Quotes which may apply to Y2K

greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Seems like I relate everything to Y2K these days. As I read some lists of aphorisms today it was inevitable that some should seem particularly apt to our situation. Perhaps you can use one of these in a bit of writing.

"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

"I do not fear computers. I fear the lack of them." -- Isaac Asimov

"It is the mark of an educated mind to rest satisfied with the degree of precision which the nature of the subject admits and not to seek exactness where only an approximation is possible." -- Aristotle

"All probabilities are 50%. Either a thing will happen or it won't." -- Unknown

Any one else have any?

-- Max Dixon (Ogden, UT) (Max.Dixon@gte.net), September 21, 1998


I agree with you that I relate everything I do or see to y2k- wich, for my own sanity- I should probably make myself take a break from doing every once in a while. But anyway, my comments aren't quotes, they are commercials: Has anyone seen that one for the new Oreo cereal where the female news reporter is *LIVE* in a grocery store where the shelves are being stripped bare of this cereal in a mad frenzy? Or the one for milk where a news reporter comes on T.V. and announces, "...ladies and gentlemen, the world has run out of milk..."

-- madeline (runner@bcpl.net), September 21, 1998.

From A Journal of the Plague Year, by Daniel Defoe:

Next to these publick things were the dreams of old women, or, I should say, the interpretation of old women upon other people's dreams; and these put abundance of people even out of their wits. Some heard voices warning them to be gone, for that there would be such a plague in London, so that the living would not be able to bury the dead. Others saw apparitions in the air; and I must be allowed to say of both, I hope without breach of charity, that they heard voices that never spake, and saw sights that never appeared, but that the imagination of the people was really turned wayward and possessed. And no wonder, if they who were poring continually at the clouds saw shapes and figures, representations and appearances, which had nothing in them but air and vapour. Here they told us they saw a flaming sword held in a hand coming out of a cloud, with a point hanging directly over the city. There they saw hearses and coffins in the air carrying to be buried. And there again, heaps of dead bodies lying unburied and the like, just as the imagination of the poor terrified people furnished them with matter to work upon. ...These things serve to shew how far the people were really overcome with delusions; and as they had a notion of the approach of a visitiation, all their predictions ran upon a most dreadful plague, which should lay the whole city, and even the kingdom, waste, and should destroy almost all the nation, both man and beast. To this, as I said before, the astrologers added stories of the conjunctions of planets in a malignant manner and with a mischievous influence, one of which conjunctions was to happen, and did happen, in October, and the other in November; and they filled the people's heads with predictions on these signs of the heavens, intimating that those conjunctons foretold drought, famine, and pestilence.... But we had some good men, and that of all persuasions and opinions, whose discourses were full of terror, who spoke nothing but dismal things; and as they brought the people together with a kind of horror, sent them away in tears, prophesying nothing but evil tidings, terrifying the people with the apprehensions of being utterly destroyed, not guiding them, at least not enough, to cry to heaven for mercy.... One mischief always introduces another. These terrors and apprehensions of the people led them into a thousand weak, foolish, and wicked things, which they wanted not a sort of people really wicked to encourage them to; and this was running about to fortune-tellers, cunning-men, and astrologers to know their fortune, or, as it is vulgarly expressed, to have their fortunes told them, their nativities calculated, and the like; and this folly presently made the town swarm with a wicked generation of pretenders to magick, to the black art, as they called it, and I know not what...

-- z (a@b.c), September 22, 1998.

The world that we have made as a result of he level of thinking we have done thus far creates problems that we cannot solve at the same level as the level we created them at...........Albert Einstein

-- Gina (gngdecker@ckt.net), September 22, 1998.

A committee is an organism with three or more legs and no brain. -- Lazarus Long

Never assume intelligence. -- Anonymous

-- J.D. Clark (yankeejdc@aol.com), September 22, 1998.

Here's another from "Lazarus Long" (Robert Heinlein)

"Common sense? There's nothing less common than sense!"

-- Buddy Y. (buddy@bellatlantic.net), September 22, 1998.

Tonight we're gonna party like its 1999. Prince


The Artist formerly known as Prince

-- Prince (prince@1999.com), September 22, 1998.

Something Wicked this way comes... Ray Bradbury

-- R. D..Herring (drherr@erols.com), September 22, 1998.

"Unless we change our direction, we are likely to end up where we are headed" attributed to being an old chinese proverb...

-- Suzanne hansen (Suzannel@webtv.net), September 22, 1998.

"It just ain't possible to explain some things. It's interesting to wonder on them and do some speculation, but the main thing is you have to accept it--take it for what it is, and get on with your growing." --Jim Dodge

-- Faith Weaver (faith-weaver@usa.net), September 23, 1998.

"If the automobile had followed the same development cycle as the computer, a Rolls-Royce would today cost $100, get a million miles per gallon, and explode once a year, killing everyone inside."

Robert X. Cringley

-- Uncle Deedah (oncebitten@twiceshy.com), September 23, 1998.

