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Engineering & Science Notable Tech Quote Archive #25

Notable Tech Quotes - RF CafeThe number of statements uttered verbally and/or in print is uncountable. Some are more noteworthy than others either because of sheer brilliance, good humor, or utter inanity. We all hope our own remembered words, if any, fall into one of the first two categories rather than the third. I do a lot of reading and find many notable quotes to use that fit the theme of RF Cafe; they fall into all three categories. I always try to verify quotes from original sources or at least from printed books like The Experts Speak, of which I own a hard copy. Enjoy.

Notable Tech Quote Archive

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  • Gasoline Alley "So here we have pi squared, which an engineer would call 10." - RF Cafe"So here we have pi squared, which an engineer would call 10." - Frank King, cartoonist, creator of Gasoline Alley (Source: Wikipedia). That statement was made by Walt Wallet (the main character) to his tech-inclined nephew Skeezix (cowboy slang for a motherless calf). Over the years, Gasoline Alley included many episodes with Skeezix dabbling in electronics - usually not very successfully.


  • "Let's face it: Engineering companies in general have more men than women. Google has tried really hard to recruit women. On the other hand, we have a standard. Google tries to recruit the best engineers." - Susan Wojcicki, senior vice president in charge of product management and engineering at YouTube (Source: Forbes)


  • "The worst thing in the world that can happen to you if you're an engineer that has given life to something is for someone to rip it off and put their name on it." - Tim Cook, CEO of Apple Inc. (Source: Wikipedia)


  • "Never trust atoms. They make up everything." - Anon


  • "The path to the CEO's office should not be through the CFO's office, and it should not be through the marketing department. It needs to be through engineering and design." - Elon Musk, CEO and chief product architect, Tesla Motors and SpaceX (engineering degree from U. of Penn., business degree from Wharton) (Source: revengeoftheelectriccar.com)


  • Cicero's Prognosis - RF Cafe Notable Quote"Do not blame Caesar, blame the people of Rome who have so enthusiastically acclaimed and adored him and rejoiced in their loss of freedom and danced in his path and gave him triumphal processions and laughed delightedly at his licentiousness and thought it very superior of him to acquire vast amounts of gold illicitly. Blame the people who hail him when he speaks in the Forum of the 'new, wonderful good society' which shall now be Rome's, interpreted to mean 'more money, more ease, more security, more living fatly at the expense of the industrious.' Julius was always an ambitious villain, but he is only one man." - Cicero, as quoted by the Honorable Millard F. Caldwell in Cicero's Prognosis


  • "It is inconceivable that inanimate Matter should, without the Mediation of something else, which is not material, operate upon, and affect other matter without mutual Contact…That Gravity should be innate, inherent and essential to Matter, so that one body may act upon another at a distance thro' a Vacuum, without the Mediation of any thing else, by and through which their Action and Force may be conveyed from one to another, is to me so great an Absurdity that I believe no Man who has in philosophical Matters a competent Faculty of thinking can ever fall into it. Gravity must be caused by an Agent acting constantly according to certain laws; but whether this Agent be material or immaterial, I have left to the Consideration of my readers." - Sir Isaac Newton, letter to Richard Bently, c. 1692


  • The barman says, "We don't serve faster-than-light particles here." A tachyon enters a bar. - Anon.  Ok, so it's not really a quote, but put it on the cover of your next presentation for a good laugh.


  • "Long live the amateur, long live wireless!" - Opening sentence in opening article in first edition of Hugo Gernsback's new The Electrical Experimenter magazine (May 1913). Gernsback was an indefatigable pioneer electrical and electronics inventor, publisher of many electronics magazines, and founder of the Wireless Association of America.


  • "Scientific knowledge is an enabling power to do either good or bad - but it does not carry instructions on how to use it." Theoretical physicist Richard Feynman in The Value of Science


  • Hofstadter's Law: "It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter's Law." - Douglas Hofstadter (hat tip to Gary S.)


