From MIT Classes

Miscellaneous Quotes

A friend of mine was giving a review session for ps304 - physical
science for education majors. As usual, no one had any questions
and he explained: "Look - a review session is just like sex. You
can tell me what you want, and I'll give it to you, or you can
not tell me what you want, and you'll just get screwed."

``If you have almost no food, you need a lot of beer to be happy.''
(in economics 14.01 class)

"If you like, you can think of Pauli's exclusion principle as
numbers identifying people in a city apartment building --
with a number for the street, a second for the building number,
a third for the floor number, and a fourth for the apartment
number. Of course, this means that only one person can be in
an apartment at any given time."
[Laughter from the students.]
"Well, maybe we should tell this to the housing people at

While showing us slides of research he did in Australia, he pointed to
a woman in one of the pictures and said....
"This is a wonderful woman...." (pause for slight laughter)
"She was vacationing in the town where we were. Fortunately for me,
she was alone...." (pause for raucus laughter)
"Also fortunately for me, she was staying in my hotel...." (yes, we
were on the floor)
"I don't recall her name anymore." (I think I gave myself internal
injuries we were laughing so hard)
Well, it was funny at the time.

If you don't understand what I'm saying, it's ok, because I'm just
mumbling to myself.

One of my favorite words, because it has AI in the middle.

Was organizing my notes (which I only recently unpacked), and I found
a couple quotes I was too lame to post during the term.

"The charitable way is to say that is shorthand. The uncharitable way
is to say that is a lie."

"Black holes are like astrophysical roach motels: test particles can
check in but they can't check out."

and the oft-repeated favourite:
"This is a true fact."

"Sometimes you just need to know where your butt is."

"If I vibrate this... well, you'll be covered with caffeine-free diet coke."

"The vovea, um, er, fovea is... Ooh. That sounded like... Never mind."

Non-MIT Stupid Professor Tricks

(during commentary at lab meeting)

"The best way to do that is with... reagents that probably don't
exist, which is why that's not such a great way to do that."

"These mutants are really mutant."

(on viewing a slide entirely in english) "Hey! It's all in Japanese!
Well, half of it. Oh, no it's not. That's English."

(after finishing his presentation) "Why is everyone watching me?"

(on why he doesn't like the classrooms in building 2)
"The price you pay for non-grubbiness is in the philosophy of the room.
The power structure is built into the room. You have to sit in these
little rectilinear Teutonic rows."

"What do they have in that coffin-like structure in the back of the classroom?
A dead baby, blue cheese, one boot. No? No A/V equipment either?"

"'Thou knowest not how to woo.' That should be the subtitle to
'The love song of J. Alfred Prufrock."

"You look like the Buddha of Suburbia. I think it's the effect of
the hiking boots and the lotus..."

"I felt compelled to have the question 'In what year did Wordsworth
publish his Lyrical Ballads of 1848' so we could have a token hard
data question on the final."

(summing up the previous class) "I made a cruel comment about Ben,
and three talented women ganged up on Will Hayfer and won. But those
were the predictable things."

"3-4148 is my extension. Write a dirty limerick and read it to me."

"He went to Switzerland and took injections of baboon prostates.
Then he wrote these poems."

"You don't say to Tipper Gore, 'Tipper, don't be a ho.'"

"Titanic is just Romea and Juliet. And an iceberg."

"But you haven't had the experience of having really, truly,
emphatically, with garlic, failed!"

"Beauty is raunchiness, and raunchiness beauty."

"Even if we think 'that man has a cork up his butt,' we don't _say_ it..."

"Who do you want a love song from? Someone named Pablo, someone named
Sonia. Not someone named J. Alfred. You'd cut yourself on the starch
in his shirt."
[4] in Professors_Quote_Board

ancient history ...

jon@ATHENA.MIT.EDU (Sat Nov 21 17:19:59 1987 )

[0001] (5 lines) Morgan.SIPBOLC 03/22/84 2009.7 est Thu Professors'_Quoteboard
Subject: Reason for this meeting
This meeting has been established to record all those wonderful things
that your professors say that have other (more amusing) connotations.
Dave Smith and I should have a blast with it, but others are welcome to
participate. Past quotes may be recorded if known to be accurate first
hand. Suggestions for additional participants are welcome.
[0002] (3 lines) Morgan.SIPBOLC 03/22/84 2026.6 est Thu Professors'_Quoteboard
Subject: 21.351 Roman History
"Then he married Calpurnia ... the ins and outs are not clear."

