The One Sentence Challenge...

From Paul Kredovsky via Jamais Cascio:
Physicist Richard Feynman once said that if all knowledge about physics was about to expire the one sentence he would tell the future is that "Everything is made of atoms." What one sentence would you tell the future about your own area, whether it's entrepreneurship, hedge funds, venture capital, or something else?
Examples: An economist might say that "People respond to incentives." I had an engineering professor years ago who said all of that field could be reduced to "F=MA and you can't push on a rope." A couple of other good ones come immediately to mind: the GBN motto, "the future is uncertain, and yet we must act;" Bruce Sterling's "the future is a process, not a destination;" Yogi Berra's "prediction is very hard, especially about the future."
So, dear TOD readers, in the comments, give me one sentence--with a couple of clauses if you desire--to describe what you would tell the future.

"After 200 years of fossil fuels, it looks like the inevitable return to a solar civilization could be rocky."

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Cheers and Happy Holidays from The Oil Drum!

Bacteria will win in the end.

Along those lines

Filter your drinking water and you will live a lot longer


Don't crap where you eat

They'll still win.

My money is on the maggots winning

My area is finance, and here is the message: The history of betting on paradigm shifts is poor. Even if you are able to identify an actual paradigm shift, your chances of betting correctly on the outcome are slim.

99.9% + of all species that ever existed are extinct, because they bet against the paradigm shift that always comes in the long run.

Finance was the refined measurement of human preferences and goods allocation that worked on a growing but empty planet.

Live within your means

in the end, nature's rules win.

I agree with that one, but I'd add a bit:

Humans are the most advanced animals, but we are still animals, and in the end nature's rules win; don't soil your nest.

Nature bats last.

The only thing that you can be certain of is that everything is uncertain.

First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics rule; Humanity has been climbing the enthalphy ladder throughout history; since the Industrial Revolution on fossil fuels.

LOL! When I was in engineering school, they used to say:

1. F=ma
2. pV=nRT
3. You can't push on a rope.

Learn any two of those three, and you graduate.

My degree is in mechanical engineering, and here's how I would sum up the field:

"If all else fails, try kicking it."

But my favorite is probably the Laws of Thermodynamics, a la Ginsberg:

1. You can't win.
2. You can't even break even, either.
3. You can't get out of the game.

And perhaps most apropos, Freeman's corollary:

Every major philosophy that attempts to make life seem
meaningful is based on the negation of one part of Ginsberg's Theorem.

1. Capitalism is based on the assumption that you can win.
2. Socialism is based on the assumption that you can break even.
3. Mysticism is based on the assumption that you can quit the game.

Another of my favorites is this description of physics:

F=ma. The rest can be derived.

Oh, and I also like this summation of genetics, by British scientist Robert May:

"We share half our genes with the banana. This is a fact more evident in some of my acquaintances than others."

He's actually originally Australian, although he may have taken UK citizenship. I remember him giving a guest lecture 20 odd years ago and being mightily impressed. His erstwhile collaborator Roy Anderson was also great value for a good quote.

Leanan, you forgot H.T. Odum's, A. J. Lotka's, etc. proposals for the 4th Law of Thermodynamics:

4. You can't play for long unless you steal your opponents game pieces.

Or since, my pea brain can't state it as soundly as the experts...

The maximum power principle can be stated: During self organization, system designs develop and prevail that maximize power intake, energy transformation, and those uses that reinforce production and efficiency.

— H.T.Odum 1995

It has been pointed out by Boltzmann that the fundamental object of contention in the life-struggle, in the evolution of the organic world, is available energy. In accord with this observation is the principle that, in the struggle for existence, the advantage must go to those organisms whose energy-capturing devices are most efficient in directing available energy into channels favorable to the preservation of the species.

— A.J.Lotka 1922

I'm also partial to these wise words from my all-time favorite quote:

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.

- T.S. Eliot 1942 (Little Gidding No. 4)

Man, I see in fight club the strongest and smartest men who have ever lived. I see all this potential -- God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas and waiting tables; they're slaves with white collars. Advertisements have them chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit they don't need. We are the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no great war, or great depression. Our great war is a spiritual war. Our great depression is our lives. We've all been raised by television to believe that one day we'll all be millionaires and movie gods and rock stars -- but we won't. And we're learning slowly that fact. And we're very, very pissed off.

