Author Archives: W.P. McNeill

English Has Over 1.5 Billion Meanings for the Word Snow

I was once at an Elvis Costello concert where he told the audience that the first song he ever wrote was in the key of E minor. It was called “‘Winter’”, he added, his ominous tone of voice getting a … Continue reading

Posted in Mermaids | Leave a comment


In“What Makes Call-Out Culture So Toxic” writer and community organizer Asam Ahmad observes that some of his fellow cultural leftists are too willing to engage in shouting matches online and cautions them to remember that political opponents are people too. Ahmad … Continue reading

Posted in Belonging to the emperor | Leave a comment

At the Edge of the Abyss of Madness

–Oh Jesus Christ! –Sorry, I shouldn’t have moved so quickly. –No, no. Really it’s me. I feel awful about this. –Don’t. It’s instinct. It’s biology. You can’t help it. –Still, it seems rude. You don’t feel the same way about … Continue reading

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

The Echo of The Day Before

Consciousness is a subjective thing: you have your experience and I have mine, and short of one of us being psychic there is no way to compare them except by talking to each other. But even given this gulf, if … Continue reading

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

What Technology are you Comfortable with Tom Waits Using?

Sure Automobile Airplane Telephone Phonograph Radio Pinball machine Maybe Answering machine VCR CD player Walkman Vintage video arcade game Definitely Not GPS Laptop computer TIVO Xbox Keurig coffee maker Siri

Posted in Etcetera | Leave a comment

Word Vectors, Gender Bias, and Postmodern Computing

You shall know a word by the company it keeps. —J.R. Firth Popular press reporting on scientific findings tends to be sensationalistic and oversimplified so I approached the recent Guardian article “AI programs exhibit racial and gender biases, research reveals” … Continue reading

Posted in Fabulous ones, Those that have just broken the flower vase | Leave a comment

Power. Truth. Speaking.

In the end the Party would announce that two and two made five, and you would have to believe it. It was inevitable that they should make that claim sooner or later: the logic of their position demanded it. Not … Continue reading

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