Computers Make Very Fast, Very Accurate Mistakes

Roy Zuvers? Stephen Tonnison? Paul Parkhurst? Anonymous?

Dear Quote Investigator: Computers are known for performing blazingly fast calculations with excruciating precision. Computers are also known for inescapable bugs. A humorous statement combines these attributes:

Computers make very fast, very accurate mistakes.

Would you please explore the provenance of this remark?

Quote Investigator: The earliest match located by QI appeared in a message posted on July 12, 1991 by Roy Zuvers to the newsgroup misc.handicap of the Usenet distributed message system. Zuvers was posting from Fidonet, a network of computer bulletin board systems. The quip used the singular “Computer” instead of “Computers”. The statement occurred in a signature line, and no attribution was provided. Boldface added to excerpts by QI:[1] 1991 July 12, Usenet discussion message, Newsgroup: misc.handicap, From: Roy Zuvers, Subject: nfb and nls. (Google Groups Search; Accessed December 31, 2021) link

* DeLuxe 1.1 #6289 Computer Make Very Fast, Very Accurate Mistake

Currently, the originator of the expression remains anonymous. Perhaps future researchers will discover earlier citations.

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading Computers Make Very Fast, Very Accurate Mistakes

References

References
1 1991 July 12, Usenet discussion message, Newsgroup: misc.handicap, From: Roy Zuvers, Subject: nfb and nls. (Google Groups Search; Accessed December 31, 2021) link

Bicycle Riding, If Persisted In, Leads To Weakness of Mind, General Lunacy, and Homicidal Mania

The New York Times? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: A major U.S. newspaper supposedly published an article that claims riding a bicycle inevitably leads to general lunacy and homicidal mania. This assertion sounds satirical. Does this article actually exist?

Quote Investigator: On August 12, 1894 “The New York Times” published an article titled “Lunacy in England” about bicycle riders. The piece was filled with comical exaggerations, and QI believes that it was intended to be humorous. Boldface added to excerpts by QI:[1] 1894 August 12, New York Times, Lunacy in England, Quote Page 4, Column 4 and 5, New York. (ProQuest)

Still, there is not the slightest doubt that bicycle riding, if persisted in, leads to weakness of mind, general lunacy, and homicidal mania. In the opinion of one of the ablest and most experienced of British lunatics, the habit of watching the revolution of the forward wheel develops in the mind of the bicycle rider a tendency to reason in a circle.

Below are additional excerpts and a conclusion.

Continue reading Bicycle Riding, If Persisted In, Leads To Weakness of Mind, General Lunacy, and Homicidal Mania

References

References
1 1894 August 12, New York Times, Lunacy in England, Quote Page 4, Column 4 and 5, New York. (ProQuest)

In God We Trust; All Others Cash

Pennsylvanian Merchant? New York Merchant? Portland Merchant?

Dear Quote Investigator: Today credit cards are commonplace in the U.S., but in the past many shopkeepers hesitated to extend credit to customers. Occasionally, reluctant businesses displayed a humorous sign:

In God We Trust. All Others Pay Cash

The phrase “In God We Trust” has a long history. Its prominence grew when it appeared on the two-cent piece in 1864. The sign twisted this well-known expression. Would you please examine the history of this saying?

Quote Investigator: The earliest close match located by QI appeared in “The Philadelphia Inquirer” of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on April 4, 1877:[1] 1877 April 4, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Gleanings by Late Mails, Quote Page 7, Column 1, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Newspapers_com)

Dull Times have driven many merchants to the cash system, and they are now ornamenting their stores with mottoes such as: “Pay to-day, trust to-morrow;” “If I trust, I bust;” “In God we trust; all others cash.”

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading In God We Trust; All Others Cash

References

References
1 1877 April 4, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Gleanings by Late Mails, Quote Page 7, Column 1, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Newspapers_com)