Category Archives: fantasy and science fiction

Rang Gaeilge, 29ú lá Mí na mí Mheiteamh 2021

Duinnín agus an Bhadhbh (tuilleadh)

  • Bhí tost sa seomra. Bhain an Duinníneach taitneamh, soicind,
    as éifeacht a scéil ar an gcomhluadar. An soicind ina
    dhiaidh sin, chúb sé roimh an mbéic a lig Woodley as.

    ‘Mo chuid sionnacht [var pl?]! Iad á ngoid ag mo thionóntaithe féin!’

    ‘Ach ni bhíonn tú ag seilg sionnach, a thaisce, agus tá’s agat
    go n-itheann siad na piasúin . . .’arsa a chéile.

    There was silence in the room. Dineen enjoyed, for a second, the effect of his story
    on the company. The second after that he cowered before the shout Woodley let out

    ‘My foxes! My own tenants are stealing them!’

    ‘But you don’t hunt foxes, my dear, and you know they eat the pheasants . . .’ said his wife.

    taitneamh Shine, brightness; Liking, enjoyment
    soicind second [of time] m
    éifeacht Force, significance; efficacy, effect; value, importance f
    comhluadar (Social) company m
    chúb bend, cower, shrink
    béic yell; shout f
    seilg hunt, chase f
    piasún pheasant m gs npl piasúin
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Rang Gaeilge, 25ú lá Mí na Bealtaine 2021

Duinnín agus an Bhadhbh (tuilleadh)

  • Tháinig Dínny amach ón gcuilinn agus a lámha san aer.

    ‘Tá drochbhail ar na créatúirí istigh ansin.’ ar seisean.

    ‘Ná bog,’ arsa Jeremiah leis agus, gan béal an ghunnáin a bhogadh, chúlaigh sé gur thug sé stracfhéachaint ar a raibh istigh i gcairt Dinny.

    ‘Boscaí folmha agus beart sac. Sin uile atá ann,’ arsa Dinny.

    Chinntigh Lowney nach raibh Dinny armtha.

    ‘Suigh id chairt go nglaofaidh mé ort ‘

    Chrom an tAthair P’ádraig athuair ar an mbeirt a bhí ceangailte a scaoileadh saor.

    ‘Bhí tú ag súil go mbeadh gunnaí sa chairt?’ ar seisean le Lowney.

    Dinny came out from the holly with his hands in the air.

    ‘The creatures in there are in bad shape.’ he said.

    ‘Don’t move,’ Jeremiah said to him and, without moving the mouth of the revolver, move back to take a cursory glance at everything that what was in Dinny’s cart.

    ‘Empty boxes and a bundle of sacks. That’s all there is,’ said Dinny.

    Lowney made sure Dinny was not armed.

    ‘Sit in your cart until I call you’

    Fr. Patrick bent over the two that were tied up to release them.

    ‘You were expecting guns in the cart?’ he said to Lowney

    cuileannhollym gs cuilinn
    drochbhailBad condition; bad circumstances
    cúlaighBack, move back; reverse, retreat
    strac- = srac- Cursory, sketchy, slight
    féachaintlook, glance; appearance; aspect; trial, test; taste, small portionf
    beartbundle,
    sacsackm
    CinntighMake certain; confirm, assure
    id = i do
    athuairAgain, a second time
    scaoilLoose(n), release, discharge; Undo, untie, unfasten

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Rang Gaeilge, 27ú lá Mí na mí Aibreáin 2021

Duinnín agus an Bhadhbh

Boladh … smell, scent; Boladh an scéil, hint of the story; Boladh na húire, the smell of earth, a smell presaging death (Ker.); Boladh an tsionnnaigh, “a fox smell,” a peculiar smell said to be hereditary in certain families …

  • Bhí an tAthair Pádraig ag obair ag a bhinse sa Leabharlann Náisiúnta nuair a thug sé foai ndeara go raibh lochán gréine ar an urlár. Ni scáil na gréine, go fírinneach, a dhúisigh óna néal é ach scáil phréacháin a dhubhaigh an ghile ar an urlár le rince beag earraigh a dhein se ar dhíon gloine na leabharlainne. ‘Badhbh!’ arsa an tAthair Pádraig. ‘Leid ón mBé.