This is the way the World Ends,
Not with a bang but a wimper.
- TS Eliot

Keeping with Leanan's great reference to Ginsberg and since they haven't been proposed yet, maybe we should include the 5th and 6th Laws of Thermodynamics (in my humble and yet to be fully rationalized opinion):

5. You shorten the cumulative length of the game the more you steal.

6. The object of the game is to make it last as long as possible.

Or my concise way of summarizing the 3 (or is it 6?) Laws of Thermodynamics:

Collective adversity mandates collaborative adaptation.

- Hal Knowles

4. Technology: Move to the next level before you lose the game.

Btw, I think we are still playing at a very low level. Our limits are not defined by fossil fuels, although we might hit "game over" before moving past them. I think the sun's limits define the boundries to the next level. And I'm not talking about putting photovoltaic on top of your house..

Another way of putting the 3 laws of thermodynamics:

1. You can't get something for nothing
2. You can't get everything for something except at absolute zero
3. You can't get to absolute zero

"If all else fails, try kicking it."

Yup! Kicking or RESET : "There is nothing that a kick in the balls or a pressure on reset won't solve."

I am afraid that's gonna be some "reset"...

3. Mysticism is based on the assumption that you can quit the game.

"Quit the world. Quit the next world. Quit quitting."
--Ram Dass

Before I was a construction contractor and then a computer software geek, I was a 'rat' psychologist. My experiences and experiments led me to the maxim:

"Under carefully controlled laboratory conditions, the rat does as he damn well pleases."

A number of years after you left the business, researchers stopped using rats and instead began using lawyers

... because there are some things even a rat will refuse to do :-)

General computing: Base 2 is best.

Building computers: Small impurities in silicon crystals can be used to make great switches.

Systems: Computers are really communication devices, not adding machines, so connect them together.

I also have a couple that explain almost all everyday events, though not quite within the rules of Feynman's challenge:

1/ Google knows everything.
2/ Society dramatically underestimates the value of shared, self-driving, electric cars.

General computing: Base 2 is best.

There are 10 kinds of people.

Those that understand binary and those that don't

Society dramatically underestimates the value of shared, self-driving, electric cars.

Sounds like the subway.

- Nature must, in the not far distant future, institute
bankruptcy proceedings against industrial civilization,
and perhaps against the standing crop of human flesh, just
as nature had done many times to other detritus-consuming
species following their exuberant expansion in response to
the savings deposits their ecosystems had accumulated
before they got the opportunity to begin the drawdown.

William Catton, Overshoot

Economics "should be" the study of how people (emotional creatures) trade with one another and plan for the future.

A little more refined is Thomas Sowell's definition: "Economics is the study of the use of scarce resources which have alternative uses." Trading and planning are emergent properties of the need to allocate limited resources.

So refined that it excludes the key factor: the human mind.

And if I understand Einstein's theory correctly regarding the latter, it has capacity that exceeds even the exponential reach of compound interest, and thereby extends mankind's comprehension to the event horizon of sheer lunacy and beyond.

If we can go to the moon, we must be gods.

Mother Nature bends to our will

and not the other way around.

These are the two most important things - think of the future have a sense of humor.

I always like that Navajo proverb

"We do not inherit the world from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children."

There's also a billion saying about the importance of a sense of humor, like this simple one:

"Every survival kit should include a sense of humor"

Do not allow corporations to become confused with humans.

and for those in the military: if you can't take a joke you should not have joined.

MY Thermo-Gene Collision sentence: In the USA, 150 million wheelbarrows will be more helpful for a longer period of postPeak time than 150 million rifles because eventually--each less barrel of crude means an additional 25,000 brute force hours of labor.

I also like that other quote [but I don't know the author]: "It will take all of us, and it will take forever, but isn't that the point?"

Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

My boss used to say, "Give me enough men with wheelbarrows, and I can do anything."

Economics can be summed up in the acronym TANSTAAFL! There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch!

This DUET (Deep Universal Eternal Truth) can be translated as follows: All human actions that have benefits also have costs.

Another translation: All actions have opportunity costs.

Yet another translation: Scarcity rules.

