Steve Jobs in the Stanford commencement address 2005:

I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.



RelaxEU proposal submitted today, acceptance rate last year was 7%… so something for relaxing is required;-) As everybody relaxes differently, you have the choice of looking at the photograph or watching the video Bad project (disclaimer: a parody – thanks to Thiemo for the link).

For unrelated reading, but following up some other notes on publishing and peer review (see overview of posts here), an insightful post by Cameron Neylon: What is it with researchers and peer review? or; Why misquoting Churchill does not an argument make. If you are researcher, peer review is (and will remain) important. Therefore, staying up to date is not only interesting (e.g., you get to see the real Churchill quote;) but also useful to see its pros and cons more clearly. Interesting may be this Nature Materials editorial on Transparency in peer review (free with registration). Out of curiosity I just checked: I reviewed 21 papers in 2010, so a couple more than I (or a coauthor) actually submitted, but a lot less than I was asked to review…

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“Notable Quotables”

Via Scott Berkun, a nice 2007 article by Louis Menand in the New Yorker:

Sherlock Holmes never said “Elementary, my dear Watson.” Sea LionNeither Ingrid Bergman nor anyone else in “Casablanca” says “Play it again, Sam”; Leo Durocher did not say “Nice guys finish last”; Vince Lombardi did say “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing” quite often, but he got the line from someone else. Patrick Henry almost certainly did not say “Give me liberty, or give me death!”; William Tecumseh Sherman never wrote the words “War is hell”; and there is no evidence that Horace Greeley said “Go west, young man.” Marie Antoinette did not say “Let them eat cake”; Hermann Göring did not say “When I hear the word ‘culture,’ I reach for my gun”; and Muhammad Ali did not say “No Vietcong ever called me nigger.”

In order to have one that was said – Daniel Patrick Moynihan:

Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.

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Several people speaking

Adding to my selection of sayings (previously here, here and here;-) Not always very deep, but mostly quite nice.

Stanford University
Jack London:

You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.

William Gibson:

The future is here. It’s just not evenly distributed.

Niels Bohr:

I try never to write more clearly than I am able to think.

John von Neumann:

There is no sense in being precise when you don’t even know what you are talking about.

Henry Ford:

If I’d listened to customers, I’d have given them a faster horse.

Peter Drucker:

What everybody knows is frequently wrong.

Do not believe that it is very much of an advance to do the unnecessary three times as fast.

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Karl Popper Speaking

From Wikiquote, after reading Scott Berkun. Not funny (as some of these), but thoughful (who’d have expected that? ;-)

Whenever a theory appears to you as the only possible one, take this as a sign that you have neither understood the theory nor the problem which it was intended to solve.

If we are uncritical we shall always find what we want: we shall look for, and find, confirmations, and we shall look away from, and not see, whatever might be dangerous to our pet theories.

Science may be described as the art of systematic over-simplification — the art of discerning what we may with advantage omit.

In his book Making Things Happen, the above-mentioned Scott Berkun summarizes Karl Popper as saying that there are only two kinds of theories: those that are wrong and those that are incomplete.

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From Newton to Hawking

Via c’t: as One of Newton's Apples have grown oldthe British Royal Society turns 350, several historical works are available online for the first time. Not only physics, but also medicine etc… In the nice timeline, you find Newton’s theory of light and colour in the year 1672. It links to Phil. Trans. 1 January 1671 vol. 6 no. 69-80 3075-3087. Quite amazing!

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iPhone again

Via Ken Lee @ Macresearch: Modest plantif you are an avid user of \LaTeX and happy owner of the iPhone, there is a nice little iPhone program called LaTeX Help to look up often used mathematical symbols, the commands for including figures, etc. I know, it might be easier to look these up on the internet, but I like the idea;-)

Two other useful programs: a periodic table, The Chemical Touch: Lite Edition) and PhD Comics (very useful – and also available directly on the web ;-) Enjoy.

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Wolfgang Pauli speaking

I just have to share these quotes of Wolfgang Pauli:Tea time in Turkey

One shouldn’t work on semiconductors, that is a filthy mess; who knows if they really exist!

God created the solids, the devil their surfaces.

I don’t mind your thinking slowly; I mind your publishing faster than you think.

This isn’t right. It’s not even wrong.

Excellent… and certainly applicable to the fields of organic solar cells and disordered semiconductors ;-)

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Papers for iPhone… soon

The Mac using scientists amongst you are probably aware of the Red in Greenprogram Papers for organising your electronic library of articles. The developer, Alex Griekspoor (aka mek), has been working hard on the corresponding iPhone version lately; now, it has been submitted to the App Store and is expected soon. Update 19.2.2009: available now. Not cheap with 10 Euros 8 Euros (Update 27.2.2009: sorry, my mistake, was 10 Dollars. And actually, it is rather cheap, considering what other things I buy for 8 Euros;-), and the iPhone seems also a bit small for reading papers, but might nevertheless be a useful tool. Also, it includes a free online backup via Amazon S3 (!) and syncing to the coming Papers (for Mac) version 1.9.

Personally, I like the Mac version of Papers a lot: it is really an innovative program, although for me it has never been very stable (this, however, seems not to be a common problem according to the forums. Still, apologies to mek for never mentioning my instabilities to him ;-).

Update 27.2.2009 P.S. After I posted this, I wrote the Papers developer, mek, about my instability problem, and he answered within a few hours. It is a known issue having to do with Smart Lists. Now, my Papers version is responsive and stable!

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