101 Helpful Hints For The Variously Impaired

jbone at place.org jbone at place.org
Tue Oct 28 21:09:06 PST 2003

Since some parties seem perpetually confused about some basic concepts, 
I thought I'd gather together these helpful hints.  Hey, that's just 
who I am:  I'm a helper.  (BTW, I'm guilty of violating these too, all 
the time.  I just thought it might be fun to list a few.)  Some or most 
of this is original, or at least off the top of my head;  I've also 
thrown in some from other places, though, particularly some 
half-remembered and probably inaccurately rendered Lazarus Long quotes.


(001)  There is a difference between opinion and fact.

(002)  There is a difference between offering an opinion and citing 
somebody else's.

(003)  There is a difference between knowledge and belief.

(004)  There is a difference between what you know you know and what 
you believe somebody else knows.

(005)  Read everything twice.

(006)  You didn't read the above twice, did you?

(007)  Argument from authority is unconvincing.  Anonymous authority:  
utterly unconvincing.

(008)  Absence of proof is not proof of absence.

(009)  If it's in every major paper in the world, it isn't a 
"conspiracy theory."

(010)  Tautology:  unconvincing.

(011)  Arguing against reasoning by analogy is pointless and futile.

(012)  Measure twice;  cut once.

(013)  One man's signal is another man's noise.

(014)  Just because you're paranoid, that doesn't mean they're not out 
to get you.

(015)  Bits talk;  bullshit walks.

(016)  "If you can't dazzle 'em w/ brilliance, baffle 'em /w bullshit." 
  (the JR rule)

(017)  Note that (016) only works with other stupid people.

(018)  Argue the argument.

(019)  Learn how to use mail filters.

(020)  Half of 12 is 6.

(021)  Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

(022)  Brevity is the soul of wit.  (*Cough!* ;-)

(023)  Familiarize yourself w/ this:  

(024)  Just because it's easy to lie w/ numbers does not imply that all 
numeric arguments are lies.

(025)  Circular reasoning isn't particularly helpful.

(026)  Don't assume too much.  Well, try not to.

(027)  All other things being equal, the simplest answer is usually the 
right one.

(028)  Two data points do not a trend make.

(029)  You still haven't read (005) a second time, have you?

(030)  Induction is your friend.

(031)  James already did it --- when he was 3 years old.

(032)  Also familiarize yourself w/ this:  http://www.fallacyfiles.org/

(033)  If it's from JR, GB, TW, RAH, or JB --- and doesn't have a link, 
file-13.  (Cf. 019)

(034)  If you think FoRK is a conversation, you're smoking serious 
crack rock, beeyatch!

(035)  The worst signal-to-noise killer is bitching about 

(036)  Repetition is the key to learning.

(037)  Cf. (036)

(038)  Lack of learning is the key to repetition.

(039)  Choose a topic you actually know something about.  (Cf. (003) 

(040)  Know your audience.  You don't really have to care about them, 

(041)  If it gets too messy, just have fun w/ it.

(042)  There's no such thing as a bad orgasm.

(043)  If it doesn't have at least a link or a quote, think twice about 
pressing send.

(044)  If not (043) at least try to make it entertaining.

(044)  At least *try* to practice what you preach.  Consistency is good.

(045)  You can't buy food with whuffie.  Yachts?  Eh, maybe.

(046)  Even bozos sometimes do cool shit.  Bozo bits are best kept 

(047)  Wake up.

(048)  Alliteration is a cheap substitute for actual wit.

(049)  A pine cone in the ass is seasonal and festive.  (0Nods to 

(050)  Plan your argument;  don't get distracted.

(051)  Support your assertions.

(052)  Quality of support isn't as important as its mere existence.

(053)  You can't catch "The Gay."

(054)  Puns!

(055)  Read carefully.  Don't rush.  A wrong answer counts off more 
than no answer.

(056)  Math geeks do get laid.  Really.  Math geek chicks will let you 
do anything to them.

(057)  When in doubt, order the steak.

(058)  The archive is more important than the Peanut Gallery (0whoever 
that may be at any point.)

(059)  Schadenfreude is good for the soul.

(060)  Please go look up the actual definition of the word "irony."

(061)  Tired / Wired:  very, very, very Tired.

(062)  Get over the fact that you were stuffed in a locker in high 

(063)  Expertise in one area doesn't grant authority in all areas.

(064)  Put your money where your mouth is.

(065)  The whole shaker thing about "perfect silence?"  Nutty.

(066)  Always store beer in a dark place.

(067)  All government is crime.  Did you snooze through civics?

(068)  The only intolerable thing is intolerance.

(069)  When somebody says "that's far too simplistic" --- they're 
usually wrong.

(070)  Keep your shoes by the bed.

(071)  Education is cheaper than ignorance.

(072)  Every vote counts.

(073)  The truth of a proposition has nothing to do with its 
credibility. And vice versa.

(074)  Beware of altruism. It is based on self deception, the root of 
all evil.

(075)  "We need to talk" is never good news.

(076)  Don't take yourself so seriously.

(077)  You STILL haven't re-read (005) have you?  YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE.

(078)  People who say money doesn't buy happiness --- don't have any 

(079)  Google is your friend.

(080)  Don't believe everything you read.

(081)  Don't distrust everything you read, either.  Choose carefully.

(082)  "Belief" is a dangerous substitute for "knowledge."

(083)  Tit-for-tat is a winning strategy.

(084)  You can't argue with a tree.  Well, you can --- but it's kind of 

(085)  "Yes and no" means no.  (Think about it.)

(086)  During brainstorming, we don't shoot down ideas.  Breadth not 
depth in that context.

(087)  Always have an agenda.  Fucking w/ somebody is an okay agenda.

(088)  Nobody is afraid of Virginia Woolf.  Really.

(089)  Peeing in the pool is always bad form.

(090)  A picture's worth a thousand words.  Use a visual whenever you 

(091)  "Tell and show" --- don't "show and tell."  (Think about that.)

(092)  When people make fun of you, they're really jealous.  (Yeah, 

(093)  "Experience" is what you get when you lose.

(094)  Thursday is opposite day.

(095)  Always ask for the order.

(096)  An aspirin a day might give you pancreatic cancer.

(097)  Data is not information.

(098)  You can sleep when you're dead.

(099)  Secrecy is the beginning of tyranny.

(100)  Life will kill you.

(101)  Complacency is complicity.

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