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Quotations

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“If I could remember the names of all these particles I’d be a botanist.” — Enrico Fermi

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“It is not that I have accomplished too few of my plans, for I am not ambitious; but when I think of all the books I have read, and of the wise words I have heard spoken, and of the anxiety I have given to parents and grandparents, and of the hopes that I have had, all life weighed in the scales of my own life seems to me a preparation for something that never happens.”

– Yeats, Reveries Over Childhood and Youth, 1914

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“It is the law of life that if you are kind to someone you feel happy. If you are cruel you are unhappy. And if you hurt someone, you will be hurt back.” — Cary Grant

“When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. That’s my religion.” — Abraham Lincoln

“It all comes to this: the simplest way to be happy is to do good.” — Helen Keller

Misc

  • Alexander Pope was 4 foot 6.
  • SOCIAL INEPTITUDE is an anagram of POTENTIAL SUICIDE.
  • 6! × 7! = 10!
  • Is the correct answer to this question no?
  • “Do something well, and that is quickly enough.” — Baltasar Gracián

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“There are two things to aim at in life: first, to get what you want; and, after that, to enjoy it. Only the wisest of mankind achieve the second.” — Logan Pearsall Smith

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“I am inclined to believe that few attacks either of ridicule or invective make much noise, but by the help of those they provoke.” — Samuel Johnson

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“It’s odd how soon one comes to look on every minute as wasted that is given to earning one’s salary.” — P.G. Wodehouse

Misc

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  • SWARTHMORE is an anagram of EARTHWORMS.
  • The sum of the reciprocals of the divisors of any perfect number is 2.
  • We recite at a play and play at a recital.
  • Is sawhorse the past tense of seahorse?
  • “Things ’twas hard to bear ’tis pleasant to recall.” — Seneca

In Book II, Chapter 9, of H.G. Wells’ novel The War of the Worlds, a sentence begins “For a time I stood regarding …” These words contain 3, 1, 4, 1, 5, and 9 letters.

(Thanks, Dheeraj.)

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“A man of genius has been seldom ruined but by himself.” — Samuel Johnson

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“I found one day in school a boy of medium size ill-treating a smaller boy. I expostulated, but he replied: ‘The bigs hit me, so I hit the babies; that’s fair.’ In these words he epitomized the history of the human race.” — Bertrand Russell

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“What is patriotism but the love of the good things we ate in our childhood?” — Lin Yutang

Misc

  • Only humans are allergic to poison ivy.
  • GUNPOWDERY BLACKSMITH uses 20 different letters.
  • New York City has no Wal-Marts.
  • (5/8)2 + 3/8 = (3/8)2 + 5/8
  • “Ignorance of one’s misfortunes is clear gain.” — Euripides

For any four consecutive Fibonacci numbers a, b, c, and d, ad and 2bc form the legs of a Pythagorean triangle and cdab is the hypotenuse.

(Thanks, Katie.)

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“Things are not bad in themselves, but our cowardice makes them so.” — Montaigne

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“We have not the reverent feeling for the rainbow that a savage has, because we know how it is made. We have lost as much as we gained by prying into that matter.” — Mark Twain

“At last I fell fast asleep on the grass & awoke with a chorus of birds singing around me, & squirrels running up the trees & some Woodpeckers laughing, & it was as pleasant a rural scene as ever I saw, & I did not care one penny how any of the beasts or birds had been formed.” — Charles Darwin, letter to his wife, April 28, 1858

Misc

  • The first child to be vaccinated in Russia was named Vaccinov.
  • Every treasurer of the United States since 1949 has been a woman.
  • 15642 = 1 + 56 + 42
  • up inverted is dn.
  • “Life well spent is long.” — Leonardo

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“You often ask me, Priscus, what sort of person I should be, if I were to become suddenly rich and powerful. Who can determine what would be his future conduct? Tell me, if you were to become a lion, what sort of a lion would you be?” — Martial

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“The American who first discovered Columbus made a bad discovery.” — G.C. Lichtenberg

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“Anger makes dull men witty, but it keeps them poor.” — Francis Bacon

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“A thing of duty is annoy forever.” — Oliver Herford

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“It is in the character of very few men to honor without envy a friend who has prospered.” — Aeschylus

“No one is completely unhappy at the failure of his best friend.” — Groucho Marx

“We must believe in luck. For how else can we explain the success of those we don’t like?” — Jean Cocteau

“It is not enough to succeed. Others must fail.” — Gore Vidal

Misc

  • AWE and WONDER are synonyms, but AWFUL and WONDERFUL are antonyms.
  • The Czech word for guest is host.
  • Abraham Lincoln is in the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.
  • Ravel described Boléro as “a piece for orchestra without music.”
  • “In politics, what begins in fear usually ends in folly.” — Coleridge

(Thanks, Alec.)

Diamonds and Pearls

Yet more aphorisms from German physicist Georg Christoph Lichtenberg:

  • “The most perfect ape cannot draw an ape; only man can do that; but, likewise, only man regards the ability to do this as a sign of superiority.”
  • “A book which, above all others in the world, should be forbidden, is a catalogue of forbidden books.”
  • “The motives that lead us to do anything might be arranged like the thirty-two winds and might be given names on the same pattern: for instance, ‘bread-bread-fame’ or ‘fame-fame-bread.’”
  • “We accumulate our opinions at an age when our understanding is at its weakest.”
  • “Once the good man was dead, one wore his hat and another his sword as he had worn them, a third had himself barbered as he had, a fourth walked as he did, but the honest man that he was — nobody any longer wanted to be that.”
  • “With most men, unbelief in one thing springs from blind belief in another.”
  • “We say that someone occupies an official position, whereas it is the official position that occupies him.”
  • “There are very many people who read simply to prevent themselves from thinking.”
  • “With prophecies the commentator is often a more important man than the prophet.”
  • “Delight at having understood a very abstract and obscure system leads most people to believe in the truth of what it demonstrates.”
  • “There is no greater impediment to progress in the sciences than the desire to see it take place too quickly.”
  • “There is no more important rule of conduct in the world than this: attach yourself as much as you can to people who are abler than you and yet not so very different that you cannot understand them.”
  • “What is the good of drawing conclusions from experience? I don’t deny we sometimes draw the right conclusions, but don’t we just as often draw the wrong ones?”
  • “When a book and a head collide and a hollow sound is heard, must it always have come from the book?”

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“We often want one thing and pray for another, not telling the truth even to the gods.” — Seneca

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“I can think of no more stirring symbol of man’s humanity to man than a fire engine.” — Kurt Vonnegut

“No place affords a more striking conviction of the vanity of human hopes than a public library.” — Samuel Johnson

“Nothing more completely represents a nation than a public building.” — Benjamin Disraeli