A response to the free lunch claim is:

'The truth is TISATAAFL (There Is Such A Thing As A Free Lunch). The important questions are: WIGI (Who Is Getting It)?, and WOTGI (Who Ought To Get It)?'

The end of fossil fuels will clean our air, destroy the middle class and bring back slavery.

"Treat all others as you wish others would treat you"

"Treat all others as you wish others would treat you"

This maxim fails when you consider there are people who like to start fights, or who are sexually aggressive.

A safe, negated form of the Golden Rule is explicit in both Buddhism and Judaism:

"That which is displeasing to you, do not do to others."

"Do not do to anyone else that which you would not want done to you." That formulation goes better with my pastel Libertarian streak.

One word, and it applies to anyone and anything:



Sure, this is just what the Muslims are asking for :

Click on the image too.

If only Muslim-bashing were an energy source... there are always people who will find opportunities for it in the strangest places.

I can do Jews bashing, Neo-cons bashing, Leftists bashing, Fundies bashing, Greenies bashing, etc... whenever the opportunity shows and the context fits.

Reminds me of a short joke:

At high noon in a certain small town, two people accidentally meet at a corner while walking from opposite directions.

They know each other. One is a masochist and the other a sadist.

"Hit me. Hit me." says the masochist.

"No." says the sadist.

If you can shift to tomorrow what you must do today, do it and you will get another free day.

Future is current geo-biological energy flux strength effect on the balance of cerebrum:cerebellum x leadership.

How about "Sorry."


... or "Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time."

"This time, it's different", but, be prepared if it's not.

RC known to you as ThatsItImout

Smoke’em if you got’em at the crude contango, after the final feast
But don’t cry wolf at a precipice moon, while dancing with the beast

"All of Geology is based on Plate Tectonics and Deep Time, everything else is picking at the edges"

At the core of every life form is a battery (from simple plants and bacteria to complex mammals) that has evolved from the elements comprising the Earth and the energy from the Sun, in order to compete in the planet's many environmental niches for scarce resources, and thereby store enough of the sun's energy to replicate at an opportune time, and ultimately realize the single meaning of life: to pass on the DNA and perpetuate the ability to conserve.

Nice summary - but rift life doesn't derive its energy from the Sun, and prions don't contain DNA.

"Karl Marx was right."

Long live the revolution!-)

Not sure which Geologist but the quote is,

If you dont deal with reality, reality will deal with you.

E=MC2. If we are going to have any hope post fosile fuels..

But Oil Trader, "Human kind cannot bear very much reality" T.S Eliot, Burnt Norton; also attributed to Freud.

Life on earth has spent 2 billion years (via evolution and natural selection) optimizing energy efficiency; study nature for energy solutions.

Electrons occur at 1.235590E+20 Hz in the electromagnetic spectrum (ω=mc^2/ℏ); protons are at 2.268679E+23 Hz.

My brain Hz just thinking about it!

OK..... Good, Cheap, Fast - you get to choose TWO.

"It's not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one that is most adapted to change."

~ Darwin

It's all about Photosynthesis"

Round things are finite. The earth is round.

Leanan, you beat me to the three laws of thermodynamics per Ginsberg. My favorites!

Toynbee Ideas in Movie 2001 Resurrect Dead on Planet Jupiter.

One man's attempt to immortalize his particular brand of schizophrenia for future posterity in a single sentence.

Next time care less about economics and more about people

Don't expend resources you can't replace.

actions speak louder than words

Stein's Law: "If something can't go on forever, it won't."

Sums up peak oil and industrial civilization as a whole pretty well I think.

"It's" means "It is" -- "Its" means "Its."

I see.

... said the blind man. he picked up his hammer and saw. his deaf daughter

..over the telephone

Focus on increasing your HROI (Happiness return on energy invested)*

*For the neuroscientists in the crowd, the derivative DROI (Dopamine return on energy invested), could be more technically correct.

I suggested EROTI but it didn't catch...
(Enjoyment Returned On Toil Invested)

The key to finding a happy balance in modern life is simplicity. --Sogyal Rinpoche


But it's not modern life anymore, you won't even be able to do any "bread and butter" job...

Eternally and always there is only now, one and the same now: the present is the only thing that has no end.

