Nathan Myhrvold quotes

  • Software is a gas; it expands to fill its container.
    -- Nathan Myhrvold

    #Software #Gas

  • I've never filed a patent lawsuit. I hope never to file a patent lawsuit. That may be unrealistic, but it would be great if I could avoid doing it... Lawsuits are a ridiculous way to do business.
    -- Nathan Myhrvold

    #Would Be #May #Way

  • My company invents all kinds of new technology in lots of different areas. And we do that for a couple of reasons. We invent for fun - invention is a lot of fun to do - and we also invent for profit. The two are related because the profit actually takes long enough that if it isn't fun, you wouldn't have the time to do it.
    -- Nathan Myhrvold

    #Couple #Fun #Technology

  • Software sucks because users demand it to.
    -- Nathan Myhrvold

    #Funny Inspirational #Demand #Software

  • Nobody wants a prediction that the future will be more or less like the present, even if that is, statistically speaking, an excellent prediction.
    -- Nathan Myhrvold

    #Want #Excellent #Predictions

  • Cooking is for chefs. Science informs us and lets us cook while knowing what we are doing, but it is not a replacement for the skills of a chef.
    -- Nathan Myhrvold

    #Skills #Knowing #Cooking

  • Economists want their discipline to be a science, and they have nailed down a few precepts, but many of their debates are still clouded by ideology.
    -- Nathan Myhrvold

    #Discipline #Want #Debate

  • Politicians don't like to face unpleasant realities. In truth, nobody does, but as individuals, we have no choice; if we neglect to plan ahead, we are held accountable. Fail to meet your responsibilities at work, and you get fired. Ignore your car's gas gauge, and you get stranded.
    -- Nathan Myhrvold

    #Responsibility #Reality #Car

  • Pressure cookers are relatively inexpensive, they're in every kitchen store, your grandma probably had one, but a lot of people don't. A pressure cooker is interesting because by pressurizing the vessel, you're able to cook much hotter than the boiling point of water, and still have water be present.
    -- Nathan Myhrvold

    #Grandma #Water #Interesting

  • Regardless of how it's done, transaction costs will continue to plummet as computers get more powerful. Low transaction costs are a wonderful thing if you're in the transaction business. They're wonderful for consumers too, making it cheaper and easier to buy things and creating new things to buy.
    -- Nathan Myhrvold

    #Powerful #Creating #Done

  • Researchers who examined the voting records of wine judges found that 90 percent of the time they give inconsistent ratings to a particular wine when they judge it on multiple occasions.
    -- Nathan Myhrvold

    #Wine #Giving #Judging

  • Most visions of extraterrestrial life are actually steeped in human hubris. The fictional extraterrestrials of 'Star Trek' or a hundred other space operas are less alien than many of my neighbors. And funny, the ones running the place are mostly WASPish men.
    -- Nathan Myhrvold

    #Running #Stars #Men

  • Software-industry battles are fought by highly paid and out-of-shape nerds furiously pounding computer keyboards while they guzzle diet Coke. The stakes aren't very dramatic. Life? Liberty? The pursuit of happiness? Nope, it's about stock options.
    -- Nathan Myhrvold

    #Pursuit Of Happiness #Nerd #Battle

  • Some article called me the most feared man in Silicon Valley. Good Lord! Why? My teenage boys got a kick out of it: 'Dad, how could this be true? You're not even the most feared person in this house.'
    -- Nathan Myhrvold

    #Dad #Teenage #Boys

  • Suppose that 'Unsolved Mysteries' called you with news of a long-lost identical twin. Would that suddenly make you less of a person, less of an individual? It is hard to see how. So, why would a clone be different? Your clone would be raised in a different era by different people - like the lost identical twin, only younger than you.
    -- Nathan Myhrvold

    #Long #People #Different

  • The best value for money in cooking equipment, in my mind, is first a digital scale and digital thermometer. They're both about $20. They help you cook so much more accurately that they're both enormously valuable.
    -- Nathan Myhrvold

    #Cooking #Mind #Digital

  • People who grow up in a region doubtless have a better cultural awareness of their own cuisine, but it's also true that a lot of locals go to McDonald's, Applebee's and the like.
    -- Nathan Myhrvold

    #Growing Up #Mcdonalds #People

  • People get cranky when you burst their bubble. Over time, advances in astronomy have relentlessly reinforced the utter insignificance of Earth on a celestial scale. Fortunately, political and religious leaders stopped barbecuing astronomers for saying so, turning their spits with human-rights activists instead.
    -- Nathan Myhrvold

    #Religious #Rights #People

  • Our reactor actually burns nuclear waste as fuel. So not only is it safe and powerful, it solves an important issue: It actually reduces nuclear waste instead of creating. It's the reactor of your dreams.
    -- Nathan Myhrvold

    #Dream #Powerful #Creating

  • Movies such as 'Citizen Kane' and 'The Front Page' portrayed an era when driven newspapermen would do anything to get a story. The U.K.'s rough-and-tumble Fleet Street remains something of a throwback to that era, as demonstrated by the recent phone-hacking scandal - which led to the demise of yet another century-old paper, the 'News of the World.'
    -- Nathan Myhrvold

