William H. Stoddard

William H. Stoddard

  • Commented on What do you know about my inner demons?
    The book sounds interesting, by the way. How would a Californian get to read it? An ebook for preference, as I'm already up to 100 shelf feet or so. Can a US edition be anticipated, or should I be looking...
  • Commented on What do you know about my inner demons?
    I'm thinking of an epigram I just saw this morning: The "s" in IoT stands for "secure."...
  • Commented on Dread of Heinleinism
    As it happens, I just reread Friday, with mixed feelings. But I feel that I have to note that Friday itself is "all about a diseased society and an abuse victim," and indeed makes this quite explicit: There is a...
  • Commented on Cthulhu Counterfactual
    Some years ago I ran a cosmic horror campaign influenced by Lovecraft, but set in Steve Jackson Games's Transhuman Space game world. So nearly all the horrors were not alien entities, but products of advancing technology—not "the Singularity," though it...
  • Commented on The Nakamoto Variations
    I think you could steal the plot of Ready Player One with Satoshi Nakamoto as the mysterious figure who left all his bitcoins to whoever can win his trivia contest....
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    This seems like an ironic situation: I made a comment to suggest that you are using a word, "value," in a different sense than that in which it was used in classical economics, and thus not understanding economic though, and...
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    I think you're misunderstanding the concept of "value" as it's used in economics. (Or, actually, as it was used in the 19th century; economists don't talk about "value" much any more.) The measure of a thing's value is the most...
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    What's your criterion for "the mainstream of English [becoming] non-rhotic"? In terms of numbers, I believe more people speak General American than the Queen's English. Is "mainstream" defined by something other than number of speakers? (In terms of the proposal...
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    I have read that ancient Athens did have a police force. But it wasn't considered fitting work for free men, so it was made up entirely of slaves. I wonder how that actually worked. . . ....
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    That's a new word for me. So I looked it up. Now I know what it means, but I'm still not sure I understand it. Something to do with the way you pronounce the letter 'r'? Back in the sixties,...
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    Yes, and that was what I suggested in my original post: That if Stirling wanted to sneak in a hint as to the pronunciation for the benefit of readers unfamiliar with the word, he could have had the engineer talk...
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    A LiveJournal group I belong to had a proposal to revise English spelling to be phonetic. Unfortunately, from my viewpoint, the proposal came from someone who had been taught UK English. I speak California English, which is a form of...
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    Not only Arthur Conan Doyle, but L. Frank Baum (in The Emerald City of Oz) and Hugh Lofting (in Dr. Doolittle in the Moon) tried to escape from popular series and were dragged back to them by reader and publisher...
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    "Trebushet" sounds like a plausible UK pronunciation. But I don't think it's a likely US one. A comparable case would be "valet," which can have a t at the end in UK English, but is "vallay" in US English. And...
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    I think you're not actually responding to the point I was making. It's not that I'm suggesting that an English speaker, encountering the written word "trebuchet," could not make the mistake of pronouncing it as "tree bucket"; I've mispronounced words...
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    I tend to be bothered by linguistic slips. In S.M. Stirling's Dies the Fire, there's a scene where an engineer is building a trebuchet to repel the attack of the bad guys. He discusses it with his helpers, and one...
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    Just as a footnote, when I ran my alternate Middle-Earth campaign, about the resistance movement in a world where Sauron won, I thought of Tolkien's line about the "great slave-worked fields" in southern Mordor (all that soil enriched by volcanic...
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    "Did feudal societies not have insurance?" The term "feudal" is so broadly used that it probably doesn't admit of a siingle answer. But if the intent is "medieval," then at least in the post-1000 medieval ages, guilds provided that function,...
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    Tastes differ. Tolkien wrote my single favorite of all the novels I've read. My favorite science fiction novel is Kingsbury's Courtship Rite, set on a really exotic world with an elaborately worked out culture. I do want a good story...
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    I've read the first two volumes. But I'm afraid that in the first volume, when I came on the figures on how fast their vehicles travelled, and how much time the average human being spent travelling, and did the arithmetic,...
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    C and I had a rather different experience of changing cultural assumptions the other day. We're watching original Star Trek, in the original sequence (she never saw all the episodes, as her parents didn't care for SF in any form),...
  • Commented on Dude, you broke the future!
    In the bioscience journals that I've copy edited, the style is that you spell out the genus the first time, but abbreviate it thereafter. But I've never seen the epithet abbreviated, in any article I've edited or any reference I've...
  • Commented on Dude, you broke the future!
    Not all governments were despotic monarchies, even in the ancient world. The Roman Republic is a clear counterexample, as the name suggests (res publica, the thing that belongs to the people), and a strikingly successful one for a long time....
  • Commented on Unforeseen Consequences and that 1929 vibe
    It's been a while since I read the two-volume biography, but I thought the first marriage lasted a lot less time than that, one measured in months rather than years....
  • Commented on Unforeseen Consequences and that 1929 vibe
    I think that "nobody above the law" would prevent the plutocrat from being able to take that special position; and "equality before the law" would elevate the peasants to the same level as the plutocrat. In any case it's a...
  • Commented on Unforeseen Consequences and that 1929 vibe
    Is there a link for the ammonia to hydrogen process? I've been starting to do some research on fuel cell technology for a current project, but I haven't run into this information as yet....
  • Commented on Unforeseen Consequences and that 1929 vibe
    I have to say, about the word "libertarian," that I have called myself that since I learned the word in 1969, and have used it with a fairly consistent meaning throughout that time. What I mean by it is fairly...
  • Commented on Burn The Programmer!
    I've been learning verse (mostly but not all English) by heart for over fifty years. It has given me a strong sense for how useful rhyme and alliteration and meter are as mnemonic devices; I probably know a dozen or...
  • Commented on A bright and shiny hell
    I find a phone mildly convenient; I can call home from the supermarket and ask, "Do you want me to get A or B." But my biggest reason for having one is that pay phones, which used to be available...
  • Commented on A bright and shiny hell
    I have only an immediate emotional reaction: I glanced at the book, and saw a sentence on page 1 that began with "Said instructor," which to my ear is a horrid piece of jargon suited only to police reports and...
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