February 11

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Quotes of the day from previous years:

Fanaticism consists in redoubling your effort when you have forgotten your aim. ~ George Santayana
If one knows only what one is told, one does not know enough to be able to arrive at a well-balanced decision. ~ Leó Szilárd (born 11 February 1898)
When writing about transcendental issues, be transcendentally clear. ~ René Descartes (died 11 February 1650)
Even if we accept, as the basic tenet of true democracy, that one moron is equal to one genius, is it necessary to go a further step and hold that two morons are better than one genius? ~ Leó Szilárd (born 11 February 1898)
In Common Sense Paine flared forth with a document so powerful that the Revolution became inevitable. Washington recognized the difference, and in his calm way said that matters never could be the same again. ~ Thomas Alva Edison (born 11 February 1847)
Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up. ~ Thomas Edison
The people who have sufficient passion for the truth to give the truth a chance to prevail, if it runs counter to their bias, are in a minority. How important is this "minority?" It is difficult to say at this point, for, at the present time their influence on governmental decisions is not perceptible. ~ Leó Szilárd
I was sixteen years old when the first World War broke out, and I lived at that time in Hungary. From reading the newspapers in Hungary, it would have appeared that, whatever Austria and Germany did was right and whatever England, France, Russia, or America did was wrong. A good case could be made out for this general thesis, in almost every single instance. It would have been difficult for me to prove, in any single instance, that the newspapers were wrong, but somehow, it seemed to me unlikely that the two nations located in the center of Europe should be invariably right, and that all the other nations should be invariably wrong. History, I reasoned, would hardly operate in such a peculiar fashion, and it didn't take long until I began to hold views which were diametrically opposed to those held by the majority of my schoolmates. ~ Leó Szilárd (born February 11, 1898)
I'm looking for a market for wisdom. ~ Leó Szilárd
It is not necessary to succeed in order to persevere. As long as there is a margin of hope, however narrow, we have no choice but to base all our action on that margin.
~ Leó Szilárd ~
Even in times of war, you can see current events in their historical perspective, provided that your passion for the truth prevails over your bias in favor of your own nation.
~ Leó Szilárd ~
Misfortune is never mournful to the soul that accepts it; for such do always see that every cloud is an angel’s face. Every man deems that he has precisely the trials and temptations which are the hardest of all others for him to bear; but they are so, simply because they are the very ones he most needs.
~ Lydia Maria Child ~
Government ought not to be invested with power to control the affections, any more than the consciences of citizens. A man has at least as good a right to choose his wife, as he has to choose his religion. His taste may not suit his neighbors; but so long as his deportment is correct, they have no right to interfere with his concerns.
~ Lydia Maria Child ~
A scientist's aim in a discussion with his colleagues is not to persuade, but to clarify.
~ Leó Szilárd ~
Rank or add further suggestions…

Ranking system:

4 : Excellent - should definitely be used. (This is the utmost ranking and should be used only for one quote at a time, per person, for each date.)
3 : Very Good - strong desire to see it used.
2 : Good - some desire to see it used.
1 : Acceptable - but with no particular desire to see it used.
0 : Not acceptable - not appropriate for use as a quote of the day.


I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work. ~ Thomas Edison (Birth date)

  • proposed by Liquidice5
  • 1. I don't dislike this (anonymously submitted) quote; but it appears on the Edison page as one variant among several in the Unsourced section. For this reason I wouldn't feel any confidence in selecting it. - InvisibleSun 17:16, 10 February 2007 (UTC)
  • 3 Kalki 00:16, 12 February 2008 (UTC) 2 Kalki 23:14, 10 February 2007 (UTC) with a lean toward 4 : ranking this a bit higher, as sourcing for it is a bit stronger now, but there are still enough variants to lack confidence in the accuracy of any.
  • 2. Fys. “Ta fys aym”. 23:24, 10 February 2007 (UTC)
  • 3 because this may be true, since only through trial and tribulation do people discover things. It also emphasizes the human will to go on, very nice quote. Zarbon 22:11, 22 April 2008 (UTC)

We don't know a millionth of one percent about anything. ~ Thomas Edison

  • 3 Kalki 23:29, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
  • 3 InvisibleSun 23:25, 10 February 2009 (UTC)
  • 2 Zarbon 05:16, 27 February 2009 (UTC)

Nonviolence leads to the highest ethics, which is the goal of all evolution. Until we stop harming all other living beings, we are still savages. ~ Thomas Edison

  • 0 Kalki (talk · contributions) 20:11, 4 February 2011 (UTC) Though I had a strong preference to use this, I cannot locate any source prior to a 1985 work which cites an 1890 Harper's Magazine — and I can find no sign of such in Google book searches, nor anything prior to 1985.4 Kalki (talk · contributions) 05:33, 3 February 2011 (UTC) 3 Kalki 23:29, 8 February 2009 (UTC) with a lean toward 4.
  • 3 InvisibleSun 23:25, 10 February 2009 (UTC)
  • 3 although Edison may be somewhat right, savagery still exists in human impulses and perhaps, always will. - Zarbon 05:16, 27 February 2009 (UTC)

Don't lie if you don't have to. ~ Leó Szilárd

Science is progressing at such a rapid rate that when you make a prediction and think you are ahead of your time by 100 years you may be ahead of your time by 10 at most. ~ Leó Szilárd

In life you must often choose between getting a job done or getting credit for it. In science, the most important thing is not the ideas you have but the decision which ones you choose to pursue. If you have an idea and are not doing anything with it, why spoil someone else's fun by publishing it? ~ Leó Szilárd

In order to succeed it is not necessary to be much cleverer than other people. All you have to do is be one day ahead of them. ~ Leó Szilárd

The most important step in getting a job done is the recognition of the problem. Once I recognize a problem I usually can think of someone who can work it out better than I could. ~ Leó Szilárd

We are like tenant farmers chopping down the fence around our house for fuel when we should be using Nature's inexhaustible sources of energy — sun, wind and tide. … I'd put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don't have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that. ~ Thomas Edison

  • 3 Suggested by bystander 22:05, 11 February 2012 (UTC) (with a strong lean towards 4).
  • 3 Kalki·· 22:49, 10 February 2016 (UTC)

Suppose Germany had developed two bombs before we had any bombs. And suppose Germany had dropped one bomb, say, on Rochester and the other on Buffalo, and then having run out of bombs she would have lost the war. Can anyone doubt that we would then have defined the dropping of atomic bombs on cities as a war crime, and that we would have sentenced the Germans who were guilty of this crime to death at Nuremberg and hanged them?
~ Leó Szilárd ~