i. “Trying is the first step toward failure.” Homer Simpson.

ii. “Truth and clarity are complementary.” Niels Bohr.

iii. “If you can’t read and write you can’t think. Your thoughts are dispersed if you don’t know how to read and write. You’ve got to be able to look at your thoughts on paper and discover what a fool you were.” Ray Bradbury. Me: “were”?

iv. “one reason to move to evidence-based practice is that doctors aren’t trained as scientists. If anything, most medicine seems more of a craft than a science. That’s not to say that the practice of medicine doesn’t benefit from science; of course it does. But doctors aren’t trained to evaluate the science behind what they’re told; certainly not as well trained as those who actually do the research.

My father did research biology in a medical school. He tended to regard most doctors as plumbers; admittedly very useful ones to have around. But what they did wasn’t, to his mind, anything akin to scientific research or anything that might lead to the ability to evaluate same.” – Robert Levine. Related link. Also, this.

v. “It is well, when judging a friend, to remember that he is judging you with the same godlike and superior impartiality.” Arnold Bennett.

vi. “The traditional way of thinking about learning at a university is: there’s somebody who’s a teacher, who actually has some amount of knowledge, and their job is figuring out a way of communicating that knowledge. That’s literally a medieval model; it comes from the days when there weren’t a lot of printed books around, so someone read the book and explained it to everybody else. That’s our model for what university education, and for that matter high school education, ought to be like. It’s not a model that anybody’s ever found any independent evidence for.” Alison Gopnik, via John Hawks.

vii. “All opinions are not equal. Some are a very great deal more robust, sophisticated and well supported in logic and argument than others.” Douglas Adams.

viii. “If a little knowledge is dangerous, where is the man who has so much as to be out of danger?” T. H. Huxley. His advice? “Try to learn something about everything and everything about something.”

ix. “For a long time it has seemed to me that life was about to begin – Real Life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be got through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid – then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life.” Alfred d’Souza.

x. “Power calls to those who are hungry for power, and there are hungry idiots everywhere.” Laura Anne Gilman.

xi. “Few men have virtue to withstand the highest bidder.” George Washington.

xii. “Though familiarity may not breed contempt, it takes off the edge of admiration.” William Hazlitt

xiii. “He will never have true friends who is afraid of making enemies.” -ll-

xiv. “Men of genius do not excel in any profession because they labour in it, but they labour in it because they excel.” -ll-

xv. “Great thoughts reduced to practice become great acts.” -ll-

xvi. “Modesty is the lowest of the virtues, and is a real confession of the deficiency it indicates. He who undervalues himself is justly undervalued by others.” -ll-

xvii. “Life is a sexually transmitted terminal disease.” Lewis Grizzard. The quote isn’t correct but if you add ‘human’ in front of life – which makes sense given the target group – I guess it works. It’s easy to forget but if you look at the entire history of life on Earth, that whole sexual reproduction-thing was really quite late to the party.

November 24, 2011 - Posted by | education, Quotes/aphorisms


  1. > Me: “were”?


    > “If there were a verb meaning ‘to believe falsely,’ it would not have any significant first person present indicative.”


    > “But before we can plunge into the experience of being wrong, we must pause to make an important if somewhat perverse point: there is no experience of being wrong.
    > There is an experience of *realizing* that we are wrong, of course. In fact, there is a stunning diversity of such experiences. As we’ll see in the pages to come, recognizing our mistakes can be shocking, confusing, funny, embarrassing, traumatic, pleasurable, illuminating, and life-altering, sometimes for ill and sometimes for good. But by definition, there can’t be any particular feeling associated with simply *being* wrong. Indeed, the whole reason it’s possible to be wrong is that, while it is happening, you are oblivious to it. When you are simply going about your business in a state you will later decide was delusional, you have no idea of it whatsoever. You are like the coyote in the Road Runner cartoons, after he has gone off the cliff but before he has looked down. Literally in his case and figuratively in yours, you are already in trouble when you feel like you’re still on solid ground. So I should revise myself: it does feel like something to be wrong. It feels like being right.”

    Comment by gwern | November 24, 2011 | Reply

    • I really liked that second quote. I tried to google it but didn’t find anything. Do you by any chance have a link/source at hand ? I’d like to know more about where this came from.

      Comment by US | November 27, 2011 | Reply

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