Farewell to Middle-earth …


With the last Hobbit movie coming out in two weeks, a fond retrospective of the series by A Tolkienist’s Perspective.

A Tolkienist's Perspective


Hello everyone.

It seems that real life is getting busier and busier for me – which might explain the lack of updates on this blog.

Nevertheless, I’m always checking to read your fabulous comments and I promise that I will be replying soon.

That said, I’m still – on a daily basis – counting down the days till The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is released. So much so, that I have found time to do a short video about it …

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Hardcore Truth: How Fans Ruin Their Own Fun


Positively Woodworthian

Don’t be a hardcore fan, be a big one.

Why not? Hardcore fans almost always end up ruining their enjoyment of what they profess to adore, while “merely” big fans go on their merry way, still finding new things to enjoy and explore about what they love for years at a time. Today’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer release has given me ample evidence of this notion, because while we big fans of Star Wars are debating the pros and cons of what we’ve seen (and what’s been left out), the hardcore fan response has been pretty much the same. It’s either a rapturous, no-room-for-discussion “IT IS STAR WARS SO IT WILL BE AMAZING ALL WHO DOUBT IT ARE WRONG”, or more often a close-minded rejection of the very notion that anything could possibly be as good as the sainted Holy Trinity, usually accompanied by some tired lens flare…

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Gifts 2014: NERD BLOCK


Comics Grinder


Here at Comic Grinder HQ, we’re constantly looking for cool stuff to share with you. I had just made a fresh batch of hot cocoa and was gearing up for the day when Roy burst into the office with the latest mail bag, which happened to be bursting too, at the seams, no less. “You better step it up, we have a motherload of packages and parcels. Best you get to reviewing straightaway!” And so I did. I picked up the first box and, lo and behold, it was from Nerd Block. I have heard many good things about them and I went right into taking stock of the box’s contents in the video below:

Nerd Block makes a great gift for anyone. If you enjoy pop culture, then Nerd Block has got something for you. Nerd Block is a monthly mystery package delivered right to your door filled with…

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Lots Of Kickstarters Due


A loft full of lead

kickstarterI’m sure something similar to this happened a month or so ago, but I have a bunch of Kickstarters delivering at about the same time again.

ramshacklelandtrainCurtis Fell’s Squat Land Train is shipping right now so could arrive at any time and I am really looking forward to this. I have gone for a few extra trailers and additional weapons and even some other bits from the Ramshackle shop including a light tank that I may just need to buy a few more of.

prussianscrunts1Bob Olley’s Prussian Scrunts are shipping soon and I am really looking forward to those. I opted for lots of basic riflemen infantry models as these guys will form the backbone of an army and will crew the massive Squat/Scrunt Land Train.

Rob Angell’s Curious Constructs Steampunk Weapons are shipping soon and I am really looking forward to those. I went for typically Prussian/German models such…

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Straw Vulcans, Logic and Game Theory


Blogging to Share Knowledge


One of Star Trek’s most popular aliens are the Vulcans — a “purely logical” species that eschewed emotion. While Vulcans were an interesting species, they were unfortunately often used as  straw men used to attack the logic vs. emotion dichotomy.  In fact, this attack has become so cliched, that it earned a name: Straw Vulcan, and there’s even a video on the subject here.

Star Trek’s treatment of Vulcans is so simplistic, it fails in its very premise — the false dichotomy between logic and emotion.  See, rather than being opposing forces, logic SERVES emotion by charting an efficient course to emotional satisfaction. AS such, agents are logical to the extent that they efficiently satisfy their emotional goals — whatever they may be.  In fact, without emotion, there would be no goal for logic; no reason for anyone to explore, play 3D chess or even get…

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“The Universe Should Not Have Lasted for More than a Second”: The limitations of scientific theories



Stan Hummel called my attention to, and asked for my thoughts on this article: Big Bang Theory Challenged –“The Universe Should Not Have Lasted for More than a Second”.

British cosmologists are puzzled: they predict that the universe should not have lasted for more than a second. This startling conclusion is the result of combining the latest observations of the sky with the recent discovery of the Higgs boson. according to Robert Hogan of King’s College London (KCL), who will present the new research today, 24 June at the Royal Astronomical Society‘s National Astronomy Meeting.

In the new research, scientists from KCL have investigated what the BICEP2 observations mean for the stability of the Universe. To do this, they combined the results with recent advances in particle physics. The detection of the Higgs boson by the Large Hadron Collider was announced in July 2012; since then…

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SMBC: To the collider!



This may well be the best explanation of particle colliders, like the Large Hadron Collider, I’ve seen in a long time.

Click through for full sized version, and for the Feynman diagram in the red button caption.

via Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal.

Of course, none of it might be fundamental.  It might be structure, patterns, mathematics, whatever, all the way down.  Even when we can’t go down any further, there will always be doubt that maybe, perhaps, there is something more fundamental farther down than we can observe.

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Eavesdropping on E.T. and the possibility of interstellar travel



Gabriel Popkin as an article at Inside Science about a study that looks at the possibility of intercepting communications between other alien civilizations.  The idea is that communicating across interstellar distances is best done with lasers.

So far, the optical search for extraterrestrial intelligence has focused mainly on the hope of receiving—and recognizing—an intentional, laser-encoded message. Researchers use dedicated telescopes or mine astronomical data collected for other purposes, like the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, to search for light pulses that could not be produced by any known object like a star. So far, no one has reported a light pattern that suggests an extraterrestrial intelligence.

But rather than look for light beamed directly at us, astronomers could also try to intercept signals sent between two distant civilizations. If advanced beings have existed for millions of years, they may well have found each other and started talking. Eventually many light…

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7 Fantastic Middle-earth Theories


A Tolkienist's Perspective

Dos Header

Brilliant, thought-provoking theories that are debunked, unfounded and pretty much confirmed

I’ve decided to tackle 7 theories constructed by readers of Tolkien’s Middle-earth, that are rather extraordinary in concept and make perfect sense (though some can be disproved or contested).

There are many arguments in discussion around the characters and stories of Middle-earth; but I’ve decided to focus on a few which have struck me the most.

Starting from the impossible and busted arguments to the more plausible ones, here we go …

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