    Father Patrick was working at his bench in the National Library when he noticed a pool of sunlight on the floor. It was not the image of the sun, in fact, that woke him from his nap, but the shadow of a crow that darkened the light on the floor with a little spring dance that he performed on the glass roof of the library. ‘War-goddess!’ said Fr. Patrick. ‘A sign from the woman/muse.’

    binsebenchm
    lochánsmall lake, pond
    scáilshadow, shade, darkness, reflection, image
    néalcloud, napm
    préacháncrow, rookm
    dubhaighblacken, darken
    gileWhiteness, brightnessf
    díonroof
    LeidHint, inkling; prompt; pointer, cluef
    Woman; maidenf

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Blinking Astronomical Photographs

Low-Cost Approach to Scanning Historic Glass Plates Yields an Astronomical Surprise. Technical details at Precise Photometric Measurements from a 1903 Photographic Plate Using a Commercial Scanner.

Professional astrophotography used to be done on emulsion-coasted glass places. That was how astromical discoveries were made for nearly a century.

More than an estimated 2.4 million glass plates are out there in collections in North America alone. These were taken starting in the 1890s right up until the 1970s, when CCD (Charged Couple Device) detectors started to come online for astronomy. Of these, only an estimated 400,000 plates have been digitized to research quality

The team in this article has found a much cheaper way to proceed with this process, using off-the-shelf hardware.

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The Eyes of Legolas

Tumblr User Explains Why Elves’ Eyes In Lord Of The Rings Shouldn’t Look The Way They Do, but in fact there is no problem.

In The Two Towers Legolas claims to clearly see the horsemen of Rohan at a distance of 5 leagues. How is this possible when you consider the curvature of the Earth? You can come up with some bizarre ideas about Elven anatomy which are not suggested in the books or seen in the movies. However, there is a an elegant answer based on the nature of Arda, Tolkien’s world. It was flat, not round, until the end of the second age. At that time the Valar made it round so that mortals could not access Valinor. But Elves could still go there. For them the Earth was still flat and they could sail the straight path to Valinor. Hence for Legolas the curvature of the Earth and the horizon did not exist and hence he could accurately see the horsemen 5 leagues away.

Another Hobbit

Exploring the People of Middle-earth: Lobelia Sackville-Baggins, an Unexpected Hero.

… Lobelia is one of only a few Hobbit women who are given more than a momentary glance in Middle-earth, and a compelling character in her own right. And what’s more, her narrative arc illustrates beautifully some of the more important lessons The Lord of the Rings has to teach, as she becomes an unlikely hero to those who had consistently refused to give her a chance.

This will only make sense if you have read the books. Peter Jackson did not include the Scouring of the Shire in the film version of The Return of the King.

Another one of Tolkien’s Sources

Mithra-ndir: Gandalf and the Roman cult of Mithras.

J.R.R. Tolkien described The Lord of the Rings as a fundamentally Catholic work. But a close reading of the epic novel reveals many more influences, including a connection between Mithras and the wizard Gandalf, whose Elvish name is Mithrandir.
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Good article about LOTR

Bent Out of Shape: The Ring of Power and the Wraithing of Humanity.

It runs against human nature to reject an advantage once we have it, but that’s what Tolkien’s heroes do again and again. It seems natural to long to wield power and to have great authority, but Tolkien uses a Ring and a concept—wraithing—to warn us against the terrible, corrupting force of absolute power.

Also

“And here is where I take a brief aside and beg you to please read the books if you have only seen the movies, because Peter Jackson utterly destroyed Faramir’s character in the movie.”

See Tolkien vs. Jackson: Differences Between Story and Screenplay. For myself, I had read LOTR many times before seeing the first movie. Hence when seeing the movies my mind automatically filled in the parts Jackson omitted, and corrected those he changed. The books come first, in more than one way.

Science Fiction got there first (again)

Back in High School (1964-68) I read a lot of science fiction by Mack Reynolds. His Joe Mauser series is set in a world where the cold war continues into the 21st century, but, to avoid catastrophe, the West and the “Sov-world” have agreed to restrict all military forces to pre-1900 technology. There is still lots of fighting going on at that level.

Recently I was reading about the decades old border dispute between between China and India countries, which actually led to war in 1962. The conflict still simmers on, but a 1996 agreement states that

Neither side shall open fire, cause bio-degradation, use hazardous chemicals, conduct blast operations or hunt with guns or explosives within two kilometers from the line of actual control.

Neither side wants to get the blame for starting a shooting war, so both sides are following the letter of the agreement. However, nobody is backing down. There have been reports that “Chinese troops have used improvised edged weapons, such as nail-studded clubs, in … skirmishes with Indian forces.” and both sides have martial artists in their border forces.

It seems that the Chinese are escalating. We now have Chinese soldiers armed with new devices for hand-to-hand combat with Indians in Tibet. Actually the “new device”, the guan dao, is quite old. It similar to a a western medieval halberd. It will be interesting to see how Indian army responds. They have a rich tradition of edged weapons to draw upon.