    #Phones #Citizens #News

  • Most estimates of the mortality risk posed by asteroid impacts put it at about the same risk as flying in a commercial airliner. However, you have to remember that this is like the entire human race riding the plane - it is one of the few risks that really could wipe us all out.
    -- Nathan Myhrvold

    #Race #Impact #Flying

  • Micropayments are great if you use them for a product or service with certain properties. It must be one where you can get away with usage-based pricing, and where there is a strong rationale for making it cheap, yet not free.
    -- Nathan Myhrvold

    #Strong #Use #Usage

  • Don't let the secret recipe die with the inventor.
    -- Nathan Myhrvold

    #Secret #Recipes #Inventor

  • For relatively modest amounts of sulfur dioxide injected into the atmosphere, you could easily cool Earth by 1% or more, if you want.
    -- Nathan Myhrvold

    #Atmosphere #Sulfur #Earth

  • Now, to find dinosaurs, you hike around in horrible conditions looking for a dinosaur. It sounds really dumb, but that's what it is. It's horrible conditions, because wherever you have nice weather, plants grow, and you don't get any erosion, and you don't see any dinosaurs.
    -- Nathan Myhrvold

    #Nice #Weather #Erosion

  • It's very hard for individual inventors to get paid. For the same reason that private equity is valuable - broadly, that's a good thing - in the case of patents, many that own them aren't in a good position to take the next step.
    -- Nathan Myhrvold

    #Next #Steps #Patents

  • Our goal was to show people a vision of food they hadn't seen before. So, I had this idea of... let's cut all these things in half, and show a picture of the food in the pan, in the oven.
    -- Nathan Myhrvold

    #Cutting #Ideas #Goal

  • One of the things that I love to do is travel around the world and look at archaeological sites. Because archaeology gives us an opportunity to study past civilizations, and see where they succeeded and where they failed. Use science to, you know, work backwards and say, 'Well, really, what were they thinking?'
    -- Nathan Myhrvold

    #Past #Opportunity #Thinking

  • The cloning procedure is similar to IVF. The only difference is that the DNA of sperm and egg would be replaced by DNA from an adult cell. What law or principle - secular, humanist, or religious - says that one combination of genetic material in a flask is OK, but another is not?
    -- Nathan Myhrvold

    #Religious #Dna #Cells

  • The first thing that is not obvious to people is global warming is a less-than-1% effect. It's like being shortchanged at the bank by a penny every dollar. Over a long period of time with lots of transactions, that piles up.
    -- Nathan Myhrvold

    #Long #People #Dollars

  • When I was about nine years old, I announced to my mother that I was going to cook Thanksgiving dinner. And I went to the library and got this whole pile of books. I'd love to say it all turned out great. It didn't. But, sort of, from that point on, whenever there was serious cooking at home, I was the one who did it.
    -- Nathan Myhrvold

    #Mother #Book #Home

  • Wine lovers have known for centuries that decanting wine before serving it often improves its flavor. Whatever the dominant process, the traditional decanter is a rather pathetic tool to accomplish it. A few years ago, I found I could get much better results by using an ordinary kitchen blender.
    -- Nathan Myhrvold

    #Wine #Years #Kitchen

  • With cult foods, there is an underlying assumption that the best cooking ideas came generations ago. Yet culinary innovation is nothing to be ashamed of. When a chef tells me he is cooking with his grandmother's recipe, I always wonder why. Did talent skip the past two generations?
    -- Nathan Myhrvold

    #Grandmother #Past #Ideas

  • Within NASA, the shuttle is perhaps the least-groundbreaking project. Recall that Apollo was about creating brand-new technologies that did something unprecedented - putting men on the moon. The shuttle is, by comparison, a relic designed to make going into orbit routine.
    -- Nathan Myhrvold

    #Moon #Technology #Men

  • The NeXT purchase is too little too late. The Apple of the past was an innovative company that used software and hardware technology together to redefine the way people experienced computing. That Apple is already dead. Very adroit moves might be able to save the brand name. A company with the letters A-P-P-L-E in its name might survive, but it won't be the Apple of yore.
    -- Nathan Myhrvold

    #Moving #Past #Technology

  • The scientific method is the ultimate elegant explanation. It is the ultimate foundation for anything worthy of the name "explanation". It makes no sense to talk about explanations without having a process for deciding which are right and which are wrong, and in a broad sense that is what the scientific method is about. All of the other wonderful explanations celebrated here owe their origin and credibility to the process by which they are verified-the scientific method.
    -- Nathan Myhrvold

    #Names #Scientific Method #Foundation

  • Most decisions are seat-of-the-pants judgments. You can create a rationale for anything. In the end, most decisions are based on intuition and faith.
    -- Nathan Myhrvold

    #Decision #Intuition #Pants

  • The ever-growing size of software applications is what makes Moore's Law possible: 'If we hadn't brought your computer to its knees, why would you go out and buy a new one?'
    -- Nathan Myhrvold

    #Law #Knees #Size

  • I wanted to figure out how long to cook things. I did some experiments and then wrote a program using Mathematica to model how heat is transferred through food.
    -- Nathan Myhrvold

