Author Archives: W.P. McNeill

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

Posted in Embalmed ones, Mermaids | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Belonging to the emperor | Leave a comment

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

Sinners in the Hands of an Angry Blog

“Excommunicate Me from the Church of Social Justice” is a brief missive from the Woke-o-sphere that drifted across my Facebook feed earlier today. In it QTPOC1 Frances Lee complains that liberal activist circles often exhibit a variety of group-think, dogmatism, … Continue reading

Posted in Belonging to the emperor | Leave a comment

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