Halifax and Atlantic Canada

Halifax is a wonderful, historic, growing city on Canada's Atlantic coast. Here are some links:


Persons and Machines

First we shape our tools, and thereafter our tools shape us.
Marshall McLuhan
Science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.
Isaac Asimov
The factory of the future will have only two employees, a man and a dog. The man will be there to feed the dog. The dog will be there to keep the man from touching the equipment.
Warren G. Bennis
Computer Science is no more about computers than astronomy is about telescopes.
E. W. Dijkstra
The real danger is not that computers will begin to think like men, but that men will begin to think like computers.
Sydney J. Harris
(I actually think the latter might be an improvement)
Home computers are being called upon to perform many new functions, including the consumption of homework formerly eaten by the dog.
Doug Larson
The computer is simply an instrument whose music is ideas.
Alan Kay
The computer can't tell you the emotional story. It can give you the exact mathematical design, but what's missing is the eyebrows.
Frank Zappa
We too are machines, just machines of a different type.
Capt. Jean-Luc Picard
Knowledge is knowing that Frankenstein wasn't the monster, Wisdom is knowing that Frankenstein was the monster.
Is there anything more dangerous than dissatisfied and irresponsible gods who don't know what they want?
Yuval Noah Harari

The Brain

Education's purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one.
Malcolm Forbes
Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.
Believe those who are seeking the truth; doubt those who find it.
Andre Gide
...[Some] schools are virtual beefcake outlets, with nary a forehead in the crowd disfigured by a sentient impulse.
What is research but a blind date with knowledge?
Will Henry
How easy it [is] to mistake clear reasoning for correct reasoning!
Frank Herbert
If the brain were so simple we could understand it, we would be so simple we couldn't.
Lyall Watson
If a lion could speak, we could not understand him.
Ludwig Wittgenstein
seeker of truth
follow no path
all paths lead where
truth is here
E. E. Cummings
If you want to build a ship, don't drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Society and Civilization

The true civilization is where every man gives to every other every right that he claims for himself.
Robert Ingersoll
We should try to create the society each of us would want if we didn't know in advance who we'd be.
Paul Krugman
If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all.
Noam Chomsky
The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently.
Friedrich Nietzche
[Each] of us must work for our own improvement and, at the same time, share a general responsibility for all humanity.
Marie Curie
The basis of a democratic state is liberty.
Patriotism is your conviction that this country is superior to all other countries because you were born in it.
George Bernard Shaw
Who was born in Ireland
When the axe came into the woods, many of the trees said, "At least the handle is one of us"
That's why they call it the American Dream - because you have to be asleep to believe it.
George Carlin
I am, somehow, less interested in the weight and convolutions of Einstein's brain than in the near certainty that people of equal talent have lived and died in cotton fields and sweatshops.
Stephen Jay Gould
Tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther...so we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.
F. Scott Fitzgerald
The more you own, the more it owns you.
Henry Rollins
Every great advance in natural knowledge has involved the absolute rejection of authority.
Thomas Huxley
A tyrant is always stirring up some war or other, in order that the people may require a leader.
If you're in a war, instead of throwing a hand grenade at the enemy, throw one of those small pumpkins. Maybe it'll make everyone think how stupid war is, and while they are thinking, you can throw a real grenade at them.
Jack Handey
Every gun that is fired, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. The world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.
Dwight D. Eisenhower
A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they will never sit in.
Under capitalism, man exploits man. Under communism, it's the exact opposite.
When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.
Jimi Hendrix
If you don't read the newspaper you are uninformed. If you do read the newspaper you are misinformed.
Mark Twain
If you want the truth to stand clear before you, never be for or against. The struggle between "for" and "against" is the mind's worst disease.
A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.
Martin Luther King Jr.
Man can now fly in the air like a bird, swim under the ocean like a fish, he can burrow into the ground like a mole. Now if only he could walk the Earth like a man...
Tommy Douglas
Listen. Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony...You can't expect to wield supreme executive power just 'cause some watery tart threw a sword at you!...I mean, if I went 'round saying I was an emperor just because some moistened bint had lobbed a scimitar at me, they'd put me away!
(age 37)
Man is a biped without feathers.
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
Fight war, not wars.