-- Prof. H.A.T.O. Reiche (3/22/84 10:35)
[0003] (3 lines) Morgan.SIPBOLC 03/22/84 2030.7 est Thu Professors'_Quoteboard
Subject: 18.302 Partia; Differential Equations
"We will have to consider doing an odd extension."

-- Prof. Debbie Sulsky (2/22/84 ca. 10:30)
[0004] (5 lines) Morgan.SIPBOLC 03/22/84 2033.3 est Thu Professors'_Quoteboard
Subject: 8.08 Statistical Mechanics and Thermodynamics
"There are (N + f - 1)! / [N! (f - 1)!] ways to permute my balls."

-- Prof Baranger (2/17/84 12:51)

Yes, that's an exact quote.
[0005] (7 lines) Morgan.SIPBOLC 03/22/84 2139.2 est Thu Professors'_Quoteboard
Subject: 8.04 Quantum Mechanics
"By geometry, ... [pause] ... Well, just by looking at it actually."

-- Prof. N. Berker (2/14/83 11:10)

See, they don't all have to be filthy-minded. This one I found in an
old notebook. I will continue the archive search when I have more time
to waste.
[0006] (3 lines) Rochlis.Multics 03/22/84 2344.2 est Thu Professors'_Quoteboard
Subject: 8.02 Physics
" i = vr "

Bernard Feld, 1982
[0007] (3 lines) DMSmith.StudentAD 03/23/84 1938.8 est Fri Professors'_Quoteboard
Subject: Prolixity
"The third chapter is rather abstruse and obscure in its prolixity. . ."
--Prof. Benedek, 8.08 Recitation, late Feb.
[0008] (15 lines) DMSmith.StudentAD 03/23/84 1946.4 est Fri Professors'_Quoteboard
Subject: Incompetent chemistry teachers
"If the concentration of the products over the concentration of the
reactants is less than zero, the reaction prefers to go to the right."
--Prof. Klaus Biemann, 5.41 lecture, Feb.
'82 "Of course, less than one, not zero".
--same, two minutes later, when a student
out that two positive concentrations could
be divided to yield a negative number.
"Well, all right, it goes to the left."
--15 minutes later, after the combined
arguments of
the whole class convinced him he had the
backwards, too.
---[0008]--- (nref = [0009])
[0009] (1 line) DMSmith.StudentAD 04/01/84 2300.7 est Sun Professors'_Quoteboard
Subject: Re: Incompetent chemistry teachers
Boy, does that formatting lose . . .
---[0009]--- (pref = [0008])
[0010] (3 lines) Lippard.Multics 04/02/84 1515.2 est Mon Professors'_Quoteboard
Subject: ASU CSC210 Data Structures
"We want to take these components and see if we can grope them--er,
group them into sets".
-- Ms. Vicki Walker, 4/2/84 10:57
[0011] (3 lines) DMSmith.StudentAD 04/02/84 1526.7 est Mon Professors'_Quoteboard
Subject: 8.08 Statistical and Quantum Physics
"The partition function is an animal which was invented in chapter 6.
It is not a fundamental animal, but it is a convenient animal."
-Prof. Barranger 4/2/84 12:10pm
---[0011]--- (nref = [0012])
[0012] (3 lines) DMSmith.StudentAD 04/02/84 1529.6 est Mon Professors'_Quoteboard
Subject: Re: 8.08 Statistical and Quantum Physics
Compare the previous transaction to number 4, and notice that Daniel
doesn't know the name of the course he's taking and I can't spell the
name of the professor.
---[0012]--- (pref = [0011], nref = [0013])
[0013] (6 lines) Morgan.SIPBOLC 04/03/84 1713.6 est Tue Professors'_Quoteboard
Subject: Re: 8.08 Statistical and Quantum Physics
If you look at the other transactions by me, you will also note that few
of them have the "right" name for the course. I thought that what I was
putting was more understandable to people who aren't familiar with the
course. For example, "Roman History" is better than "Ancient World II".

Is a bar-ranger like a forest ranger who hangs out in bars?
---[0013]--- (pref = [0012], nref = [0014])
[0014] (1 line) DMSmith.StudentAD 04/10/84 1720.8 est Tue Professors'_Quoteboard
Subject: Re: 8.08 Statistical and Quantum Physics
I don't buy that excuse for one minute. Not one minute.
---[0014]--- (pref = [0013])
[0015] (3 lines) Morgan.SIPBOLC 04/26/84 1633.9 est Thu Professors'_Quoteboard
Subject: 8.08 Thermo and Stat. Mech.
"that silly electron ... well, it's not so smart as a tiger ..."

