Enlightenment

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“If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, each of us will have two ideas.” — George Bernard Shaw

“He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me. That ideas should freely spread from one to another over the globe, for the moral and mutual instruction of man, and improvement of his condition, seems to have been peculiarly and benevolently designed by nature, when she made them, like fire, expansible over all space, without lessening their density in any point.” — Thomas Jefferson

Geometry

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“The happiness of London is not to be conceived but by those who have been in it. I will venture to say, there is more learning and science within the circumference of ten miles from where we now sit, than in all the rest of the kingdom.” — Samuel Johnson

“I believe the parallelogram between Oxford Street, Piccadilly, Regent Street and Hyde Park encloses more intelligence and human ability, to say nothing of wealth and beauty, than the world has ever collected in such a space before.” — Sydney Smith

Unquote

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“Art produces ugly things that frequently become more beautiful with time. Fashion, on the other hand, produces beautiful things that always become ugly with time.” — Jean Cocteau

The Dustman’s Compliment

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When Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire, was stepping out of her carriage one day, an Irish dustman exclaimed, “Love and bless you, my lady, let me light my pipe in your eyes!”

Afterward, whenever others would praise her, she would reply, “After the dustman’s compliment, all others are insipid.”

Unquote

“I am reminded of the professor who, in his declining hours, was asked by his devoted pupils for his final counsel. He replied, ‘Verify your quotations.'” — Winston Churchill

Once in a Lifetime

L.E. Dickson on why he’d spent a decade writing a 1,602-page history of number theory: “It fitted with my conviction that every person should aim to perform at some time in his life some serious useful work for which it is highly improbable that there will be any reward whatever other than his satisfaction therefrom.”

“Yes, that man has missed something who has never awakened in an anonymous bed beside a face he will never see again, and who has never left a brothel at sunrise feeling like throwing himself into the river out of pure disgust for life.” — Flaubert

In writing obituaries, “act on the theory that any man has had at least one interesting thing happen to him.” — William S. Maulsby, Getting the News, 1925

A Father’s Advice

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Maxims of George Washington:

  • It is better to offer no excuse than a bad one.
  • The most liberal professions of good will are very far from being the surest marks of it.
  • Good company will always be found less expensive than bad.
  • By acting reciprocally, heroes have made poets and poets heroes.
  • When there is no reason for expressing an opinion, it is best to be silent.
  • It is easy to make acquaintances but very difficult to shake them off.
  • Too much zeal creates suspicion.
  • Ridicule begets enmity not easy to be forgotten but easily avoided.
  • Do not conceive that fine clothes make fine men any more than fine feathers make fine birds.
  • Nothing is more useful for the formation of correct habits than the turning of our comments upon others, back upon ourselves.

“Wherever and whenever one person is found adequate to the discharge of a duty by close application thereto, it is worse executed by two persons, and scarcely done at all if three or more are employed therein.”

Misc

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  • By age 14, Harry Truman had read every book in the Independence, Missouri, library.
  • In honor of Ray Bradbury, a web page censored by a government returns HTTP error status code 451.
  • Wyoming, Wisconsin, is in Iowa County.
  • Vincent van Gogh and Salvador Dalí were both named after dead brothers who had preceded them.
  • “Virtue is insufficient temptation.” — George Bernard Shaw

Lay of the Land

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Think of it like this: Geography is riding in a car along with Science and Art. Geography is, in fact, riding in the back seat. Science has been driving for seventy-five years, fighting with Art all the way. Science scorns Art; Art sneers at Science. Neither pays much attention to Geography, except for help with reading the map. Geography tries to take a nap, but cannot sleep. Geography tries to understand why Art and Science fight so, but gives up and looks out the window, which is really more interesting than the fight anyway. Art protests that Science drives too fast. Science snaps back that Art does not understand how to make progress. Geography sometimes sides with Art, often with Science, but neither cares much, nor do either of them care when Geography announces that they are now passing Cleveland. (Science grunts, eyes straight ahead; Art faces so as not to see Cleveland.) Finally, Geography can take no more and tells Science to pull in at the next rest stop.

— W.T. Grvaldy-Sczny, “A Diamond Anniversary,” Annals of the Association of American Geographers 69 (1979), 1-3.