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Zompist.com: Mark Rosenfelder's Metaverse



Recent changes to Zompist.com.



Copyright: Copyright 2006 Mark Rosenfelder.
 



How to argue with Zompist
As well as why to do it.



Xurnese grammar
The Xurnese grammar is finally up.



New location for the rant page
The rants page, after years of denying that it's a blog, now *is* a blog. I've moved it to Wordpress, since the hassle of posting, though small, is just large enough to prevent me from posting most of the time.



Dark matter and dark materials
Review of His Dark Materials, by Philip Pullman.



Nobel's other mistake
Did Al Gore deserve to win?



The Right's noseplant
Angst among Christians and CEOs.



Ron Paul, Maps, Iraq, and Tolkien
No less than four questions. And answers!



Good and bad Orientals: 1943
Subtle propaganda. Also, baseball team loyalty map.



Our purple country
Great map showing US politics by population density.



Moore bitter blues
I'm dragged to a Michael Moore film.



Bible politics
Local Englishes and whether they'll still be there in 1500 years. And is it time to reevaluate Arafat?



Bible politics
The meaning of life, and ordering Gemma and Emma.



More on authoritarians
Authoritarians and social dominators from the source.



Conservativism conquered from within
John Dean answers two questions: Where did all these conservatives come from? And what the hell is wrong with them?



Bond overdose
What Bond has in common with the Beatles.



The Hot Gates
Thoughts on one of history's most famous lost battles.



Bible politics
Why did Christians move from social justice to minding the mote in their neighbors' eyes?



Bob's Comics Reviews: Digger, Slow Wave, the PBF
Web comics explore wombats, dreams, and sick humor.



Touting my brother
Showing off my brother Terry's paintings.



What kind of ape are we?
Frans de Waal challenges the popular depiction of nature as savage and brutal.



Underrated things
We've had overrated things; now the underrated things.



More mistakes in Iraq
More tales of outrageous failure.



The children's railway... FROM HELL
My boss scars his children with an inexplicable toy railway.



Overrated things
Questions on overrated aspects of the 20th century; on Dave Sim; and on electoral scurrilousness.



How not to win in Iraq
Why Bush's plans won't work. Executive summary: continuing to follow the same failed plan will result in more failure.



How to win in Iraq
Everyone should embarrass themselves with a plan for Iraq. Here's mine.



Fuschia's day off
The first Fuschia Chang comic in five years.



The Gipper and the GIMP
Questions on afterthoughts, on Linux, and on Ronald Reagan.



Back from the brink
So it turns out that the American people don't have limitless patience with failed war, Congressional corruption, fiscal irresponsibility, shameful emergency management, unchecked presidential arrogance, reflex negativity, and small-minded denial.



Bob's Comics Reviews: Making Comics, 99 Ways to Tell a Story
Scott McCloud and Matt Madden show you, between them, well over a hundred ways to make comics.



Ask Zompist
Does the Koran encourage intolerance?



Ask Zompist
Why schools are the worst way to teach kids.



Ask Zompist
A cheap way to generate more site content by having you, the readers, submit questions! Three new answers are up.



The Book of a Million Years
A review of Poul Anderson's sf novel, which wasn't quite named that but might as well be.



Ask Zompist
A cheap way to generate more site content by having you, the readers, submit questions! First answers are up. Questions, too!



Do you get discounts on meat?
These are illustrated snippets of chat from #spinnwebe. They may not be for you if you have a weak stomach or a strong conscience. This one features tieboy, Samwise, Kyol, Bob, and me.



How consies think
Why does Bush want to shred the Constitution? Tony Auth pretty much nailed it back in 1983.



Gaming rationality
An economist offers you and a stranger $10. The stranger proposes a division of the money; you can accept that, or reject it-- in which case no one gets anything. What's the rational strategy?



The Almeopedia
Or, Virtual Verduria for short attention spans.



The World Ceres
Who cares about Pluto? I wanted planetary status for Ceres!



