Quotations collected on the Internet
(mostly as Usenet signatures)

Intelligence and stupidity

A mediocre person in a position of power will surround himself with other mediocre intellects, either by design (in the hope that his own mediocrity will be less painfully evident), or by accident (because he is incapable of recognising greater minds).

Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.
-- Albert Einstein

I do not feel obligated to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forego their use.
-- Galileo Galilei

The summation of intelligence contained on the planet is a constant, only the head count increases.

I wish there was a knob on the TV to increase the intelligence of broadcasts. There is a knob called "brightness", but it doesn't work.

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

Great minds discuss ideas, mediocre minds discuss events, small minds discuss people.

A wise man speaks when he has something to say. A fool speaks when he has to say something.

First they ignore you,
then they ridicule you,
then they fight you,
then you win.
-- Mahatma Gandhi

He may look like an idiot, and he may sound like an idiot, but don't let him fool you. He really is an idiot.
-- Groucho Marx

The difference between intelligence and stupidity is that intelligence has its limits.

It is better to keep your mouth shut, and look like a fool, than to open it, and remove all doubt!
-- Groucho Marx

Only death cures stupidity.
-- Japanese proverb

Chance favours the prepared mind.
-- Louis Pasteur

For every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong.
-- H.L. Mencken

Never argue with a fool, because the people around you cannot tell the difference.

The problem with the world is that intelligent people are full of doubts while the stupid ones are full of confidence.
-- Charles Bukowski

Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are more stupid than that.
-- George Carlin

Is it the only lesson of history that mankind is unteachable?
-- Winston S. Churchill

Politics and politicians

It is frankly disgusting the press is able to write whatever it wants to write.
-- Donald Trump, one-term twice-impeached US president and first US president to attempt a coup d'état (CNN, and more CNN)

Those who half a generation ago were free-speech hawks are now those who cry for censorship. Many now embrace the notion that "words are violence." What they really mean is "words I disagree with are violence."
-- Mark Randazza (CNN)

It is said that politics is the art of the possible. So this is why politics attracts mediocre intellects. Great minds prefer to challenge the impossible.

Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.
-- George Orwell

Show me a politician who does not lie through his teeth, and.....I'll show you one who can't find his dentures.

Since a politician never believes what he says, he is quite surprised to be taken at his word.
-- Charles DeGaulle

Politics is supposed to be the second oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first.
-- Ronald Reagan, US president

I take full responsibility, it's not my fault [...]
Donald Trump, one-term twice-impeached US president and first US president to attempt a coup d'état, October 2020, during 2nd presidential debate

When the white man came we had the land and they had the Bible. They taught us to pray with our eyes closed, and when we opened them, they had the land and we had the Bible.
-- Jomo Kenyatta

If you think education is expensive, try ignorance!

I've got this thing and it's f****** golden, and I'm just not giving it up for f****** nothing. I'm not gonna do it. ... I want to make money.
... F*** him. For nothing? F*** him .... but they're not willing to give me anything except appreciation. F*** them.
... And if I don't get what I want and I'm not satisfied with it, then I'll just take the Senate seat myself.
-- Rod R. Blagojevich, Governor of Illinois, 2008, demanding payoffs in return for nominating a successor to Obama's seat at the US Senate.
(from FBI transcripts and statements, as published by MSNBC and The Smoking Gun)

The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire. The former are idealists acting from highest motives for the greatest good of the greatest number. The latter are surly curmudgeons, suspicious and lacking in altruism. But they are more comfortable neighbors than the other sort.
-- Robert A. Heinlein

What is history but the story of how politicians have squandered the blood and treasure of the human race?
-- Thomas Sowell

Politics is perhaps the only profession for which no preparation is thought necessary.
-- Robert Louis Stevenson

The problem isn't the abuse of power; it's the power to abuse.
-- Michael Cloud

Force always attracts men of low morality.
-- Albert Einstein

In order to become the master, the politician poses as the servant.
-- Charles de Gaulle

Politicians, like diapers, should be changed often, and for the same reasons.

Universities are one of Italy's three biggest cancers; bureaucracy is another. The third I won't mention in order not to offend religious people.
-- Federico Zeri, historian

It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment.
-- Ansel Adams (but probably apocryphal)


I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.

