George Johnson quotes

  • Whenever you read a book or have a conversation, the experience causes physical changes in your brain. It's a little frightening to think that every time you walk away from an encounter, your brain has been altered, sometimes permanently.
    -- George Johnson

    #Book #Thinking #Brain

  • Trying to capture the physicists' precise mathematical description of the quantum world with our crude words and mental images is like playing Chopin with a boxing glove on one hand and a catcher's mitt on the other.
    -- George Johnson

    #Science #Hands #Boxing

  • Artificial intelligence is based on the assumption that the mind can be described as some kind of formal system manipulating symbols that stand for things in the world. Thus it doesn't matter what the brain is made of, or what it uses for tokens in the great game of thinking. Using an equivalent set of tokens and rules, we can do thinking with a digital computer, just as we can play chess using cups, salt and pepper shakers, knives, forks, and spoons. Using the right software, one system (the mind) can be mapped onto the other (the computer).
    -- George Johnson

    #Thinking #Knives #Games

  • The weapons laboratory of Los Alamos stands as a reminder that our very power as pattern finders can work against us, that it is possible to discern enough of the universe's underlying order to tap energy so powerful that it can destroy its discoverers or slowly poison them with its waste.
    -- George Johnson

    #Powerful #Order #Energy

  • Television is a constant stream of fact, opinions, lies, moral dilemmas, plots: an infinitely complex and sophisticated torrent of information. How could it not make you cleverer? The only people who ever thought television rotted the brain and made kids dumb were those with a vested interest in other ways of learning, or those who were intellectually insecure, usually about books.

  • The Old Testament is responsible for more atheism, agnosticism, disbelief - call it what you will - than any book ever written; it has emptied more churches than all the counterattractions of cinema, motor bicycle and golf course.

  • Nature is a book of many pages and each page tells a fascinating story to him who learns her language. Our fertile valleys and craggy mountains recite an epic poem of geologic conflicts. The starry sky reveal gigantic suns and space and time without end.

  • Some men are more interesting than their books but my book is more interesting than its man.

  • The selection of a book-plate is such a serious matter.

  • Goodbye, my almost lover. Goodbye, my hopeless dream. I'm trying not to think about you, can't you just let me be? So long, my luckless romance, my back is turned on you. Should've known you'd bring me heartache. Almost lovers always do.

  • Americans think the only funny Brits are John Cleese, Benny Hill and whoever makes our toothpaste. They're not laughing with us, they are laughing at us.

  • A quotation is a handy thing to have about, saving one the trouble of thinking for oneself, always a laborious business.

  • I don't think that when Zionism began there was a claim that we were losing - even in part - our capacity to contribute to other peoples.

  • I think I feel rather differently about sympathy to what seems the normal view. I like just to feel it is there, but not always expressed.