- Prof. Benedek, 12:35 p.m., 4/26/84
[0016] (5 lines) Morgan.SIPBOLC 05/02/84 1258.6 est Wed Professors'_Quoteboard
Subject: 8.08 Stat. Mech. & Thermo.
"The atoms are very repulsive."

-- Prof. Baranger, 5/2/84 12:12

How rude!
[0017] (6 lines) Morgan.SIPBOLC 05/03/84 1523.1 est Thu Professors'_Quoteboard
Subject: 8.08 Recitation
"Tarzan knew E=3NkT even before Einstein. Jane didn't know; he had to
tell her ... that's what marriage is all about."
-- Prof. Benedek, 5/3/84 12:53

(after a long discussion of how even in the jungle you need to know
about specific heats so that you can warm up your coconut milk)
---[0017]--- (nref = [0018])
[0018] (1 line) Morgan.SIPBOLC 05/03/84 1524.9 est Thu Professors'_Quoteboard
Subject: Re: 8.08 Recitation
ing today. Watch out for Dave's contribution in this forum.
---[0018]--- (pref = [0017], nref = [0019])
[0019] (1 line) Margolin.Multics 05/03/84 1532.1 est Thu Professors'_Quoteboard
Subject: Re: 8.08 Recitation
Something's missing in [0018]. Like the first line.
---[0019]--- (pref = [0018], nref = [0020])
[0020] (5 lines) Morgan.SIPBOLC 05/03/84 1534.0 est Thu Professors'_Quoteboard
Subject: Re: 8.08 Recitation
Yes indeed... hmmm... I am afraid I must blame the video system for
that, probably...

It should have begun: Prof. Benedek, aka Cheshire Cat Grandad, was
being particularly weird/amus
---[0020]--- (pref = [0019], nref = [0021])
[0021] (4 lines) DMSmith.StudentAD 05/04/84 1248.5 est Fri Professors'_Quoteboard
Subject: Re: 8.08 Recitation
"The partition function has to be clear to you. . . like honey has to be
clear. Or maple syrup. It will work much better if you think of it as
maple syrup."
-Prof. "CCG" Benedek
---[0021]--- (pref = [0020])
[0022] (4 lines) Morgan.SIPBOLC 05/17/84 2304.8 est Thu Professors'_Quoteboard
Subject: 21.351 Roman History
"Christianity is like venereal disease."

-- Prof. H. A. T. O. Reiche
5/17/84 10:45 or so
---[0022]--- (nref = [0023])
[0023] (2 lines) Morgan.SIPBOLC 05/17/84 2306.1 est Thu Professors'_Quoteboard
Subject: Re: 21.351 Roman History
This was in reference to the role of the new religion in the fall of the
Roman Empire. "No headlines in The Tech!"
---[0023]--- (pref = [0022])
[0024] (2 lines) Lippard.Multics 11/28/84 1725.2 est Wed Professors'_Quoteboard
Subject: ASU CSC340 Structures of Programming Languages
"It is used for general stimulation."
-- Dr. Lorna Cheng, 11/26/84 11:26, speaking of SIMULA
[0025] (6 lines) Lippard.Multics 02/04/85 2314.3 est Mon Professors'_Quoteboard
Subject: ASU PHY116 University Physics (E&M)
"When multiple metal atoms get together, their valence electrons run
wild, like kids in a hippie commune."
-- substitute for Dr. Ignatious Tsong, 01/31/85 7:44

"This is a solid metal potato."
-- ditto, 01/31/85 7:47


``Obviously'' inverse means I don't want to bother (9/18)

Let's do this as a thought experiment. (9/18)

``Well-defined'' means something that seems to be a definition really is (9/21)

That's a bijection because it obviously is (9/21)

Some signed sum of some things (9/21)

There are sets where you can't even get started (9/21)

To pick k is to pick n-k (9/23)

I'll go too fast anyway, but this way I'll have sympathy (9/23)

Now, this formula is intuitively obvious (9/25)

Different but pretty much the same (9/28)

I'm making up notation as I go, but so what (9/28)

Everything twiddles itself (9/28)