So what if I'm paranoid? It doesn't hurt anybody and makes life interesting for me.


[...] amateurs worry about equipment, professionals worry about money, masters worry about light, I just take pictures [... ]
-- Vernon Trent, photographer

I wanted to combine science and photography in a sensible, unemotional way. Some people's ideas of scientific photography is just arty design, something pretty. That was not the idea. The idea was to interpret science sensibly, with good proportion, good balance and good lighting, so we could understand it.
-- Berenice Abbott, photographer

The universe and one's place in it

Always remember you are unique, just like everybody else.

Black holes are where God divided by zero.

Blessed are those who ask for nothing, for they shall not be disappointed.

Early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

The world is not my home, I'm just passing through.

Would thou choose to meet a rat-eating dragon, or a dragon-eating rat?

A man is successful if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do.
-- Bob Dylan

Despite the cost of living, have you noticed how it remains so popular?

Seen it all, done it all. Can't remember most of it.

When agnostics die, they go to the Great Perhaps.

When you arise in the morning, give thanks for the morning light, for your life and strength.
Give thanks for your food, and the joy of living.
If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies with yourself.
-- Tecumseh, Shawnee Chief

Thanks God, I am an atheist.

A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.
-- Herm Albright

When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life so that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice.
-- Cherokee proverb

If we knew what we were doing, it wouldn't be called "research".
-- Albert Einstein

Every intelligent being must come to terms with its own mortality.
-- Captain Picard

Morality is doing what is right, regardless of what you're told.
Religion is doing what you're told, regardless of what is right.
-- H. L. Mencken

I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Turkish [=Muslim] church, by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my own church.
All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian, or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.
I do not mean by this declaration to condemn those who believe otherwise; they have the same right to their belief as I have to mine. But it is necessary to the happiness of man, that he be mentally faithful to himself. Infidelity does not consist in believing, or in disbelieving; it consists in professing to believe what he does not believe.
-- Thomas Paine, 1807, in "The age of reason"

Religion consists in a set of things which the average man thinks he believes, and wishes he was certain.
-- Mark Twain

Judging from the amount of death and suffering caused throughout human history, religion is probably the greatest evil ever created by human minds, with the pursue of unbridled personal power and profit at second place, and the genuine desire to make things better for everybody at a close third place.

Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction.
-- Blaise Pascal

It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.
-- often attributed to Charles Darwin, but actually a paraphrase of a statement by Megginson, 1963. It is, nonetheless, a fundamentally correct interpretation of current scientific thought.

Two possibilities exist: either we are alone in the Universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying.
-- Arthur C. Clarke

... for the mystic is not a man who reverences large things so much as a man who reverences small ones, who reduces himself to a point, without parts or magnitude, so that to him the grass is really a forest and the grasshopper a dragon. Little things please great minds.
-- G.K. Chesterton

How do we shape the future? [...] Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet.
-- Stephen Hawkings

Truth and lies

A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.
-- Mark Twain

Behaviour and character

I used to be indecisive. Now I'm not sure...

Smile! You'll make the world wonder what you've been up to.

If you don't disagree with me, how will I know I'm right?

In Italy for thirty years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, bloodshed; and they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance.
In Switzerland they had brotherly love, five hundred years of democracy, and peace. And what did they produce? The cuckoo clock …
-- Orson Welles

I always wanted to be somebody. Now I realize that I should have been more specific.

Don't worry about people from your past. There is a reason why they did not make it to your future.
-- chipcoffey

Computers and computer users

My computer problems are caused by a loose nut between the chair and the keyboard.

Just be thankful Microsoft isn't a manufacturer of pharmaceuticals.

The pen may be mightier than the sword, but my mouse can crash Windows with one click.

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.

Three things are certain:
Death, taxes and lost data.
Guess which has occurred.
-- haiku by David Dixon

There are 10 types of people in the world:
those who understand binary, and those who don't.

** Out of cheese error **

We used to think that a hundred million monkeys typing at random on a hundred million keyboards eventually could produce the complete works of Shakespeare. Now, thanks to the Internet, we know this is not true.

