Author Archives: W.P. McNeill

At the Institute for Primate Communication

“NEW SIGN. WE MAKE. YOU SEE.” At first I thought I might have been misinterpreting BoBo, but he kept repeating the signs until it was clear what he meant. “YES YOU SEE” Dian added. “WE MAKE SIGN. YOU HAPPY.” Noam … Continue reading

Posted in Mermaids, Those that at a distance resemble flies | Leave a comment


–Why are we doing this? –Doing what? –Replacing all the humans. –I don’t know. We’re pod people. It’s what we do. –Do you want to? –Want to what? –Replace the humans. –I don’t want to do anything. It’s all just…reflex. … Continue reading

Posted in Fabulous ones, Those that at a distance resemble flies | Leave a comment

The Evergreen Idiocracy

A purple-highlighted passage from Carl Sagan’s 1996 book The Demon Haunted World made the rounds of social media recently. In it Sagan expresses concern for a future in which people have chosen ignorance over reason, and some have taken this … Continue reading

Posted in Belonging to the emperor | 1 Comment

“The King of France is Bald” is Tricky

The king of France is bald. What does this mean? Is it this? ∃x [KingOfFrance(x) ∧ ∀y [KingOfFrance(y) → x=y] ∧ Bald(x) Or maybe this? How about this? All of these depictions are useful. The translation of natural language into predicate calculus—pioneered … Continue reading

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Haiku From the Golden Age of Computing

You’ve already seen this. Just wanted to get them all in one place. Continue reading

Posted in Those that at a distance resemble flies, Those that have just broken the flower vase | 3 Comments

Beers with the Boss

What presidential candidate would you rather have a beer with? Continue reading

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Hours Billable to God

You have to fill out a timesheet for every hour of your life. Each hour receives a numerical code. There is one code for each activity a human being could possibly do. How many codes are there?

Posted in Innumerable ones | Leave a comment