funny sentences by various people (partly German)

Jeder Zuwachs an Technik bedingt, wenn damit ein Zuwachs und nicht eine Schmälerung des menschlichen Glücks verbunden sein soll, einen entsprechenden Zuwachs an Weisheit.
Bertrand Russell

Never underestimate the determination of a kid who is time-rich and cash-poor.
Cory Doctorow - Little Brother

All programmers are optimists.
Frederick P. Brooks, Jr. - The Mythical Man-Month

Goodness without wisdom always accomplishes evil.
Mike in Heinlein's Stranger in a strange land

Do I look civilized to you?
John Wick

Boehm points out that among current-day foraging groups, group execution is one of the most common ways of punishing males who try to claim a disproportionate amount of the group's resources.
Sebastian Junger - Tribe

The kids have changed, Sandy. They're not like we were. And it gets worse every year. They're docile. They're practical. They're polite. They don't bite. Well, hardly ever. I've been at four colleges now, never been higher than an assistant professor, so I get all the big introductory lecture courses. I used to try to do Socratic dialogues, get arguments going, controversies. Disaster. I gave that up. And no matter how outrageous I am in lecture, no one argues back. They write it all down. [...]
Froggy in G.R.R. Martin - The Armageddon Rag

Perhaps the greatest of all pedagogical fallacies is the notion that a person learns only what he is studying at the time. Collateral learning in the way of formation of enduring attitudes... may be and often is more important than the spelling lesson or lesson in geography or history... For these attitudes are fundamentally what count in the future.
John Dewey - Experience and Education as cited by Neil Postman

Only four years after Morse opened the nation's first telegraph line on May 24, 1844, the Associated Press was founded, and news from nowhere, addressed to no one in particular, began to crisscross the nation. Wars, crimes, crashed, fires, floods - much of it the social and political equivalent of Adelaide's whooping cough - became the content of what people called "the news of the day."
Neil Postman - Amusing Ourselves to Death

But that's just it! In Europe one gets used to doing nothing. You sit on your ass and whine all day. You get contaminated. You rot.
Henry Miller - Tropic of Cancer

In a world grown paralyzed with introspection and constipated by delicate mental meals this brutal exposure of the substantial body comes as a vitalizing current of blood. The violence and obscenity are left unadulterated, as manifestation of the mystery and pain which ever accompanies the act of creation.
The restorative value of experience, prime source of wisdom and creation, is reasserted.
Anais Nin - Preface to Tropic of Cancer

The most important things to remember about back story are that (a) everyone has a history and (b) most of it isn't very interesting.
Stephen King - On Writing

The idea that creative endeavor and mind-altering substances are entwined is one of the great pop-intellectual myths of our time.
Stephen King - On Writing

I don't want to speak too disparagingly of my generation (actually I do, we had a chance to change the world and opted for the Home Shopping Network instead) [...]
Stephen King - On Writing

Versteht ihr denn nicht, versteht all ihr Redner denn nicht, dass wir es sind, die sterben, und dass allein die MASCHINE hier unten wahrhaftig lebt? Wir haben sie erschaffen, uns zu dienen, aber sie dient uns nicht mehr. Sie nimmt uns das Gefühl für den Raum und den Sinn für Berührungen, sie betäubt alle zwischenmenschlichen Beziehungen, reduziert Liebe auf einen fleischlichen Akt, lähmt unsere Körper und unseren Willen, und jetzt zwingt sie uns auch noch dazu, sie anzubeten!
Kuno in E.M. Forster - Die Maschine steht still

Inzwischen war es von Nachteil, muskulös zu sein. Jedes Neugeborene wurde untersucht, und wenn es übermäßig stark zu werden versprach, merzte man es aus. Humanitätsverfechter mögen protestieren, aber es wäre keine wahrhaftige Güte gewesen, die Kraftmenschen am Leben zu lassen. Ein Leben nach Maßgabe der MASCHINE hätte sie unglücklich gemacht. Sie hätten sich danach gesehnt, auf Bäume zu klettern, in Flüssen zu schwimmen und ihre Körper an Wiesen und Hügeln zu messen. Der Mensch muss an seine Umwelt angepasst sein, ist es nicht so? Im Morgendämmer dieser Welt waren es die Schwachen unter uns, die auf dem Taygetos ausgesetzt wurden, in der Abenddämmerung sind es die Starken, die den GUTEN TOD sterben, auf dass die MASCHINE Fortschritte machen möge, bis in alle Ewigkeit.
E.M. Forster - Die Maschine steht still

