Odds and ends
If you did exist, though, you would notice that I took more than a week off after Christmas. This was in part to get grades done, but also because I did not have much to say. In the wide world, events moved quickly.
God alone knows how many people have died in the Indian Ocean as a result of the tsunami there. The official number is well above 100,000; some estimates increase that by a factor of four. This is incomprehensible. I am reading the comments at Belmont Club and the Diplomad about the politics and reality of the relief efforts. It's harder and harder to remember what the UN is good for, and my admiration for the capabilities and spirit of our armed forces continues.
The impact probability for 2004 MN4 in 2029 has dropped pretty much to zero, which was of course the most likely development. Good news, anyway.
We spent New Years Day with friends watching the three Lord of the Rings movies, in their "extended" DVD versions, one after another. For all its flaws, what a tremendous achievement! Jackson and his team get so much right in the world of Middle Earth. Am I upset by the stuff they left out and/or changed? (No Tom Bombadil! No Barrow-Downs! No Glorfindel! No Scouring of the Shire! What were they doing dragging the hobbits to Osgiliath? And why mess with Faramir and Denethor? Etc.) Not as much as I would have imagined. If you think of the events of the War of the Ring as "real" events somehow, as independent myths, then you can think of the movies as a retelling, rather than a simple book adaptation. I don't know if that makes sense, but it helps me.