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A little vagueness is less likely to cause irreparable harm than absolute certainty.


We live in an age where we are giving increasing amounts on control to automatic processes. We need to step back to be sure that a hasty automation is not a grievous mistake.

Bertrand Russel [1] (Philosopher, U of Cambridge)
Everything is vague to a degree you do not realize till you have tried to make it precise, and everything precise is so remote from everything that we normally think, that you cannot for a moment suppose that is what we really mean when we say what we think.
John Tukey[2] (Statistician, U. of St. Andrews)
Far better an approximate answer to the right question, which is often vague, than the exact answer to the wrong question, which can always be made precise.


Never trust a person that starts with the answer and then works backwards to discover the problem.


  1. Bertrand Russel The Philosophy of Logical Atomism (1918-19) Lecture 1: Facts and Propositions http://www.visakanv.com/blog/precise/
  2. John Tukey Ann. Math. Stat. 33 (1962)