"Sei still!", sagte seine Mutter verstört. "Du darfst dich nicht maschinenfeindlich äußern!"
"Warum nicht?"
"Man darf es einfach nicht."
"Das hört sich an, als hätte ein Gott die MASCHINE erschaffen", rief Kuno. "Wahrscheinlich betest du zu ihr, wenn es dir nicht gut geht. Vergiss nicht, die Menschen haben sie erschaffen. Begnadete Menschen, aber doch Menschen! Die MASCHINE ist vieles, aber nicht alles. Obwohl ich auf dieser Scheibe etwas sehe, das dir ähnlich ist, sehe ich nicht dich. Obwohl ich durch den Fernsprecher etwas höre, das dir ähnlich ist, höre ich nicht dich.[...]"
E.M. Forster - Die Maschine steht still

Thinking about it was repellent, and maybe that was why he started thinking about how he'd slept with this Dina - slept with her sober and slept with her drunk, and how every single time it'd been a disappointment. It was beyond belief; such a luscious broad, you'd think she was made for loving, but in actual fact she was nothing but an empty shell, a fraud, an inanimate doll instead of a woman. It reminded him of the buttons on his mother's jacket - amber, translucent, golden. He always longed to stuff them into his mouth and suck on them, expecting some extraordinary treat, and he'd take them into his mouth and suck and every single time would be terribly disappointed, and every single time he'd forget about the disappointment - not that he'd actually forget, he'd just refuse to believe his memory as soon as he saw them again.
Red in Arkady and Boris Strugatsky - Roadside Picnic

There's a need to understand, but that doesn't require knowledge. The God hypothesis, for example, allows you to have an unparalleled understanding of absolutely everything while knowing absolutely nothing... Give a man a highly simplified model of the world and interpret every event on the basis of this simple model. This approach requires no knowledge. A few rote formulas, plus some so-called intuition, some so-called practical acumen, and some so-called common sense.
Valentin in Arkady and Boris Strugatsky - Roadside Picnic

I'm always delighted by the light touch and stillness of early programming languages. Not much text; a lot gets done. Old programs read like quiet conversations between a well-spoken research worker and a well-studied mechanical colleague, not as a debate with a compiler. Who'd have guessed sophistication bought such noise?
Richard P. Gabriel

Welcome to a dangerous new era - the Unlightenment - in which centuries of rational thought are overturned by idiots. Superstitious idiots. They're everywhere - reading horoscopes, buying homeopathic remedies, consulting psychics, babbling about "chakras" and "healing energies", praying to imaginary gods, and rejecting science in favour of soft-headed bunkum. But instead of slapping these people round the face till they behave like adults, we encourage them. We've got to respect their beliefs, apparently.
Charlie Brooker's screen burn

'Cause that's always a question: Is this an art or is it a craft? To which I respond: I don't give a shit.
Nick Offerman: "Good Clean Fun" | Talks At Google

Orandum est, ut sit mens sana in corpore sano.
Beten muss man, dass in einem gesunden Körper ein gesunder Geist ist.
Juvenal - Satura X

The idea of a pattern is, as Peter Norvig has expressed very well, just evidence of a failure in your notation.
Rob Pike - OSCON 2010: "Public Static Void"

Choose your favorite spade and dig a small, deep hole, located deep in the forest or a desolate area of the desert or tundra. Bury your cell phone and then find a hobby.
Nick Offerman - Paddle your own canoe

Jim: You and I are somewhat polarizing sometimes.
Rippetoe: Yeah, yeah that's certainly true. We get perceived as... assholes? Is that the right term?
Jim: It's what my mom calls me.
Mark Rippetoe interviews Jim Wendler (Pt. 1) - Starting Strength Series

[I]f you carefully read its literature and analyse what its devotees actually do, you will discover that software engineering has accepted as its charter "How to program if you cannot."
E.W. Dijkstra in EWD 1036 (On the cruelty of really teaching computing science)

The trouble was that he was talking in philosophy, but they were listening in gibberish.
Terry Pratchett in "Small Gods"

It might seem most sensible for her to wait until copulation is over before she starts to eat him. But the loss of the head does not seem to throw the rest of the male's body off its sexual stride. Indeed, since the insect head is the seat of some inhibitory nerve centres, it is possible that the female improves the male's sexual performance by eating his head. If so, this is an added benefit. The primary one is that she obtains a good meal.
Richard Dawkins in "The Selfish Gene" elaborating on the female praying mantis.

