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Home > Category Index for Science Quotations > Category Index G > Category: Gasoline

Gasoline Quotes (4 quotes)

Imagine a room awash in gasoline, and there are two implacable enemies in that room. One of them has nine thousand matches. The other has seven thousand matches. Each of them is concerned about who's ahead, who's stronger. Well that's the kind of situation we are actually in. The amount of weapons that are available to the United States and the Soviet Union are so bloated, so grossly in excess of what's needed to dissuade the other, that if it weren't so tragic, it would be laughable. What is necessary is to reduce the matches and to clean up the gasoline.
From Sagan's analogy about the nuclear arms race and the need for disarmament, during a panel discussion in ABC News Viewpoint following the TV movie The Day After (20 Nov 1983). Transcribed by Webmaster from a video recording. It is seen misquoted in summary form as “The nuclear arms race is like two sworn enemies standing waist deep in gasoline, one with three matches, the other with five.”
Science quotes on:  |  Ahead (14)  |  Arms Race (2)  |  Atomic Bomb (101)  |  Clean Up (3)  |  Concern (76)  |  Enemy (52)  |  Excess (8)  |  Implacable (2)  |  Match (13)  |  Necessity (125)  |  Need (211)  |  Nuclear (24)  |  Reduce (32)  |  Soviet Union (3)  |  Stronger (4)  |  Thousand (106)  |  Tragedy (19)  |  United States (31)  |  Weapon (57)

Incandescent carbon particles, by the tens of millions, leap free of the log and wave like banners, as flame. Several hundred significantly different chemical reactions are now going on. For example, a carbon atom and four hydrogen atoms, coming out of the breaking cellulose, may lock together and form methane, natural gas. The methane, burning (combining with oxygen), turns into carbon dioxide and water, which also go up the flue. If two carbon atoms happen to come out of the wood with six hydrogen atoms, they are, agglomerately, ethane, which bums to become, also, carbon dioxide and water. Three carbons and eight hydrogens form propane, and propane is there, too, in the fire. Four carbons and ten hydrogens—butane. Five carbons … pentane. Six … hexane. Seven … heptane. Eight carbons and eighteen hydrogens—octane. All these compounds come away in the breaking of the cellulose molecule, and burn, and go up the chimney as carbon dioxide and water. Pentane, hexane, heptane, and octane have a collective name. Logs burning in a fireplace are making and burning gasoline.
Pieces of the Frame
Science quotes on:  |  Atom (251)  |  Banner (4)  |  Become (100)  |  Break (33)  |  Bum (3)  |  Burn (29)  |  Carbon (48)  |  Carbon Dioxide (20)  |  Cellulose (3)  |  Chemical Reactions (2)  |  Chimney (2)  |  Collective (16)  |  Combine (15)  |  Compound (53)  |  Different (110)  |  Example (57)  |  Fire (117)  |  Fireplace (2)  |  Five (14)  |  Flame (23)  |  Form (210)  |  Free (59)  |  Happen (63)  |  Hundred (46)  |  Hydrogen (37)  |  Incandescent (3)  |  Leap (23)  |  Lock (9)  |  Log (4)  |  Methane (6)  |  Millions (13)  |  Molecule (125)  |  Name (118)  |  Natural Gas (2)  |  Oxygen (49)  |  Particle (90)  |  Several (14)  |  Together (48)  |  Turn (72)  |  Water (244)  |  Wave (55)  |  Wood (33)

It is sunlight in modified form which turns all the windmills and water wheels and the machinery which they drive. It is the energy derived from coal and petroleum (fossil sunlight) which propels our steam and gas engines, our locomotives and automobiles. ... Food is simply sunlight in cold storage.
In New Dietetics: What to Eat and How (1921), 29.
Science quotes on:  |  Automobile (19)  |  Coal (41)  |  Energy (185)  |  Food (139)  |  Fossil (107)  |  Locomotive (7)  |  Machinery (25)  |  Petroleum (7)  |  Photosynthesis (15)  |  Propel (2)  |  Renewable Energy (11)  |  Solar Power (8)  |  Steam Engine (41)  |  Sunlight (14)  |  Wind Power (8)  |  Windmill (4)

The nuclear arms race is like two sworn enemies standing waist deep in gasoline, one with three matches, the other with five.
[A summary version; not verbatim.]
A summary version, as written by Kristen Ghodsee in Lost in Transition: Ethnographies of Everyday Life After Communism (2011), 2-3. Note the author states it as “I remember,” and the wording is not verbatim from Sagan's original remark made during a panel discussion in ABC News Viewpoint following the TV movie The Day After (20 Nov 1983). The verbatim quote is also on this page. It begins, “Imagine a room…”
Science quotes on:  |  Arms Race (2)  |  Atomic Bomb (101)  |  Enemy (52)  |  Match (13)  |  Nuclear (24)  |  Standing (11)  |  Two (13)


Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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