Geek Quotes

Some wag has summed up the three laws of thermodynamics in everyday terms: 1. You can’t win. 2. You can’t even break even. 3. You can’t get out of the game. –John Gribbin

Peer’s Law: The solution to the problem changes the problem.

“Left to themselves, things tend to go from bad to worse.” –Murphy’s Corollary

Endless Loop, n.:
see Loop, Endless.
Loop, Endless, n.:
see Endless Loop.

REAL programmers confuse Halloween and Christmas, ’cause OCT 31 == DEC 25

“355/113 — Not the famous irrational number PI, but an incredible simulation!”

“For a list of the ways which technology has failed to improve our quality of life, press 3.”

Computers are like Old Testament gods; lots of rules and no mercy. — Campbell

Occam’s eraser: The philosophical principle that even the simplest solution is bound to have something wrong with it.

“If there are two or more ways to do something, and one of those ways can result in a catastrophe, then someone will do it.” – Murphy’s Law (Sod’s Law)

“Anything that can go wrong, will” – Finagle’s Law of Dynamic Negatives

“Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.” – Hanlon’s Razor

Murphy’s Law of Thermodynamics: Things get worse under pressure.

Clarke’s First Law: 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.
Corollary (Asimov):
When the lay public rallies round an idea that is denounced by distinguished but elderly scientists, and supports that idea with great fervor and emotion — the distinguished but elderly scientists are then, after all, right.

Clarke’s Second Law: The only way to discover the limits of the possible is to go beyond them into the impossible.

Clarke’s Third Law: Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

Clarke’s Law of Revolutionary Ideas: Every revolutionary idea — in Science, Politics, Art or Whatever — evokes three stages of reaction. They may be summed up by the three phrases:
1. “It is completely impossible — don’t waste my time.”
2. “It is possible, but it is not worth doing.”
3. “I said it was a good idea all along.”

Edington’s Theory: The number of different hypotheses erected to explain a given biological phenomenon is inversely proportional to the available knowledge.

Everitt’s Form of the Second Law of Thermodynamics: Confusion (entropy) is always increasing in society. Only if someone
or something works extremely hard can this confusion be reduced to order in a limited region. Nevertheless, this effort will still
result in an increase in the total confusion of society at large.

Fett’s Law of the Lab: Never replicate a successful experiment.

Finagle’s Creed: Science is Truth. Don’t be misled by fact.

Finagle’s First Law: If an experiment works, something has gone wrong.

Finagle’s Second Law: No matter what result is anticipated, there will always be someone eager to (a) misinterpret it, (b) fake it, or (c) believe it happened according to his own pet theory.

Finagle’s Third Law: In any collection of data, the figure most obviously correct, beyond all need of checking, is the mistake.
1. No one whom you ask for help will see it.
2. Everyone who stops by with unsought advice will see it immediately.

Finagle’s Fourth Law: Once a job is fouled up, anything done to improve it only makes it worse.

Finagle’s Law According to Niven: The perversity of the universe tends to a maximum.

Finagle’s Laws of Information:
1. The information you have is not what you want.
2. The information you want is not what you need.
3. The information you need is not what you can obtain.
4. The information you can obtain costs more than you want to pay.

Finagle’s Rules: Ever since the first scientific experiment, man has been plagued by the increasing antagonism of nature. It seems only right that nature should be logical and neat, but experience has shown that this is not the case. A further series of rules has been formulated, designed to help man accept the pigheadedness of nature.

1. To study a subject best, understand it thoroughly before you start.
2. Always keep a record of data. It indicates you’ve been working.
3. Always draw your curves, then plot the reading.
4. In case of doubt, make it sound convincing.
5. Experiments should be reproducible. They should all fail in the same way.
6. When you don’t know what you are doing, do it NEATLY.
7. Teamwork is essential; it allows you to blame someone else.
8. Always verify your witchcraft.
9. Be sure to obtain meteorological data before leaving on vacation.
10. Do not believe in miracles. Rely on them.

First Law of Laboratory Work: Hot glass looks exactly the same as cold glass.

Futility Factor (Carson’s Consolation): No experiment is ever a complete failure — it can always serve as a bad
example, or the exception that proves the rule (but only if it is the first experiment in the series).

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

Kohn’s Second Law: Any experiment is reproducible until another laboratory tries to repeat it.

Maier’s Law: If the facts do not conform to the theory, they must be disposed of.
1. The bigger the theory, the better.
2. The experiment may be considered a success if no more than 50% of the observed measurements must be discarded to obtain a correspondence with the theory. (Compensation Corollary)

Malek’s Law: Any simple idea will be worded in the most complicated way.

Mark’s mark: Love is a matter of chemistry; sex is a matter of physics.

Osborn’s Law: Variables won’t; constants aren’t.

Patricks’s Theorem: If the experiment works, you must be using the wrong equipment.

Price’s Law of Science: Scientists who dislike the restraints of highly organized research like to remark that a truly great research worker needs only three pieces of equipment — a pencil, a piece of paper, and a brain. But they quote this maxim more often at academic banquets than at budget hearings.

Scott’s First Law: No matter what goes wrong, it will probably look right.

Scott’s Second Law: When an error has been detected and corrected, it will be found to have been correct in the first place.
Corollary: After the correction has been found in error, it will be impossible to fit the original quantity back into the equation.

