Vermont Softworks:


The database is done

Three years it took. Not full-time work, admittedly, but it’s been the main thrust of my professional work for those three years. Of course, it got re-designed in the middle, which never helps. The original design was actually working in limited use, but was far too complex for FileMaker to handle with any kind of speed. And — crucially — it would not have migrated well to a PostgreSQL or other database in iOS.…

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The climate of Middle-earth

From the paper, a contour model of annual average temperature of western Middle-earth

It seems that one Radagast the Brown (of Rhosgobel & The Cabot Institute) has published a paper presenting the results of his climate simulation modelling for Middle-earth. Though obviously mock-serious, the modelling and the science are real enough. Definitely worth a few of your hard-won free minutes.…

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Facsimile of Tolkien’s full 1956 letter to Cotton Minchin

The American auction house RR Auction recently sold Tolkien’s 1956 letter to H. Cotton Minchin. Much of the text of this letter has been available in the form of Humphrey Carpenter’s abridgment of Tolkien’s draft of the letter. As part of the auction, RR Auction made available good-quality scans of all five pages of the letter, affording us the opportunity of reading the full text of Tolkien’s final (beautifully penned) draft for what I believe is the first time.…

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Calvert Watkins

front cover of Calvert Watkins’s “American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots”
Watkins’s “American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots” and “How To Kill a Dragon in Indo-European”

Today, about five weeks after the fact, I learned of the death of Dr. Calvert Watkins. I was very privileged to have taken several classes and seminars with him in the late 80s and early 90s at Harvard — and my Linguistics 101 class and Sanskrit class were taught by his wife, Dr. Stephanie Jamison. But I first knew” him, of course, as the editor of the enthralling Indo-European roots appendix to the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, which I discovered in 8th or 9th grade.…

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