Great thread, Max. I had no idea how many quotes from my sigfile could apply to Y2K. Actually most of these were in reference to "Earthcrisis," but the similarities and parallels are downright disconcerting.

Anyway, for what it's worth, I hope you all enjoy these.


"The chief cause of problems is solutions."---Eric Sevareid

"I have yet to see any problem, however complicated, which, when you looked at it in the right way, did not become still more complicated." ---Poul Anderson

"Trouble is a sieve through which we sift our acquaintances. Those too big to pass through are our friends."---CaraBella1

"The lesson of history is that he (mankind) never avoids catastrophes; he just spends his time recovering from them" - Gordon Rattray Taylor

"Whatever befalls the earth, befalls the children of the earth. Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one tread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect." --- Chief Seattle

"Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got til it's gone?"---Joni Mitchell (Paved Paradise)

"If you can't even manage to to force your own presumably democratic governments to allow you to do good things for yourselves, then you probably deserve to become extinct."---Ishmael (My Ishmael, Daniel Quinn)

"Consider the average intelligence of the common man, then realize 50% are even stupider." -- Mark Twain

"Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups."

"Spare no expense to make everything as economical as possible." --- Samuel Goldwyn

"You may forget, but let me tell you this: Someone in some future time will think of us."---Sappho

"Everybody wants to save the world, but nobody wants to pay for it." ---John Sotsisowah Mohawk

"So far, so good."---Man falling past 8th floor window

"Bad ideas flourish because they are in the interest of powerful groups."---Paul Krugman

"The two most common elements in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity." --- Harlan Ellison

"If stupid hurt, the whole planet would be a world of pain." --- Denis Boyles

"Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored." -- Aldous Huxley

"Still, a man, he hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest."---Paul Simon (The Boxer)

"That millions of people share the same form of mental pathology does not make those people sane."---Eric Fromm

"Proof doesn't matter if a culture has decided that the proven thing is impossible. It will not be accepted as a reality, regardless of the validity of the evidence to prove its existence." ---Dr. John Mack

"If ignorance is bliss, then why aren't more people happy?" ---MedicineHawk

"Whenever I find myself arguing for something with great passion, I can be certain I'm not convinced."---Hugh Prather

"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze new problems, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects." --- Robert A. Heinlein

"I do not believe in a fate that falls on men however they act; but I do believe in a fate that falls on men unless they act." --- G.K. Chesterton

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror." ---Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)

"It does not do to leave a dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him."---Tolkein

"Reality is that which refuses to go away when I stop believing in it."---Phillip K. Dick

"It will be as fleeting as a cool breeze upon the back of one's neck"---Joseph I. Guillotin (1738-1814)

"This whole problem is boring and stupid. So are Hippo's until they charge your boat."

-- Hallyx (Hallyx@aol.com), September 23, 1998.

i see a bad moon rising... creedence

-- frodo baggins (andsoitends@last.com), September 23, 1998.

And my latest favorite, which addresses Y2k directly.~~~ Hallyx

"We put the egg of civilization in one basket woven from the fibers of virtual reality and suspended by an electrical cord." --- Allen Comstock

-- Hallyx (Halyx@ao.com), September 24, 1998.

"It was a bright cold day in April and the clocks were striking thirteen." -- George Orwell, 1984 (opening line)

"Technology...the knack of so arranging the world that we don't have to experience it." -- Max Frisch

"Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein." -- Proverbs 26:27

"We should all be concerned about the future because we will have to spend the rest of our lives there." -- C.F. Kettering

"There are men in the world who derive as stern an exaltation from the proximity of disaster and ruin, as others from success." -- Sir Winston Churchill

"We are waiting for the long-promised invasion. So are the fishes." -- Sir Winston

"A slow sort of country!" said the Queen. "Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!" -- Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

"In skating over thin ice our safety is in our speed." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Well done is quickly done." -- Augustus Caesar

"A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you're talking about real money." -- Senator Everett Dirksen

"Upon the sacredness of property civilization itself depends -- the right of the laborer to his hundred dollars in the savings bank, and equally the legal right of the millionaire to his millions." -- Andrew Carnegie

"A smell of burning fills the startled air -- The Electrician is no longer there!" -- Hilaire Belloc (poem)

"O human race, born to fly upward, wherefore at a little wind dost thou so fall?" -- Dante, Purgatorio

"Synergy means behavior of whole systems unpredicted by the behavior of their parts." -- Buckminster Fuller

"Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe." -- H.G. Wells (1920)

"Civilizations, I believe, come to birth and proceed to grow by successfully responding to successive challenges. They break down and go to pieces if and when a challenge confronts them which they fail to meet." -- Arnold Toynbee (1948)

"What each man does is based not on direct and certain knowledge, but on pictures made by himself or given to him....The way in which the world is imagined determines at any particular moment what men will do." -- Walter Lippman

"All I know is just what I read in the papers." -- Will Rogers

"Yes, an' mebbe, an' mebbe not." -- Edward N. Westcott

"Noise proves nothing. Often a hen who has merely laid an egg cackles as if she had laid an asteroid." -- Mark Twain

"The great masses of the people...will more easily fall victims to a big lie than to a small one." -- Adolf Hitler

"The masses feel that it is easy to flee from reality, when it is the most difficult thing in the world." -- Josi Ortega y Gasset

"Bite on the bullet, old man, and don't let them think you're afraid." -- Rudyard Kipling

"If there is one basic element in our Constitution, it is civilian control of the military." -- President Harry S. Truman, Memoirs

"There comes a time in the affairs of man when he must take the bull by the tail and face the situation." -- W.C. Fields

"You don't need the weatherman to know which way the wind blows." -- Bob Dylan

"How many times can a man turn his head pretending he just doesn't see?" -- Bob D.