  • "[W]hat do you think you get more radiation from, leaning up against an atomic reactor or your wife? ... I don't want to alarm you, but all human beings have radioactive potassium in their blood - and that includes your wife. This reactor may have more radioactivity, but much greater shielding. If you compare the two for radiation, you get just a bit more from Dresden III than from your wife." - Dr. Edward Teller ("father of the hydrogen bomb") at Atomic Energy Commission hearing concerning Dresden III reactor in Illinois.


  • "The facts and knowledge learned in any course will become obsolete well before you retire. The ability to think critically is a skill that will last a lifetime." - Kenneth C. Young, University of Arizona, in December 2013 Scientific American


  • "Twitter is the only place where you're thrilled when a complete stranger starts following you." - Anon


  • "The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences" - title of article by theoretical physicist and mathematician Eugene Wigner.


  • "If the U.S. Post Office goes away, TSA agents will be the only government employees handling packages." - Anon (heard it on the radio)
  • "I am, and ever will be, a white-socks, pocket-protector, nerdy engineer -- born under the second law of thermodynamics, steeped in the steam tables, in love with free-body diagrams, transformed by Laplace, and propelled by compressible flow." - Neil Armstrong (I had forgotten about free-body diagrams in Statics class!)


  • "Right now, there are about a thousand satellites operating in space. Of those, just two were designed to be serviced in orbit: the Hubble Space Telescope and the International Space Station." - Benjamin Reed, PM of NASA's Satellite Servicing Capabilities Office, regarding work in progress to built automated robotic satellite service platforms for repair and refueling satellites not originally designed to be serviced.


  • "Everyone is born a genius, but the process of living de-geniuses them." "I'm not a genius. I'm just a tremendous bundle of experience." - R. Buckminster Fuller


  • "Dual-band." - Response (referring to AM/FM) given by Ham radio operator when asked by policeman in Virginia what type of radio he had installed in his car (hat tip to RF Cafe visitor KA). Virginia DOT requires that "A vehicle displaying Call Letter License Plates is subject to inspection by DMV or any police officer to determine if the operator and the vehicle comply with the requirements." You must "Have operational transmitting and receiving equipment permanently installed in your vehicle." The specific wording requires Tx AND Rx equipment (AM/FM radio is Rx only and therefore might not qualify), but that could just be bureaucratic ineptness. Now thieves on the prowl for mobile rigs know exactly which vehicles to target for a guaranteed payoff. BTW, I also learned while researching details on the aforementioned that VA DOT charges a special $64 registration fee on electric-only vehicles (see above link), probably to compensate for not paying gasoline taxes for road access. That's like the requirement for all-electric vehicles to install noise generators so pedestrians can hear them coming (pathetic that Delphi feels the need to mention their device is "environmentally friendly").


  • "In the mid-'90s, when downsizing was the dominant trend in business, Dilbert took off." - Scott Addams


  • "If something can't be explained off the back of an envelope, its rubbish." - Richard Branson, Virgin CEO


  • "I have always maintained that, excepting fools, men did not differ much in intellect..." - RF Cafe Notable Quote"...I have always maintained that, excepting fools, men did not differ much in intellect, only in zeal and hard work; and I still think there is an eminently important difference." - Charles Darwin, letter citing R. Pearson (1914-1930) in The Life, Letters and Labours of Francis Galton, TodayInScience


  • "I believe that opportunity looks a lot like hard work." - Ashton Kutcher re never having had a job below him, at the 2013 Teen Choice Awards (see video).


  • "Keynesian economics is the theory that when consumers don't spend sufficiently, in the opinion of the government, then the government should seize their money and spend it for them." - Steve Forbes


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    Kirt Blattenberger,


RF Cafe began life in 1996 as "RF Tools" in an AOL screen name web space totaling 2 MB. Its primary purpose was to provide me with ready access to commonly needed formulas and reference material while performing my work as an RF system and circuit design engineer. The World Wide Web (Internet) was largely an unknown entity at the time and bandwidth was a scarce commodity. Dial-up modems blazed along at 14.4 kbps while tying up your telephone line, and a nice lady's voice announced "You've Got Mail" when a new message arrived...

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