DAVE'S PAGE

ďIf you ask naÔve but relevant questions, then almost immediately the person doesnít know the answer, if he is an honest man. It is important to appreciate that. And I think that I can illustrate one unscientific aspect of the world which would be probably very much better if it were more scientific. It has to do with politics. Suppose two politicians are running for president, and one goes through the farm section and is asked, `What are you going to do about the farm question?' And he knows right away Ė bang, bang, bang. Now he goes to the next campaigner who comes through. `What are you going to do about the farm problem?' `Well, I donít know. I used to be a general, and I donít know anything about farming. But it seems to me to be a very difficult problem, because for twelve, fifteen, twenty years people have been struggling with it, and people say they know how to solve the farm problem. And it must be a hard problem. So the way I intend to solve the farm problem is to...'

Now such a man would never get anywhere in this country, I think. Itís never been tried, anyway. This is in the attitude of mind of the populace, that they have to have an answer and that a man who gives an answer is better than a man who gives no answer, when the real fact of the matter is, in most cases, it is the other way around. And the result of this of course is that the politician must give an answer. And the result of this is that political promises can never be kept. It is a mechanical fact; it is impossible. The result of that is that nobody believes campaign promises. ...Itís all generated, maybe, by the fact that the attitude of the populace is to try to find the answer instead of finding a man who has a way of getting at the answer."

--Richard Feynman, 1963; as quoted in The Meaning of it All


"You know there are about a hundred billion stars in a galaxy - ten to the eleventh power. That used to be considered a huge number. We used to call numbers like that 'astronomical numbers.' Today it's less than the national debt. We ought to call them 'economical numbers.'" --Richard Feynman, 1987, as quoted in Feynman's Lost Lecture



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