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Topics - Glaurung

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For those who aren't aware yet, a volcanic eruption has been under way in Iceland since Friday (19 March) evening. It's at Fagradalsfjall, only about 25 miles from the capital, Reykjavik - fortunately the area around the volcano is uninhabited, so there is not thought to be any risk to people.

The Icelandic national broadcaster, RÚV, has helpfully provided a live webcam view. An enterprising YouTuber, Dušan Majer, has posted a series of timelapse sequences from the RÚV stream - these are perhaps the best way to get a sense of the scale of the developing lava flows and the speed at which they're growing.

General Chatter - The Boozer / Travel Writing Index
« on: April 13, 2020, 04:13:00 PM »
Jubal and others have contributed a lot of travel writing over the last few years, and I thought it might be useful to have an index page to provide a quick reference to it all. So here it is. If you think there's anything else that should be included, please post to say so.

Jubal in Vienna: Learnings And Suchlike (August 2017 onward)
Gold and Salt: A Visit to Salzburg (November 2018)
Leaning in the Wind: A Trip to Galway (December 2018)
Of regrown leaves: three months in Frankfurt (April - July 2019)
Lindworms and Sparrows: A Trip to Klagenfurt (spring 2019)
Amid the Building of Europe: A Trip to Limburg and Aachen (May 2019)
Stories and histories: A Trip to Tbilisi (July 2019)
Wine of the Sun, Port of the Moon: A Trip to Bordeaux (December 2019)
Stones, Stories, and Wasted Salt: A Visit to Carthage (March 2020)

Not in Nargothrond, or, Glaurung's travels (various trips, August 2014 onward)

I ran into this one a few days ago.

It's from Julian Baumgartner, a fine art restorer/conservator in Chicago. He takes us through the process of cleaning and restoring an oil painting, narrating what he's doing step by step. The thumbnail gives some indication of the dramatic change that's possible. There are also a surprisingly wide range of skills involved, all described in a clear, calm voice, with occasional gentle humour.

Overall, this, and the earlier videos on the same channel, are strongly recommended if you want something simultaneously calming, informative and uplifting.

I'm not sure there's a relevant "yay" thread for this, so I thought I'd start a new one. I've run into some very good YouTube videos of volcano eruptions, from a film-maker named Martin Rietze. Here's perhaps one of the best: Krakatau at night, in late 2018 (shortly before the major eruption that blew the top off and caused a fatal tsunami):

There are plenty more on Martin Rietze's channel - a mixture of daytime and nighttime filming, and realtime and timelapse shots. He also has some drone videos of mountains, and some astronomy videos too.

This is something that I first saw on the 'Net some years ago; I was reminded of it today, and was rewarded handsomely when I sought it out. It's described as "mechanical sculpture": a quarter-ton machine composed of 382 pieces, for opening a bottle of wine and pouring out a glass. Here it is in action:
There's another recording here (same event, different run) and here (different event + different operator = different explanation).

Its inventor is Rob Higgs - his YouTube channel has more videos of this and his other exuberantly engineered creations. I also found a potted biography for those who'd like to know a little more about him.

Questions and Suggestions - The High Court / How To Donate to Exilian
« on: April 06, 2018, 04:20:53 PM »
As we've said elsewhere, Exilian is a non-profit organisation, supported entirely by donations. Running the forum and other parts of the website costs us real money (at the time of writing, about GBP 5.50 / EUR 6.30 / USD 7.70 per month). In addition, we aim to support creative projects, by our own members and others, and this often involves advertising or other real-world expenses. So we would very much appreciate more donations.

Here are the ways you can donate to us:

UK bank transfers
mainly for people with UK bank accounts
- For one-off donations, you can transfer money from your bank account to Exilian's - see details below.
- For regular donations (e.g. so much at the start of each month), you can set up a "standing order" with your bank - a bit like a direct debit, this is an instruction to them to transfer a fixed amount at the same time every month. You can usually do this online, again using the bank details below.

Exilian is about to change banks. Please contact me if you want Exilian's bank details.

If you want to go old-school, you can also write a cheque (or check, if you prefer), payable to "Exilian", and send it to Exilian, 6 Ainsworth Court, Cambridge, CB1 2PA.

People outside the UK can also send money to UK bank accounts, using various reference numbers to identify them. However, there will almost always be currency conversion charges, and often other transfer charges too. For international transfers from other EU countries, these should be quite reasonable; from outside the EU they're often prohibitively expensive. We can probably accept cheques in currencies other than UK pounds, but much of their value is likely to be eaten up by currency conversion charges.

We have a PayPal account, linked to e-mail address - you can search for this from your own PayPal account and send us money that way.

One thing to watch out for: the currency on that PayPal account is UK pounds (a.k.a. sterling) - if you send an amount in another currency, there will be a conversion charge, deducted from the amount we receive. As far as I know, you can specify an amount in UK pounds, in which case PayPal will charge you for the conversion.

This is another payment website, intended specifically for recurring donations to individuals and organisations. If you want to donate this way, please go to our Liberapay donation page, and follow the instructions. If you don't already have an account with them, you will need to transfer some money to them first, which might then be quarantined for a period as an anti-laundering measure. Note that after being kicked out by their previous payment provider in 2019, they are now using mainstream providers PayPal and Stripe; currently Exilian is only set up for PayPal, though we hope to have Stripe working soon. At the moment it's not clear whether Liberapay via PayPal offers anything better than PayPal on its own.

