The 5 Wittiest-Ever Brainy Remarks

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Computers are getting smarter all the time. Scientists tell us that soon they will be able to talk to us. (And by “they” I mean “computers.” I doubt scientists will ever be able to talk to us.)

~ Dave Barry

But First…

As an American, I wish to extend my solidarity with and my support to the brave people of New Zealand as they cope with the unimaginable horror recently inflicted on them by fanatic perpetration of hate. Let’s please take a minute to remember—better still, do something about—how patriotic it is to help fellow citizens of the world, especially in times of distress 🌀

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🇺🇸 I salute the Prime Minister of New Zealand for demonstrating how genuine leaders show the way during a crisis such as this one: Here’s how you can help the victims of the terrorist attack on New Zealand 🇺🇸
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What’s Mr. Ahmad Brewing?

— “Nice. Judging by the stash of tea bags you got in that picture, would it be fair to ask if you’ve been brewing something, Mr. Ahmad?,” you say.

— “Why, thank you! I hardly ever get called by my last name, so that felt good. Really good.”

— “And when you’re ready to spill the beans, you might as well tell us whether you’ve diversified into the tea-brewing business…”

— “Oh my, that I haven’t; it’s merely a coincidence. But speaking of spilling the beans, you won’t find any digression in this essay.”

— “Yeah, we believe that when we see it!”

— “No, really. I’m going to make a believer out of you.”

— “Hey what you brewing now?”

— “Since you ask—and by the way, I own zero stock in and am unrelated to the fine company that is the Ahmad tea-makers—here is what’s brewing.”

With that, we now stroll over to the other side of the elegant Chinese teapot to check what’s up….

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Got amazing powers of observation

And that is how I know

~ Pink Floyd (from Nobody Home from their album The Wall)

An Interlude (Of The Most Fleeting Kind)

Wait a second, what’s this delightful giraffe doing here? Well, let’s find out, I say! As my wonderfully witty wife is fond of reminding the family about where things belong—in her words, “Dishes go in the dish-washer; wishes in the wish-washer”—it will serve us well to look for antecedents.

Yep, exactly: As to where this spunky giraffe goes, we’re still trying to figure that one out. I’d say we look for a shelter zoo or something for this magnificently emblazoned, yet forlorn-looking, creature. Hmm… Perhaps it is Yeats’ gyraffe—giraffe, I mean—petrified by a widening gyre?

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Read My Lips: No Digressions (This Time)

Allow me a quick clarification (on the Dave Barry prediction up atop) though, and then we’ll dive right into the meat and potatoes: Yes, computers are getting smarter all the time—just check out the amazing strides made by computer scientists and engineers in the area of natural language processing alone—and they (yep, those “computers”) already talk to us. As for his wry (and his being his witty-as-ever self!) observation about how even scientists might be able to talk to us, and it’s really not that bad.

Hey, as a computer scientist and engineer, I take some pride in the joy of communicating; the verdict, however, rests squarely with you all, my marvelous readers.

One more time, read my lips: No digressions. No novella-length essay coming your way this time—yes, in full candor, some of the essays on our digs here have been called exactly that (novellas!)

As you ponder such weighty subjects—what with the unvarnished truth out—let’s dive right into the ocean of wit, shall we? And while I’ll never soar to the heights of my wife’s delightful wit (One more time, remember, “Dishes go in the dish-washer; wishes in the wish-washer”), I keep reaching for the Pantheon.

By the way, we’re doing postage stamps this time, just so you know. Now you look sharp; actually, more like, look sharply so you may catch the craft scissors-cutouts within which I’ve embedded all pictures appearing in this essay 😉

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Remark #1

When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.
~ John Muir

More here: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

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Remark #2

Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?

~ T. S. Eliot (poet and dramatist)

More here: But first, should we also not ask ourselves, Where is all the information we seem to lose all the time? (Hint: Look in the data deluge.) And how do we get it (i.e. information) out? (Hint: Data mining, and stuff like that.)

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Remark #3

Because our brains can only fit so much, specialization leads to fragmentation, where insights in one specialty become inaccessible to the others… With this tunnel vision, specialists know more and more about less and less, until they eventually know everything about nothing.
~ Edward Ashford (in Plato and the Nerd: The Creative Partnership of Humans and Technology by The MIT Press)

More here: I’ve written a bit about this; for example (1) here, (2) there, and (3) yet more over there.

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Remark #4

It is remarkable that a science which began with the consideration of games of chance should become the most important object of human knowledge . . . The most important questions of life are, for the most part, really only problems of probability . . . The theory of probabilities is at bottom nothing but common sense reduced to calculus.

Pierre Simon de Laplace (all-round smart dude, mathematician, and probabilist chap extraordinaire of yesteryear)

More here: More (Should you wish to be even more in the know)

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Remark #5

Never in the field of software development have so many owed so much to so few lines of code.

Martin Fowler (enthusing on the profound impact of JUnit, the software framework that revolutionized our industry)

More here: Mostly having to do with if you were wondering how that shiny red bicycle appeared out of the blue? Well, in full disclosure, that red bike’s for using—as in riding around on—to fill up all that time you got freed up by regaining healthy doses of sanity after running those lovely unit tests 😉

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