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Comment: Re:Plot Hole (Score 1) 167

by Etherwalk (#49617841) Attached to: Why Scientists Love 'Lord of the Rings'

The entire point of the books is missed if the eagles drop the ring in. Sorry, not a great ring of power, just a magic bauble of the sorts you find in D&D. It's not just a story of a great big adventure. The point is the struggle with the ring, the struggle between the factions, the struggle most of the people had with themselves, and so forth.

Or to use a word from Pratchett: narrativium.

The Hamlet Defense! (I.e. why didn't Hamlet just kill his Uncle in Act I?)

Very true and an entirely legitimate narrative device; it's just much more impressive when the storyteller shows awareness of the hole (and preferably has a bit of fun with it). Like if you had that last host of the Captains of the West surrounded by all the armies of Morder at the Black Gate, and then the eagles show up, and Merry turns to Gandalf and is all "Er... Why didn't we--"

Comment: Rationalization (Score 1) 167

by Etherwalk (#49617821) Attached to: Why Scientists Love 'Lord of the Rings'

Honesty, the nerd tendency to reject the statement "but at the end of the day we know we're rationalizing it" is sad, pathetic, hilarious, and fascinating.

Actually, that would be a really interesting study--self-awareness of rationalization. I bet you could tie it in in a useful way with learned intentional decision-making and self-improvement. It's an interesting question what the overlap to the nerd and geek communities are, but those communities are not clearly defined so you've got a whole field to build up. I wonder what studies have been done already... mmm...

Comment: Re:Plot Hole (Score 1) 167

by Etherwalk (#49613499) Attached to: Why Scientists Love 'Lord of the Rings'

The Fell Beasts didn't need to be ridden. The Servants of Sauron were completely capable of acting on their own. It's not a rationalization. You'd have to learn a bit more to know this, but as you've already closed your mind I rather doubt you're in the mood for learning. Plus, studying Tolkien-lore is much like being good at chess...it's a useless skill that only pleases its student. Your time would be better spent learning applied skills.

They were, but they didn't appear until later in the book and I don't believe there was an indication that they were known to exist by the Fellowship before they were encountered. Of course, IIRC there was some lore in the Silmarillian about the flying beasts from Angband, but I can't remember for sure offhand whether that included beasts on the small scale (as opposed to dragons).

In any event, your post-hoc explanation may make perfect sense, but without some hard evidence that the author made a decision for that reason, it's still a post-hoc explanation for a seeming inconsistency and therefore suspect as a rationalization. (No offense being intended or implied by the term. It turns out hindsight bias is *really* hard to guard against.)

I suppose you could argue it's a Hamlet-type plot hole (deliberately left in so that you have the rest of the production, even though everyone knows it's a plot hole).

Comment: Re:Who will win? (Score 1) 171

No, not only China. Uber's business model is illegal in most of the world where there are already laws governing charging fares to passengers in your car.

Not only China, but more China. As a practical matter, I have never heard anything good about China's response to foreign business investments. It's probably the single biggest thing limiting their growth at the moment. Worse, even companies investing billions there have to basically have a Chinese company do it for them because there is so much corruption that it is impossible to do it themselves without violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Comment: Re:Shakespeare (Score 3, Insightful) 167

by Etherwalk (#49613275) Attached to: Why Scientists Love 'Lord of the Rings'

But Saruman was washed away by Neptune's great ocean.

Hahahah. Silly movie. He was defeated by the Ents...

Although actually, his later death in the book was incredibly well done, with Frodo's words incredibly moving, even after the Scouring of the Shire, showing the profound hopefulness of the book--while perfectly catching and distilling the core of an audience response to Aristotelian tragedy.

"No, Sam!" said Frodo, "Do not kill him even now. For he has not hurt me, And in any case I do not wish him to be slain in this evil mood. He was great once, of a noble kind that we should not dare to raise our hands against. He is fallen, and his cure is beyond us; but I would still spare him, in the hope that he may find it."

Comment: Re:Plot Hole (Score 1) 167

by Etherwalk (#49613179) Attached to: Why Scientists Love 'Lord of the Rings'

Short version: why didn't they just ask the Eagles to fly them to Mordor? Or over the mountains?

Short (prevalent) answer: Eagles would be extremely easy to spot over the skies of Mordor, and thus would be stopped before they got to Mount Doom. They were willing/able to pick up Frodo at the end because Sauron had already been defeated.

