jeffthelinguist asks:

Maybe this answer exists somewhere online and I’m dumb, but… what benefit does Sudowoodo have using mimicry to appear as a tree? It seems like that is a poor choice for a rock type given it’s weak to water (which intelligent creatures will naturally pour on it).

uh

well, it

um

I suppose my first instinct is to say that, on an evolutionary timescale, creatures who see plants and immediately think to pour water on them are probably a recent enough arrival in the world that they wouldn’t have had much impact on Sudowoodo’s physiology or evolved instinctive behaviour yet.  But we don’t really know that’s true; there are Pokémon that modify and curate their environments; there are even Pokémon that tend gardens.  The Pokédex says that Sudowoodo looks like a tree to avoid predators, and that does make sense to me; I have no problem with that.  So I suppose the best answer is probably that looking like a tree does work really well for its intended purpose – well enough that it’s worth accepting the unfortunate side effect of sometimes having water poured on you.

Dosidicus Giygas asks:

There’s an interesting parallel in Gen I between Eevee’s three original evolutions and the three Legendary Birds in terms of typing. Fire, ice, and lightning are common elemental distinctions in RPGs with magic/energy/psionics/whathaveyou, so it makes sense that Pokemon would draw from this tradition for inspiration, though it’s a little odd that there is a discrepancy between Vaporeon (Water Type) and Articuno (Ice Type). Any thoughts on why that is? Furthermore, why didn’t Game Freak apply this logic to the starters, who are halfway there anyway? For something more varied/interesting? For a better justification of type balance?

Type balance isn’t exactly right, because I don’t think it’s about fairness, or at least not entirely, but it’s something like that.  Grass/Fire/Water has this nice rock/paper/scissors relationship that serves as an easy and intuitive introduction to one of Pokémon’s core mechanics, which is a pretty valuable thing for new players.  It doesn’t really work if you try to shoehorn Electric in there, because thematically there just isn’t an obvious relationship between Electric and Fire.  Other games that use Fire/Ice/Lightning don’t usually have “type advantages” in the same way as Pokémon does; several iterations of Final Fantasy, for example, have Fire and Ice being strong against each other, with Lightning doing its own thing (often being strong against mechanical enemies); Final Fantasy X adds Water as a fourth element to form another opposed pair with Lightning.  Pokémon just has different needs to those games.

Continue reading “Dosidicus Giygas asks:”

Random Access asks:

So the fundamental concepts of modern physics is older than the concept of the four classical elements?

(follow-up to this)

Ehhhhh, I wouldn’t go that far.  It’s more that Thales lived in a time of… let’s call it experimentation.  The Greek philosophers of the 6th century BC were kinda throwing stuff at the wall to see what would stick.  His notion that water might be the one fundamental “stuff” was just one of several ideas being tossed around at the time; other philosophers suggested air, or aether, and of course the idea that wound up dominating was Empedocles’ belief that there were four different kinds of fundamental “stuff” (earth, water, fire and air). Continue reading “Random Access asks:”

Anonymous asks:

I’ve been reading about monism and ancient monistic philosophers (particularly Thales), and I find it absolutely fascinating! Could you please explain the topic a little more in-depth, in your usual easy-to-read style? 🙂 I’m also wondering if our current scientific knowledge points to a neo-monistic view of the universe (in that everything is made up of atoms)? (although I understand that atoms are made up of protons, neutrons, and electrons) (matter and energy are the same thing, aren’t they?)

Well, pre-Socratic philosophy is not exactly my “thing” but here goes

So Thales was a Greek philosopher who lived in Miletus (modern Milet, western Turkey), probably around the early 6th century BC, who was famous for predicting eclipses, and discovering that any angle in a semicircle is always a right angle, good stuff like that.  We don’t have anything written by Thales himself, but we know a fair bit about his thinking and his achievements in engineering and mathematics because he gets quoted a lot by later Greek philosophers.  Apparently, one of the things that Thales believed was that everything is water. Continue reading “Anonymous asks:”