A knight who says "Ni"
I told him to be fruitful and multiply, but not in those words.
Woody Allen
Science is interesting, and if you don't agree you can fuck off.
Richard Dawkins
(paraphrasing Alun Anderson)
Laurie got offended that I used the word "puke." But to me, that's what her dinner tasted like.
Jack Handey
...he stumbled without dignity over the polysyllables.
CS Forester
On Midshipman Hornblower
Bollocks bollocks bollocks.
Ricky Gervais
I've had a perfectly wonderful evening, but this wasn't it.
Groucho Marx
He behaves like a hastily edited charicature of himself.
A journalist in a dream I once had
about a newspaper magnate making a political bid
I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it.
Mark Twain
I've been called worse things by better people.
Pierre Elliot Trudeau
It was the courteous thing to do considering the alternatives.
Nancy Pelosi
Having ripped up another's speech
[The University of Chicago] can take a flying fuck at the moooooooooooooooon.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr
If all the ladies [of Harvard University] were laid end-to-end, I wouldn't be surprised.
Dorothy Parker
He loves nature in spite of what it did to him.
Forrest Tucker
Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go.
Oscar Wilde
Dennis Skinner: Half the Tory members opposite are crooks.
Speaker: The honourable member MUST withdraw that remark.
Dennis Skinner: OK, half the Tory members aren't crooks.
Lady Astor: If you were my husband, I'd put poison in your coffee.
Winston Churchill: If I were your husband, I would drink it.
Earl of Sandwich: You will die either of the pox or on the gallows.
John Wilkes: That will depend on whether I embrace your mistress or your principles.
[He is] a modest little person, with much to be modest about.
Winston Churchill
I wouldn't warm to [Chuck Berry] even if I was cremated next to him.
Keith Richards
My days of not taking you seriously are certainly coming to a middle.
Captain Malcolm Reynolds
from Firefly
To Captain Bender, he's the best... at being a big jerk who's stupid and his big ugly face is as dumb as a butt!
Philip J. Fry
from Futurama
You sack of bags of buckets of idiots!
Professor Farnsworth
from Futurama
The last thing I want to do is hurt you, but it's still on the list.
If you gave Falwell an enema, he could be buried in a matchbox.
Christopher Hitchens
He's as bent as the Soviet sickle and as hard as the hammer that crosses it.
from Snatch
Ugarte: You despise me, don't you?
Rick: If I gave you any thought, I probably would.
from Casablanca


The wild geese do not intend to cast their reflection; the water has no mind to receive their image.
Zenrin poem
How often I found where I should be going only by setting out for somewhere else.
R. Buckminster Fuller
Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.
John Lennon
I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.
Mark Twain
One: The food in this place is really terrible.
Other one: Yeah, I know; and such small portions.
from Annie Hall
Picture a wave. In the ocean. You can see it, measure it, its height, the way the sunlight refracts when it passes through. And it's there. And you can see it, you know what it is. It's a wave. And then it crashes in the shore and it's gone. But the water is still there. The wave was just a different way for the water to be, for a little while. ... the wave returns to the ocean, where it came from and where it's supposed to be.
Chidi Anagonye
from The Good Place
Don't try to be a great man; just be a man.
Zefram Cochrane
inventor of warp drive
The rung of a ladder was never meant to rest upon.
Thomas Henry Huxley
The truth is that there is nothing noble in being superior to somebody else. The only real nobility is in being superior to your former self.
Whitney Young
(Ernest Hemmingway said something almost identical)
[they] who cannot draw on three thousand years is living from hand to mouth.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Deserve's got nothing to do with it.
Clint Eastwood
from Unforgiven
It's all a lot of simple tricks and nonsense.
Han Solo
from Star Wars
The dog barks, but the caravan goes on.
Arab proverb
On peut avoir un feu ardent dans l'âme et cependant personne ne vient s'y chauffer. Les passants ne voient qu'un ruban de fumée s'échappant de la cheminée et ils passent leur chemin.
Vincent Van Gogh
Cogito ergo sum
Rene Descartes
Memento mori, Sisyphus.
The Universe
To you from failing hands we throw the torch.
John McCrae (originally)
Humans, to robots (eventually)
For all your days be prepared, and meet them ever alike. When you are the anvil, bear -- when you are the hammer, strike.
Edwin Markham
Not on one string are all life's jewels strung.
William Morris
If his chest had been a cannon, he would have shot his heart upon it.
Herman Melville
My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains.
Percy Blysshe Shelley
Life is a cement trampoline.
Howard Nordberg
Die, my dear? Why, that's the last thing I'll do!
Groucho Marx
(attributed last words)
If this isnt playing at my funeral, I'm not going.
Internet comment
wrt Fade to Black
Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened.
Dr. Seuss
Time is the fire in which we burn.
Delmore Schwartz
As if you could kill time without injuring eternity.
Henry David Thoreau
Without [memory], time would be unarmed against us.
John Steinbeck
via Lee in East of Eden
A man cannot step in the same river twice, because it is not the same river, and he is not the same man.
I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tanhauser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. ... Time to die.
Roy Batty
(but really Rutger Hauer in Bladerunner)
A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. Live long and prosper.
Leonard Nimoy
Like a wave from an ocean.
Alan Watts
Dust. Wind. Dude.
Ted Logan and Bill S. Preston, Esq.

