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Comment Re:Now think in American. (Score 1) 516

Not necessarily... given her extraordinary talents and thousands of years of practice, her accent would be whatever she wanted it to be. We're talking about someone who defied the Valar (gods, basically), led a rebellion, and reigned for thousands of years as a beloved and respected monarch; as such one would assume she was an extremely gifted public speaker and politician, one of the best in Arda's history. Tolkien described her as "greatest of elven women" as well as "the mightiest and fairest of all the Elves that remained in Middle-earth".

Comment Re:Now think in American. (Score 1) 516

I don't know if a Non-Frankophone would be familiar enough with French accents to distinguish them that much... and there's a definite old-world / new-world split between the Galadhrim and the Imladhrim (to suppose a name for the people of Imladris); the Galadhrim would rightly have regarded the folk of Imladris as colonials.

To extend the analogy, you could think of the Wood-elves of Mirkwood as being Cajuns... an even more remote and rural/unrefined offshoot of their culture. Playing Legolas as a Antebellum New Orleans aristocrat works (and would be pretty bad-ass). He's royalty... but the people of kingdom are, basically, a bunch of hillbillies (to judge from how they act in The Hobbit).

Comment Re:Now think in American. (Score 1) 516

No, Dwarvish (Khuzdul) would be Hebrew -- it was their secret language that they only spoke among themselves, pretty much how most American/European Jews use Hebrew.

Everyday at home, as well as when speaking with "Gentiles" (Humans,Elves, and Hobbits) they'd speak the local dialect with an accent appropriate to their social class. Yiddish is a lower-class German dialect; the Brooklyn accent has some Yiddish influence due to the large number of Jews living there, but is still distinctively English, not Germanic. Brooklyn (and it's accent) would be a good model for Lake-Town and Erebor before Smaug - a dwarf trader in Lake-Town would be in the same position as a Jewish shopkeeper in New York. I can totally imagine Bard sounding like a Brooklyn cop.

Comment Re:Dwarves (Score 1) 516

To be true with Tolkien, the Dwarves are more accurately Jewish: a small, tightly-knit subculture with strong cultural traditions living in mainstream society, but still seen as outsiders. Tolkien explicitly made this connection in his commentaries, and Khuzdul is based on Hebrew.

However, a lot of the same observations can be applied to the Scots as well. The fact that Dwarvish culture is explicitly Clan-based, and that they live in remote, mountainous areas makes the Highland Scots a good cultural template for Tolkien's Dwarves.

Comment Re:Now think in American. (Score 5, Interesting) 516

As I said in an earlier comment, Tolkien was a linguist and as such was extraordinarily sensitive to linguistic nuances like accent and the effect of social class on speech. If you render the common tongue as English, and keep in mind the history and social status of the various characters, choosing an accent becomes pretty obvious.

Actually if you wanted to Americanize LOTR, the Hobbits would have Southern accents (country bumpkins), the Rohirrim Texan accents (close to the Hobbits, still country but a little more refined), and the Gondorians a neutral General American/ Received Pronunciation accent (educated middle/upper-class).

I'd give the Elves a French accent (refined and a little snooty) when speaking the Common Tongue. Quenya played the role of Latin in Middle Earth (dead language used for formal purposes), and Sindarin was an everyday language evolved from it, so a Romance language would be the closest social analog to it. To an American listener a French accent would best convey the extreme refinement and cultured history (not to mention snobbishness) of the Elves. If you wanted to get even more specific I'd give Elrond and the Rivendell elves a French Canadian accent and the Galadhrim a Parisian accent. Linguistically, a Welsh accent would be most appropriate, as Sindarin was patterned after Welsh, but it just doesn't have the same social/class implications that French does.

If anyone had a Brooklyn accent, it would be a Dwarf. Tolkien explicitly equated the Dwarves with the Jews, and based Khuzdul on Hebrew... so a Brooklyn accent would be extremely appropriate for working-class Dwarves like Bifur, Bofur, and Bombur. Dwarvish nobility like Gimli and Thorin would have a milder, upper-class Jewish accent.

Comment Re:Abstraction (Score 5, Interesting) 516

I have to agree with this article, I've always assumed it was just the American preconception of "old worlde". Different enough to be remote but still in the same language.

