Archive for the ‘wise words’ Category


Irrational Nonsense

In bits and pieces,wise words on July 17, 2010 by Gabor Tagged: ,

This Periodic Table by Crispian Jago is brilliant.

See the full thing here:



73 – Sunday 14 March 2010 : speed of light

In wise words on March 15, 2010 by Gabor Tagged: ,

Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.

tweet by @BeverlyRego

Using google I can see this quotation all over the internet, but I cannot find to whom it should be attributed.

EDIT 17/3/10: according to Richard’s QI Book of General Ignorance, we have to thank Steven Wright for this. He’s an American comedian.


14 – Thursday 14 January 2010 : paying it forward

In musings,wise words on January 14, 2010 by Gabor Tagged: ,

I did someone a favour yesterday. This person was a total stranger. My act of kindness cost me very little, but was quite important to him.

We got to talking about this kind of thing. I had always thought of it in terms of “what goes around, comes around”. I suppose I mean that if I do someone a favour then sooner or later someone else, and probably not the same person, will do something that helps me or a member of my family. Tony – for let us give this stranger a name – said that the Americans would call this “paying it forward”. I got to thinking about this, and quite liked the concept.

Indeed, it should probably come as no surprise that there is a website for paying it forward and a fairly well defined philosophy to it. Reading more, it seems that there is almost a more formal, almost legal, approach. If I lend you some money, I expect you to pay it back. However, the idea of paying it forward (rather than back) appears to go back to Benjamin Franklin in 1784. As I understand it, when asked by Benjamin Webb for a loan, the future American president did not give the money on terms that it was to be repaid to him, but said this:

“I do not pretend to give such a Sum; I only lend it to you. When you […] meet with another honest Man in similar Distress, you must pay me by lending this Sum to him; enjoining him to discharge the Debt by a like operation, when he shall be able, and shall meet with another opportunity. I hope it may thus go thro’ many hands, before it meets with a Knave that will stop its Progress. This is a trick of mine for doing a deal of good with a little money.”

I  think this is a wonderful idea.  not only shall I try to do an act of kindness whenever I can, but when I do so I shall try to enjoin the beneficiary to pay it forward.

Link: Pay It Forward Foundation


4 – Monday 4 January 2010 : Garrison Keillor

In Listening,wise words on January 4, 2010 by Gabor Tagged:

“The power of face-to-face communication with people you’ve known all of your life is as strong as it ever was; and the winds of Twitter let them blow, and Facebook and Myspace and all; and do what you will and say what you wish to people you will never ever meet; but when it comes right down to it, the people you can count on are the people all around you, so find out who they are and you learn about yourself.”

Driving into work this morning I listened to the podcast of BBC Radio 4’s Excess Baggage programme of Saturday 2 January, in which Sandi Toksvig was in conversation with Garrison Keillor.  A very interesting and indeed charming man, one might say a Midwestern gentleman.  The words that I have quoted caught my ear, and I listened again at lunchtime to make sure that I could report them accurately.

I earnestly recommend you to listen to that broadcast if you can.  It does not seem to be available on BBC iplayer.