“It is odd that the skeleton of a house is cheerful when the skeleton of a man is mournful, since we only see it after the man is destroyed. … There is something strangely primary and poetic about the sight of the scaffolding and main lines of a human building; it is a pity there is no scaffolding round a human baby.” — G.K. Chesterton, “The Wings of Stone,” Alarms and Discursions, 1911
In 1932, at the end of a 60-year career studying hydrodynamics, Sir Horace Lamb addressed the British Association for the Advancement of Science.
“I am an old man now,” he said, “and when I die and go to heaven there are two matters on which I hope for enlightenment. One is quantum electrodynamics, and the other is the turbulent motion of fluids. And about the former I am rather more optimistic.”
- The Fall has had 66 members.
- Roundly defeated is squarely defeated.
- One pound of U.S. dimes, quarters, and half dollars, in any combination, is worth $20.
- Reverse the digits in any multiple of 11 and you’ll get another multiple of 11.
- Bertrand Russell’s recipe for longevity: “Choose your parents wisely.”
“As centuries pass by, the mass of works grows endlessly, and one can foresee a time when it will be almost as difficult to educate oneself in a library, as in the universe, and almost as fast to seek a truth subsisting in nature, as lost among an immense number of books.” — Diderot
“I would have praised you more if you had praised me less.” — Louis XIV, to poet Nicolas Boileau-Despréaux, after a fulsomely flattering verse
“There may now exist great men for things that do not exist.” — Samuel Burckhardt
Maxims of François VI, Duc de La Rochefoucauld (1613–1680):
- “We commonly slander more thro’ Vanity than Malice.”
- “We have more Laziness in our Minds than in our Bodies.”
- “There are few People but what are ashamed of their Amours when the Fit is over.”
- “We should not judge of a Man’s Merit by his great Qualities, but by the Use he makes of them.”
- “He who is pleased with Nobody, is much more unhappy than he with whom Nobody is pleased.”
- “There are some disguised Falsehoods so like Truths, that ‘twould be to judge ill not to be deceived by them.”
- “Men sometimes think they hate Flattery, but they hate only the Manner of Flattering.”
- “Acquired Honor is Surety for more.”
- “Innocence don’t find near so much Protection as Guilt.”
- “‘Tis our own Vanity that makes the Vanity of others intolerable.”
- “‘Tis a common Fault to be never satisfied with ones Fortune, nor dissatisfied with ones Understanding.”
- “Envy is more irreconcilable than Hatred.”
- “‘Tis better to employ our Understanding, in bearing the Misfortunes that do befall us, than in foreseeing those that may.”
- “A good Head finds less Trouble in submitting to a wrong Head than in conducting it.”
- “Folly attends us close thro’ our whole Lives; and if anyone seems wise, ’tis merely because his Follies are proportionate to his Age, and Fortune.”
And “As ’tis the Characteristic of a great Genius to say much in a few Words, small Geniuses have on the contrary the Gift of speaking much and saying nothing.”
“‘Tis further from London to Highgate than from Highgate to London.” — James Howell, Proverbs, 1659
In his 1991 Dictionary of Scientific Quotations, Alan L. Mackay calls this “an example of a non-commutative metric.” Highgate is at the top of a hill.
“Every honest researcher I know admits he’s just a professional amateur. He’s doing whatever he’s doing for the first time. That makes him an amateur. He has enough sense to know that he’s going to have a lot of trouble, so that makes him a professional.” — Charles F. Kettering
“Everybody wants to be somebody; nobody wants to grow.” — Goethe