This is exactly why Tolkien chose to render Rohirric as Old English -- Rohirric had roughly the same old-but-understandable relationship to Westron (common speech) as Old English has to Modern English. (Incidentally, this creates one of the biggest challenges in translating LotR to other languages)

Tolkien was a linguist above all else, and as such was incredibly sensitive to linguistic nuances, something that's lost on most casual readers. Nevertheless, his work has had a huge influence on modern fantasy and sci-fi. Writers (consciously or unconsciously) mimic elements of Tolkien's style without necessarily understanding why he did it that way.

Comment Last Mile Problem (Score 3, Informative) 407

This is how Sleep Number stores operate. They have no inventory in the showroom besides the samples. They take your order and your merchandise gets shipped to you.

This is efficient, but still has room for improvement - the big cost is last-mile delivery. It's relatively inexpensive to ship a tractor-trailer full of goods from a regional depot to a store. Doing door-to-door delivery is substantially more expensive. Best Buy already has the pieces in place to solve this -- a fleet of trucks, depots, and local distribution points, as well as the web infrastructure to order online and pick your purchase up at the store. Going to smaller, showroom-and-pickup stores would save them a fortune.

Comment Disappointment (Score 1) 55

While it is a bit disappointing that companies might need a law to avoid providing tools that censor free speech to overseas regimes

No more disappointing than the need to have laws to tell companies not to poison the environment, sell dangerous and defective products, commit fraud, etc.

The law has to recognize human nature. If all men were angels, we wouldn't need laws.

Comment Re:Tape never died or lost its supremacy (Score 2) 312

And how much of that 20TB changes from day to day? How fast is the data set growing? What is your business case for doing a full daily backup versus incremental / transaction log backups?

20TB isn't really all that huge by Big Data standards. The project I'm working on currently uses a ~60TB data set which grows at around 1TB/month. Without knowing specifics I can't architect a solution for you or estimate costs, but I've built several systems using Hadoop to solve this kind of problem. "Affordable" is relative, but Hadoop-based solutions are very cost-effective. What is your current TCO for your backup solution? I'm willing to bet I can architect something that's going to lower that by 25% or more while giving you additional analytical capabilities. My gmail name is the same as my name here.

The nice thing about Hadoop (or any cluster-based system) is that it scales linearly. You don't need to provision 7 years worth of capacity up front; you can add additional nodes as they are needed.

My gmail ID is the same as my name here if you want to talk specifics.

Comment Re:Damn unfortunate (Score 1) 714

What Ravi did was punch in the nose wrong - not 10 years in prison and deportation.

A punch in the nose can kill, even if you didn't intend it to. It may be a freak occurrence, but if it does, expect to be punished accordingly.

Ravi rejected a plea deal that would have kept him out of jail and would likely have allowed him to stay in this country. I have no sympathy for him on those grounds alone.

Personally, I'd feel justice was served if he got 6 months in gen pop followed by deportation. No reason for the US taxpayers to feed and clothe his ass for a decade.

Comment Re:He's one of us (Score 1) 349

A BS in math does not automatically make one a nerd or a geek. I know a number of math majors who are the most humorless, uptight, anally-retentive, and unimaginative people you'd ever (not) want to meet. There are a lot of intelligent people who have sticks in their asses.

Raw intelligence is a prerequisite for geekdom, but there's more to it than that -- it also requires creativity, curiosity, imagination, and a certain amount of skepticism for (if not outright denial of) arbitrary rules and social convention.

Comment Re:WTF? (Score 1) 922

Decent men are not racists. If you think otherwise, you are mentally ill.

Decent men don't criminalize speech that they disagree with. If you think otherwise, you are an authoritarian goon.

The correct response to a racist comment is rebuttal, not censorship. Censorship is a lazy and cowardly way to deal with dissenting viewpoints.

Comment Re:Thespians (Score 1) 527

Sometimes damage control is the best you can do. Naive idealism doesn't prevent damage, pragmatic sacrifice does.

The two-party system has a virtual lock on the election process. Both parties are resistant to reform from within, and they conspire together to make it as difficult as possible for third-party candidates to get on the ballot.

Part of the problem is the nature of politics itself -- decent human beings generally don't get elected for public office, and when they do manage to get elected they're generally not effective. Sending an honest man to Congress is like throwing a kitten into a shark tank. You have to be a bastard to get elected, and you have to be a bigger bastard to get anything accomplished once in office.

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