Gary Capell > Gary's Quotes

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  • #1
    Neal Stephenson
    “Lawrence immediately saw that it was a trick question. You would have to be some kind of idiot to make the facile assumption that the current would add or subtract 5 miles per hour to or from the speed of the boat.”
    Neal Stephenson, Cryptonomicon


  • #2
    Lois McMaster Bujold
    “Reputation is what other people know about you. Honor is what you know about yourself.”
    Lois McMaster Bujold, A Civil Campaign


  • #3
    Lois McMaster Bujold
    “Guard your honor. Let your reputation fall where it will. And outlive the bastards.”
    Lois McMaster Bujold, A Civil Campaign


  • #4
    Lois McMaster Bujold
    “A weapon is a device for making your enemy change his mind.”
    Lois McMaster Bujold, The Vor Game


  • #5
    Lois McMaster Bujold
    “Some people grow into their dreams, instead of out of them.”
    Lois McMaster Bujold, Komarr


  • #6
    Lois McMaster Bujold
    “My dinner party,' Miles grated. 'It's just breaking up.' And sinking. All souls feared lost.
    Lois McMaster Bujold, A Civil Campaign


  • #7
    Lois McMaster Bujold
    “The rule for finding plots for character-centered novels, which is to ask: 'So what's the worst possible thing I can do to *this* guy?' And then do it.”
    Lois McMaster Bujold, Cordelia's Honor


  • #8
    Lois McMaster Bujold
    “One corner of his mouth crooked up, then the quirk vanished in a thoughtful pursing of his lips. "He's bisexual, you know." He took a delicate sip of his wine.
    "Was bisexual," she corrected absently, looking fondly across the room. "Now he's monogamous."
    Vordarian choked, sputtering.”
    Lois McMaster Bujold, Barrayar


  • #9
    Lois McMaster Bujold
    “This is important! But you have to stay absolutely cool. I may be completely off-base, and panicking prematurely."
    "I don't think so. I think you're panicking post-maturely. In fact, if you were panicking any later it would be practically posthumously. I've been panicking for days.”
    Lois McMaster Bujold, Miles, Mystery, and Mayhem


  • #10
    Neal Stephenson
    “The difference between stupid and intelligent people – and this is true whether or not they are well-educated – is that intelligent people can handle subtlety. ”
    Neal Stephenson, The Diamond Age


  • #11
    Neal Stephenson
    “Nell," the Constable continued, indicating through his tone of voice that the lesson was concluding, "the difference between ignorant and educated people is that the latter know more facts. But that has nothing to do with whether they are stupid or intelligent. The difference between stupid and intelligent people—and this is true whether or not they are well-educated—is that intelligent people can handle subtlety. They are not baffled by ambiguous or even contradictory situations—in fact, they expect them and are apt to become suspicious when things seem overly straightforward.”
    Neal Stephenson, The Diamond Age


  • #12
    Neal Stephenson
    “The Galvanick Lucipher is of antique design. Ghnxh, who is about a hundred years old, can only smile in condescension at Waterhouse's U.S Navy flashlight. In the sotto voce one might use to correct an enourmous social gaffe, he explains that the galvanic lucifer is of such a superior design as to make any further reference to the Navy model a grating embarrassment for everyone concerned.”
    Neal Stephenson, Cryptonomicon


  • #13
    Neal Stephenson
    “Sorry,” she said, “I got out as fast as I could, but I had to stay and socialize. Protocol, you know.”
    “Explain protocol,” Nell said. This was how she always talked to the Primer.
    “At the place we’re going, you need to watch your manners. Don’t say ‘explain this’ or ‘explain that.’”
    “Would it impose on your time unduly to provide me with a concise explanation of the term protocol?” Nell said.
    Again Rita made that nervous laugh and looked at Nell with an expression that looked like poorly concealed alarm.”
    Neal Stephenson, The Diamond Age


  • #14
    Neal Stephenson
    “The sight of the bare katana inspires everyone to a practically Nipponese level of politeness”
    Neal Stephenson, Snow Crash


  • #15
    Lois McMaster Bujold
    “Oh, was that liquor of yours a stimulant?" asked Elena. "I wondered why he didn't fall asleep."
    "Couldn't you tell?" chuckled Mayhew.
    "Not really."
    Miles twisted his head to take in Elena's upside-down worried face, and smile in weak reassurance. Sparkly black and purple whirlpools clouded his vision. Mayhew's laughter faded. "My God," he said hollowly, "you mean he's like that all the time?”
    Lois McMaster Bujold, The Warrior's Apprentice


  • #16
    Neal Stephenson
    “Humans needed water or they would die, but dirty water killed as surely as thirst. You had to boil it before you drank it. This culture around tea was a way of tiptoeing along the knife edge between those two ways of dying.”
    Neal Stephenson, Reamde


  • #17
    Neal Stephenson
    “Apparently these three had left half of the surviving population of China seriously pissed off at them, as well as making mortal enemies with a rogue, defrocked Russian organized crime figure. In their spare time they had stolen money from millions of T’Rain players, created huge problems for a large multinational corporation that owned the game, and, finally—warming to the task—mounted a frontal assault on al-Qaeda.”
    Neal Stephenson, Reamde