Trivial: go home and stare at it for 3 hours until you're convinced (9/30)

The margin of this blackboard is too small for the proof of this theorem (9/30)

After working at it long enough to understand it, you should agree that it's trivial (9/30)

Nobody in his right mind would write it this way [Mattuck just did] (9/30)

It's useful since it can often be done (10/2)

The answer is...This is solvable because...Why am I wearing a tie and jacket? (10/2)

I don't deal with special cases (10/2)

It's Fermatty (10/5)

If they're fundamental, they will be used (10/5)

He wasn't Russian, but he would be if he were alive today [Mattuck on Kant] (10/7)

It has an irregular singular [vertex/vertices] (10/7)

Pure math is divided into analysis, algebra, and topology. Never mind what they are, they're not important (10/14)

Take it, pick it up, and let the rest hang down (10/14)

I won't give you a transparent proof. I'll give you the most obscure proof I can find. (10/14)

A tree which is not connected is a forest. (10/14)

That's outside the scope of this course. That's in the next course, which you won't take. (10/19)

This is a true fact, like all facts. (10/19)

Nothing is harder than counting (10/21)

You don't have to give a reason for it; you just know it (10/21)

It's 4-dimensional space. All you need is 4 axes. (10/21)

I have a feeling I must be a windbag, since my notes for this lecture consist of 4 lines, and [in 44 minutes] I've only covered 2. (10/21)

That's indigo, a color no one's ever seen (10/21 Rec.)

Back in the old days, in pre-history, I mean last century... (10/21)

``The finest mathematician in nonabelian hocus-pocus between the ages of 36 and 37'' (10/23)

I guess a perfect magician can do anything (10/23)

How many people don't know \omega is the cube-root of unity? That's a lie; I just told you. (10/26)

I'd have to work a minute or two to say it better, but I'm sure I could. (10/26)

I don't want to prove that. It's intuitively clear. Why don't we just talk about it for a minute? (Artin, 10/28)

Call it "e" for "identity" (Artin, 10/28)

K is an integer. I assume you know that by now (10/30)

It's like the SAT: Congruence mon n is to the integers as "~" mon H is to any group. (10/30)

I think you could do this as an exercise yourself. In fact, I don't know why I'm doing it. (10/30)

It's undoing a definition, which is what all of mathematics is. (10/30)

You'll use it in the next problem set. If that isn't applied mathematics I don't know what is. (10/30)

If you work hard you should have corollaries (10/30)

"P" is always a prime number. (11/2)

3 and 3 is 1, they don't make 6. Well, they do make 6, but it makes more sense if they make 1. (11/2)

When something is beautiful and elegant, it is of no help in actual computation. (11/2)

Beautiful but ineffective: I know some people like that. (11/2)

It's empty, but you've got to put in something, otherwise no one knows it's there. (11/4)

"F" isn't a function anymore. It's just the letter that comes after "e". (11/4)

Since you're goo guys and I'm not... (11/6)

Anybody not understand that? Too bad. (11/6)

Proof by example. (11/9)

Within 100 yards of here are the greatest Lie Algebraists in the world, when they're in their offices. (11/16)

I know you're all worried about drop date. I think I'll drop the course. (11/18)

If you don't do them at all [problem sets] you get a 0, and that's a low grade. (11/18)

$A_n$ is called the leading coefficient because it comes last. (11/18)

Some of you said 0, which is a reasonable answer, but not right. (11/18)

I'm certainly glad you filled out the evaluation forms on Wednesday. (11/20)

I didn't do it last time, but I stated that you could read it in your book, and that's the same thing. (11/20)

M must be prime, and as soon as I know it's prime I change its name to p. (11/25)

The purpose of a proof is to be convincing. (11/25)

These codes are not in use except by people who say everything 5 times. (11/30)

I've written more English on the board this hour than I have the rest of the term. That's what happens when you do applied mathematics. (11/30)

Proof by handwaving. (11/30)

You're only off by one order of magnitude in Z_2. (11/30)

What's a packing problem? It's a problem in packing. (12/2)

I talk in paradoxes, but they are not paradoxes. (12/2)

Aha! Your have Mattuck syndrome! You fall asleep at unpredictable moments. (12/2)

Ah hell. Oh, excuse me. (12/2)

So, so, so...what am I trying to say? (12/2)

It's the law of conservation of difficulty. (12/2)

I better help you with 6, otherwise you'll have to read the book...No I don't. (12/2)

Scene: Mattuck, having noticed someone sleeping in class, has walked up the aisle in 10-250 to where the student is sleeping and is addressing the student next to the sleeping one.