    #Long #Heat #Program

  • What you do on a dinosaur expedition is you hike and look at the ground. You find bones sticking out of the dirt and, once you see something, you dig.
    -- Nathan Myhrvold

    #Dinosaurs #Dirt #Looks

  • Three things about water affect almost all of cooking. First are the hydrogen bonds, which is why it has an incredibly high boiling point. Another is that it's a polar molecule, so that it dissolves a lot of things, and there are things that won't mix with it. And then there's how much energy it takes to heat water.
    -- Nathan Myhrvold

    #Water #Cooking #Three

  • The idea behind a dish - the delight and the surprise - makes a difference. Great literature surprises and delights, and provokes us. It isn't just 'Here's the facts - boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl.' It's how you tell it.
    -- Nathan Myhrvold

    #Girl #Boys #Ideas

  • The prize for ultimate inefficiency goes to America. We have built in so many checks and balances that our 'leaders' are the most thoroughly hogtied of any on Earth.
    -- Nathan Myhrvold

    #America #Leader #Balance

  • The reason societies with democratic governments are better places to live in than their alternatives isn't because of some goodness intrinsic to democracy, but because its hopeless inefficiency helps blunt the basic potential for evil.
    -- Nathan Myhrvold

    #Government #Evil #Democracy

  • The simplest fix for better grilling is to line the inside of your barbecue with tin foil. It dramatically affects how evenly the heat is distributed. That crusty black hibachi or Weber grill is doing your food no favors.
    -- Nathan Myhrvold

    #Black #Tin #Lines

  • The techniques of being an Internet visionary are just like those of lower-tech fortunetellers through the ages. A technological visionary must tell people what they want to hear, because your company's stock won't rise if you spout an unpopular vision to analysts.
    -- Nathan Myhrvold

    #People #Vision #Age

  • The way Moore's Law occurs in computing is really unprecedented in other walks of life. If the Boeing 747 obeyed Moore's Law, it would travel a million miles an hour, it would be shrunken down in size, and a trip to New York would cost about five dollars. Those enormous changes just aren't part of our everyday experience.
    -- Nathan Myhrvold

    #New York #Law #Everyday

  • The whole hardware industry has experienced the phenomenon in which every time computers get cheaper, they appeal to a new set of users; every time they get more powerful, old customers upgrade.
    -- Nathan Myhrvold

    #Powerful #Computer #Appeals

  • There is a one-in-300 chance that Earth will be struck on March 16, 2880, by an asteroid large enough to destroy civilization and possibly cause the extinction of the human race. But, on the bright side, Prince could re-release his hit song with the new refrain 'We're gonna party like its twenty-eight seventy-nine.'
    -- Nathan Myhrvold

    #Song #Party #Eight

  • There's no way I'm going to stand up for bad ingredients. We love seasonal ingredients. It's a false dichotomy to say that modern cooking is at odds with that, but some people want to have a great ingredient and no technique.
    -- Nathan Myhrvold

    #Odds #People #Cooking

  • The NeXT purchase is too little too late. Apple is already dead.
    -- Nathan Myhrvold

    #Apples #Next #Too Late

  • In politics, religion and other areas of culture, people disagree on the worth of competing ideas. There is no equivalent to the scientific method that can determine in a robust way which ideas match the real world, and which ones can be ruled out. So conflicting ideologies persist indefinitely.
    -- Nathan Myhrvold

    #Real #Ideas #People

  • In market research I did at Microsoft Corp. in the early 1990s, I estimated that the 'Wall Street Journal' took in about 75 cents per copy from subscribers, $1.25 at the newsstand and a whopping $5 per copy from ads. The ad revenue let them run a far bigger newsroom than subscribers were paying for.
    -- Nathan Myhrvold

    #Running #Wall #Microsoft

  • Ultimately, my Ph.D. is in mathematical physics, focusing on quantum field theory and curved space-time, and I worked with Stephen Hawking.
    -- Nathan Myhrvold

    #Space #Fields #Physics

  • The world has shown that if you provide capital and expertise to an area that is starved for capital and expertise, really good things will happen.
    -- Nathan Myhrvold

    #World #Good Things #Expertise

  • The physics of water is central to cooking, because food is mostly water. All steak that you cook is actually boiled on the inside.
    -- Nathan Myhrvold

    #Water #Cooking #Physics

  • The magic words 'on the Internet,' if inserted into nearly any sentence, seem to protect it from normal critical scrutiny.
    -- Nathan Myhrvold

    #Magic #Normal #Internet

  • Technological 'revolutions' don't really overthrow anything - they simply append a new and dynamic market to that which went before.
    -- Nathan Myhrvold

    #Revolution #Technological

  • Raw lobster tail, freeze dried, is amazing.
    -- Nathan Myhrvold

    #Lobster #Tails

  • One of the ugly secrets of the renewable-energy industry is that its products make no economic sense unless they are highly subsidized.
    -- Nathan Myhrvold

    #Secret #Ugly #Energy

  • If I want popularity, I go to a chef's convention.
    -- Nathan Myhrvold

    #Want #Chef #Popularity