A Superset Isn’t “the Opposite”

Among other poorly-supported and inconsistently-reasoned arguments, Stephen J. Heaney puts forth the claim that “a vow…before the community to engage in a project that is greater than the couple” and “an expression of the desires of two people…[which] the community must support…whatever they choose–to have…children…or not” are in direct opposition: “To accept one definition, one must reject the other”. [I didn’t intentionally change the meaning with all those elisions–just trying to make the statements a bit more concise; the original statements make up the entire 2nd paragraph of the source.]

A little diagram:

Marriage diagram

Continue reading

Dinosaurs of the Carpathians

Magyarosaurus, from Wikipedia

There were once dwarf sauropods living on the islands that are now the Carpathian Mountains. These dinosaurs were not much bigger than a horse, and lived along side miniature ankylosaurs and tiny iguanadonts. Which makes me think of a Lost World-type setting, deep in the untamed wilderness in the heights of Romania. There, the dinosaurs have survived, along with the bears, wolves, lynxes, and vampires.

This is a setting mash-up, taking two common tropes and stirring them together to see what happens, triggered by the geographic overlap of their real-world sources.

Continue reading

Thoughts on Burning Wheel

For years I didn’t play Burning Wheel because I was scared of it: I was intimidated, it would take too much effort, we’d have to devote a lot of time to it, and so on. At one point, we made some characters, and that was as far as it got–we never played them. But I always wanted to. In addition to it sounding good on paper, and chatting with the author over the years, my good friend Eppy has played with Luke, so I had a bit more understanding of how the game works, and really liked what I heard.

Then, we finally played it. It’s everything I had always been told it would be. Unlike, say, D&D3E, what I experienced was exactly what it said on the tin (with one minor nitpick–I’ll get to that later). 

Continue reading

So You Want To Shrink the Government?

Here’s the basic problem with wanting to drastically cut gov’t spending, rather than increasing taxes (or a combo of both):

Everyone, both politicians and citizens, proposes “wasteful” or “unneeded” programs to cut. But every program is wasteful, too big, or completely unneeded to someone. It’s easy to cut a program you’re not using (or are using but don’t really need). If you want me to take you seriously when you say that we need to cut gov’t, tell me 3 gov’t services that you rely on–not just use, but that it would actually hurt you to lose, and you’d have to give something up to compensate, or otherwise change your life without it–to cut. Big or small, doesn’t matter to me; what matters is that they matter to you. Continue reading

No Right to Vote?

I ran into a new version of Constitutionalism today: apparently the fact that the Constitution doesn’t come right out and say “the People have a right to vote” (or a near synonym) is an excuse for at least some to argue that there “is no right to vote in the Constitution”. Thus ignoring the many constructions that talk about voting, including a couple Amendments that talk about not abrogating the right to vote–which wouldn’t make a lot of sense unless there were such a right.

Still, I learned some things today: Continue reading

Where are the Facts?!

I’m listening to the Presidential debate, and I keep waiting for, you know, some facts to turn up. I expected Romney to dodge the details: “I’ll cut healthcare costs, guarantee people get coverage, and do it without the federal government, because the states can handle it better.” And so on. But I was surprised at the degree to which Obama didn’t rebut him with facts.

Continue reading