William H. Stoddard

William H. Stoddard

  • Commented on We get mail (contd.)
    For a lot of the arguments over how God gets away with doing horrific crap, the answer is that that's one of two possible answers to the question Socrates poses in the Euthyphro, in the form "Do the gods love...
  • Commented on A Surfeit of Emeralds: Healthcare in the Middle Ages
    That would be "true but not in the sense that it actually describes reality"? It seems to be fairly common in the sciences that you start out with a theoretical model that reflects common sense or intuitive impressions: geocentric astronomy,...
  • Commented on A Surfeit of Emeralds: Healthcare in the Middle Ages
    If we're going to ask why the four humors lasted so long, we should also ask why the four classical elements lasted so long, as the four humors are just a physiological analog of that theory. The idea of fire...
  • Commented on A Surfeit of Emeralds: Healthcare in the Middle Ages
    Numeracy as such isn't the issue. You have to have a rationale for applying the numbers. That means probability and statistics. Probability theory was primarily the creation of Blaise Pascal in the 17th century, and his original focus was gambling...
  • Commented on A Surfeit of Emeralds: Healthcare in the Middle Ages
    What about apothecaries? During a period of British history I know a bit more about, the eighteenth century, as I understand the matter, apothecaries not only compounded drugs, but decided what drugs to recommend for different illnesses, which I suppose...
  • Commented on New guest blogger: E. C. Ambrose
    A few years back, I wrote rules for surgery for GURPS Low-Tech, which covers the years up to 1750. But I had better luck finding out about Roman and Renaissance surgery than medieval. (Roman surgical equipment was astonishingly sophisticated.) So...
  • Commented on Theme, Fiction, and Empire Games
    Personally, I'd like to see comments on the Le Pen campaign in France, the Wilders one in the Netherlands, and whatever countries like Germany and Sweden come up with. Nationalism and Western exceptionalism may be headed for a wider upsurge...
  • Commented on Theme, Fiction, and Empire Games
    These days, the East (and in some measure Southeast) Asian populations seem to be fairly successful at assimilating, and fairly acceptable at doing so....
  • Commented on Theme, Fiction, and Empire Games
    Your working definition of "theme" looks to be quite similar to mine, and in particular it avoids what I think is an error, equating theme with "thesis." (Of course a story of drama can have a thesis, but it doesn't...
  • Commented on The dog ate my homework
    Here in the United States we have the meter instead....
  • Commented on The dog ate my homework
    Once you've hired an assistant, haven't you gone from petty bourgeois to bourgeois?...
  • Commented on The dog ate my homework
    I totally sympathize with your comments about Word. I copy edit professionally, largely scientific and scholarly material, and most of my recurring clients want me to use Word, often with customized tracking features. (There was the one that preferred me...
  • Commented on Eleven Tweets
    It seems to me that the kind of thing we see on Twitter and FaceBook is accurately described in Aristotle's study of rhetoric. What Aristotle says is that where actual science relies on induction and deduction, rhetoric substitutes striking examples...
  • Commented on Children and War Toys and Violent Video Games and Action Stories
    One of my favorite scenes in George R.R. Martin's Armageddon Rag (the novel of his I like best) has the viewpoint character visit a commune where one of his old college friends is raising her children to believe in peace...
  • Commented on Children and War Toys and Violent Video Games and Action Stories
    Back when I had Sim games on my desktop, it got so that my favorite thing to do with Sim Earth was to drop a rock into the Atlantic Ocean, wipe out all life, and then watch thing go on...
  • Commented on Playtime is over
    I don't think the black vote for Clinton can be explained by Trump's racism. For one thing, his much publicized statements have not been aimed at blacks; the groups he has made proposals about have been Hispanics (not a race,...
  • Commented on Playtime is over
    Well, actually, no. I've seen the quotation from, I believe, Pericles, where it means an Athenian who does not participate in political affairs but is concerned only with his own private matters, but that's not the same concept. And Liddell...
  • Commented on Playtime is over
    SFreader: I'm sorry, but that's wrong. In general, a supermajority is defined as a required majority larger than 50%+1; that's what the "super" prefix means. And specifically, in the United States, Article 5 of the Constitution says, in part, "The...
  • Commented on Duelling - Essentially a Bloody Stupid Idea
    When I read Anglo's The Martial Arts in Renaissance Europe, I was struck by the one case of the man who was in the Tower—but he got permission to go out a couple of times a week because he faced...
  • Commented on Duelling - Essentially a Bloody Stupid Idea
    George Silver's testimony on duelling with the rapier is hard to read as an argument against duelling as such; he was an author of textbooks on duelling with traditional English weapons like the backsword, and an opponent of the rapier,...
  • Commented on The Day After
    Dude. The New York Times gives Clinton a margin of less than 240,000 votes out of an electorate of over 120,000,000 (when you count in the third party and independent candidate votes). That's a statistical tie. Even if you assume...
  • Commented on The Day After
    Anti-establishment is more likely to be right than "racist." It just requires grasping that the Democrats have now become the establishment they claim to be rebelling against. Describing one's opposition as "racist" has become an establishment maneuver, and one that's...
  • Commented on The Day After
    To my mind, the striking thing is that we've now twice seen political outcomes that were directly contrary to what the news media and the political prognosticators were anticipating, and indeed regarding as a nearly sure thing. Twenty-four hours ago...
  • Commented on Ever Young?
    Actually, what you describe sounds to me on one hand like a high level of economic success, and on the other like a big helping of social conformity. C and I were married on May 1 of this year, after...
  • Commented on Evolver
    I've enjoyed for some time the idea of an intelligent marsupial race saying, "Obviously placentals can't become intelligent. Look at the problems of getting a big brain out through that narrow pelvic channel! Pouches are a huge advantage in having...
  • Commented on Evolver
    I designed a solar system with a much older sun in an article for Steve Jackson Games a few years back. One of my assumptions about the earthlike planet was that its predator-prey cognitive arms race had gotten to the...
  • Commented on Sometimes I don't know why I bother!
    Just want to say that I thought that dinner party was the single best scene in The Nightmare Stacks, at ones wildly comedic and sympathetic. And the fact that the four kids got through it without any of them ending...
  • Commented on Reality is broken
    "Really, Occam's Razor says Trump is a Democratic operative." I'm glad to see someone else thinks that. I've seen the maxim that to understand someone's motives, you should look at the outcome of their actions and assume that was their...
  • Commented on Who wins? Cthulhu or the Emperor of Mankind from Warhammer 40K?
    I'm totally unfamiliar with WH40K; I play GURPS, which doesn't have an iconic megamonster (except perhaps Steve Jackson). But Cthulhu is a wimp. You hit him with a tramp steamer and he goes back into his hole for another eon....
  • Commented on What are you reading this summer?
    "It's almost too compact, compared to more modern stories." Wow, that made my wife laugh when I quoted it to her. She and I are always bitching about the contemporary trend to write enormous books, and even enormous series, especially...
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