Men get tired of everything, of heaven no less than of hell; and that all history is nothing but a record of the oscillations of the world between these two extremes. An epoch is but a swing of the pendulum; and each generation thinks the world is progressing because it is always moving.
George Bernard Shaw
There was not one cause for our internment, but many - a deep-seated racial prejudice working on top of fear, distrust, and greed. So how is one to say exactly where history begins or ends? It is all slow oscillations, curves, and waves which take so long to reveal themselves ... like watching a tree grow.
Deaths, births, and marriages, considering how much they are separately dependent on the freedom of the human will, should seem to be subject to no law according to which any calculation could be made beforehand of their amount; and yet the yearly registers of these events in great countries prove that they go on with as much conformity to the laws of nature as the oscillations of the weather.
The observations, so numerous and so important, of the pendulum as object are especially relevant to the length of its oscillations. Those that I propose to make known to the [Paris] Academy [of Sciences] are principally addressed to the direction of the plane of its oscillation, which, moving gradually from east to west, provides evidence to the senses of the diurnal movement of the terrestrial globe.
Sometimes, when I am tired of so many oscillations, I look for refuge in a word which I begin to love for itself. Resting in the heart of words, seeing clearly into the cell of a word, feeling that the word is the seed of a life, a growing dawn... The poet Vandercammen says all that in a line: "A word can be a dawn and even a sure shelter."
Mere numbers cannot bring out ... the intimate essence of the experiment. This conviction comes naturally when one watches a subject at work. ... What things can happen! What reflections, what remarks, what feelings, or, on the other hand, what blind automatism, what absence of ideas! ... The experimenter judges what may be going on in [the subject's] mind, and certainly feels difficulty in expressing all the oscillations of a thought in a simple, brutal number, which can have only a deceptive precision. How, in fact, could it sum up what would need several pages of description!
When young Galileo, then a student at Pisa, noticed one day during divine service a chandelier swinging backwards and forwards, and convinced himself, by counting his pulse, that the duration of the oscillations was independent of the arc through which it moved, who could know that this discovery would eventually put it in our power, by means of the pendulum, to attain an accuracy in the measurement of time till then deemed impossible, and would enable the storm-tossed seaman in the most distant oceans to determine in what degree of longitude he was sailing?
Hermann von Helmholtz
The hypothesis of molecular vortices is defined to be that which assumes - that each atom of matter consists of a nucleus or central point enveloped by an elastic atmosphere, which is retained in its position by attractive forces, and that the elasticity due to heat arises from the centrifugal force of those atmospheres revolving or oscillating about their nuclei or central points.According to this hypothesis, quantity of heat is the vis viva of the molecular revolutions or oscillations.
William John Macquorn Rankine
The laws of nature cannot be randomly reshuffled at the cusps [of an oscillating universe]. If the universe has already gone through many oscillations, many possible laws of gravity would have been so weak that, for any given initial expansion, the universe would not have held together. Once the universe stumbles upon such a gravitational law, it flies apart and has no further opportunity to experience another oscillation and another cusp and another set of laws of nature. Thus we can deduce from the fact that the universe exists either a finite age, or a severe restriction on the kinds of laws of nature permitted in each oscillation. If the laws of physics are not randomly reshuffled at the cusps, there must be a regularity, a set of rules, that determines which laws are permissible and which are not. Such a set of rules would comprise a new physics standing over the existing physics. Our language is impoverished; there seems to be no suitable name for such a new physics. Both 'paraphysics' and 'metaphysics' have been preempted by other rather different and, quite possibly, wholly irrelevant activities. Perhaps 'transphysics' would do.
But if it be true, as every prospect assures us, that the human race shall not again relapse into its ancient barbarity; if every thing ought to assure us against that pusillanimous and corrupt system which condemns man to eternal oscillations between truth and falsehood, liberty and servitude, we must, at the same time, perceive that the light of information is spread over a small part only of our globe; and the number of those who possess real instruction, seems to vanish in the comparison with the mass of men consigned over to ignorance and prejudice. We behold vast countries groaning under slavery, and presenting nations in one place, degraded by the vices of civilization, so corrupt as to impede the progress of man; and in others, still vegetating in the infancy of its early age. We perceive that the exertions of these last ages have done much for the progress of the human mind, but little for the perfection of the human species; much for the glory of man, somewhat for his liberty, but scarcely any thing yet for his happiness. In a few directions, our eyes are struck with a dazzling light; but thick darkness still covers an immense horison.
Nicolas de Condorcet
If you want to make money at some point, remember this, because this is one of the reasons startups win. Big companies want to decrease the standard deviation of design outcomes because they want to avoid disasters. But when you damp oscillations, you lose the high points as well as the low. This is not a problem for big companies, because they don't win by making great products. Big companies win by sucking less than other big companies.' - 'The place to fight design wars is in new markets, where no one has yet managed to establish any fortifications. That's where you can win big by taking the bold approach to design, and having the same people both design and implement the product. Microsoft themselves did this at the start. So did Apple. And Hewlett- Packard. I suspect almost every successful startup has.' - 'Great software, likewise, requires a fanatical devotion to beauty. If you look inside good software, you find that parts no one is ever supposed to see are beautiful too.' - 'The right way to collaborate, I think, is to divide projects into sharply defined modules, each with a definite owner, and with interfaces between them that are as carefully designed and, if possible, as articulated as programming languages. Like painting, most software is intended for a human audience. And so hackers, like painters, must have empathy to do really great work. You have to be able to see things from the user's point of view.' - 'It turns out that looking at things from other people's point of view is practically the secret of success.' - 'Part of what software has to do is explain itself. So to write good software you have to understand how little users understand. They're going to walk up to the software with no preparation, and it had better do what they guess it will, because they're not going to read the manual.