"An implicit and almost universal assumption….is that the (environmental) problem … has a technical solution. A technical solution may be defined as one that requires a change only in the techniques of the natural sciences, demanding little or nothing in the way of change in human values."
‘The Tragedy of the Commons’, Science (Dec 1968)
"All this adds up to is a philosophy which can be succinctly expressed as 'love the assets, not sweat the assets' and 'just in case, not just in time".
... on Japanese railway practice.
"The problem with assumptions is that we always assume they are right."
"Standardisation is the parent of stagnation". Dark Age Ahead, 2004, p119
"Alas nothing is more subject to losing value by going out-of-date than something that is valued solely for being up-to-date."
James Howard Kunzstler
"A system without feedback is stupid. You keep making the same old mistakes rather than interesting new ones."
"A management technique is something which can be used instead of a brain."
"A constrained world cannot afford the rich."
"People often overestimate the impact of change in the short term, but they also underestimate it in the long term"
“In our business, the 'truth' is mostly unknowable and takes many forms. In any case, it is less important than practical utility."
"Work comes in two varieties: the first involves altering the position of matter relative to the earth’s surface; the second is telling other people to do so. The first is agreeable and well-paid; the second is not.” Paraphrase of Bertrand Russell's original in context of piece on human sweating.
"If the choice is between cooking alive and wasting money unnecessarily I would rather waste some money, because long before we cook we are going to kill each other if we don't deal with climate change."
"We can only discuss quality when we are sure of purpose. "
"The worst linguistic poseurs are those who use the word 'feedback'. It is the number one pretentious word. "
"Theory is when you know what should happen, but you can't get it to work. Practice is when things more or less work, but nobody knows why. Combining theory and practice is when nothing works and nobody knows why. "
" Do you want a new building, a DNA sequencer, or a salaried post?"
... of Beaston Institute for Cancer, Glasgow