Wednesday May 28, 2003
In 1969, Robert Coveyou, a mathematician at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, said "the generation of random numbers is too important to be left to chance." Naturally, he was quoted out of context for the next thousand years, and his words appeared in everything from video-games to volumes of scripture.

Had he trademarked the phrase, he might have made millions. Then again, he might not. Fame is fickle, and whether or not you object to the role played by chance, she rolls her own dice.

Book 3: Under New Management
Part III: Board of Accidental Tourism

Transcript

Ennesby:You want spontaneity? Fine. I've got a catalog of all the candidate stars inside your nineteen million cubic light-year volume.Now I'll just randomly pick one.
Jevee Ceeta:Hang on... Let me get some dice.
Ennesby:Ahem... To quote an ancient Earth mathematician: "The generation of random numbers is too important to be left to chance."
Jevee Ceeta:So what are you really saying here, Ennesby?
Tagon:I think he means "No dice."