"Ach. Ihr habt wohl immer noch so ein gestörtes Verhältnis zur Geschichte", sagt unser Patient.
"Au contraire!", ruft das Känguru. "'Sechzig Millionen Tote. Na ja. Schwamm drüber' - das nenne ich ein gestörtes Geschichtsverhältnis."
Marc-Uwe Kling in "Die Känguru-Chroniken"

'Which path do you intend to take, Nell?' said the Constable, sounding very interested. 'Conformity or rebellion?'
'Neither one. Both ways are simple-minded - they are only for people who cannot cope with contradiction and ambiguity.'
Neal Stephenson in "The Diamond Age"

Wer zeigt, wer er ist - nicht durch Sekundärtugenden, sondern durch Accessoires -, der muss es auch zeigen, weil man es sonst nicht wüsste.
Hellmuth Karasek in "Hand in Handy"

"Doch grundsätzlich wäre es sehr viel besser, wenn Sie sich und Ihrem Körper ein paar Tage völlige Ruhe gönnen würden. Warum sehen Sie diese Krankheit nicht einfach mal als Geschenk?"
Ja, warum eigentlich nicht? Immerhin gelingt es meinem Geschenk auch drei Tage später noch, mich stets aufs Neue zu überraschen. Vergleichbar vielleicht mit der Überraschung eines Boxers, der in Runde vier oder fünf staunt, dass es dem Gegner gar nicht langweilig wird, ihm immer weiter in die Fresse zu schlagen
Horst Evers - Wäre ich du, würde ich mich lieben

The dwarf waited, unable to move, and a sombre voice said, PLEASE DO NOT PANIC. YOU ARE MERELY DEAD.
The vandal stared at the skeletal figure, managed to get himself in order and said to Death, 'Oh... I don't regret it, you know. I was doing the work of Tak, who will now welcome me into paradise with open arms!'
The vandal listened to the sound of silence, the sound like a bell with, alas, no clapper, but finally the dreadful silence ended in ...NOT
Terry Pratchett - Raising Steam

Although he wasn't the driving force behind the innovations, he did know how to spot and recruit talent to his work teams. If history was any guide, that was the primary skill necessary for success in Silicon Valley.
Daniel Suarez - Kill Decision

At all costs the Christian must convince the heathen and the atheist that God exists, in order to save his soul. At all costs, the atheist must convince the Christian that the belief in God is but a childish and primitive superstition, doing enormous harm to the cause of true social progress. And so they battle and storm and bang away each other. Meanwhile, the Taoist Sage sits quietly by the stream, perhaps with a book of poems, a cup of wine, and some painting materials, enjoying the Tai to his hearts content, without ever worrying whether or not Tao exists. The Sage has no need to affirm the Tao; he is far too busy enjoying it!
Raymond M. Smullyan - The Tao is Silent

Consider this illustrative joke. Question 1: How does a mathematician make a cup of tea, given a kettle of water at room temperature? Answer 1: He puts the kettle on the stove. When the water boils, he pours some into a cup with tea leaves. Question 2: How does a mathematician make a cup of tea, given a kettle of boiling water? Answer 2: He sets the kettle aside until the water cools to room temperature, thereby reducing the problem to one previously solved.
Allen Van Gelder - Efficient Computation of Polygon Area and Polyhedron Volume

"Erstens", fuhr Binabik fort, "werden Küchenjungen nicht in Fischeiern gelaicht oder aus Hühnereiern ausgebrütet. Sie können denken wie die weisesten Weisen, solange sie sich gegen das Eindringen von Wissen nicht wehren; solange sie nicht sagen 'ich kann nicht' oder 'ich will nicht'. [...]"
Tad Williams - Der Drachenbeinthron, Das Geheimnis der großen Schwerter 1

Ein Hacker ist jemand, der versucht, einen Weg zu finden, wie man mit einer Kaffeemaschine Toast zubereiten kann
--...which roughly translates to:"A hacker is someone who tries to find a way how to make toast with a coffee machine"
Wau Holland