A random lingustics thought, brought on by the last couple of posts in the Word Association thread - all the following words rhyme in English, or at least my personal version of it:

beer, bier, cheer, dear, deer, ear, fear, gear, hear, here, jeer, leer, mere (both meanings), near, peer, pier, queer, rear, sear, seer, tear (from the eye), tier, veer, weir, year

Meanwhile, these other ones also rhyme, but not with the previous batch, despite the sometimes shared 'ear' or 'ere' spelling:

air, bare, bear, care, chair, dare, fair, fare, hair, lair, mare, pare, pear, rare, tare, tear (fabric or paper), there, wear

Today, the BBC published a news article about the International Cloud Atlas, which I didn't previously know of. It's described thus: "The atlas, which dates back to the 19th Century, is the global reference book for observing and identifying clouds." It's been updated for the first time since 1987, with some additional cloud types, and it's now online, with lots of pictures to help identification.

So, here's the website: - many of the pictures are in the pages under Definitions of Clouds.

For those particularly enthused by all this, there is also the Cloud Appreciation Society, whose efforts have led to some of the cloud features now included in the new Atlas.

Edited 22/05/2018: the Cloud Atlas website URL had been changed since the original posting.

General Chatter - The Boozer / Now We Are Nine
« on: March 17, 2017, 01:52:59 PM »
Exilian was founded on 18 March 2008, so we are nine years old, and I have put up the birthday version of the banner to mark the occasion. Happy Exilian Day!

Affiliates - The Ambassadors' Residences / Affiliates forum
« on: February 03, 2017, 09:21:26 PM »
This forum has been archived. Sub-forums and threads previously here have been moved to the Computer Game Design board.

Commas, full stops, question marks, even spaces between words: these features haven't always existed in written language. The classical Romans and Greeks didn't have them, for example. A BBC article explains where they came from and how they developed.

Roman Law Project / Resources elsewhere
« on: November 15, 2016, 03:22:15 PM »
This is a collection of links and potentially other material, partly as a set of bookmarks for things I or others might want to find again.

01-Jul-2017: Grenoble University URLs updated

This is a so-called "brine pool" - an area of very concentrated (hence very dense) seawater, at the bottom of the ocean. It also contains methane and hydrogen sulphide, amongst other things, so it's toxic to most forms of life, hence the nickname. This one is at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, about a day's sail from New Orleans.

Further reading and viewing, for those interested:
- an informative article on
- some pictures on the Nautilus website (the exploration submarine that discovered the pool)
- a YouTube video of the Nautilus crew exploring the pool

Food Discussion - The Jolly Boar Kitchen / The Beer Thread
« on: October 08, 2016, 12:51:22 PM »
I've been meaning to start this for a while. Beer is a drink that a lot of like; it's been around for millennia, and it comes in a very wide range of styles and flavours.

I like all sorts of different beers, from different countries: dark, malty stouts and porters (Britain), Belgian sour ales and lambics, German wheat beers, Czech lagers. Which beers have you tried? Which do you like?

This is another "Glaurung introduces someone else's poem" post, like Clancy of "The Overflow". It's another of the very small number of poems that have stuck with me after I've encountered them.

It's out of copyright, so I can quote it in full, and as I think it will resonate with a lot of people here, I'm going to do so.

We are the music makers,
  And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
  And sitting by desolate streams;—
World-losers and world-forsakers,
  On whom the pale moon gleams:
Yet we are the movers and shakers
  Of the world for ever, it seems.

With wonderful deathless ditties
We build up the world's great cities,
And out of a fabulous story
We fashion an empire's glory:
One man with a dream, at pleasure,
  Shall go forth and conquer a crown;
And three with a new song's measure
  Can trample a kingdom down.

We, in the ages lying
  In the buried past of the earth,
Built Nineveh with our sighing,
  And Babel itself in our mirth;
And o'erthrew them with prophesying
  To the old of the new world's worth;
For each age is a dream that is dying,
  Or one that is coming to birth.

A breath of our inspiration
Is the life of each generation;
A wondrous thing of our dreaming
Unearthly, impossible seeming—
The soldier, the king, and the peasant
  Are working together in one,
Till our dream shall become their present,
  And their work in the world be done.

They had no vision amazing
Of the goodly house they are raising;
They had no divine foreshowing
Of the land to which they are going:
But on one man's soul it hath broken,
  A light that doth not depart;
And his look, or a word he hath spoken,
  Wrought flame in another man's heart.

And therefore to-day is thrilling
With a past day's late fulfilling;
And the multitudes are enlisted
In the faith that their fathers resisted,
And, scorning the dream of to-morrow,
  Are bringing to pass, as they may,
In the world, for its joy or its sorrow,
  The dream that was scorned yesterday.

But we, with our dreaming and singing,
  Ceaseless and sorrowless we!
The glory about us clinging
  Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing:
  O men! it must ever be
That we dwell, in our dreaming and singing,
  A little apart from ye.

For we are afar with the dawning
  And the suns that are not yet high,
And out of the infinite morning
  Intrepid you hear us cry—
How, spite of your human scorning,
  Once more God's future draws nigh,
And already goes forth the warning
  That ye of the past must die.

Great hail! we cry to the comers
  From the dazzling unknown shore;
Bring us hither your sun and your summers;
  And renew our world as of yore;
You shall teach us your song's new numbers,
  And things that we dreamed not before:
Yea, in spite of a dreamer who slumbers,
  And a singer who sings no more.

If you'd like a more official source to link to, it's on Wikisource. There is a brief biography of O'Shaughnessy on Wikipedia.

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