Oracle Scratchpad

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This is the entry point for the Oracle Scratchpad –  a static page that indexes various ‘non-blog’ pages on this site and a few other sites.

If you want to use the more traditional blog entry point you can bookmark this URL for ordinary postings. This is also the URL for the page referenced to the right as All Postings.

In the panel to the right there is a link to “How to Comment”. Some of the usual html tags do not work as expected in the comment editor. This is a side effect of the theme I have chosen, which seems to be the only one that makes code samples look reasonably tidy. If you remember to use these guidelines (which are especially important for code extracts) it will make your comments more readable for other users.

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Office Phone: +44 (0)7973 188785

A few Inspirational Thoughts:


Voltaire: If they can make you believe absurdities, they can make you commit atrocities.

Anon: Science. If you don’t make mistakes, you’re doing it wrong. If you don’t correct those mistakes, you’re doing it really wrong. If can’t accept that you’re mistaken, you’re not doing it at all.

Neil deGrasse Tyson: Science literacy is a vaccine against the charlatans of the world that would exploit your ignorance.

Richard Dawkins: I am not advocating a morality based on evolution. I am saying how things have evolved. I am not saying how we humans morally ought to behave I stress this because I known I am in danger of being misunderstood by those people, all told numerous, who cannot distinguish a statement of belief in what is the case from an advocacy of what ought to be the case.

Isaac Asimov: Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that “my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge”.

Stephen Pinker (The Better Angels of our Nature, p.181): Though we cannot logically prove anything about the physical world, we are entitled to have confidence in certain beliefs about it. The application of reason and observation to discover tentative generalizations about the world is what we call science. The progress of science with its dazzling success at explaining and manipulating the world, shows that knowledge of the universe is possible, albeit always probabilistic and subject to revision. Science is thus a paradigm for how we ought to gain knowledge—not the particular methods or institutions of science but its value system, namely to seek to explain the world, to evaluate candidate explanations objectively, and to be cognizant of the tentativeness and uncertainty of our understanding at any time.

Carl Sagan: The fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses.

Cicero (De Natura Deorum): In discussion it is not so much weight of authority as force of argument that should be demanded. Indeed, the authority of those who profess to teach is often a positive hindrance to those who desire to learn; they cease to employ their own judgement, and take what they perceive to be the verdict of their chosen master as settling the question.

Friedrich Nietzsche: Whoever knows he is deep, strives for clarity; whoever would like to appear deep to the crowd, strives for obscurity. For the crowd considers anything deep if only it cannot see to the bottom: the crowd is so timid and afraid of going into the water.

Buddha: Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.

Arthur C Clarke: For every expert there is an equal and opposite expert; but for every fact there is not necessarily an equal and opposite fact

Mark Twain: It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble, it’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.

Granny Weatherwax (auth: Terry Pratchett): Trouble is, just because things are obvious doesn’t mean they’re true.

Bertrand Russell: What the world needs is not dogma, but an attitude of scientific enquiry.

Stephen Hawking: The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.

Richard Dawkins: Science has no methods for deciding what is ethical. That is a matter for individuals and for societies. But science can clarify the questions being asked, and can clear up obfuscating misunderstandings. This usually amounts to the useful: “you cannot have it both ways” style of arguing.

Albert Einstein: Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.

Carl Sagan: You can’t convince a believer of anything; for their belief is not based on evidence, it’s based on a deep seated need to believe.

Charles Darwin: Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.

Richard Feynman: It doesn’t matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn’t matter how smart you are. If it doesn’t agree with experiment, it’s wrong.

Stephen Jay Gould: The invalid assumption that correlation implies cause is probably among the two or three most serious and common errors of human reasoning.

Massif de Jaillet

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