Saturday, March 6, 2010

Improbable impossibles

This is the popular version of a quotation attributed to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle:

When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth. It is stupidity rather than courage to refuse to recognize danger when it is close upon you.

This is what Sir Arthur Conan Doyle actually wrote in The Adventure of Bruce-Partington Plans (p.925 of the edition I read):

We must fall back upon the old axiom that when all other contingencies fail, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.

Is precision important? Or, would one be accused of being annoyingly pedantic?

I suppose it depends on the company one keeps.

The English, Germans and the Japanese are peoples that value precision. Their legal and engineering history proves it.

The rest of the world, Malaysia included, tends to feel that "near enough is good enough".


walla said...

page 28

page 7 conclusion

de minimis said...

Well done, dr walla. Very precise research. You make the impossible improbably probable! By taking the bait you win the Precision Award ;)

donplaypuks® said...

The is something in the German language and system that we would do well to study and research.

Germany has produced soem of the greatest philosopher, mathematicians, writers and scientists the world has ever know from Kant (Critique of pure reason) to Planc (quantum physics), Born, Einstein, Heisenberg (uncertainty principle) Leibnitz, Hegel, Marx, Benz, Daimler, Von Braun (rocket scientist) Gutenberg (printing) and many others.

They are creative as well - Aigner, Boss, Escada are all German.

But there's that blot of Hitler! Sigh!

We are all of 1 race, the Human race