  • #18
    Neal Stephenson
    “This was probably rooted in a belief that had been inculcated to him from the get-go: that there was an objective reality, which all people worth talking to could observe and understand, and that there was no point in arguing about anything that could be so observed and so understood. As long as you made a point of hanging out exclusively with people who had the wit to see and to understand that objective reality, you didn’t have to waste a lot of time talking. When a thunderstorm was headed your way across the prairie, you took the washing down from the line and closed the windows. It wasn’t necessary to have a meeting about it. The sales force didn’t need to get involved.”
    Neal Stephenson, Reamde


  • #19
    Neal Stephenson
    “Ask a Soviet engineer to design a pair of shoes and he’ll come up with something that looks like the boxes that the shoes came in; ask him to make something that will massacre Germans, and he turns into Thomas Fucking Edison.”
    Neal Stephenson, Cryptonomicon


  • #20
    Neal Stephenson
    “He walked straight out of college into the waiting arms of the Navy.

    They gave him an intelligence test. The first question on the math part had to do with boats on a river: Port Smith is 100 miles upstream of Port Jones. The river flows at 5 miles per hour. The boat goes through water at 10 miles per hour. How long does it take to go from Port Smith to Port Jones? How long to come back?

    Lawrence immediately saw that it was a trick question. You would have to be some kind of idiot to make the facile assumption that the current would add or subtract 5 miles per hour to or from the speed of the boat. Clearly, 5 miles per hour was nothing more than the average speed. The current would be faster in the middle of the river and slower at the banks. More complicated variations could be expected at bends in the river. Basically it was a question of hydrodynamics, which could be tackled using certain well-known systems of differential equations. Lawrence dove into the problem, rapidly (or so he thought) covering both sides of ten sheets of paper with calculations. Along the way, he realized that one of his assumptions, in combination with the simplified Navier Stokes equations, had led him into an exploration of a particularly interesting family of partial differential equations. Before he knew it, he had proved a new theorem. If that didn't prove his intelligence, what would?

    Then the time bell rang and the papers were collected. Lawrence managed to hang onto his scratch paper. He took it back to his dorm, typed it up, and mailed it to one of the more approachable math professors at Princeton, who promptly arranged for it to be published in a Parisian mathematics journal.

    Lawrence received two free, freshly printed copies of the journal a few months later, in San Diego, California, during mail call on board a large ship called the U.S.S. Nevada. The ship had a band, and the Navy had given Lawrence the job of playing the glockenspiel in it, because their testing procedures had proven that he was not intelligent enough to do anything else.”
    Neal Stephenson, Cryptonomicon


  • #21
    Lois McMaster Bujold
    “Growing up, I have discovered over time, is rather like housework: never finished.”
    Lois McMaster Bujold


  • #22
    Lois McMaster Bujold
    “Cecil flashed a grin. "Quite. Plus your rather irritating habit of treating your superior officers as your, ah..." Cecil paused, apparently groping again for just the right word.

    "Equals?" Miles hazarded.

    "Cattle," Cecil corrected judiciously.”
    Lois McMaster Bujold, The Vor Game


  • #23
    Lois McMaster Bujold
    “You don't pay back your parents. You can't. The debt you owe them gets collected by your children, who hand it down in turn. It's a sort of entailment. Or if you don't have children of the body, it's left as a debt to your common humanity. Or to your God, if you possess or are possessed by one.

    The family economy evades calculation in the gross planetary product. It's the only deal I know where, when you give more than you get, you aren't bankrupted - but rather, vastly enriched.”
    Lois McMaster Bujold, A Civil Campaign


  • #24
    Lois McMaster Bujold
    “Have you ever heard the phrase, Living well is the best revenge?"
    "Where I come from, someone's head in a bag is generally considered the best revenge”
    Lois McMaster Bujold, CryoBurn


  • #25
    Lois McMaster Bujold
    “[Koudelka] looked back, "You?! I know you! You trust beyond reason!"
    [Cordelia] met his eyes steadily, "Yes, it's how I get results beyond hope, as you may recall.”
    Lois McMaster Bujold, A Civil Campaign


  • #26
    Lois McMaster Bujold
    “And this was your friend?" Cordelia raised her eyebrows. "Seems to me the only difference between your friends and your enemies is how long the stand around chatting before they shoot you.”
    Lois McMaster Bujold, Shards of Honour


  • #27
    Lois McMaster Bujold
    “But when he’s cut, I bleed.”
    Lois McMaster Bujold, Shards of Honour


  • #28
    Lois McMaster Bujold
    “How had he rehearsed this vitally-important, utterly-critical meeting, again? "Mother, Father, let me introduce -- she's getting away!”
    Lois McMaster Bujold, A Civil Campaign


  • #29
    Eliezer Yudkowsky
    “I only want power so I can get books.”
    Eliezer Yudkowsky, Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality


  • #30
    Eliezer Yudkowsky
    “World domination is such an ugly phrase. I prefer to call it world optimisation.”
    Eliezer Yudkowsky, Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality




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