Monday, May 30, 2011

List of misquotations Part III Science and technology

Science and technology

  • "Houston, we have a problem." [C]
    • This is a mis-statement of the actual communication between the Apollo 13 astronauts and Mission Control in Houston immediately after the oxygen tank rupture that caused the intended lunar landing to be aborted. At 02 days, 07 hours, 55 minutes, 19 seconds, Command Module Pilot Jack Swigert stated "OK, Houston, we've had a problem here", which was reiterated fifteen seconds later by Commander Jim Lovell saying "Ah, Houston, we've had a problem. We've had a main B bus undervolt."[22][23] This misquote was already popular before the film Apollo 13 and its promotional materials used it. Brian Grazer knew of its inaccuracy, but used it anyway as dramatic license.
  • "Billions and billions" –Carl Sagan [P]
    • Carl Sagan insisted for years he never said it; as he explained in the first chapter of his book Billions & Billions, it was far too vague an expression. He tells in this book that when filming Cosmos, he put a large emphasis on the B in "billion", because at the time people were more familiar with "millions". The quotation actually comes from Johnny Carson's impersonation of Carl Sagan.
  • "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." –Neil Armstrong [C]
    • Many people believe this is a famous misquotation, but it's actually a famous misspoken statement.[clarification needed] The actual statement that Armstrong spoke when he first set foot on the moon was, in fact, missing an a before man. Without the a, the words man and mankind are interchangeable, thus obscuring the contrast between the two clauses of Armstrong's intended statement. At the time, NASA attempted to explain the missing article as having been lost in the original transmission due to the limitations of the technology of the time, which led to the common belief that Armstrong has been misquoted. There have been recent attempts (in 2006) to reveal the missing a through digital analysis of the audio recording, but the reports of the analysis have not been peer-reviewed. Explained at Armstrong himself, in his book, First Man, p. 494, stated that he did not consider himself to be particularly articulate, and that while he had intended to say "a man", he had a habit of omitting syllables when communicating via radio.
  • "Astrology is a science in itself and contains an illuminating body of knowledge. It taught me many things, and I am greatly indebted to it. Geophysical evidence reveals the power of the stars and the planets in relation to the terrestrial. In turn, astrology reinforces this power to some extent. This is why astrology is like a life-giving elixir to mankind." –Albert Einstein in the Huters astrologischer Kalender [A]
  • "Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one." –Bill Gates [A]
    • Charles J Sykes – incorrectly attributed to Microsoft founder Bill Gates possibly because he is frequently described as being well aware of his nerdiness.
  • "640K should be enough for anybody." –Bill Gates [M]
    • Gates admits that he has indeed made statements that have turned out to be false, but he reports that he never said this commonly attributed line.[24][25]

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