'Wait a minute, Juanita. Make up your mind. This Snow Crash thing - is it a virus, a drug or a religion?'
Juanita shrugs.
'What's the difference?'
Neal Stephenson in "Snow Crash"

'Sie erstaunen mich', sagte Nessus. 'Keine andere intelligente Spezies kopuliert derartig häufig wie Menschen.[...]'
Larry Niven in "Ringwelt"

"Simple. I got very bored and depressed, so I went and plugged myself in to its external computer feed. I talked to the computer at great length and explained my view of the Universe to it," said Marvin.
"And what happened?" pressed Ford.
"It committed suicide," said Marvin and stalked off back to the Heart of Gold. -
Douglas Adams in "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"

Like a lot of people, I was mathematically abused as a child. I learned to think of math as a collection of formulas that were neither beautiful nor had any relation to my life (despite attempts to translate them into "word problems"), but had to be memorized in order to do well on tests.
Paul Graham

As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.
Godwin's Law

If there's more than one possible outcome of a job or task, and one of those outcomes will result in disaster or an undesirable consequence, then somebody will do it that way.
Murphy's Law

WARNUNG: Könnte Nüsse enthalten!
Aus dem Vorwort von "Die Philosophen der Rundwelt" von Terry Pratchett, Ian Stewart und Jack Cohen

Die Modelle der Wissenschaft sind nicht wahr, und eben darum sind sie nützlich. Sie erzählen einfache Geschichten, die unser Geist erfassen kann. Es sind Lügen-für-Kinder, einfache Geschichten für den Unterricht und darum keinen Deut schlechter. Der Fortschritt der Wissenschaft besteht darin, dass immer klügeren Kindern immer überzeugendere Lügen erzählt werden.
Terry Pratchett, Ian Stewart und Jack Cohen in "Die Philosophen der Rundwelt"

Give a man a fire and he's warm for a day, but set fire to him and he's warm for the rest of his life.
Terry Pratchett in "Jingo"

'It would seem that you have no useful skill or talent whatsoever,' he said. 'Have you thought of going into teaching?'
Terry Pratchett in "Mort"

The very foundation of the American Dream of a better and richer life for all is that all, in varying degrees, shall be capable of wanting to share in it.
James Truslow Adams, "Epic of America", 1931

What kind of man would put a known criminal in charge of a major branch of government? Apart from, say, the average voter
T.Pratchett in "Going Postal"

People on the side of The People always ended up disappointed, in any case. They found that The People tended not to be grateful or appreciative or forward-thinking or obedient. The People tended to be small-minded and conservative and not very clever and were even distrustful of cleverness. And so the children of the revolution were faced with the age-old problem: it wasn't that you had the wrong kind of government, which was obvious, but that you had the wrong kind of people.
Terry Pratchett in "Night Watch"

Es heißt, wenn die Götter jemanden vernichten wollen, schicken sie ihm zunächst den Wahnsinn. Das stimmt nicht ganz. Wenn die Götter wirklich jemanden vernichten wollen, dann geben sie dem Betreffenden das Äquivalent einer Sprengstoffstange, auf der 'Dynamit' geschrieben steht und deren Zündschnur brennt. Das ist viel interessanter und geht schneller.
Terry Pratchett in "Rollende Steine" ist ja toll, was diese Handys heutzutage alles können. Meins kann Fernsehen und Radio empfangen. Jaaa, da hat mich mein GEZ-Eintreiber drauf gebracht. Ich sach: 'Das ist ja phänomenal was das Ding kann, danke, dass sie mir das zeigen'- da wollt der Geld von mir. Ich sach: 'Ja aber ich konnte das Ding doch gar nicht benutzen, ich wusste ja gar nicht, dass das Ding das kann.' Er: 'Ja aber sie hätten ja können.'. Ich bin sofort zum Amt gegangen und hab vierfach Kindergeld beantragt. Sagt die Beamte zu mir: 'Aber Herr Priol, sie haben doch gar keine 4 Kinder!' Sach ich: 'Ja, aber ich hätt ja können.
so ungefähr von Urban Priol aus einer "Alles muss raus"-Sendung

The Big Lebowski': Is it. . . is it, being prepared to do the right thing? Whatever the price? Isn't that what makes a man?
The Dude: Sure. That and a pair of testicles.
The Big Lebowski

Nobody fucks with the Jesus.
Quintana (The Big Lebowski)