Skinner’s Constant (Flannegan’s Finagling Factor): That quantity which, when multiplied by, divided into, added to, or subtracted
from the answer you got, gives you the answer you should have gotten.

Woodward’s Law: A theory is better than an explanation.

Wyszowski’s First Law: No experiment is reproducible.

Young’s Handy Guide to the Modern Sciences:
If it is green or it wiggles — it is Biology.
If it stinks — it is Chemistry.
If it doesn’t work — it is Physics.

“You have attributed conditions to villainy that simply result from stupidity.” – Robert Heinlein

“The first 90% of the code accounts for the first 90% of the development time. The remaining 10% of the code accounts for the other 90% of the development time.”

Douglas Hartree: “The time from now until the completion of the project tends to become constant.”

“Ninety percent of everything is crap”. Derived from a quote by science fiction author Theodore Sturgeon, who once said, “Sure, 90% of science fiction is crud. That’s because 90% of everything is crud.”

“If this thread is annoying, please imagine what it is like to see an idealistic project stymied and made ineffective, because people don’t usually give it the credit for what it has done.  If you’re an idealist like me, that can ruin your whole decade.” — Richard Stallman, Regarding the GNU/Linux debate

“We should not be building surveillance technology into [Internet] standards. Law enforcement was not supposed to be easy. Where it is easy, it’s called a police state.” — Jeff Schiller, IETF

“…I’m not one of those who think Bill Gates is the devil. I simply suspect that if Microsoft ever met up with the devil, it wouldn’t need an interpreter.” — Nick Petreley

God, Root, what is the difference?  -Pitr, UserFriendly

…and the geek shall inherit the earth…

“I entered the office and tossed my hat at the coat rack. It missed, hit the heater, and instantly burst into flames. That reminded me: I had some work to do in Windows.” — Lincoln Spector, “The Maltese Penguin”

“If Raymond is Pepsi, with fashionable marketing, Stallman is the original Coke, and the choice of a Gnu generation…” — Lloyd Wood, on ESR and RMS

RedHat Adventure: “You’re in a maze of twisted little packages, all dependent. There’s a threatening little Gnome in the room with you.” – Peter Dalgaard

“On an infinitely wide screen, every program is a one liner.” – Christian Bauernfeind

“I have a good memory. I have the equivalent of a Palm Pilot installed neurally.” — Eric S. Raymond

“If you really want to impress people with your computer literacy, add the words ‘dot com’ to the end of everything you say, dot com.” — “Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey”

This message was brought to you by the letter Q and the number 0.0303030303030303

(For rent)

“A PBS mind in an MTV world!”

The opinions of my employers are unimportant and often boring, so I’m replacing them with my own.

“If you continue running Windows, your system may become unstable.” – Windows 95 BSOD

-You mean that if i were root, i could get passwords?
-No, Neo. If you were root, you wouldn’t need to

Second Law of Blissful Ignorance: Inside every small problem is a large problem struggling to get out.

“Proprietary system advocates aren’t evil or stupid. They are the victims. They have a disease and they need help.” — Donald B. Marti Jr.

If Microsoft Built Cars: Every time they repainted the lines on the road, you’d have to buy a new car. Occasionally your car would just die for no reason, and you’d have to restart it, but you’d just accept this.

Linux is like a Wigwam: No Windows, no Gates, Apache inside.

“You’re bound to be unhappy if you optimize everything.” – Donald E. Knuth

Those parts of the system that you can hit with a hammer (not advised) are called hardware; those program instructions that you can only curse at are called software. — Levitating Trains and Kamikaze Genes: Technological Literacy for the 1990’s

E = MC ** 2 +- 3db

“If you think technology can solve your security problems, then you don’t understand the problems and you don’t understand the technology.” -Bruce Schneiers Secrets and Lies: Digital security in a networked world.

“Windows 98 is NOT a virus; viruses are small and efficient!”

As soon as we started programming, we found to our surprise that it wasn’t as easy to get programs right as we had thought. Debugging had to be discovered. I can remember the exact instant when I realized that a large part of my life from then on was going to be spent in finding mistakes in my own programs. — Maurice Wilkes discovers debugging, 1949

Don’t start vast projects with half vast ideas.

Bower’s Law: Talent goes where the action is.

Symptom: Floor blurred.
Fault: You are looking through bottom of empty glass.
Action Required: Find someone who will buy you another beer.
Symptom: Floor moving.
Fault: You are being carried out.
Action Required: Find out if you are taken to another bar. If not, complain loudly that you are being kidnapped.
— Bar Troubleshooting

Go, Speed Racer, go!

AC: What are we going to do today?
LT: The same thing we do every day, Alan. Try to take over the world. –pb

Other Murphy’s Laws:
1. Nothing is as easy at it looks.
2. Everything takes longer than you think it will.
3. If there is a possibility of several things going wrong, the one that will cause the most damage will go wrong.
4. Whenever you set out to do something, something else must be done first.
5. Every solution breeds a new problem.
6. It is impossible to make anything foolproof, because fools are so ingenious.
7. Nature always side with the hidden flaw.
8. When things just can’t get any worse, they will.

Simon’s Law: “Everything put together, sooner or later falls apart.”

The Unspeakable Law: “As soon as you mention something, if it’s good, it goes away; if it’s bad, it happens.”

Buggin’s Law: “The man who can smile when things go wrong has thought of someone he can blame it on.”

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