Everything I Ever Need To Know I Learned From Cryptonomicon – Neil Stephenson (Part 1 of 2)

(I just finished this book this week, at it is quite funny, insightful and offensive. And by the way, I didn’t start keeping track of good quotes until half way through it and I still got enough Notables to make this a 2 parter.)

War gives men good ignoring skills. *** Gold and silver don’t implode. *** Pretenses are shabby things that, like papier mache houses, must be energetically maintained or they will dissolve. *** Think what you will about religious people, they always have something to say at times like this. What would an atheist say? Yes, the organisms inhabiting that submarine must have lost their higher neural functions over a prolonged period of time and eventually turned into pieces of rotten meat. So what? *** The United States military is first and foremost and unfathomable network of typist and file clerks, secondarily a stupendous mechanism for moving stuff from one part of the world to another and last and least a fighting organization. *** Mapless in the jungles of New Guinea during a war is bad, bad, bad. *** A lot of stuff gets wasted in a war. *** This is how the trip to Hell works: no leisurely boat ride across the scenic Styx, no gradual descent into that trite tourist trap, Pluto’s Cavern, no stops along the way to buy fishing licenses for the Lake of Fire. *** Morphine takes away the body’s ability to experience pleasure. *** This is why laptops were invented, so that important business persons would not fritter away long flights relaxing. *** It is exciting to discover electrons and figure out the equations that govern their movements; it is boring to use those principles to design electric can openers. *** Since most hackers are white males, their companies are disaster areas when it comes to diversity and it follows that all of the diversity must be concentrated on the two employees who are not hackers. *** Ask a Soviet engineer to design a pair of shoes and he’ll come up with something that looks like the boxes that the shoes came in; ask him to make something that will massacre Germans and he turns into Thomas <censured> Edison. *** You can be the smartest guy in the world, but when a woman comes into the picture you’re just like any other sap. *** There was no room for dust devils in the laws of physics. *** Christians are notorious for the way they dote on defective persons. *** Your younger nerd takes offense quickly when someone near him begins to utter declarative sentences, because he reads into it an assertion that he, the nerd, does not already know the information being imparted. But your older nerd has more self-confidence, and besides, understands that frequently people need to think out loud. And highly advanced nerds will furthermore understand that uttering declarative sentences whose contents are already known to all present is part of the social process of making conversations and therefore should not be construed as aggression under any circumstances. *** Sometimes wanting is better than having. *** It only takes a single generation to revert to Savagery. *** The fact that the scientific investigator works 50 percent of his time by nonrational means is, it seems, quite insufficiently recognized. *** Intuition, likes a flash of lighting, lasts only for a second. *** As to luck, there is the old miner’s proverb: Gold is where you find it. *** Anticipation never killed anyone. *** Nobody likes a whiner.

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