"5% of the people think; 10% of the people think they think; the rest of the people would rather die than think." -- Dr. Billy Graham

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands during challenge and controversy." -- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

"We are not interested in the possibilities of defeat." -- Queen Victoria

"The public...demands certainties....But there are no certainties." -- H.L. Mencken

"I am not a pessimist; to perceive evil where it exists is, in my opinion, a form of optimism." -- Roberto Rossellini

"You have learnt something that always feels at first as if you had lost something." -- George Bernard Shaw

"The new electronic interdependence recreates the world in the image of a global village." -- Marshall McLuhan (1967)

"I have hardly ever known a mathematician who was capable of reasoning." -- Plato

"I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail." -- William Faulkner

"Have faith and pursue the unknown end." -- Oliver Wendell Holmes

"Once more, in the great systole and diastole of history, an age of freedom ended and an age of discipline began." -- Will Durant, Caesar and Christ

"It all sounds too much like work to me." -- Beetle Bailey

"Fasten your seatbelts. It's going to be a bumpy night." -- Bette Davis

-- John Howard (Greenville, NC) (pcdir@prodigy.net), September 24, 1998.

Computers allow us to screw up the entire world at the speed of light. S.O.B.

-- sweetolebob (buffgun@hotmail.com), September 24, 1998.

"To err is human. To really screw up, you need a computer." --Unknown

-- Max Dixon (Ogden, UT) (Max.Dixon@gte.net), September 24, 1998.

how about this one, esp. apropos considering the monica fixation:

"Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least."---GOETHE

-- Scott Johnson (scojo@yahoo.com), September 24, 1998.

To paraphrase the poem "IF" by Kipling...

If you can keep your head, when all about you are losing theirs,



-- nemo (nemo@deepsix.com), September 26, 1998.

"I bought some powdered water, but I don't know what to add."

"I bought some batteries, but they weren't included. So I had to buy them again."

-- Steven Wright

-- John Howard (Greenville, NC) (pcdir@prodigy.net), September 28, 1998.

Overheard during a meeting of the Texas Highway Department:

"Why don't we just do what we did last time?"

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (cook.r@csaatl.com), September 29, 1998.

"We're drowning in information and starving for knowledge."-Rutherford D. Rogers

-- anon (anon@anon.anon), September 30, 1998.

I really enjoy reading the quotes applying to Y2K. I was especially struck by the Buckminster Fuller quote "Synergy means behavior of whole systems UNPREDICTED (my caps) by the behavior of their parts". Is this not the perfect characterization of the difference between the optimists and the pessimists on the Y2K problem? Optimists want us to believe the fixing of some or all of the parts will predict or solve the problem while pessimists believe the end result for the entire system (synergy)is UNPREDICTABLE. This retired engineer falls in the unpredictable camp.

-- HAK (hakoelli@netdoor.com), September 30, 1998.

"It's doom alone that counts" Bob Dylan

-- Amy Leone (aleone@amp.com), October 01, 1998.

I threw this one out in another thread... "I will not fear. Fear is the mind-killer." -- Frank Herbert, Dune Apropos to the current media feeding frenzy:
We can do the innuendo, we can dance and sing
When it's said and done we haven't told you a thing
We all know that crap is king,
Give us dirty laundry!
-- Don Henley, Dirty Laundry
"Computers are wonderful things. They can make a million mistakes a second." -- Unknown

-- Larry Kollar (lekollar@nyx.net), October 01, 1998.

What about the number 1 excuse of the computer age:

"The computers are down."

-- Buddy Y. (buddy@bellatlantic.net), October 01, 1998.

I had been going through this one particular day of feeling like I was a nut for preparing for y2k. Then at work the same day, I heard a voice singing:

"...we're never gonna survive -unless- we are a little crazy..." -Seal from the song "Crazy"

-- madeline (runner@bcpl.net), October 01, 1998.

A prudent man sees danger and takes refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it. -Proverbs 23:3

-- Steve Hartsman (hartsman@ticon.net), October 02, 1998.

"First of all, LA means language arts. although I would rather study Los angeles." --J.C.

-- funniest (thing_i've@ever.heard), October 02, 1998.

Its an ill wind that blows nobody any good. - Y2k repairman

-- Richard Dale (rdale@figroup.co.uk), October 05, 1998.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