Food For Thought (Quotations) : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

I've been collecting a few quotes that have relevance to Y2K (though not directly about Y2K). Thought I share them... - Arnie

"We've arranged a society based on science and technology. But the population knows very little about science. This combustible mixture of power and ignorance is a frightening recipe for disaster." - Carl Sagan (The Charlie Rose; 27 May, 1996)

"Observe that for the programmer, as for the chef, the urgency of the patron may govern the scheduled completion of the task, but it cannot govern the actual completion. An omelette, promised in two minutes, may appear to be progressing nicely. But when it has not set in two minutes, the customer has two choices -- wait or eat it raw. Software customers have had the same choices." - Frederick P. Brooks, Jr, _The Mythical Man-Month_

"Computer Science is no more about computers than astronomy is about telescopes." - E. W. Dijkstra

"We call them Twinkies. You've seen them on television acting the news, modeling and fracturing the news while you wonder whether they've read the news or if they've blow-dried their brains, too." - Linda Ellerbee

"There never has been, nor will there ever be, any programming language in which it is the least bit difficult to write bad code." - Lawrence Flon

"Knowing how things work is the basis for appreciation, and is thus a source of civilized delight." - William Safire

"As part of the conversion, computer specialists rewrote 1,500 programs -- a process that traditionally requires some debugging." (USA Today, referring to the IRS switchover to a new computer system.)

"God himself could not sink this ship." - Anonymous Titanic Deck Hand

"People who are incapable of making decisions are the ones who hit those barrels at freeway exits." - unknown

"Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent." -- Isaac Asimov, "Foundation"

"Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?" "That depends a good deal on where you want to get to," said the Cat. -- Lewis Carroll, "Through the Looking-Glass"

"Barring human error, man will always be better than the machine at chess." -World chess champion Garry Kasparov, shortly before losing to Deep Blue

"I think there is a world market for maybe five computers." - Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1958

"The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn. " - Alvin Toffler

"It's worse than that. He's dead Jim!" -- McCoy. (Star Trek)

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

"The nice thing about standards is that there are so many of them to choose from." -- Andrew S. Tanenbaum

Albert Einstein, when asked to describe radio, replied: "You see, telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat: You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. Do you understand this? Radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there. The only difference is that there is no cat."

"If builders built buildings the way programmers wrote programs, then the first woodpecker that came along would destroy civilization." -- Gerald Weinberg, "The Psychology of Computer Programming"

-- Arnie Rimmer (, October 27, 1998


Arnie -- Love these two:

"Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?" "That depends a good deal on where you want to get to," said the Cat. -- Lewis Carroll, "Through the Looking-Glass"

"The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn. " -- Alvin Toffler

Which Toffler book was that?


-- Diane J. Squire (, October 27, 1998.


Great quotes! I've added the first and the last to my presentation.

There are a treasure trove of non-Y2K quotes which apply very aptly. Michael Hyatt uses many of them in his book, "The Millennium Bug: How to Survive the Coming Chaos". Ed Yourdon does also. The following is from Ed's "Time Bomb 2000" book:

Long-run salvation by men of business has never been highly regarded if it means disturbance of orderly life and convenience in the present. So inaction will be advocated in the present even though it means deep trouble in the future. Here, at least equally with communism, lies the threat to capitalism. It is what causes men who know that things are going quite wrong to say that things are fundamentally sound. -John Kenneth Galbraith, "Great Crash 1929"

-- Steve Hartsman (, October 27, 1998.

Diana: I'm a bit unsure of the Toffler quote but my first guess would be Future Shock.

Steve: Glad to have contributed! Nice job on the Powerpoint presentation by the way - your work is appreciated and has saved other an enormous amout of 're-inventing the wheel' time.


-- Arnie Rimmer (, October 27, 1998.

I found this in Sunday's Parade magazine....thought of Y2K immediately.

"The more you prepare, the more you study, the more you think, the more you try to envision what might happen and what your best response and options are, the more you are able to allay your fears about the future" Senator John Glenn

-- Dusty (, October 27, 1998.

I love the first and the last one! Carl Sagan was dead on, as usual. HE predicted y2k disaster with that quote! Nevermind Nostradamus ;)

-- Chris (, October 27, 1998.

"It is not well understood that computer shops are the last bastions of absolute freedom in large corporations and maybe the world, because management never ever really knows what those employees are actually doing all day long." (Jim Britell, post to the Cassandra Project, 9 July 1998)

"...And these atomic bombs which science burst upon the world that night were strange even to the men who used them." (H. G. Wells, 'The World Set Free,' 1914)

"Take two aspirin, and call me in the morning." (Nilsson)

"Men occasionally stumble over truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened." (Winston Churchill)

"I discovered, in certain chapters, errors which appeared to me sufficiently important and numerous to make me believe that they had been written with extreme negligence; in others, I was struck with a certain tinge of partiality and prejudice, which imparted to the exposition of the facts that want of truth and justice, which the English express by their happy term misrepresentation." (Edward Gibbon, author of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire)

This is a rococo (and prophetic) sentence which aptly describes much of what we are given to read nowadays.

-- Tom Carey (, October 28, 1998.

Those are wonderful, Arne and friends. Welcome additions to my collection, thanks. My favorite remains this one by Allen Comstock, one of the more literate contributors to the csy2k forum.

"We have placed the egg of civilization in one basket, woven from fibers of virtual reality and suspended by an electrical cord."


-- Hallyx (, October 28, 1998.

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