Mattuck: Wake him up.

Student: YOU put him to sleep. YOU wake him up.

[Mattuck walks silently to the front of 10-250] Today in 8.03 (2/8/88), two goodies:

"We have all seen egg become chicken; we have never seen chicken become egg."

"It is like when a friend throws a piece of chalk at you. The faster you run, the lower the probability [of it hitting you]."

"A finite plane is a very good approximation to an infinite plane."

Prof. Kleppner, Feb. 9 1988 "If epsilon is small, then seven epsilon is small too."

"My efforts to simplify it have led to complexifying it."

Last Thursday in recitation, talking about a killer problem set due Wednesday. (Note that we have no classes on Tuesday.)

``OK. I'll work on it, and you'll work on it, and we'll discuss it when it's too late.'' "To avoid writing this over again, I'll just erase it."

According to Prof. Toomre (3/2/88 in 18.086),

"Doing Gaussian elimination is like doing bowl movements, you don't want to do them in public."

"We get sF minus some garbage. A very important garbage, but garbage nonetheless."

"Don't copy this down, beacuse it's not right."

"I'll first show that it's not right, and then that it couldn't possibly exist."

"In mathematics, vertical lines don't exist."

"It looks like the hypothesis has nothing to do with the solution. That makes a good theorem."

"And we get the answer we're supposed to get. Even the units are right."

"You can't argue with me there. Well, you could, but it would be pointless, because this is the right answer."

"Where the pressure is a maximum, the displacement is zero. On the other hand, where the displacement is zero, the pressure is a maximum."

Talking about how they teach MBA's that all the graphs are straight lines: "This is what they teach the MBA's (and you wonder why it takes two years)"

Prof. Toomre in 18.086 "A rigid potato has three moments of inertia."

"it's not really weaker than the strong law of large numbers... it's flabbier"

"This is the era of Bill Clinton, so you can say it depends how you define 'polynomial'."

Set theory is ... the kind of muddy water where logicians like to swim.

"Zero separates the sheeps from the goats." - Authur Mattuck That's why I'm picking it out as a special lemma. Sort of a deep, *deep* triviality.

However, it's a very infinite set.

Then this sort of notational problem disappears at the cost of writing infinitely many zeroes.

You shouldn't trust me. Over 30. It's not a good idea.

I guess I'm safe if I don't tell you which side I put the $c$ on until later.

It might be a curve or a surface, depending on your mood.

I erased the theorem. It makes it easier to prove.

Well, let's just defer that. Maybe we'll defer that off to infinity.

I hate lambdas, actually. I only use them because they have tenure.

But of course that takes some thinking. So let's omit proving that.

Steve Strogatz, who was a math prof here until two years ago, wrote a book he used for 18.385 that had several pages of commentary and exercises about modelling love affairs as systems of coupled differential equations; as he said, "This lends a whole new meaning to the phrase ``many-body problem''."

(paraphrased from memory, but it's pretty close) "Your homework is extremely trashy but usually not incorrect."

So, tan theta is... *thinks* Well, let's just say theta is whatever it is.

"At certain critical values of b, something terrible is going to happen."

"On the pendulum we have a fulcrum, and at the other end a pum blob...."

"Electromagnetism ceased to be a mysterious, occult branch of physics that wasn't connected to anything else."

"These are Maxwell's equations, and you can find them on any MIT t-shirt."

"We do what mathematicians always do: we assume all physical constants are equal to 1. Well, except maybe the square root of 2 pi, but I usually assume the square root of 2 pi is equal to 1, too."

Also, at some point he wrote on the board an equation which in LaTeX would look like:

TX \hookrightarrow NY

I interpreted this as "Texas is a submanifold of New York."

In any event, it's a standard Mattuck (yes, this is the proper spelling) line. It appears several times in this meeting in older transactions. Many good professors practice their lectures frequently; Walter Lewin, for example, has his jokes in the script for each lecture, listed next to the time at which they should be told.

Er, I think he probably said "Each has its own private nasty place."

"Let's take a tube of toilet paper without the ends -- often called a cylinder."

"Gauss's Theorem Egregium: the book gives you one of the ugliest formulas imaginable for this. Egregium -- it's a Latin word. Say it -- it's fun! Egregium."

