Archive for June 2009
One of my
favourite pastimes obsessions is trying to find the correct attribution for quotes, phrases, stories, etc. [For example, “Premature optimization is the root of all evil” was said by Knuth, not Hoare; I haven't been able to track one Asimov quote despite a bit of looking, etc.]
Quite by coincidence, I found in the last hour three great webpages doing an impressive and thorough-looking (but alas, we’ll never know when something is thorough) job of it:
- Alan P. Scott trying to track down “Talking about music is like dancing about architecture”
- Martin Porter trying to track down “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing”. (It has so many variations so frequently quoted that A Bit of Fry and Laurie in Series 4 had “For evil to flourish, all that is required is for good men to spout clichés”.)
- Duen Hsi Yen on The Blind Men and the Elephant
There’s also a book by Ralph Keyes called The quote verifier: who said what, where, and when — looks great, must read.
If you have more examples, please let me know.
- Jeffrey E.F. Friedl on jwz’s ‘Some people, when confronted with a problem, think “I know, I’ll use regular expressions.” Now they have two problems.’ (thanks to Karthik below)
- William J. Rapaport on Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo (it’s his own sentence, so perhaps it shouldn’t count)
- Rachel Loden on “Prizes are for children” by Charles Ives
- Prof. J Michael Steele has a page on quote variations.