The Universe

The most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it is comprehensible.
Albert Einstein
We used to think that if we knew one, we knew two, because one and one are two. We are finding that we must learn a great deal more about 'and'.
Sir Arthur Eddington
Eternity is a very long time, especially towards the end.
Stephen Hawking (perhaps)
Time is nature's way of keeping everything from happening at once.
Woody Allen (perhaps)
I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn't feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.
Neil Armstrong
However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light.
Stanley Kubrick
It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.
Carl Sagan
We are a way for the cosmos to know itself.
Carl Sagan
eπ i = cos π + i sin π = -1
Leonhard Euler
It's not hard to imagine an 11-dimensional universe. Just imagine an n-dimensional universe, then let n=11.
These go to eleven.
Nigel Tufnel
perhaps about M-Theory
The sun sees not the shadow.
Leonardo da Vinci
E pur si muove!
Galileo Galilei

and Everything else

Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?
Douglas Adams
La foi transporte les montagnes, c'est vrai. La raison les laisse où elles sont, c'est mieux.
Pierre Bourgault
If triangles had a god, he would have three sides.
Those who believe in telekinetics, raise my hand.
Kurt Vonnegut
I had no need of that hypothesis.
Pierre-Simon Laplace
(apparently apocryphal)
To one, science is an exalted goddess; to another it is a cow which provides him with butter.
Friedrich von Schiller
We don't see things as they are; we see things as we are.
Anais Nin
If you saw two guys named Hambone and Flippy, which one would you think liked dolphins most? I'd say Flippy, wouldn't you? You'd be wrong though. It's Hambone.
Jack Handey
Never use a large word where a diminutive one would suffice.
Writing about music is like dancing about architecture.
Frank Zappa
English can be weird. It can be understood through tough thorough thought, though.
You have beautiful thighs.
A Hungarian
Crumbly, but good.
Carl Sagan
Goo goo ga joob.
John Lennon
U.P.: up.
James Joyce
Well it's certainly uncontaminated by cheese.
John Cleese
Calculus has its limits.
If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.
A.T. Shirt
There are 10 types of people in this world: those who understand binary and those who don't.
The Internet
There are two types of people in this world: those who can extrapolate from incomplete data.
The Internet
99.9% of humans have more than the average number of arms.
Kingrames (Slashdot.org)
99% of politicians give the rest a bad name.
What has four letters, sometimes nine, and never five.
Possessio is nine tenths of the word.
Chris Turner
I like Isaac Newton's calculus, but his notation is derivative.
Nicholas Rudzicz, apparently
Q: Do you have the time?
A: You don't have time; time has you.
Frank Rudzicz
When all the world is past, and I can't remember the days, I will still love you.
Daughter, age 3
When people are mean to me, my heart will never get broken, because you're inside it
Daughter, age 6
So it goes.
Kurt Vonnegut

The Pale Blue Dot

On 14 February 1990, the Voyager 1 spacecraft took the following photograph (updated by NASA in 2020).

Visible within an accidental sunbeam is a tiny pale blue dot. That dot represents an object about 6.4 billion kilometers away. The astronomer Carl Sagan had the following to say about that dot:

Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there - on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.

Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.

It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.


902 - 494 - 2211

[my first name]@dal.ca

6050 University Ave, Halifax NS, B3H 1W5