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Quotes of the Day for 14 December 2003 – Prediction

Michel de Nostradame was born at Saint Remi, France a half millennium ago today. He studied medicine and opened a practice in 1525, achieving wide renown for curing particularly advanced cases. In 1550 he moved to Salon and began writing cryptic predictions of verses of four lines, called quatrains. He published them in "centuries", each a set of 100 quatrains (except Century VII which has, inexplicably, only 42). The predictions supposedly extend through the year 3797. He wrote in French with a liberal mix of Prevencal, Latin, and Greek, claiming that the vague wording, intentional anagrams, and numerological hints were to prevent his arrest for witchcraft by the Inquisition. It's rather more likely that he wrote this way, just like modern astrologers, so that his predictions predict nothing in advance, but seem to have predicted things that have already come to pass. Utter nonsense, but I have to admit that after five hundred years the Nostradamus brand is pretty widely known!

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The quotes:

The best way to predict the future is to invent it.
     - Alan Kay

Predicting the future is easy. It's trying to figure out what's going on now that's hard.
     - Fritz R. S. Dressler

This is my prediction for the future - whatever hasn't happened will happen and no one will be safe from it.
     - J. B. S. Haldane, 1892 - 1964

Newspapers have roughly the same relationship to life as fortune-tellers to metaphysics.
     - Karl Kraus

In conditions of great uncertainty people tend to predict the events that they want to happen actually will happen.
     - Roberta Wohlstetter

The more unpredictable the world is the more we rely on predictions.
     - Steve Rivkin


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