Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Perfection through Science

In the same vein as Ron's radio post, Popular Science recently had a series of articles about people of the future. What kind of medicines will we take, will we have longer, better lives, etc. As part of the series, they had a "contributing troubadour" who produced these two songs.

Better
I Feel Fantastic

Hopefully these will stay around a while.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Mr. 80-SPF Sunblock Wearer

As fall begins falling, many of us find that those summer days of baking in the sunshine are just a fading memory.

For others, it's part of everyday life.

And for the latter, there's this.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Our Harry Potter musings

Hi all,

I have finally figured out how to post -- welcome to the 21st century! -- so I am uploading the notes from our Harry Potter disscussion last month. Below please find all of our wild theories! It was so fun to brainstorm all of these, with ideas flying fast and furious. I know I've forgetten some, so please add what you remember.

(The disclaimer is that I haven't edited the notes or made them pretty in any way. You have been warned.)

--Jana


Snape: Snape is a good guy whose final loyalty is to Dumbledore and the good side. Here's a possible scenario for the night James and Lily were killed: Snape overhears the prophecy. Now Snape is torn. He hates James, but admires and possibly loves Lily. He might have done the half-blood prince thing just to impress her. He doesn’t know where the Potters are. He finds out that Pettigrew is the secret-keeper, plays up on his cowardice and promises that Pettigrew will be V’s right-hand man. Snape learns where the Potters are and goes to the Potters to warn them.

James doesn’t believe him, and they’re having a huge argument about it when the knock comes and it’s V. James does the brave thing and stupefies Snape and throws the invisibility cloak over him. Snape is humiliated by this – he never had the chance to choose to be brave, which is why he explodes so insanely when Harry calls him a coward in book 6. So Snape is forced to watch as James is killed. After James’s death, the immobilization spell is lifted, and Snape has the chance to show himself and save Harry and Lily. He chooses not to, and watches while Lily dies and Harry is attacked. Snape sees the whole thing from under the cloak.

Now Dumbledore – who had rec’d an owl or something from Snape, telling him that the Potters were in danger – comes in. He has those special vision powers where he can see people under invisibility cloaks, so he sees Snape and removes the cloak.

And at the end of book 6, what happens on top of the tower is that Dumbledore mentally/telepathically tells Snape that Snape must kill him to prove his loyalty to Voldemort. The hatred and revulsion that crosses S’s face is self-hatred for what he has to do. Dumbledore sees that having Snape retain his identity as a double agent is far more valuable to the cause than his individual life.

BTW, this theory that Snape and Dumbledore were at the Potters’ house that night explains how D got James’s invisibility cloak to save for Harry and eventually pass down to him.


Horcruxes:
We know for sure:
• The book (destroyed)
• The ring (destroyed) – technically Slytherin, but really represents V's own family
• The locket – Slytherin -- stolen from Voldemort by Regulus Black; then re-stolen by Mundungus Fletcher when he pilfered lots of stuff from the Black house –it was in that roll-top desk but no one could open it
• The Hufflepuff cup – we have no idea where this is

The Ravenclaw horcrux: Whatever it is, we think that Luna Lovegood and her dad will be the key to finding this. Like, maybe the Ravenclaw fondue pot or chafing dish has been in their family for years. :-)

Dumbledore believes Nagini is a horcrux, which would explain the psychological connection b/w V and the snake. But if that is true, we don’t get the full 4 houses of the school, do we? If Nagini is NOT a horcrux, then we’re looking for a Ravenclaw thing and a Gryffindor thing.

Ideas for other horcruxes:

Harry’s scar – we can’t figure out the mechanism by which this could happen. But H is mentally connected with V through the scar. Scar is going to be the last word of book 7. Did V imprint a part of his soul in Harry when he tried to do the curse? This would explain the last line of the prophecy, that neither can live while the other survives. A small part of Harry will have to die when he kills V.

Harry’s wand – This is the only companion wand to V’s. Was the wand left in trust with Ollivander? Interesting that O disappears almost immediately after V realizes that there’s a campaign afoot to find and destroy the various horcruxes. This theory fits V’s own ego. V would never have suspected that another wizard could possibly be great enough to handle that twin wand.

Peter’s new hand: The one that V created for him in the graveyard. Now, Peter is pretty unreliable, so this doesn’t quite make sense, but bear with us. Here, Cedric’s murder would be the death that made the horcrux creation possible. What’s cool about this theory is that Peter may finally get a chance to prove why he was once in Gryffindor. Dumbledore once predicted that the fact that Harry had saved Peter’s life will come back to haunt Voldemort sometime in the future. Maybe Peter will decide to cut off his own hand for Harry to destroy it (like he cut off his old hand for V). At any rate, Pettigrew has to show some reason for his Gryffindor ID before the end of the series.

The tapestry in the Black house.


Misc thoughts: we think that Dumbledore’s memories are in the Pensieve for Harry, including his memory of that night his parents were killed. Maybe he leaves the Pensieve to Harry in his will, along with several bottles of memories – maybe Fawkes as well.

Jacob’s theory is that each time you make a horcrux, it gets more and more difficult, b/c there’s less of a soul to work with.

Possible idea -- has Harry saved six people's lives? It would be neat if, by the end of Book 7, Harry will have saved as many lives as Voldemort made horcruxes. Ultimately, the magic that is generated through saving the magic # of lives would be more powerful than the magic created by splintering a soul the same # of times. We know that Harry has saved the lives of Ginny Weasley (Book 2); Peter and Sirius (Book 3); Arthur Weasley (Book 5) and Ron Weasley (Book 6). That's five. Who might we be forgetting? Wait, there's Fleur's sister and Ron in Book 4. Hmmm.

At some point at the end of book 7, Harry will have to make a choice to trust Snape despite all his personal feelings and mistrust.

Dobby will reveal important info about the Malfoy family. (Like maybe that they’re vampires!)

We think that V sent Snape as the lackey to kill Regulus Black. But Snape couldn’t do it, and he gave sanctuary to Regulus. Maybe Kreacher went with RB to get the locket, because only one fully grown wizard can cross the lake at a time. This would explain Kreacher’s secrecy and protectiveness about certain objects in the house. Maybe RB had ordered Kreacher to bring the locket back into the house and keep it safe.

Dawn thinks that Ludo Bagman drank too much of that lucky juice (Felices whatever) during his Quidditch days, which is why he’s always gambling too much now.

Hiding Places for Horcruxes:

That scene in book 6 where V goes to D for the DDA job. They both know there’s no future there and V doesn’t even really want the job, so why did he come all that way? Maybe he came all that way to hide a Horcrux in D’s office somewhere. It’s not Godric Gryffindor’s sword, but could it be something else?

Another horcrux may be hidden in the secret chamber at Hogwarts. It’s well-protected from outsiders, and it extends all the way back to the school’s founders.

Another hiding place could be V’s father’s childhood home, where he killed the Muggle man Frank.

We think that after all their travels in Book 7, Harry, Ron, and Hermione will have to return to Hogwarts at the end for a final showdown. Armageddon with wands.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Geeks Only Need Apply (EOGE)

For the person who wants ... less, here is a keyboard that is completely blank (no labels on any keys).



It is called Das Keyboard, but I thought it could be called...PoMoKeyBo. (Cue groans).

Phil