(Trying to derive as much as he could without any actual calculation:) "Of course, at some point we have to know SOMETHING."

(while working with homomorphism) To prove $\phi(1_G)$ = $1_G$, you write 1 X 1 = 1 and apply $\phi$ to both sides. (general laughter) It's hard because it's so stupid.

"There is no motivation for doing what we're going to do." -before giving some twisted derivation

"If you don't make the boundary x=0, it won't hurt the answer - it will just hurt you." -on the usefulness of placing coordinate systems to simplify calculations

"For reasons that aren't apparent at all." -again, in the midst of the twisted derivation "It's like learning a new language. You know, French isn't any harder than English. Of course, if you don't know French, it *is* harder."

"Riemann wrote this in an eight-page paper around 100 years ago, and mathematicians have been trying to understand it ever since. Of course, it _was_ written in German..."

Written on the blackboard:

  book |

   me  |  <--- recommend

        X       1                      1
     C e  - Y - - - ----------------------------------------
                Y      2 X       1              1
                    C e    - Y - - - -----------------------
                                 Y      3 X       1     1
                                     C e    - Y - - - ------
                                                  Y    . . .

                                         (N + 1) X
                       N               - ---------
               ====  /===\                   2
               \      ! !             e
                >     ! !  --------------------------------
               /      ! !        - K X      - K X        X
               ====  K = 1 (1 - e     ) Y (e      Y - C e )
      =    ---------------------------------------------------- .
                                              (N + 1) X
                              N             - ---------
                      ====  /===\                 2
               X      \      ! !           e
           (C e  - Y)  >     ! !  -----------------------------
                      /      ! !        - K X      - K X
                      ====  K = 1 (1 - e     ) Y (e      Y - C)

Notice the nonobvious insensitivity of the rhs to reciprocating Y." Referring to the method of computing the average value of a function over a closed interval by integration...

"This is one of those things which you probably already understand but won't after I'm finished explaining it." After scribbling all over one board, and mumbling a few disjointed, incoherent, sentences: "That was a proof, by the way."

(After a half-hour discussion on various Fourier topics) "This is really outside the scope of the course. I present this for your amusement." Amusement, confusement, yeah I guess they sound similar.

"We'll call this one mu. Do you all know what mu is? If nothing, higher education gives you a deeper understanding of greek"

Looking at a graph of random samples: ``That's not named after anybody because it would take too much to describe.''

``The sum of the heights of eight Canadians is close enough to infinity...''

(L. Trefethen talking about patterns in Simpson's Rule) one four two four two four one...does MIT have a football cheer with Simpson's Rule in it?...

"So far, I have prefaced every lecture by saying that this one is trivial. You may be asking yourself, `is every lecture trivial?' Fortunately, or unfortunately, no."

``This is bad stuff---you could lose a girlfriend or boyfriend or get into a car accident because of it. Just don't do it.''

``These are dependant as sin.''


"The obscurity is in the first step. If you knew the first step you could get the rest. It's better if the obscurity comes at the end, because then you at least feel you've understood some of it."

"This should be impossible to calculate, but in fact it is trivial to calculate."


"Only a mad person would use L'Hopital's on something that looks like this."

"Chaos has a mathematical definition, but it's not an ellipse."

While discussing multivariable max/min problems: "It's obvious that there's a's obvious to me, anyway, and I'm giving the lecture."


"The old hyperbola trail..."


"Oh my god, it's working!"

"And that, dear hearts, is the chain rule."

"All I've done is shrink it from its former greatness."

"My path lies in space."


"This is the point in the lecture where you'll have to think for a millisecond."

"This is the only time during a lecture that I am going to show off."

"I would like to summarize a hundred years of statistics in the next ten minutes. It shouldn't be too hard."


"I don't want you to do things intuitively. That's illegal."

That's a wrap for now. Hope these weren't too silly.

Computer Science

"Oh, you have a point.... No, you don't have a point."

"I'm not writing code, I'm trying to write ideas!"

``How many of you took 6.002 last term?'' (most of class raises a hand) ``Oh, that's unfortunate. We'll make allowances for things you don't know.''

"There are many ways to make a process go away. {Points to exit() on the overhead slide} Suicide is an common option. In fact, it's socially acceptable. On the other hand, {points to "kill (pid)" on the overhead} murder is also common. Some operating systems have semantics where you can kill your children, but you can't kill others'."