I'm a guy who doesn't see anything good having come from the Internet. Period.
-- Michael Lynton, CEO, Sony Pictures, 2009 (shortly before Sony posted a $ 1 billion loss)

Language and words

(Title:) Siberia Airlines resume regular fright.
(Explanatory text:) [...] The route was cut for about four years from October 2000 as the number of passengers decreased. [...]
-- NHK World Daily News (http://www.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/), July 11, 2004

(1) A sheet of paper is an ink-lined plane.
(2) An inclined plane is a slope up.
(3) A slow pup is a lazy dog.
QED: A sheet of paper is a lazy dog.
-- Willard Espy, "An Almanac of Words at Play"

DNA tests confirmed that the car was used by two suspected suspects in the case, one of whom blew themselves up in a flat in April to avoid arrest, the report said.
-- BBC World (http://news.bbc.co.uk), July 25, 2004

The cleaning kept by 9:00am of the guidance weekday (from Monday to Friday) of cleaning becomes evening finish of the next day. Although the direction of hurry also hears finish on the day, be sure to take it out by 7 a.m. In addition, it cannot keep - public holiday on - Sunday on Saturday because of a holiday. Please understand the situation beforehand.
-- Sign in hotel room, Shizuoka, Japan

PhD: Piled Higher and Deeper.

Fashion: Buying things you don't need, with money you don't have, to impress people you don't like.

Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.
-- Steven Wright

Knowledge is knowing that tomato is a fruit.
Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.

[Our enemies] never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people - and neither do we.
-- George W. Bush, US president, 2004

The police are not here to create disorder, they're here to preserve disorder.
-- Richard Daley, former mayor of Chicago

Actual announcements taken from church bulletins:

  • Don't let worry kill you. Let the Church help.
  • Thursday night - Pot Luck Supper. Prayer and medication to follow.
  • Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our church and community.
  • Weight Watchers will meet at 7pm at the First Presbyterian Church. Please use large double door at the side entrance.
  • For those of you who have children and don't know it, we have a nursery downstairs.
  • At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be "What is Hell?". Come early and listen to our choir practice.
  • This being Easter Sunday, we will ask Mrs. Lewis to come forward and lay an egg on the altar.
  • The ladies of the church have cast off clothing of every kind and they may be seen in the church basement Friday.
  • Thursday at 5pm there will be a meeting of the Little Mothers Club. All wishing to become Little Mothers, please see the minister in his private study.
  • The Associate Minister unveiled the church's new tithing campaign slogan last week: "I upped My Pledge - Up Yours".

1f u c4n r34d th1s u r34lly n33d t0 g37 l41d.

In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice, there is.

Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum sonatur.

If a dog smells a bedbug, he or she will bark.
-- BBC World

As we know, there are known knowns. There are things we know we know.
We also know there are known unknowns. That is to say, we know there are some things we do not know.
But there are also unknown unknowns, the ones we don’t know we don’t know.
-- Donald Rumsfield, Department of Defense news briefing, Feb. 12, 2002

Law, bureaucracy and authorities

A reporter interviewing Mahatma Gandhi: "What do you think of the Western Civilization?"
"I think it would be a good idea."

Behind every successful organisation stands one person who knows the secret of how to keep the managers away from anything truly important.

The complete lack of evidence is proof that the global conspiracy is working.

PIN number = Personal Identification Number number
Ask the department of redundancy department.

I support the universal human rights, except as prohibited by the law.

"I am not the Fed."
"Only the Fed would say he is not the Fed."
"OK, then I am the Fed."
" HE IS THE FED!!!!"

A fine is a tax for doing wrong. A tax is a fine for doing well.

You give Italy Jesus Christ, and you get the Roman Catholic Church. Everything you give Italy becomes a parody.
-- Indro Montanelli, journalist

Privacy and cryptography

To keep your secret is wisdom, but to expect others to keep it is folly.
-- Samuel Johnson

Three may keep a secret if two of them are dead.
-- Benjamin Franklin

Mary had a crypto key
she kept it in escrow
and everything that Mary said
the Feds were sure to know.


This statement is false.