Thursday, September 16, 2010

Some great quotes in The art of Coding

Design bugs are often subtle and occur by evolution with early assumptions being
forgotten as new features or uses are added to a system.
—Fernando J. Corbató

By relieving the brain of all unnecessary work, a good notation sets it free to
concentrate on more advanced problems, and in effect increases the mental power of
the race. Before the introduction of the Arabic notation, multiplication was difficult, and
the division even of integers called into play the highest mathematical faculties.
Probably nothing in the modern world would have more astonished a Greek
mathematician than to learn that … a huge proportion of the population of Western
Europe could perform the operation of division for the largest numbers. This fact would
have seemed to him a sheer impossibility…. Our modern power of easy reckoning with
decimal fractions is the almost miraculous result of the gradual discovery of a perfect
—Alfred North Whitehead

The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis says that your ability to think a
thought depends on knowing words capable of expressing the thought. If you don't
know the words, you can't express the thought and you might not even be able to
formulate it (Whorf 1956).

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