Distilled McCarthy

sat6oct2007—40w279d76%— 06h07m00s—0utc

(fleft) 134 sayings by John McCarthy WP (selected, presumably, by the man himself). I personally added 34 quotes to my personal quiver — a telling ratio for any quote collection, even without considering that the rest of the quotes were still excellent. It’s not only that our prejudice, tastes, and interests turned out to be surprisingly aligned (eco-bashing, optimism, Marxism-bashing…; libertarianism, existentialism…; AI, computers, technology…), the man can really turn a phrase. Check him out.

Here 8 of the very best:

As the Chinese say, 1001 words is worth more than a picture.

Malthus was right. It’s hard to see how the solar system could support much more than 10^28 people or the universe more than 10^50.

If everyone were to live for others all the time, life would be like a procession of ants following each other around in a circle.

People mourn when a person dies, but no-one mourns the billions of intestinal bacteria that his death dooms. Speciesism, I calls it.

It’s possible to program a computer in English. It’s also possible to make an airplane controlled by reins and spurs.

If you want to do good, work on the technology, not on getting power.

Asking a critic to name his favorite book is like asking a butcher to name his favorite pig.

When I see a slippery slope, my instinct is to build a terrace.

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