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Home > Category Index for Science Quotations > Category Index R > Category: Rule Of Thumb

Rule Of Thumb Quotes (3 quotes)

Four circles to the kissing come,
The smaller are the benter.
The bend is just the inverse of
The distance from the centre.
Though their intrigue left Euclid dumb
Theres now no need for rule of thumb.
Since zero bends a dead straight line
And concave bends have minus sign,
The sum of squares of all four bends
Is half the square of their sum.
In poem, 'The Kiss Precise', Nature (20 Jun 1936), 137, 1021, as quoted, cited, explained and illustrated in Martin Gardner, The Colossal Book of Mathematics: Classic Puzzles, Paradoxes, and Problems (2001), 139-141.
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Psychology  tells us that we rarely work through reasons and evidence in a systematic way; weighing information carefully and suspending the impulse to draw conclusions. Instead, much of the time we use mental shortcuts or rules of thumb that save us mental effort. These habits often work reasonably well, but they also can lead us to conclusions we might dismiss if we applied more thought.
As co-author with Kathleen Hall Jamieson, in unSpun: Finding Facts in a World of Disinformation (2007), 70.
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Rules of Thumb
Thumbs First Postulate: It is better to use a crude approximation and know the truth, plus or minus 10 percent, than demand an exact solution and know nothing at all.
Thumbs Second Postulate: An easily understood, workable falsehood is more useful than a complex incomprehensible truth.
In Arthur Bloch, The Complete Murphy's Law: A Definitive Collection (1991), 126.
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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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