Ich glaube das ist damals falsch verstanden worden mit der Demokratie: Man DARF eine Meinung haben, man MUSS nicht!
Dieter Nuhr

Gehen sie in den Tempel... Ich meine knabbern sie am Leib Christi rum? - Sie merken, es ist unheimlich leicht sich über andere Religionen lustig zu machen
So ungefähr von Volker Pispers

Ich habe kein Interesse an der Sache, in der er der Beste der Welt ist. Und er hat kein Interesse an der Sache, in der vielleicht ich der Beste der Welt bin. Ich könnte ihn geschäftlich nicht beraten und er könnte mich technisch nicht beraten.
Linus Torvalds auf die Frage von David Diamond, was er Bill Gates gerne sagen würde

...if they don't keep exercising their lips, their brains start working
Im "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" der von Ford Prefect angenommene Grund dafür, dass Menschen andauernd reden und Dinge sagen, die offensichtlich sind...

There are no inconsistencies in the Discworld books, merely alternative pasts.
Terry Pratchett - The Discworld Companion

I keep vaguely wondering what Macs are like, but the ones I've seen spend too much time being friendly.
Terry Pratchett im Usenet (, 5 July, 1992)

There should be a notice ahead of the movie that says 'This movie is PG. Can you read? You are a Parent. Do you understand what Guidance is? Or are you just another stupid toddler who thinks they're an adult simply because they've grown older and, unfortunately, have developed fully-functioning sexual organs? Would you like some committee somewhere to decide *everything* for you? Get a damn grip, will you? And shut the wretched kid up !'
Terry Pratchett im Usenet (, 10 July 2001)

Life doesn't happen in chapters - at least, not regular ones. Nor do movies. Homer didn't write in chapters. I can see what their purpose is in children's books ("I'll read to the end of the chapter, and then you must go to sleep") but I'm blessed if I know what function they serve in books for adults.
Terry Pratchett, als er auf das Fehlen von Kapiteln in seinen Discworld Novels angesprochen wird

No, I happen to be one of those people whose memory shuts down under pressure. The answers would come to me in the middle of the night in my sleep! Besides, I am a millionaire.
Terry Pratchett auf die Frage, ob er bei "Who wants to be a millionaire" mitmachen wolle

And all those exclamation marks, you notice? Five? - A sure sign of someone who wears his underpants on his head.
Terry Pratchett zum übermäßigen Gebrauch von Ausrufezeichen - in Maskerade / Mummenschanz

AlienContact: Jetzt aber zu etwas völlig anderem. Werden Sie eines Tages ernsthafte Literatur schreiben?
Terry Pratchett: Lassen Sie mich Ihre Frage ein bißchen auseinandernehmen. Ernsthaft ist nicht das Gegenteil von lustig. Das Gegenteil von ernsthaft ist nicht ernsthaft und das Gegenteil von lustig ist nicht lustig. Etwas kann lustig und trotzdem ernsthaft sein. Einfach Göttlich ist ein Beispiel dafür. Ich glaube also, das etwas, nur weil es amüsant ist, nicht gleichzeitig nicht ernsthaft sein muß. Also ist dieser Teil schon mal widerlegt. Wir wurden gelehrt, oder besser, man machte uns glauben, daß etwas, das einen zum Lachen bringt, reine Unterhaltung ist und keinen aktuellen, philosophischen Hintergrund haben darf.
Terry Pratchett in einem Interview

Do not start me on The Da Vinci Code ... a novel so bad that it gives bad novels a bad name. ... Even Dan Brown must live. Preferably not write, but live.
Salman Rushdie interview The Lawrence Journal-World (7 October 2005)

Hell wasn't a major reservoir of evil, any more then Heaven, in Crowley's opinion, was a fountain of goodness; they were just sides in the great cosmic chess game. Where you found the real McCoy, the real grace and the real heart-stopping evil, was right inside the human mind.
Terry Pratchett und Neil Gaiman in "Good Omens. The niece and accurate prohecies of Agnes Nutter, witch"

She was convinced that she was anorexic, because every time she looked in the mirror she did indeed see a fat person.
Terry Pratchett und Neil Gaiman in "Good Omens"

Now, you may think that this is some sort of generalized hatred that I will carry for the lot of you. Let me assure you that this is not the case. Each of you will fail, but you will fail in you own unique way, and therefore I will dislike each of you on an individual basis.
Master Sergeant Ruiz
John Scalzi - Old Man's War