The 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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"Young man, in mathematics you don't understand things. You just get used to them." - John von Neumann,, mathematician & physicist
The November 2019 issue of Astronomy magazine included an interview with Apollo 12 moon-walking astronauts Alan Bean and Pete Conrad. It is the 50th anniversary of the world's second manned excursion to the moon's surface on November 19, 1969. Amongst the science experiments and tasks to be performed was the deployment of a plutonium fuel cell that would power the equipment remaining on the surface after the Lunar Module blasted off. Most of the gear had been set up without incident, but the fuel rod got stuck inside its transport cylinder. None of that science gear would be of any use with out a power supply. After unsuccessfully trying to free the rod without risking damage, it finally came down to whacking it with one of those infamous $400 NASA hammers to get it out. Bean's comment to Houston upon completion was, "Don't come to the Moon without a hammer."
"The nice thing about standards is that you have so many to choose from." - Andrew S. Tanenbaum, Computer Networks, 2nd edition, page 254.
"Television won't last. It's a flash in the pan" - Mary Somerville, radio executive
The November 2019 issue of QST (login required) is chock full of great articles. The one entitled, "Indoor Antennas for VHF Weak-Signal Work," written by Mr. Les Rayburn (N1LF) discusses ways to stealthily mount an antenna in your attic in order to work around HOA restrictions and/or to protect your installation from weather abuse. Considering the close proximity to living quarters, he offers caveats and mitigation suggestions regarding RF exposure during transmission and subjection to high noise levels from his own home and from nearby neighbors. The notable line pulled from the article is, "Neighbors equal noise." The situation gets worse every day. Here's my own attic-based TV/Radio antenna installation.
November 1, 2019
"It was made clear that I was not to touch this sacred totem, especially the threaded rods..." - Steve Ford, WB8IMY, in an article entitled, "Duplexers & Diplexers," in the October 2019 issue of QST magazine. That statement was made in regard to a cavity-tuned duplexer that was part of a Ham radio repeater installation. Mr. Ford, a monthly columnist, discusses the difference between a duplexer and a diplexer. A pull quote from the piece is, "If you're about to pay less than $100 for the device in question, it is a diplexer. If the price tag has four digits to the left of the decimal, it is a duplexer." Do you agree with that generalization? Unfortunately, the ARRL does not make the magazine articles available to non-subscribers.
September 20, 2019
"The world would be improved if cellphone sterilized their users." - Anon
"Reliance on satellite navigation and timing systems has become a single point of failure for much of America and is our largest, unaddressed critical infrastructure problem." - Dr. Brad Parkinson, aka "The Father of GPS." According to the Wikipedia entry, "Bradford Parkinson is an American engineer and inventor, retired United States Air Force colonel and recalled emeritus professor at Stanford University. He is best known as the lead architect, advocate and developer, with early contributions from Ivan Getting and Roger Easton, of the Air Force NAVSTAR program, better known as Global Positioning System (GPS)."
July 25, 2019
"That's one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind." - Neil Armstrong, from the moon on July 20, 1969. Armstrong says he did utter the word "a," and that the scratchy radio transmission masked it. Having been a huge fan (short for "fanatic") of the space program and builder / launcher of model rockets, I was sure to watch the momentous event on TV as it was broadcast live from the moon on a Sunday evening at 10:56 PM EDT, a month before turning 11 years old. The Estes model rocket company issued certificates to rocketeers who launched any model during the flight time of Apollo 11; of course I got mine with an Alpha rocket.
July 18, 2019
"It's an interesting place to be. I recommend it." – Neil Armstrong re having visited the moon. That remark came during a CBS 60 Minutes interview in November 2005. We are approaching the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon mission, and yes, America was great for having achieved it. You might also interested in knowing that Neil Armstrong was an aeronautical engineering graduate of Purdue University, ostensibly the alluded-to "Parvoo University" that teenage electronics sleuths and Ham radio aficionados Carl & Jerry attended.
July 11, 2019
As we approach the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, many magazines are publishing articles about the event and the background leading up to it. I have tagged a couple notable quotes from astronauts involved that will be posted over the next month or so. The June issue of Discover magazine included this one as delivered by Neil Armstrong to the National Press Club: "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. ... Science is about what is. Engineering is about what can be." Amen, bro.
"It's what you learn after you know it all that counts." - Earl Weaver
Wernher Magnus Maximilian, Freiherr von Braun, chief designer of the V−2 rocket that terrorized London in the 1940s and chief architect of the Saturn V rocket that launched the first men to the moon in the 1960s, is quoted as saying, "The best computer is a man, and it's the only one that can be mass-produced by unskilled labor." von Braun was one of many German scientists conscripted to do the National Socialist German Workers Party (aka Nazi) regime's bidding during World War II - formally an Schutzstaffel (aka SS) officer. He and his research team surrendered to the Americans in 1945 after escaping to Austria when the end of the Third Reich was imminent. His willingness to be part of the Nazi German war effort is fuzzy; therefore, I have a hard time fully appreciating his significant contributions to the U.S. space program. Reportedly, von Braun experienced a genuine Christian religious conversion that changed his life.
