymous

"Silliness is the last refuge of the doomed" —P. Opus

"Science is like sex: sometimes something useful comes out, but that is not the reason we are doing it" —Richard Feynman

"The long stretches of DNA which do not encode proteins is probably some sort of advertising." —Rich Clancey (in alt.fan.cecil-adams)

"There is no need for a good memory as long as Google lives." —Boron Elgar (in alt.fan.cecil-adams, 5 Jan 2001)

"You were a long hair-ed freshman in 1995 and became a middle-aged businessman by 1999. How do you *do* that?" —Jon Dean (referring to me in alt.fan.cecil-adams, 18 May 2001)

"It's a rare circumstance where heroism and stupidity do not overlap at all." —Patrick M Geahan (in alt.fan.cecil-adams, 19 Sep 2002)

"There is no way to prevent injuries while playing ultimate. resign yourself to a lifetime of constant, near-incapacitating pain as your body becomes a shifting mosaic of fractures, tears, ruptures and lacerations endlessly recycled and added to in some hellish spiral from which there is no escape. YOU ARE DOOMED TO LIVE YOUR ADULT LIFE AS A CRIPPLE. In your old age you will be despised as a burden to your children and indeed to society itself. enjoy!" —Paul Sackley (in rec.sport.disc, 15 Nov 1995)

"We are all atheists about most of the gods that humanity has ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further." —Richard Dawkins

"I'm going to go to the grocery store, I suppose I can be outraged and buy tofu as well as I can be outraged and sit on my couch." —Cory Barlow, 2 March 2001

"If you don't like having choices made for you, you should start making your own." —Neal Stephenson

"Digital files cannot be made uncopyable, any more than water can be made not wet." —Bruce Schneier, CRYPTO-GRAM, 15 May 2001

"People will then often say 'But surely it's better to remain an Agnostic just in case?' This, to me, suggests such a level of silliness and muddle that I usually edge out of the conversation rather than get sucked into it. (If it turns out that I've been wrong all along, and there is in fact a god, and if it further turned out that this kind of legalistic, cross-your-fingers-behind-your-back, Clintonian hair-splitting impressed him, then I think I would chose not to worship him anyway.)" —Douglas Adams, American Atheist interview

"I love you and I love the sword, but I love the sword more." —Musashi, medieval Japanese swordsman (addressing his wife).

"Life is like a box of chocolates...a cheap, thoughtless, perfunctory gift that nobody ever asks for. Unreturnable, because all you get back is another box of chocolates. You're stuck with this undefinable whipped-mint crap that you mindlessly wolf down when there's nothing else left to eat. Sure, once in a while, there's a peanut butter cup, or an English toffee. But they're gone too fast, and the taste is fleeting. So you end up with broken bits, filled with hardened jelly and teeth-shattering nuts, and if you're desperate enough to eat those, all you've got left is a...is an empty box...filled with useless, brown paper wrappers." —'Musings of a Cigarette-Smoking Man,' The X-Files

"My refrigerator is a place that vegetables go to die." —Jasper Halekas

"If you can take advantage of a situation in some way, it's your duty as an American to do it. Why should the race always be to the swift, or the jumble to the quickwitted? Should they be allowed to win, merely because of the gifts God gave them? Well I say cheating is the gift man gives to himself." —Charles Montgomery Burns, 'Mountain of Madness', The Simpsons

"That's the problem with being evil; your minions are all evil, too." —Pat Carr from the INTP mailing list

"The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference." —Richard Dawkins

"ASTROLOGY, a conjectural science, which teaches to judge of the effects and influences of the stars, and to foretel future events by the situation and different aspects of the heavenly bodies. This science has long ago become a just subject of contempt and ridicule." —Entry on "Astrology", Encyclopaedia Britannica (first edition, 1771)

"Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful." —Lucius Annaeus Seneca (4?BCE - 61CE)

"Thermodynamics for dummies: You can't win. You can't break even. You can't get out of the game." —unknown

"History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme." —Mark Twain

"I no longer think of George Lucas as a director. Rather, a spoiler of dreams." —James Ervin, 4 January 2003

"The web already sucks, Plucker just makes it suck LESS." —David A. Desrosiers (in comp.sys.palmtops.pilot, 30 April 2003)

"I still think that home freezer temperature beer popsicles would be a better boon for mankind than room temperature superconductivity, but there's an incredible descrepency in research funding between the two." —Rich Clancey (in alt.fan.cecil-adams, 27 August 2003

"A month or two in the laboratory can often save an hour or two in the library." —anonymous

"A month or two of hacking can often save an hour or two on Google." —anonymous

" << Using MS Word for a normal, simple document is a bit like killing mosquitoes with a laser cannon.>>
A laser cannon with broken and warped lenses, a dozen bad connections, vital circuitry in the path of the laser, and a tendency to overheat. This laser cannon only runs on AAA batteries, of which you need four thousand. There is a 50% chance that if this laser cannon fires successfully, it will be in the direction of the operator." —Chris Hawks from the Plucker email list, 20 January 2004