Bob's Comics Reviews: Posy Simmonds, Alison Bechdel
Graphic novels that really seem like novels: one a satirical modern retelling of "Madame Bovary", the other an autobiographical work from the creator of "Dykes to Watch Out For". Also, all the Bobs were converted to the new format and prev/next buttons were added so you can read them in sequence.



Don't fall for it
The foiled terror attack will probably give a temporary boost to Bush. In fact, the attempted attacks are more evidence that Bush and DeLay's approach is wrong, and makes us less safe...



Busted analogies
Sometimes an analogy is so awful that it actually attains reverse sentience, sucking out intelligence and working against progress.



He rode a blazing saddle
How well does Blazing Saddles hold up, thirty years later?



Oblivion Journal
More thoughts on Oblivion: neat stuff; world-building critique.



Oblivion Journal
Or, why there haven't been any updates lately. I should really return that amulet to Weynon Priory sometime.



The rogues
A forgotten god is not powerless. A new story in Virtual Verduria.



Never mind, the mockingbird's already dead
Critics swing their puny little daggers at To Kill a Mockingbird but fail to dispel the magicka.



How to win, and whether we want to
Democrats are savoring an unusual taste these days: the taste of possible incipient victory. It's sweet and a little effervescent, with a nutty undercurrent of potential failure...



Why Iraq got borked
What happened in Iraq? It's hard to imagine a better answer than George Packer's The Assassins' Gate...



Bob's Comics Reviews: Jay Stephens and more Alan Moore
Having fun with, or at, superheroes.



How to do better at Civ4 than you probably were
If you can't beat Prince, I'll tell you how. If you can beat Monarch or higher, please tell me how.



I rant
In which I describe everything that we should be doing militarily in Iran in the next 2.5 years.



Broken Board Games
What exactly makes for great gameplay is a deep mystery... but not so deep that it can't be argued about.



Report Card
OK, you people said you wanted more rants, more rants is what you'll get. What's going wrong *this* month?



zompist.com Reader Survey
Results of my first reader survey, which was your chance to offer feedback, help determine the direction of the site, and influence the development of culture for centuries to come.



Sam gets a checkup
These are illustrated snippets of chat from #spinnwebe. They may not be for you if you have a weak stomach or a strong conscience. This big ol' number features Samwise, Agent Orange, Tieboy, Spinn, Craig, SeanQ, Lore, and Bob.



Now I get it
These are illustrated snippets of chat from #spinnwebe. They may not be for you if you have a weak stomach or a strong conscience. This one features Lore, Bob, Tieboy, Sean, Zompist, and Spinn.



Historical Atlas of Skouras
The Skourene Historical Atlas is complete, with the addition of three final maps (1705, 1726, 1810).



Where are we really on the national debt?
A nice visualization of what's happening to the US debt. By the way, there's no separate RSS entry because it's on another site, but check out the Russian Culture Test here: http://accidentalrussophile.blogspot.com/2006/02/if-you-are-russian.html



How to tell if you're English
By Justin M. Entirely revised for the brave new world of 2006.



No jokes, British blokes
Notes on Woody Allen's latest film, "Match Point".



Hollywood's Right-Wing Bias
If there's any recognizable ideology behind American movies, I'd say its pretty conservative...



80% of Narnia
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and some People Gaping At Them A Lot...



No, swear to God
These are illustrated snippets of chat from #spinnwebe. They may not be for you if you have a weak stomach or a strong conscience. This one features Agent Orange, Freyja, Kyol, and Tieboy.



Historical Atlas of Skouras
The first ten maps in a new historical atlas focussing on Skouras. I'll be putting up two new maps a week till it's done.



Ancient Skouras: A history
The commentary for the historical atlas. Introductory material and comments for the first ten maps, including information on Skourene religion, political systems, and arts.



Two movies you probably should've gone to see
Thoughts on Mirrormask and Serenity and, as a lagniappe, Aeon Flux.



New Rant: In denial, but at least it's planned denial
The new plan for Iraq is full of fine goals and almost as many holes.



