Goltz's Laws

  1. The best time for something to break is when you're watching.
    Corollary: If it ain't broke, break it.
  2. Paper doesn't crash.
  3. Always have an override.
  4. Dedication and diligence cannot be prescribed, legislated or regulated.
  5. Not all mishaps can be ascribed to malice or mechanical failure. Some people are just stupid, or insane. (Note that "some" can take on values approaching "all".)
  6. In any contest between Theory and Observation, Observation wins.
    Corollary #1: Theory that contradicts observed facts is an indication that you've made a wrong assumption.
    Corollary #2: Theory that contradicts non-observational facts may indicate faulty observations.
  7. The Universe has its own definitions of justice and morality. They may not agree with yours.
  8. Loyalty is owed to people, not ideas.
  9. If you ask a question you don't understand, you will get an answer you don't understand.
  10. Always admit when you're wrong, and not just to yourself.
  11. It's always easier to build a levee before the river rises.
  12. Life is too short to wear uncomfortable shoes.
  13. Never be ashamed of loving your work. You're better at what you love.
  14. Whatever you value most highly will be what disappoints you most.
  15. All crackpot or conspiracy-related theories can eventually be traced back to someone trying to make money.
  16. Never turn down a free ride or a free meal. Just make sure it really is free.
  17. All arguments on the Internet are won by attrition.
    Corollary: An argument won by attrition is worthless.
  18. Nothing is ever as simple as it seems.
    Corollary: All questions are complex at a deep enough level.
  19. The most sacred quality in the Universe is surprise.
  20. Every idea sounds better if someone else is doing all the work.
  21. Any sufficiently advanced technology can be abused to do things it was never meant to do.
  22. It won't always get worse before it gets better, but that's the way to plan.
  23. People trying adamantly to warn you that "the other side" is engaging in an underhanded strategy are usually engaging in that strategy themselves. Hence their warning.
  24. There are occasions when there is no substitute for "legwork".
  25. The Cockroach Rule: If you encounter one instance or example of something someone would prefer remain hidden—corruption, malfeasance, etc.—there are a hundred more instances you haven't found yet.
  26. Pay close attention to who’s agreeing with you. It will tell you a lot about public perception of your opinions.
  27. No profession has a monopoly on dedication and competence.
    Corollary: No profession is devoid of drones and seat-fillers.
  28. The more enlightened someone claims to be, the more likely they are to be batshit crazy.
  29. When you are surrounded by nails, a hammer is better than nothing.
  30. Every problem looks simple from ten miles away.
  31. Metadata is data.

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James P. Goltz
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