-- Erwin Schrodinger

We are here and it is now. Further than that, all human knowledge is moonshine.

-- H.L. Mencken

You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait. Do not even wait, be quite still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.

-- Franz Kafka

Many of us think that happiness is not possible in the present moment. Most of us believe that there are a few more conditions that need to be met before we can be happy. This is why we are sucked into the future and are not capable of being present in the here and now. This why we step over the many wonders of life. If we keep running away into the future, we cannot be in touch with the many wonders of life.

-- Thich Nhat Hanh

All of these people speak of the present moment as the ultimate reality, and it is, but more importantly, their words imply we must start living a life in tune with the planet now, that there is no future moment where we suddenly fire off a starter's pistol and live like we actually love the planet. The time is now.


-- Cherenkov

"An idea is something you have; an ideology is something that has you."

Splendid! The author?

Morris Berman, I think.

This is a probabilistic universe...well, except when it is deterministic.

(I'm sure I stole that from somewhere, but I couldn't tell you I'll not claim authorship.)

The only battle that matters is the battle for your imagination
-di Prima

Start getting more efficient today, and keep doing it until you're dead.

A project actually already exists in the spirit of this challenge here. The KEO program was launched in order to provide a time capsule for the people of earth 50,000 years from now. Everyone on earth has been invited to submit a message, which will be encoded on DVD and launched into space, from where it will return in about 50,000 years. So for all those who are viewing this a purely hypothetical exercise, this is a chance to actually fulfill the challenge (that is assuming the project actually gets off the ground i guess). In addition to that, each person is allowed up to 6000 characters, so you can go into a bit more detail.

It was somewhat fortuitous that I stumbled across this today, as submissions are due to close at the end of this year (not far off now). Whether your message actually gets read may be entirely down to chance, but there's no doubt about it, the idea certainly has merit.

The website is at

Where you stand depends on where you sit.

How about a "Yerginism" No matter where you go, there you are!

Tell me what you know.

Well, Art is Art, isn't it, still, on the other hand, water is water, and east is east and west is west and if you take cranberries and stew them like applesauce they taste much more like prunes than rhubarb does; now you tell me what you know.

Don't believe in anything unless it has been proven experimentally ...

You don't need to know all the one is smart enough to ask you all the questions.


School is just society breaking the spirits of the stupid.


Intellectuals solve problems. Geniuses prevent them.

... We have nothing to fear except

... the realization

... that we are lemmings on the run

... and now we stand

... on the precipice of our destiny.

___ Ask not

___ what your country can do for you,

___ because it won't.

The 3rd Law of Thermo-conservatism:

"Ignorance must be conserved at all cost."

For a more thorough understanding of this profound concept, go here.

Why on God’s green earth should we listen to these [Peak Oil] extremists? I mean, seriously. There isn’t a justification for trusting them. The only conclusions we can arrive at is that they’re either woefully inept in their predictions or they’re simply lying through their teeth. I tend towards the latter rather than the former because, although they are liberal extremists without a lick of common sense, the truth is that they aren’t that stupid.

I'm actually delighted to hear that the "conservatives" are not prepared for peak oil.

They're reactionaries, not conservatives. Reactionaries are always looking forward to the past.

Aha ... now I understand the "new way forward".
It's progress on a back pedaling bicycle.

I'll follow that man anywhere.

Yikes! That's Lester Maddox, infamous racist governor of Georgia. Former owner of the Pick-Rick restaurant in Atlanta, where he handed out ax handles to the white customers to beat up blacks who wanted to integrate.

Wow. There is just no way this guy, much less the editors at Newsweek, actually believe their own drivel; that level of stupidity is so dysfunctional as to be incompatible with survival.

But it's sure scary to see how the corporate mass-media system seems hell-bent on conditioning public opinion to said level.

You say - The 3rd Law of Thermo-conservatism:

"Ignorance must be conserved at all cost."

What happens if it's not?

The earth has seen greater disasters than men, don't worry; Entropy will sort it all out for us ;-)

Just wondering about "us"...
Whom will be "us" after the "Entropy sort out"?

Entropy: you can't shove crap up a horse's ass and get hay out of his mouth (except in the shale oil patch)

Mind the gap.