New Rant: Taking over the world again
So, you ask, how's Civ4?



New Rant: Wanna Wiki?
Reflections on Wikipedia.



English words from India
English words from the Indian subcontinent.



Ukrainian culture test
The latest in an ongoing series of culture tests; this one is by Vadim Urasov.



New Rant: The Lousiana disaster: Time to grow up
An open letter to conservatives on how not to get kicked out of power.



New Rant: The Lousiana disaster: Promises
Two good places to look for more info on the Gulf Coast disaster.



English words from Chinese
A list of all the English words I could find that derive from Chinese.



Bob's Comics Reviews: Frank Miller and Percy Crosby
If you don't like either one of these two comics, there's something wrong with you.



New Rant: The Lousiana disaster: Ask questions
Natural disasters and how to make them worse.



New Rant: Annoying the creationists
Is evolution incompatible with religion, and why would Jacob Weisberg think it's a good idea for evolutionists to think so? Also, can we use a computer-generated nude to prove Weisberg wrong on another point?



New Rant: Ecce Bostonia
Random thoughts about being in Boston for six months now.



@randomquote
These are illustrated snippets of chat from #spinnwebe. They may not be for you if you have a weak stomach or a strong conscience. This one features Lore, Spinnbot, Samwise, Freyja, Bob, SeanQ and Tieboy.



Swatoon: Sam tells a joke
These are illustrated snippets of chat from #spinnwebe. They may not be for you if you have a weak stomach or a strong conscience. This one features Samwise, Leth, Tieboy, Agent Orange, and a few walk-ons.



Old Skourene
A grammar and lexicon of the Old Skourene language, which is spoken by people who are no longer living in a place which does not actually exist.



New Rant: Why is there no Batman
From Revenge of the Sith to Batman Begins, with some side reflections on Miller, Mafias, and morbid political movements.



New Rant: Welcome to your empire
Can a republic be the basis for an empire? We're not talking about Chancellor Palpatine here; we're talking about Niall Ferguson's Colossus, an overview of the history and prospects of the empire that Americans don't like to believe they have...



Swatoon: You know what they need to clone?
These are illustrated snippets of chat from #spinnwebe. They may not be for you if you have a weak stomach or a strong conscience. This one features Tieboy, Agent Orange, Samwise, and SeanQ.



How to tell if you're Skourene
Would you eat that? I'll have a slice / Do I get paid for taking this test? People and other people Why you'd better get along with your mother-in-law and more



New Rant: How to think about Hitchhiker's
Here's some complaints I don't want to hear any more about the Hitchhiker's movie:...



What's wrong with libertarianism
Entirely rewritten version: it now takes twice as long to arrive at the same conclusion! (The major changes are to show that yes, people really do say this stuff; to avoid sidebars that no one seemed to read; and to respond to some criticisms.)



New Rant: Never define
A correspondent tried to define libertarianism at me the other day. Naturally, I didn't stand for that nonsense. People love to work out definitions, as if this told them something about the world....



Bob's Comics Reviews: Rich Burlew and Roy Lichtenstein
Why most web comics suck, and one that doesn't. Plus, Roy Lichtenstein examined from a comics perspective.



New Rant: That Man
Most people are New Dealers today. But what did the New Deal look like at the time? Who opposed it? Did FDR really know what he was doing?



Swatoon: Animal control
These are illustrated snippets of chat from #spinnwebe. They may not be for you if you have a weak stomach or a strong conscience. This one features Agent Orange, Craig, and me.



Swatoon: Everyone's dongle
These are illustrated snippets of chat from #spinnwebe. They may not be for you if you have a weak stomach or a strong conscience. This one features Lore, Tieboy, Craig, Freyja, and me.



New Rant: The Diamond Age
I recently finished The Diamond Age, Neal Stephenson's follow-up to Snow Crash. It's a lot of fun-- once I was about a third of the way in, I had to stick with it till I was done. I think Snow Crash is more of a mind-blower; but The Diamond Age is a lot more coherent; it's not just a sequence of set pieces, but a unified whole....