Prof. Gifford writes on the board (during a discussion of Prolog): married(X,Y) <- married(Y,Z) Shortly afterward, he notices his error, and covers it by explaining: "This is the Utah version of the program."

[Sorry, it's probably not funny unless you know a little Prolog. - John]

``You can address each point separately byte by byte, er, bit by bit, by bytes...''

"logic programming: reducing programming to a previously unsolved problem."

"3 might be very large."

"Some other key words we need to understand are: truth,..."

"I misunderstood your question, but it was a good one."

"If not a biggest element, then certainly an element than which no other element is bigger." (clearly spoken by a computer science professor...) ``In digital systems you have to take into account things that _almost_ work. And when I say `almost work' I mean it doesn't really work.''

``In my business, I see a lot of perpetual motion machines.''

``That's in the Forbidden Zone---where you don't go.''

"The problem with professors is that they don't understand what the real world is"

"I'm here (pause) clearly not for the money."

But we don't do it that way, because monkeys are expensive.

I call it the least-screwing principle. If you know you're going to get screwed, there's no need to calculate how badly or how many ways you're going to get screwed. It's enough to know you're going to get screwed.

You like garbage collection, don't you? It gives you that warm fuzzy feeling not having to worry about what you're freeing at night?

This would be visible if it were visible, but it's not.

"So a girl is like a system failure." (we were calculating the number of expected childern a couple would have before they had a girl and were relating it to calculating a MTF)

"Reengineering is like stop and copy garbage collection. First you put the CEO's friends into the registers, then you copy over all their friends and their friends' friends. Then you delete everyone who's left."

Zero is a point, yes? Well, 0- is the point right next to it. *pause* In the math department, they'd shoot me for saying that.

Too much pipelineing is bad for the soul.

"Stack pointer equals base pointer; your sins are forgiven." ...but we're not going to go into that. *turns page* Oh, wait, we are going to go into that. I'd forgotten about that.

"There is a point I want to make." *pause* "That was my point."

"Models have limitations; stupidity does not."

"I'm going to give you a triple integrator tomorrow and you will solve it by hand and see that it is not much fun."

(Looking at a stack of problem sets being returned -- each pset about 50 pages long, I'm not kidding)

"I'm glad I'm not taking this class... it looks like a lot of work!"

"A linear cat is a cat that when you tug on this ear it says "meow," and when you tug on the other ear it says "meow," and when you tug on both ears it says it twice as loud. [...] There are no linear cats."

No matter what you give to R31, you get zero back out. Some people describe their relationships this way.

"This must be a profound result: it rhymes forwards and backwards... and in Spanish, too."

But bacteria have to reflect the static discipline.

"That's the end of the pretty fonts. But now we have more colors. We'll see if it evens out."

"You may have noticed that I ran out of letters a while ago."

"No hardcore math people here...?" "then I can get away with this."

"It is irrelevant, but it requires thinking about." All of your hard work sometimes gets reduced to a good figure.

Information is information because it informs.

This is exactly the same thing, except that I have exponentially many ways to say "mamma mia."

5) Adam, my love life sucks. How can I improve it? Become a cryptographer. Nothing picks up like "hey baby, wanna see my new encryption scheme?" :)

"It's not great because you decided it..."

"It's a ten line procedure. Who worries about future mod.'s? You're just going to rewrite it."

Me: "It takes a long time to do it that way!" TA: "That's the whole point of this course."

"As you'll recall from 6.012..."(Talking in 6.012 class)

"Don't worry, I can't pass the exams either."

"I'm not trying to say anything interesting."

"I can't parse your question."

"If that confuses you, let me change it."

"I made something simple more complicated. Sometimes that's a useful thing."

"It's a special case of partial that's always defined. Those are called total."

"Maybe that's not incest. It's probably... masterbation."

``We have enough Au Bon Pains and Croissant du Jours here. I want to go to Paris and open a cafe called `Hello Toast'.''

this one is, um, "borrowed" from Bill Cattey, I believe ...

"This is a relatively useless device: it has no inputs and it doesn't do anything."

"It just sits there and does something pathologically non-digital."

``Of course, the answer is _right_! (Which is what most upset the mathematicians...)'' ``Of course, the word `frequency' we've borrowed from the English language.'' ``Do you realize what a ridiculous thing I've just done?''

``And I'll set \hbar equal to 1, for which I apologize.''

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