-- London Underground Announcement

42 :)

80-20-rule: 80% of tasks can be completed in 20% of the disposable time, the remaining 20% of tasks will take up 80% of the time.
Or: 80% of the productivity can be achieved by doing 20% of the tasks:)

The long standing rule for engineering projects is that 80% of the tasks will be done in 90% of the allotted time. The remaining 20% will also take 90% of the allotted time.

"winters come and winters go summers come and summers go" and the wheel of the year turns on and on."
From the Tomten by Astrid Lindgren

When luxuries become necessities, that's when the screaming starts.

"The justest man in the world is not allowed to be judge in his own cause." -- Blaise Pascal.

An important doctrine of the scientific method, and also a very important legal and ethical principle. And unlike more general moral commandments, even very selfish people could potentially realise its importance (at least as it pertains to others!) and benefit from it.

"Oops, sorry about that whole Earth debacle: our bad!"

"So long, and thanks for all the fish"

All governments lie.

it was the salmon moouse.

HAHA. Ponty Python - The Meaning of Life.

My favourite part of the movie.

"No one expects the Spanish Inquisition."

Global oil depletion is an opportunity disguised as a problem.

Nothing is as durable as a bad idea.
- H.L. Mencken

Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.
- anon

That's why corn ethanol will go on for a while. :-(

The primary purpose of all governments and religions is control.

If only one: "Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God."

If restricted to a Peak Oil sentence: "The laws of physics trump the laws of economics."

I tell my draughtspeople this wrt Architecture, but it probably applies to any design profession:

"You're a champ when you deliver the work early, but you're a chump when they call to complain about the mistakes."

"If dirt were dollars, we'd all be in the black."


"They don't build hearses with luggage racks."

-Don Henley.

Yeah, but King Tut took it with him and kept it intact for 3,000 years!

If I can't take it with me, then I ain't dyin'!

Actually, I'll add a third Don Henley Quote as well:

"Sometimes you get the best light from a burning bridge."

That guy is a lyrical genius.

I have a couple: (Yes, they are mine)

1. Things are the way they are because they were the way they were, but not entirely.

2. Verbs trump nouns; always, because nouns are frozen and reality isn't. "I will ..." leads to better plans than "I am...".

3. No situation is so bad that you can't make it worse by doing something stupid.

The higher the Hurdle, the more they'll remember how how you had to jump.

In the same vein:

Things are never so bad, they can't get worse.


The most dangerous thing you will ever do is drive a car.

Here are some favorite quotes:

-Helen Keller: Security is mostly superstition. It doesn't exist in nature. Life is a great adventure or it is nothing.

-Rousseau (loose quote): A good way to enslave a man is to make him obsess over trivia.

-Eric Fromm: A commonly occurring individual problem is in reality an unacknowledged collective problem.

-WeatherGlass?: If you don't know it, you can't recognize it.

-?: It is better to light a candle than to curse others for stumbling in the dark.

-WeatherGlass: If God had meant people to watch TV, he wouldn't have given them brains.

Good ones!

Thanks pal.

If God had meant people to watch TV, he wouldn't have given them brains.

Who said most people have brains?

Don't get technical with me. Hmphf.

forces shape energy conversions
neuronal activity shapes forces
thought shapes neuronal activity

With one wish we wake the will within wisdom.
With one will we wish the wisdom within waking.
Woken, Wishing, Willing.

All generalizations are false.

This is actually less flippant than you might think, if you consider what is required to sustain racism, sexism, etc.

There are two kinds of people in the world lumpers and spliters. Lumpers think in big groups, spliters don't. Avoid both.

"There are thousands of types of people in this world: The kind that like to divide the world into two types, and the thousands of other types."
- (I forget where i heard this)

Cooperation and sharing is a better survival strategy than fighting over scarce resources.

See "The Human Potential for Peace", a book by anthropologist Douglas Fry.

...find a girl and go see the world...

Do what your can, every day, for a better world.

When the sun comes up in the morning, will you see it?

Belief is irrelevant.

Freedom in a commons brings ruin to all.
--Garrett Hardin

Capitalism is a pyramid scheme.

- Herman Daly

And also,

"You can never do just one thing."

Someone already mentioned my favorite by T.S. Elliot, so here are a few of my runners-up:

Einstein: Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.

