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119 votes
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Is there a story behind the misquote, "Luke, I am your father"?

Contextualization matters more than words In common speech, the quote is fairly vague, and likely only those who have seen the movie would understand the reference (at least, right away, to the ...
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100 votes
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What is "DON'T PANIC" a reference to on the dashboard of Elon Musk's car?

It's from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. It even has its own entry on the Wikipedia page for H2G2: In the series, Don't Panic is a phrase on the cover of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. ...
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88 votes
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Pratchett Quote about Research and Development

You're referring to the quote below from Small Gods between the Great God Om (presently in the form of a small turtle) and his acolyte Brother Brutha (presently in the form of a slightly befuddled ...
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80 votes
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Source of Scotty's advice on appearing a genius

This is from Star Trek III: Kirk: How much refit time till we can take [the Enterprise] out again? Scotty: Eight weeks, sir. (as Kirk opens his mouth) But you don't have eight weeks, so I'll do it ...
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75 votes
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Who said "One person, one vote. I just happened to be the person voting"?

I think you might be referring to this one: Ankh-Morpork had dallied with many forms of government and had ended up with that form of democracy known as One Man, One Vote. The Patrician was the Man; ...
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66 votes

Source of Scotty's advice on appearing a genius

This is the closest I can find, from TNG: Relics Geordi La Forge: Look, Mr. Scott, I'd love to explain everything to you, but the Captain wants this spectrographic analysis done by 1300 hours. ...
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64 votes
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Was Douglas Adams specifically joking about British small talk?

At the time he wrote the original radio series and first novel, Adams had lived his entire life in England, and was writing for a British audience, so a lot of the cultural references are based on ...
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62 votes
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What is the linguistic challenge Louise uses in the beginning of "Arrival"?

The question Louise Banks poses is as follows: DR. BANKS: Before you commit to him… ask him the Sanskrit word for “war” and its translation. It’s a way of challenging the other linguist’s ...
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62 votes
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In what context did Tolkien say "evil cannot create anything new"?

It doesn't appear to be anything that Tolkien ever said or wrote, but a paraphrase: "No, they eat and drink, Sam. The Shadow that bred them can only mock, it cannot make: not real new things of ...
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  • 6,590
56 votes
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What does this quote in Small Gods refer to?

It's a reference to the use of Logo (a programming language) to control robots referred to as "turtles".
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  • 620k
51 votes

Looking for quote about the absurdity of people driving cars

Robert Heinlein had a long rant about cars in The Rolling Stones: Despite their great sizes and tremendous power spaceships are surprisingly simple machines. Every technology goes through three ...
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48 votes
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Looking for a Discworld book a quote is from (and the full quote)

This is from Maskerade, in relation to Greebo the cat's transformation into a human. The allusion is that it's very hard to do something once (e.g. turn a cat into a man) but that once it had happened,...
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47 votes
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What is this Norwegian shouting?

He says "Vi har funnet et jævla romvesen! Skål!". An accurate translation would be something along the lines of "We've found a fu**ing alien! Cheers!". Some interesting facts: The word "romvesen" ...
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46 votes

What is the linguistic challenge Louise uses in the beginning of "Arrival"?

(There is a TL;DR at the end for those who don't care about Sanskrit or grammar.) Adamant's answer is pretty excellent, but as a holder of a BA in Sanskrit & Linguistics, perhaps I can add ...
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46 votes
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Daneel or Giskard quote about functioning more efficiently, similar to happiness

I found it! It's in the third book of the Robots cycle, The Robots of Dawn (chapter 2: "Daneel"), and said by Daneel, as you correctly guess (emphasis mine): “Of a certainty, Partner Elijah....
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45 votes
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Was Lupin's comment to Harry about fear affected by Franklin Roosevelt? If so, why did Rowling choose this?

The reason for the similarity may simply be that it is a commonplace thought, neither unique to nor original with Franklin D. Roosevelt. The Yale Book of Quotations gives these examples: Michel ...
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43 votes

Is there a conversation regarding heroes and common people in "The Lord of the Rings"?

There are many parallels between the two stories but the specific word "Hero", in the context you require, I believe only occurs in "An Unexpected Party", chapter one in The Hobbit:...
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41 votes
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What does "My shoes are too tight" mean?

Disclaimer: I've never seen Babylon 5 (although I plan to), but I'll give this a go! It basically means "don't get caught up in the constraints of life" I came across this article which I would ...
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  • 68.2k
36 votes

Is there a conversation regarding heroes and common people in "The Lord of the Rings"?

Towards the end of the Council of Elrond there's a dialog which seems like it fits your question. First, Elron says (my emphasis): ...'The road must be trod, but it will be very hard. And neither ...
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  • 35.9k
35 votes
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Did Douglas Adams say "I always thought something was fundamentally wrong with the universe."?

As DavidW says in the comments, the dialog in Fit the Sixth of the radio series is slightly different, and does include (very nearly) that quote. ARTHUR: That's it. Six by nine. Forty-two. I always ...
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34 votes
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Which Harry Potter novel is the quote "Things are gonna get serious for you" from?

The quote is from an untitled 2008 short story sold at a charity auction: 'Things'll be seriously black for you in a minute, you cheeky little--' Quotes: Harry Potter: The Prequel (Harry Potter 0....
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34 votes
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Which Terry Pratchett book starts with "Zoom in"?

Chapter 12 of Wings starts out: Find a blue planet... Focus This is a planet. Most of it is covered with water, but it's still called Earth. Find a country... Focus ...blues and greens and browns ...
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32 votes

Need source for the inverse of "Clarke's Third Law"

This was quoted in the Fall 1989 edition of the Keystone Folklore Archives. It also appears somewhat earlier in the 1984 edition of Keystone Folklore, identified as being on page 26 in "Volumes 2-...
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30 votes
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What is the provenance of this Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets quote

This was inserted into the Scholastic (US) edition and does not appear in the earlier Bloomsbury (UK) edition. See page 264 of The Ivory Tower and Harry Potter: Perspectives on a Literary Phenomenon: ...
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  • 131k
29 votes

Daneel or Giskard quote about functioning more efficiently, similar to happiness

There is also this quote from Robots and Empire: "Are you pleased that you will be seeing Elijah Baley again?" "I am not certain, Madam Gladia, how best to describe my inner state. It ...
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27 votes
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Which sci-fi book is this quote from?

I think this is a scene not from "Ender's Game", but its sequel "Speaker for the Dead". In a thoughtless moment Ender turns off the connection to "Jane", the AI ...
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27 votes

Who said, "The only way to model an infinitely complex system is with the system, itself"?

I believe this is from Asimov's Prelude to Foundation (1988) chapter 32; "The LPS - that is, 'the least possible simulation' - gains in complexity faster than the object being simulated does and ...
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  • 371
25 votes

What is "DON'T PANIC" a reference to on the dashboard of Elon Musk's car?

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (a.k.a H2G2). In the original radio series of H2G2, Arthur Dent is looking at the cover of the in-Universe book, The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, which says: ...
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  • 6,156
25 votes

Looking for a Neal Stephenson passage on religion as inoculation / vaccination / prophylactic

I think the OP is conflating the passage from Cryptonomicon which @JohnRennie posted, and a passage from chapter 61 of Snow Crash between Hiro and Juanita: "Why? Why doesn't [the cult of Asherah]...
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  • 24.5k
25 votes

Is there a conversation regarding heroes and common people in "The Lord of the Rings"?

Another possibility is the conversation between Sam and Frodo in the chapter The Stairs of Cirith Ungol: The brave things in the old tales and songs, Mr. Frodo: adventures, as I used to call them. I ...
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