The Lumber Room

"Consign them to dust and damp by way of preserving them"

Who said that?

with 2 comments

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:

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.

More examples:

Partial ones:

Generic related:

Written by S

Tue, 2009-06-23 at 21:53:37

Posted in Uncategorized

2 Responses

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  1. This one’s a favorite of mine:

    ‘Some people, when confronted with a problem, think:
    “I know, I’ll use regular expressions.”   
    Now they have two problems.’

    Widely quoted and misattributed. Jeffrey Friedl (the author of that popular Regular Expressions book) tracks it down to a Usenet post by Jamie Zawinski here, but Zawinski himself pops up in the comment thread and… oh, just read.

    (You’ll have to excuse my fixation on regular expressions; as the website linked to in my name suggests, I tend to take it too far. How do I put it- to a computer scientist, the matching engine is a finite state automaton. To me, it’s magic.)


    Wed, 2009-06-24 at 08:18:59

    • Thank you. :)

      I’ve always seen that quote attributed to jwz, and it seems he was the first to say it in that variant. I don’t really like regular expressions either, actually, but I do not know of any significantly better notation. (And Perl’s “regular expressions” are much more than finite-state automata, they allow embedding arbitrary code and are Turing-complete…is this right?) You might enjoy what Mark Pilgrim recently said:

      Some people, when confronted with a problem, think “I know, I’ll quote Jamie Zawinski.” Now they have two problems.


      Wed, 2009-06-24 at 08:59:50

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