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Monday, April 29, 2013

Expert analysis: Could the eagles have flown Frodo into Mordor?

You may recall this scene toward the end of The Return of the King in which Frodo and Sam are rescued from certain death by the Eagles of the Misty Mountains after destroying the Ring in the fires of Mount Doom:

Everyone who has seen the movie or read the book has asked themselves the same question: Why didn't the Eagles just fly Frodo into Mordor and save him from the perilous journey on foot? If the Ring's destruction was absolutely necessary to save the world, then sending a Hobbit on what was sure to be a long, drawn-out suicide mission wouldn't be my idea of a winning strategy.

Sean Crist has done the research and envisions how a plan involving the Eagles might have unfolded:
  1. After the Council of Elrond, but before the Company departs from Rivendell, Gandalf goes up to the Misty Mountains, hails the eagles, and discusses the matter with them to secure their cooperation and to coordinate the plan.
  2. The Grey Company travels as they did in the text, passing thru Lórien and traveling down the Anduin on boats.
  3. At some point on the Anduin, the company lands on the east bank, abandons the boats, and travels on foot north of the Emyn Muil thru the uninhabited Brown Lands. They then turn south and end up at some point along the Ered Lithui around a hundred miles east of Cirith Gorgor, directly north of Mount Doom on the north side of the mountains.
  4. The eagles rendezvous with the company at some pre-arranged spot just north of the Ered Lithui. It's likely that Aragorn (or someone else) would have previously traveled in the Brown Lands and would be able to designate some landmark as a suitable meeting place.
  5. An eagle carries Frodo to Mount Doom in a single flight, possibly accompanied by other eagles and by other members of the Grey Company. Frodo goes into Sammath Naur and throws the Ring into the Cracks of Doom.
Probably something like this:

Crist came to the conclusion long ago that this was simply a plot hole that Tolkien never bothered to address:

My contention is that there is nothing in the text to rule out such a plan, and that it is simply a hole in the plot of an otherwise excellent book that the issue is never brought up. This is not to say that LoTR is in any way a bad book; it merely shows that even as excellent a writer as Tolkien does not always succeed at perfectly harmonizing the various entities which he has placed in his world.
He goes on to address 12 objections one might raise in defense of the story as originally penned by Tolkien. If you're in a geeky mood, it's well worth the read.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

This is America, right?

Just a few thoughts that went through my head when I saw the images of the police lockdown in Watertown, Massachusetts.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Education vs. Schooling

Ignorance is bliss. Don't read.

(via Facebook)

Thursday, April 18, 2013

New 'Man of Steel' trailer marks Superman's 75th birthday

75 years ago today, the world was introduced to Superman in Action Comics #1. To mark the occasion, Warner Brothers has released an extended trailer for the new Superman movie, Man of Steel. Enjoy!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Government recommends using office supplies to stop a workplace shooting

DHS-approved scissors should be enough to stop a gun-toting madman.
If you need more evidence of the idiocy that is running rampant among the ruling elite in Washington, consider this recent "training" video from your friends at the Department of Homeland (In)Security. The purpose of the video is to demonstrate "possible actions to take if confronted with a (sic) active shooter scenario" (an office building in this case) and review "the choices of evacuating, hiding, or, as an option of last resort, challenging the shooter."

It is assumed that you won't be "challenging the shooter" with a gun because, well, you're too stupid and irresponsible. Guns are for those wearing government-issued costumes, not mere civilians. Besides, if you have access to an arsenal of office supplies, like scissors, staplers, rubber bands, and sticky notes, why on earth would you need a gun?

The DHS title is "Options for Consideration Active Shooter Training Video." However, I think a more appropriate title would be "How to Be a Victim and Increase Your Chances of Dying."

(Click here to watch on YouTube.)

Here's a brief sampling of the accompanying YouTube comments:
Great video. Very helpful!

Which brand of scissors do you recommend for self-defense? ...Are Scotch brand any good, or should I spend extra and get Fiskars?

The video didn't specify if I should attempt to stab the gunman or throw the scissors at him and run away. I'd like your advice. Thanks!

Citizens: Because you aren't allowed to defend yourself you must cower in fear and try to escape. Scissors will probably be the most effective weapon you will have handy. Abandon your wounded friends and walk toward the huddled together group of police dressed in black that have assault weapons you can't own while keeping your hands up. Do exactly as they say and don't walk too fast or make any fast motions because they might kill you. Once outside thank god for DHS.

Shouldn't you have more than scissors to protect yourself? For instance, some paper. In case the active shooter has a rock...

DHS, you're pathetic. Since carry's legal in 49 (soon 50) states, failing to address the possibility of sheepdogs among these sheep is irresponsible. "If a colleague is armed, avoid being behind his target. Be sure you help him get a clear shot at the guy we're suggesting you use scissors against, in order that your obituary can at least claim you were brave against sadly overwhelming odds." Good grief, DHS.

Everyone run, hide, or die until your armed betters show up. Pathetic.

Pathetic indeed.

(via The Knight Shift)

"Bring out your dead!" Suspected Black Death burial pit found in London

I'm not sure how routine it is to have a team of archaeologists working alongside a construction crew, but in a historically rich city like London, it may be rather common. Last month, during the excavation of a new railway station, archaeologists uncovered what is believed to be a mass grave for victims of bubonic plague, known during medieval times as the Black Death.

Here's something I didn't know. Each year, the U.S. sees about 10 to 20 cases of the plague from flea or rodent bites, and most of those are from infected prairie dogs in rural southwestern areas. The death rate is around one in seven.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Amazing hyper-lapse video made with Google Street View

Everyone is familiar with time-lapse video, in which a stationary camera shoots frames at a slower speed and then strings those images together to create a scene that seems to fly by. A hyper-lapse video is very similar, but it takes the process one step further by adding camera movements, usually focusing on a particular point of interest.

A hyper-lapse video system utilizing Google Street View has been developed byTeehan+Lax, and it is definitely one of the coolest things I've seen in a long time. Check it out!

(via Kottke)

Monday, April 08, 2013

7-year-old cancer patient scores 69-yard touchdown

Seven-year-old Jack Hoffman has been fighting brain cancer, but that didn't stop him from being the MVP at Nebraska's spring football game on Saturday. I think it will be difficult to top this as the most heartwarming moment in sports this year.

Monday, April 01, 2013

Google's hilarious April Fools' Day prank: Announcing shutdown of YouTube

Turns out YouTube was nothing more than a contest to find the best video.

Thanks for all your great entries. YouTube finally has enough videos to begin selecting a winner. What do you think is the #bestvideo on YouTube?

We've been thrilled with all of the diverse, creative entries we've seen so far, and we can't wait to begin the process of selecting the best video. We'll be announcing the winner in 10 years.

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