The most dangerous phrase in the language is…

by Joey deVilla on April 9, 2014

This photo’s been floating about Twitter and other online venues for the past couple of weeks. We’re firm believers in this philosophy, so we’re more than happy to share it with you:

the most dangerous phrase

The quote is attributed to Rear Admiral Grace Hopper, whose achievements in tech are notable. Here’s the first paragraph of her Wikipedia entry:

grace hopperGrace Murray Hopper (December 9, 1906 – January 1, 1992) was an American computer scientist and United States Navy rear admiral.[1]A pioneer in the field, she was one of the first programmers of the Harvard Mark I computer, and developed the first compiler for a computer programming language.[2][3][4][5][6] She popularized the idea of machine-independent programming languages, which led to the development of COBOL, one of the first modern programming languages. She is credited with popularizing the term “debugging” for fixing computer glitches (inspired by an actual moth removed from the computer). Owing to the breadth of her accomplishments and her naval rank, she is sometimes referred to as “Amazing Grace”.[7][8] The U.S. Navy destroyer USS Hopper (DDG-70) is named for her, as was theCray XE6 “Hopper” supercomputer at NERSC.

this article also appears in the GSG blog

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Simon Blake May 4, 2014 at 10:57 am

The second most dangerous phrase is “Oh, you did it like this when the last guy was boss? Fine – we’re changing it.”

Change for the sake of change, without a proper interrogation of why robust established systems got established and what they’re really for, has been responsible for most of the really disastrous failures I’ve observed over the course of several decades in chemical engineering. Before you change something just because “we’ve always done it this way”, do try to ensure that “we’ve always done it this way, because if we do it any other way, things explode and people die.”

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