H.L. Mencken: An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rose smells better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup.

Arthur Schopenhauer: Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world.

Complexity is expensive so keep it simple, stupid.

An objective and unfiltered understanding of the past provides the information needed to make the best choices in the present and thus the best chance for a comfortable future.

I'm double-dipping here, but a favorite quote is:

"In every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations." -- The Iroquois Confederacy

My previous contribution:

"We have to kill consumption before consumption kills us."

Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.

Philip K. Dick

Things that don't change................remain the same.

All things are possible until proven otherwise.

"consumption" used to be the name of a disease.

"We have to kill consumption before consumption kills us."

::cough cough:: ;)

There's no such thing as truth. At best, you can stand on a stack of facts.

I apologize for all the selfish, greedy, shortsighted, and stupid idiots that ruined your world.

An aphorism from an engineer is like a blueprint from a poet.

All you need to know is your One True Thing

... if you are a single minded person

"...What's done cannot be undone.." Lady Macbeth

"We as a civilization are all too much like someone addicted to a drug that will kill if continued and kill if suddenly withdrawn."

James Lovelock, "The Revenge of Gaia: Earth's Climate Crisis ans the Fate of Humanity" (page 6)

"better save than sorry"

The most important question to answer is: How much is enough?

My favorite quote of the year goes to Westexas sometime last week when he finally couldn't take it anymore:

What part of the impossibility of an exponential growth rate in a finite world do you people not understand?

Sums it up very well!

Even Feynman can be wrong -- not only is there no one true thing in physics, Feynman's candidate isn't even true -- atoms are not atoms, at least ultimately, in any sense the average person would accept, according to quantum mechanics.

Hi davebygolly.

IMO, it's only wrong in the sense that F=MA is wrong (i.e. F=MA doesn't account for relativistic effects).

"Everything is made of atoms" is approximately true (absolutely true under biological conditions), is falsifiable, and leads to a lot valuable results before you can falsify it. It's a keeper.

"The negation of a profound truth is also a profound truth."
--Niels Bohr

we copulate and die, everything after that is preached or proven.

There comes a time when we think our youth is gone - but years after, we know it was much later.

The past isn't worth dying for.

If enough people predict something, it won't happen.

J.G. Ballard

The flipside of this would be: "If enough people predict that something won't happen, it will".

One of my favorites from [name the movie]

"Coffee is for closers"

glengary glenross ?

On life:

Adapt or die. Mother Nature doesn't care which you pick.

The problem with Evolution is that it doesn't work fast enough.

"Nature teaches humility." We face a very difficult final exam.

The only question I have to answer:

What do I really want to do with whatever time I have between now and whenever I die?"

"Live long, and prosper."



May the force be with you.

(Shin is how Leonard Nimoy (Spock) came up with the Vulcan greeting of spreading the open hand into 3 split groups of fingers. Yevorech icha ve' Yeshmorecha ...)

(Also, blessed be the Edit button. Here are two backup informational sites I found after posting: Spock1, Spock2)

Robert Benchley:

Death ends a life, but not a relationship.

My favorite for years has been

Think global, act local

Everyone quotes that, no one knows the source, so I'll tell you. Traite sur Savoir-vivre, pour les jeunes, by Raoul Vaneighem. Most of which was ghost-written by Guy Debord, and I'm pretty sure that quote was Debord. A drunken degenerate commie bastard, a terrorist in today's parlance, and proud of it. Number one most wanted man on the planet to Interpol and the toast of Paris.

Number one most wanted man on the planet to Interpol
Where did you fancy that ?
To my knowledge he was certainly kinda nuts but not under any arrest warrant when he commited suicide.

In the 70's Debord was wanted. The Gaullists were not amused.
Yes his return was most unusual.
As were most things about his career.

Computer architecture: If things are slow, cache.

Profile before optimizing.

Justice Scalia: 'Troposphere, whatever. I told you before I'm not a scientist. That's why I don't want to have to deal with global warming' .

(From the folks over at realclimate.)

Power corrupts.

I'm not so egotistical/bright to claim I'm the 1st....

The golden rule:

"He who has the gold makes the rules."