"There has grown up in the minds of certain groups in this country the notion that because a man or corporation has made a profit out of the public for a number of years, the government and the courts are charged with the duty of guaranteeing such profit in the future, even in the face of changing circumstances and the contrary public interest. This strange doctrine is not supported by the statue nor common law. Neither individuals nor corporations have any right to come to court and ask that the clock of history be stopped, or turned back, for their private benefit." —Robert A. Heinlein, "Life-Line" 1939

"In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion." —Carl Sagan, 1987 CSICOP keynote address

"Sarcasm is a fleeting emotion. Cynicism is a way of life." —Doug McItyre

"The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus by the Supreme Being in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter." —Thomas Jefferson

"History does not record anywhere at any time a religion that has any rational basis. Religion is a crutch for people not strong enough to stand up to the unknown without help. But, like dandruff, most people do have a religion and spend time and money on it and seem to derive considerable pleasure from fiddling with it."—Robert Heinlein "Time Enough for Love"

"The most preposterous notion that H. sapiens has ever dreamed up is that the Lord God of Creation, Shaper and Ruler of all the Universes, wants the saccharine adoration of His creatures, can be swayed by their prayers, and becomes petulant if He does not receive this flattery. Yet this absurd fantasy, without a shred of evidence to bolster it, pays all the expenses of the oldest, largest, and least productive industry in all history." —Robert Heinlein "Time Enough for Love"

"A man's ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties and needs; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death." —Albert Einstein

"There are fewer rational numbers than irrational... why shouldn't the same also be true of people?" —James Ervin, 29 November 2004

"Originality is the fine art of remembering what you hear but forgetting where you heard it." —Laurence Peter

"It doesn't get any easier, you just get faster." —Greg LeMond

"It is a scientifically proven fact that a mid life crisis can only be cured by something racy and Italian. Bianchis and Colnagos a lot cheaper than Maserattis and Ferraris." —Glenn Davies

"Beware of he who would deny you access to information, for in his heart he dreams himself your master." —anonymous

"Counterterrorism is most effective when it doesn't make arbitrary assumptions about the terrorists' plans. Stop searching bags on the subways, and spend the money on 1) intelligence and investigation -- stopping the terrorists regardless of what their plans are, and 2) emergency response -- lessening the impact of a terrorist attack, regardless of what the plans are. Countermeasures that defend against particular targets, or assume particular tactics, or cause the terrorists to make insignificant modifications in their plans, or that surveil the entire population looking for the few terrorists, are largely not worth it." —Bruce Schneier, CRYPTO-GRAM, 15 August 2005

"An Atheist loves his fellow man instead of a god. An Atheist knows that heaven is something for which we should work now - here on earth - for all men together to enjoy. An Atheist knows that he can get no help through prayer but that he must find within himself the inner conviction and strength to meet life, to grapple with it, to subdue it and to enjoy it. An Atheist knows that only in a knowledge of himself and a knowledge of his fellow man can he find the understanding that will help to a life of fulfillment." "An Atheist seeks to know himself then and his fellow rather than to know a god. An Atheist understands that a hospital must be built instead of a church. An Atheist knows that a deed must be done instead of a prayer said. An Atheist strives for involvement in life and not escape into death. He wants disease conquered, poverty vanquished, war eliminated. He wants man to understand, love and accept all of mankind. He wants an ethical way of life. He knows that we cannot rely on a god, channel action into prayer, or hope for an ends to our troubles in a hereafter. He knows that we are not only our brother's keepers - but keepers of our lives foremost, that we are responsible persons and the job is here and the times is now." —Madalyn Murray O'Hare, Murray vs. Curlett, 374 U.S. 203 (1963)

"My honourable and learned friend talks very contemptuously of those who are led away by the theory that monopoly makes things dear. That monopoly makes things dear is certainly a theory, as all the great truths which have been established by the experience of all ages and nations, and which are taken for granted in all reasonings, may be said to be theories. It is a theory in the same sense in which it is a theory that day and night follow each other, that lead is heavier than water, that bread nourishes, that arsenic poisons, that alcohol intoxicates." —Lord Macaullay, Speech to Parliament, 1841

"Moving parts in rubbing contact require lubrication to avoid excessive wear. Honorifics and formal politeness provide lubrication where people rub together. Often the very young, the untravelled, the naive, the sophisticated deplore these formalities as "empty," "meaningless," or "dishonest," and scorn to use them. No matter how "pure" their motives, they thereby throw sand into machinery that does not work too well at best." —Robert A. Heinlein

"Um, APPARENTLY, programming is for folks who are thrilled when a computer reminds them they're missing a bracket or semicolon? It must be, because they make that happen SO OFTEN." —t-rex, Dinosaur Comics, 5 March 2008

"People simply have too much free time. Like me, reading this dumb article and commenting on it." — seen here.

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© Alan Hoyle

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