"This year I resolve to lose weight... to be nicer to dogs... and to sprout wings and fly."
         -- Garfield

"People understand instinctively that the best way for computer programs to communicate with each other is for each of them to be strict in what they emit, and liberal in what they accept. The odd thing is that people themselves are not willing to be strict in how they speak and liberal in how they listen. You'd think that would also be obvious."
        -- Larry Wall

"One never needs enemies, but they are so much fun to acquire."
        -- Eluki bes Shahar, Archangel Blues

"I'm accusing you of violating the laws of nature!"
"Nature's virtue is intact.  I just know some different laws."
        -- Orson Scott Card, A Planet Called Treason

"The goal of most religions is to preserve and elaborate on that concept of the stars as a big painted backdrop.  They make Infinity a 'prop' so you don't have to think about the scary part."
        -- The Book of the SubGenius

<silverpower> Is humanity even worth saving?
<starglider> As opposed to what?
<silverpower> ...hmm.
        -- #sl4

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Complex System Rules of Thumb

  • Everything is connected to everything else.
  • You can never do just one thing.
  • There is no "away."
  • There ain't no such thing as a free lunch.
  • Nature knows best.
  • If ain't what you don't know that hurts you; it's what you DO know that ain't so.
  • "Obvious solutions" do more harm than good.
  • Look for high leverage points.
  • Nothing grows forever.
  • Don't fight positive feedback; support negative feedback instead.
  • Don't try to control the players, just change the rules.
  • Don't make rules that can't be enforced.
  • There are no simple solutions.
  • Good intentions are not enough.
  • High morality depends on accurate prophecy.
  • If you can't make people self-sufficient, your aid does more harm than good.
  • There are no final answers.
  • Every solution creates new problems.
  • Loose systems are often better.
  • Don't be fooled by system cycles.
  • Remember the Golden Mean.
  • Beware the empty compromise.
  • Don't be a boiled frog.
  • Watch our for thresholds.
  • Competition is often cooperation in disguise.
  • Bad boundaries make bad governments.
  • Beware the Tragedy of the Commons.
  • Foresight always wins in the long run.

Nancy Lebovitz, those are great. I may have to appropriate some of those.