Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Tolkien's house
The house has been given Grade II listed status
Tolkien house wins listed status
BBC reports

The house where JRR Tolkien wrote the Hobbit and most of the Lord of the Rings has been given protected status.

The 1920s house was occupied by the author, who wrote his novels in the drawing room, from 1930 to 1947.

Tolkien wrote part of Lord of the Rings in the drawing room
It was bought by a private buyer in September for a sum in excess of £1.5m.

Mr McIntosh said: "Buildings are usually listed because of their fine architecture or unique design.

"But we can also give protection to buildings that have historical association with nationally important people or events.

"Professor Tolkien's house in Oxford is a fine example of this."

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Drudge Report always has interesting articles. Here's the latest from New Zealand (sorry folks, not an LOTR post):

WELLINGTON (Reuters) - A pod of dolphins circled protectively round a group of New Zealand swimmers to fend off an attack by a great white shark, media reported on Tuesday.

Lifesavers Rob Howes, his 15-year-old daughter Niccy, Karina Cooper and Helen Slade were swimming 300 feet off Ocean Beach near Whangarei on New Zealand's North Island when the dolphins herded them -- apparently to protect them from a shark.

"They started to herd us up, they pushed all four of us together by doing tight circles around us," Howes told the New Zealand Press Association (NZPA).

Howes tried to drift away from the group, but two of the bigger dolphins herded him back just as he spotted a nine-foot great white shark swimming toward the group.

"I just recoiled. It was only about 2 m away from me, the water was crystal clear and it was as clear as the nose on my face," Howes said, referring to a distance of 6 feet.

"They had corralled us up to protect us," he said.

The lifesavers spent the next 40 minutes surrounded by the dolphins before they could safely swim back to shore. The incident happened on October 30, but the lifesavers kept the story to themselves until now.

Environment group Orca Research said dolphins attacked sharks to protect themselves and their young, so their actions in protecting the lifesavers was understandable.

"They could have sensed the danger to the swimmers and taken action to protect them," Orca's Ingrid Visser told NZPA. - Yahoo! News

You gotta love dolphins.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Tireless Research Assistants

This is a very interesting article girls and boys. Worth your time. Read it. I like these bits:

Looking back on my graduate education in the humanities, I think my most valuable experiences were not part of the official degree program. And of those experiences, I benefited most from working as a research assistant....

...I was so grateful for the chance to contribute to faculty books that I sometimes underreported the hours that I worked. If it took me three hours to verify a short quotation, I might report the time as 30 minutes. I regarded the time for which I was not being paid as an investment in my reputation for efficiency. I used to remember the advice of Scotty from Star Trek: "You'll never get a reputation for being a miracle worker if people really know how long it takes you to do something."

Still, it's not unreasonable to expect a research assistant not to be deterred by minor inconveniences, such as the absence of a call number in a computerized database. As any middle-aged librarian can tell you, there are secrets hidden in the card catalogues and in the physical stacks that only determined excavation can recover.

...Professors should also be careful to acknowledge everyone who worked on a project. If an assistant made a substantial contribution, the professor should give that person a copy of the book with an inscription of thanks. Assistants should be invited to book parties. As professors recruit new assistants, they should be trained by their predecessors. Professors should not bring on a new assistant and then drop the veterans without a word of explanation. (They will take it personally -- and they should.)

Ringers--the movie

X-Men producer Tom De Santo will produce Ringers: Lord of the Fans, a feature-length documentary centering on Lord of the Rings fandom, written and directed by first-timer Carlene Cordova. The documentary will feature interviews with Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson and several cast members, including Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Ian McKellen, Viggo Mortensen, Dominic Monaghan, Billy Boyd, Andy Serkis and John Rhys-Davies.

Ringers explores how J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings books have influenced Western popular culture for the past 50 years and the fandom that has grown around them.