Notable Quote by Albert Bandura on Self Efficacy
"People with high assurance in their capabilities approach difficult tasks as challenges to be mastered rather than as threats to be avoided." - Albert Bandura, psychologist specializing in self-efficacy and observational learning. For the record, I rarely find anything quotable from psychologists, but I found this one recommended by "Aviation Through Aviation" editor Bill Pritchett, of the Academy of Model Aviation's Model Aviation magazine ...
The unofficial RF Cafe grammar checker is a retired electrical engineer / ham radio operator. While discussing filters lately, he wrote this: "Sometimes filters just aren't worth the hassle, for instance many moons ago I acquired a 1,000 foot reel of wire that I used to make a 1,000 foot long wire antenna for a crystal radio, but unfortunately there was a 50 kW 'blowtorch' of a station nearby and I couldn't realistically filter it out and any filtering I did try would just add loss, but I knew the station went off the air for 'regularly scheduled maintenance' so I just waited until they were off the air and the band was wide open! If you want to pick nits, I guess you could say that I filtered that station in the time domain instead of the frequency domain." Brilliant ...
"If whatever signal remains has reached anyone, it clearly hasn't inspired a reply." - Jill Tarter, SETI, regarding, 'We joke that the first message extraterrestrials will pick up is I Love Lucy; it was among the first big broadcasts. But Lucy's light-speed antics are pretty garbled by now." Spring 2018 issue of Popular Science magazine.
"Forecasts are mostly just guessing plus math" - Dilbert, 12/1/2017. It was part of a dialog with the Pointy-Haired Boss who compelled Dilbert to prepare a financial report for him ...
"Ideas alone have little worth. The value of an invention lies in its practical implementation." - Werner von Siemens, 1865. The unit of electrical conductance is named after him.
"Buy the best and cry only once" (BTBCOO) means that a customer cries once at the high price, but doesn't cry again (because the higher price meant greater quality). It is not clear what retailer originated or popularized the saying. "Buy quality and cry once— buy cheap and cry forever" has been cited in print since 1922. - Anon, from The Big Apple.
"I don't know the last time you purchased some new coax, but it's sold by the foot and can cost an arm and a leg!" - H. Ward Silver, QST magazine, October 2017, Hands-on- Radio (p71).
"I would like to die on Mars... just not on impact." - Elon Musk, SpaceX CEO, during 2013 South by Southwest (SXSW) interview. Begins at 44:15 in video ...
"Light is strange, but you can get used to it." - Robert Lanza & Bob Berman in Beyond Biocentrism. The book discusses some of the stranger aspects of quantum physics including the dual particle and wave nature of light, and the "spooky action at a distance" of entanglement. The biocentrism theme is weird, but there is a good review of quantum theory ...
"There, his new specimens joined his collection and waited patiently as only rocks can until he could find time to analyze them." - Kat McGowan, "Where Did It Begin?" September / October 2017 Popular Science (p41).
"Chasing the perfect battery is a fool's journey: a catchpenny, a sensation, a mechanism for swindling the public by stock companies," wrote Thomas Edison in 1883. "Working on the latest, greatest battery brings out a man's 'latent capacity for lying." July / August 2017 Discover magazine ...
"You wouldn't dip a glass in the ocean, come up with no fish inside and conclude, 'No fish exist.'" - astronomer Jill Tarter regarding where humans are with SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence). July / August 2017 Discover magazine ...
"I pass with relief from the tossing sea of Cause and Theory to the firm ground of Result and Fact." - Winston L. Spencer Churchill, The Story of the Malakand Field Force - An Episode of Frontier War, p60. Other Notable Tech Quotes ...
"Its catalog was the Boys' Life of electronics." - Tom Gallagher, NY2RF, CEO of ARRL, regarding the second bankruptcy filing for Radio Shack (May 2017 QST, p81) ...
"There is a way to tell who is used to working on transistor equipment from those used to working on tube equipment. Before those used to working on tube equipment touch their equipment, they put one hand in their pocket to avoid electrocution. Before those used to working on low-voltage equipment begin to work, they put one hand on the chassis to avoid damage from electrostatic discharge." - Walter Underwood, K6WRU, as reported by Joel Hallas in his "The Doctor Is In" column in the May 2017 issue of QST (p61) ...
"...timeframes are the enemy, they'l figure out if you're behind schedule if you are too specific." - Jamie Davies, in a telecoms.com article titled "Euro 5G Consortium Releases Roadmap with No Direction." Thanks to RF Cafe visitor Bob Davis for the tip ...