Posts tagged ‘Quote’

October 19, 2022

Let’s Go Brandon

Brandon Brown

Let’s Go Brandon is a political slogan and Internet meme, used as a substitute for the phrase ‘Fuck Joe Biden’ in reference to Joe Biden, the 46th president of the United States.

Chants of ‘Fuck Joe Biden’ began during sporting events in early September 2021. On October 2, 2021, during a televised interview of the Sparks 300 race winner Brandon Brown at Talladega Superspeedway, NBC Sports reporter Kelli Stavast incorrectly described the chant in the background as ‘Let’s Go Brandon,’ which sparked the meme. The slogan has become well known through use by Republican politicians and critics of Biden. The phrase quickly spread to popular culture.

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November 1, 2021

Kids These Days

Socrates

Kids these days‘ is the belief that the present generation of young people is inferior or deficient compared to previous generations.

Such beliefs have been reported since 624 BCE. Ancient philosopher Socrates complained, ‘The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise.’

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December 8, 2020

All Models Are Wrong

Ideal gas law

All models are wrong‘ is a common aphorism in statistics; it is often expanded as ‘All models are wrong, but some are useful.’ It is usually considered to be applicable to not only statistical models, but to scientific models generally. The aphorism recognizes that statistical or scientific models always fall short of the complexities of reality but can still be of use.

The aphorism is generally attributed to the statistician George Box, although the underlying concept predates Box’s writings. He offered the ‘ideal gas law’ as an example: ‘PV = RT relating pressure P, volume V and temperature T of an ‘ideal’ gas via a constant R is not exactly true for any real gas, but it frequently provides a useful approximation and furthermore its structure is informative since it springs from a physical view of the behavior of gas molecules.’

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April 9, 2020

Lies, Damned lies, and Statistics

How to Lie with Statistics

Lies, damned lies, and statistics‘ is a phrase describing the persuasive power of numbers, particularly the use of statistics to bolster weak arguments. It is also used colloquially to doubt statistics cited to prove an opponent’s point.

The phrase derives from the full sentence, ‘There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.’ It was popularized by Mark Twain and others, who mistakenly attributed it to the British prime minister Benjamin Disraeli. The true originator is uncertain, but it has, at times, been attributed to an anonymous writer in mid-1891 and later that year to English politician Sir Charles Dilke.

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December 16, 2019

OK Boomer

OK Boomer

OK Boomer is a catchphrase and internet meme that gained popularity among younger cohorts throughout 2019, used to dismiss or mock attitudes stereotypically attributed to the baby boomer generation. The phrase first drew widespread attention in a 2019 TikTok video in response to an older man, though the phrase was coined years before that. It is considered by some to be ageist.

The phrase is a pejorative retort used to dismiss or mock perceived narrow-minded, outdated, negatively-judgemental, or condescending attitudes of older people, particularly baby boomers. The term has been used as a retort for perceived resistance to technological change, climate change denial, marginalization of minorities or opposition to younger generations’ ideals.

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October 8, 2019

Hoist With His Own Petard

Petard

‘Hoist with his own petard’ is a phrase from a speech in William Shakespeare’s play ‘Hamlet’ that has become proverbial.

The phrase’s meaning is literally that the bomb-maker (a “petard” is a small explosive device) is blown up (‘hoisted’ off the ground) by his own bomb, and indicates an ironic reversal, or poetic justice.

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November 16, 2016

May You Live In Interesting Times

interesting times

crisis

‘May you live in interesting times’ is an English expression purported to be a translation of a traditional Chinese curse. While seemingly a blessing, the expression is always used ironically, with the clear implication that ‘uninteresting times,’ of peace and tranquillity, are more life-enhancing than interesting ones, which from historical perspective usually include disorder and conflict.

Despite being so common in English as to be known as ‘the Chinese curse,’ the saying is apocryphal, and no actual Chinese source has ever been produced. The nearest related Chinese expression is usually translated as ‘Better to be a dog in a peaceful time, than to be a human in a chaotic (warring) period.’ The expression originates from a 1627 short story collection, ‘Stories to Awaken the World.’

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November 11, 2016

Don’t Mourn, Organize!

joe hill

Don’t mourn, organize!‘ is an expression often incorrectly supposed to be the last words spoken by labor activist and songwriter Joe Hill, who was charged with murder and executed in Utah in 1915. In truth, the expression is part of a telegram sent to Bill Haywood, the founding member and leader of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), in which Joe wrote, ‘Goodbye, Bill, I die like a true blue rebel. Don’t waste any time mourning. Organize!’ It wasn’t Joe’s last telegram; he sent another in which he implored Haywood, ‘Could you arrange to have my body hauled to the state line to be buried? I don’t want to be found dead in Utah.’

Since the death of Hill, the phrase has been used in association with other labor leaders’ deaths. The phrase has also been used in conjunction with a severe defeat and not the death of an individual.

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October 23, 2014

There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch

tanstaafl

‘There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch’ (TANSTAAFL) is a popular adage communicating the idea that it is impossible to get something for nothing. The phrase dates to the 1930s and 1940s, but its first appearance is unknown. The ‘free lunch’ in the saying refers to the nineteenth-century practice in American bars of offering a ‘free lunch’ in order to entice drinking customers.

The phrase and the acronym are central to Robert Heinlein’s 1966 science-fiction novel ‘The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress,’ about the revolt of a lunar colony and the installation of a libertarian regime. Free-market economist Milton Friedman used it as the title of a 1975 book, and it is often mentioned in economics literature to describe opportunity cost (the value of the next best thing you give up whenever you make a decision). Macroeconomist Campbell McConnell writes that the idea is ‘at the core of economics.’

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September 11, 2013

The empire on which the sun never sets

british empire

The phrase “the empire on which the sun never sets” has been used with variations to describe certain global empires that were so extensive that there was always at least one part of their territory in daylight.

It was originally used for the Spanish Empire in the 16th and 17th centuries, and for the British Empire in the 19th and early 20th centuries. German historian of language Georg Büchmann traces the idea to a speech in Herodotus’ Histories, made by Xerxes I of Persia before invading Greece.

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August 20, 2013

The dose makes the poison

The dose makes the poison, a principle of toxicology, was first expressed by German-Swiss Renaissance physician Paracelsus. It means that a substance can produce the harmful effect associated with its toxic properties only if it reaches a susceptible biological system within the body in a high enough concentration (dose).

The principle relies on the finding that all chemicals—even water and oxygen—can be toxic if too much is eaten, drunk, or absorbed. ‘The toxicity of any particular chemical depends on many factors, including the extent to which it enters an individual’s body.’ This finding provides also the basis for public health standards, which specify maximum acceptable concentrations of various contaminants in food, public drinking water, and the environment.

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August 17, 2013

Just watch me

Pierre Trudeau

Just watch me‘ is a phrase made famous by Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau on October 13, 1970, during the October Crisis (two kidnappings of government officials by Québécois separatists). The term is still regularly used in Canadian political discussion. Trudeau, who had in previous years been a strong proponent of civil liberties, spoke of the need for drastic action to restore order in Quebec.

When questioned by CBC reporter Tim Ralfe on how far he would go in the suspension of civil liberties to maintain order, Trudeau replied ‘Well, just watch me.’ Three days later he invoked the ‘War Measures Act,’ which led to police action against many Quebec dissidents and great public controversy.