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DrFraud
We Three Blings


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One of my joke mailing-lists listed several quotes of dubious origin under the heading "The Skeptics:"

What can be more palpably absurd than the prospect held out of locomotives traveling twice as fast as stagecoaches?
- The Quarterly Review, England (March 1825)

The abolishment of pain in surgery is a chimera. It is absurd to go on seeking it. . . . Knife and pain are two words in surgery that must forever be associated in the consciousness of the patient.
- Dr. Alfred Velpeau (1839) French surgeon

Men might as well project a voyage to the Moon as attempt to employ steam navigation against the stormy North Atlantic Ocean.
- Dr. Dionysus Lardner (1838) Professor of Natural Philosophy and Astronomy, University College, London

The foolish idea of shooting at the moon is an example of the absurd length to which vicious specialization will carry scientists working in thought-tight compartments.
- A.W. Bickerton (1926) Professor of Physics and Chemistry, Canterbury College, New Zealand

[W]hen the Paris Exhibition closes electric light will close with it and no more be heard of.
- Erasmus Wilson (1878) Professor at Oxford University

Well informed people know it is impossible to transmit the voice over wires and that were it possible to do so, the thing would be of no practical value.
- Editorial in the Boston Post (1865)

That the automobile has practically reached the limit of its development is suggested by the fact that during the past year no
improvements of a radical nature have been introduced.
- Scientific American, Jan. 2, 1909

Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible.
- Lord Kelvin, ca. 1895, British mathematician and physicist


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short
The Red and the Green Stamps


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These quotes can be found in "The Experts Speak" by Christopher Cerf and Victor Navasky.

"What can be more palpably absurd..." pp231

"The abolishment of pain in surgery is a chimera...." pp29

"Men might as well project a voyage to the Moon..." pp233

"The foolish idea of shooting at the moon..." pp258


"[W]hen the Paris Exhibition closes electric light will close with it and no more be heard of. " pp203

"Well informed people know it is impossible to transmit the voice over wires..." pp205

"That the automobile has practically reached the limit..." pp229

"Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible." pp236

Each one has a footnote and is cited elsewhere. Judge them as you will.

I propose the following addition:
"In the future, prognostications will be more accurate." -Short


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