Black body radiation:

"all the energy on the earth comes from photons from the Sun or from long-dead solar bodies"

After looking about what goverments do to thier citizens:

"Don't trust the government"

From energy bulliten this week:

'what if the best humanity can do/the most magical souce of energy IS oil'?

My Father:

"in 100 years, will anyone care?"

He then breaks it down for 1,5 and 10 years.

No one quote will speak to everyone. Well, other than:

"In the long run we are all dead."

"In the long run we are all dead."

This was JM Keynes response to what the "long run" effect of deficit spending would be.

Black bodies give off radiation,
And do so continuously
Black bodies give off radiation
And do it by Planck's theory

Bring back, bring back
Bring back that old continuity
Bring back, bring back
Oh, bring back Clerk Maxwell to me

Well now we have Schrödinger functions
Dividing up h by 2π
But those damned differential equations
Still have no solution for ψ

Bring back, bring back
Bring back that old continuity
Bring back, bring back
Oh, bring back Clerk Maxwell to me

It has always been true that blood matters more than anything else.

Old Texas Proverb:

"Blood is thicker than water, but sperm is thicker than blood"

In theory, all things work in theory.
The average human being loses at least 1/3 their intelligence as soon as you place them in front of a computer.

The crown of art is modulation. --Paul Valery

"The maximum is not optimum."

--Garrett Hardin

- which is why, with all due respect, I have a problem with H.T. Odum's "maximum empower" principle. He says: "Principles that appear to govern all systems including human societies were used to consider the time of economic descent ahead. These include the energy laws, the maximum empower principle, the universal energy hierarchy, the conservation and hierarchical distribution of materials, the spatial organization of centers, and the pulsing paradigm." and "To simply limit resource use, is not a useful policy since it goes against the maximum empower principle of self organization. But limiting luxury and wasteful uses, allows resources to go into productive functions and is adaptive. Thus, measures to limit unnecessary horsepower stimulate the economy, whereas taxing or limiting useful resource uses is not a viable option." - Well, resources will limit us anyway (and he knew that quite well). I think that our only choices are: to let "natural" competition reach its bitter end, or to be smarter than yeast. To choose warlordism or justice. So my version of the one-liner:

What's "natural" isn't always the "best".

Another way to put it: now that we understand the selfish genes, we can choose not to serve them.

Civil Engineering:

Water flows downhill. Money can make it go uphill.

A couple favorites:

"Each possession I own is but a stone around my neck." - Einstein

A sage old capitalist businessman once advised me such; "When you sit down to make a deal, look around the table and figure out who's getting screwed. If you can't figure it out, get up and walk away because it's probably you."

I like that Einstein quote - I think it's worthy of the bathroom mirror - so I see it every morning when I get up.


Choose ELP or ELP will choose you.

There is NOT such a thing like smart self-hurting !

Do not know if translating this motto of mine makes a sense in english.
In italian it really does !


We all know that a bad life is just as difficult, just as full of work,
obstacles, and hardships, as a good one and the only choice is the kind of life one would care to spend one’s efforts on.
- John Erskine

Circumstance does not make the man; it reveals him to himself.
- James Allen

All assumptions must be questioned.

Life is like a shit sandwich.

The more bread you have, the less shit you have to eat.

Etched into a Burger King table - 1975.

"No man in the wrong can stand up against a fellow that's in the right and keeps on a-comin."

Texas Ranger Captain W.J. McDonald

Maybe in the movies.

But in real life being "right" don't mean squat.

Preview si my friend.

Energy from the sun is free but everything else comes on loan from the earth; the repayment terms only get harder and you will repay.

If you can read this you are already doomed.

Just because you can doesn't mean you should.

"I do not know with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones." Albert Einstein

As an experimental physical chemist, I've always liked:
"Constants aren't; variables won't."

But here's one of my own for the challenge:
"Every castle is a prison, every blessing a curse."

I need two clauses but the result applies to many fields.

Maximizing profit is simply the process of optimizing the ratio of your costs to your revenue and then increasing your sales until that ratio worsens.
The percentage of the population buying or even aware of your product is entirely incidental.

Conclusion: If you're trying to sell the same thing as everybody else and you're trying to sell it to everybody, you are almost certainly not maximizing your profit.

Unless, of course, you're manipulating the market.

Lead with a positive spirit instead of a primal instinct.