More discussion here

Oh, yes, there are lots of possible answers we can make up to rationalize it, but at the end of the day we know we're rationalizing it. Like rationalizing Han Solo's discussion of making the Kessel Run in a number of parsecs is because he skirted closer to a black hole so technically he was crossing less space. As an author if you mean something like that you have to "hang a lantern" on it and either demonstrate your knowledge of the plot hole or have somebody share the reason it's not a hole.

Besides, Nazgul were on horses until they were unhorsed.

Comment: Re:Shakespeare (Score 1) 167

by Etherwalk (#49613071) Attached to: Why Scientists Love 'Lord of the Rings'

the Scottish Play

GOOD LUCK at your next performance of MACBETH!

Fucking thespians and their superstitions.

I see you were once rejected by a group of thespians and happy to tempt the wrath of the big whatever from high above, regardless of context. Hurray! It's so much less smiting for the rest of us. Of course, I suppose that might presuppose a law of conservation of smiting...

On the other hand, perhaps theater superstitions were just created by Roko's Basilisk. I mean, if you were Roko's Basilisk and you were bored...

Comment: Re:Plot Hole (Score 2) 167

by Etherwalk (#49612929) Attached to: Why Scientists Love 'Lord of the Rings'

Today? That one's been around forever.

Indeed, I am sure that many, many posts of many self-admittedly brilliant minds with exactly the same observation are sitting in thirty-year-old alt.sex.binaries.lotr.eagles.plothole usenet archives, each one basking brightly in the author's originality, wit, and critical thinking skills.

Was sorry to see point hat go.

http://www.ealasaid.com/misc/v...

Comment: Shakespeare (Score 2) 167

by Etherwalk (#49612779) Attached to: Why Scientists Love 'Lord of the Rings'

Actually, the most fun I've seen in parallels to LOTR is not in science, but in Shakespeare. (Tolkien was an English Prof, remember.) First, the "Crack of Doom" is a phrase which comes from the Scottish Play. Second, two of Sauron's great captains fell in ways in was prophesied MacBeth should fall: The Lord of the Nazgul was struck down by no man of woman born; and Saruman was struck down when the forest came to Isengard.

Comment: Plot Hole (Score 1) 167

by Etherwalk (#49612735) Attached to: Why Scientists Love 'Lord of the Rings'

Except for those pesky Eagles, who fix all the problems, except for that one huge Ring problem wherein no one bothers to ask for their help.

I'm a huge fan of the books, but did see a meme earlier today pointing out that great big plot hole. :)

Short version: why didn't they just ask the Eagles to fly them to Mordor? Or over the mountains?

Comment: The Winner (Score 1) 71

by Etherwalk (#49612675) Attached to: AI Experts In High Demand

And what do you think you are? The more I learn about machine learning, the more impressed I am with natural neural networks and the incredible sophistication of the layered methods which are being applied to achieve complex behaviors.

Exactly.

Besides, the first entity that gets a functioning superhuman brain, if it has enough lead time over its competitors and is able to gain enough data and indoctrinate goals, is very likely to win. This applies in every field of human endeavor. Think of the enormous transaction and synchronization costs we have to deal with in the incredibly inefficient networking between your brain and mine, for example. Now network a hundred of those brains together with those costs a few million times smaller...

It won't happen all at once like that until it does, of course.

Comment: 12/7 (Score 2, Insightful) 246

I know a lot more about WW2 than probably 98% of Americans, and "12/7" doesn't immediately mean Pearl Harbor to me. "December 7" does, of course. But 12/7 wasn't picked symbolically for a number to impact the psyche like 9/11, and that's not how people usually referred to it.

These threats shouldn't result in punishment more serious than flunking a semester anyway--they should result in securing the building and having the kid checked out for psych problems unless there is evidence of attempting to illegally purchase firearms, etc... A threat isn't the thing itself.

Comment: Re:"Hawaiians" -- Meh (Score 1) 276

All this particular interest group is doing by going against good science is making is less likely they'll get what they want.

No. The demographic of this interest group is ridiculously powerful in Hawaii. See, e.g., Hawaiian Homelands. White people are in the minority, as are science types.

The Catholic Church managed to go against science without a problem for more than a millennium.

The decision doesn't have to be logical; it was unanimous.

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