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Re: Stupid Questions

Post by Elthir on Thu Jan 02, 2014 8:59 pm

Some think Mîm, Khîm and Ibun are actual Dwarvish names, although I don't recall Tolkien writing that the Petty-Dwarves let their true Dwarvish names be known. We also have the names Azaghâl and Gamil Zirak to wonder about too, for two instances.

Others look at the Mime of Wagner's Ring Cycle, or the name Mímir in the Poetic Edda, but I agree with someone who asked: why single out Mîm if it's supposed to be some sort of translation? Still one or the other could be external influences for Mîm in any case.


With Middle-earth I think of the Old English reference too: éala éarendel engla beorhtast ofer middangeard monnum sended 'Hail Earendel, brightest of angels, over Middle-earth to men sent'

Crist, by Cynewulf

Wait... Cynewulf spelled Earendil wrong! Silly wolf!
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Re: Stupid Questions

Post by Norc on Fri Jan 03, 2014 12:52 pm

Well, Dis is a norwegian word and a norse one meaning.. Erm.. Morning fog .
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Re: Stupid Questions

Post by bungobaggins on Sun Jan 12, 2014 4:12 am

Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of the Communist party?
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Re: Stupid Questions

Post by bungobaggins on Sun Jan 12, 2014 4:12 am

oops, wrong thread. Razz
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Re: Stupid Questions

Post by halfwise on Sun Jan 12, 2014 4:44 am

No, seems to be in the right thread.

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Re: Stupid Questions

Post by Norc on Sun Jan 12, 2014 11:13 am

who are u asking?
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Re: Stupid Questions

Post by RA on Sun Jan 12, 2014 11:22 am

There are no stupid questions  sunny 

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Re: Stupid Questions

Post by azriel on Sun Jan 12, 2014 11:37 am

Bungo...  lol! 

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Re: Stupid Questions

Post by halfwise on Sun Jan 12, 2014 2:43 pm

Recoveryanonymous wrote:There are no stupid questions  sunny 

...only stupid people?

Or in the more positivist vein, only people who are stupid because they don't bother to ask questions.

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Re: Stupid Questions

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Sun Jan 12, 2014 3:28 pm

Yup- not knowing the answer is just ignorance and absolutely fine (we are all ignorant of an infinite amount more than we know), not asking any questions however is stupid.

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Re: Stupid Questions

Post by halfwise on Sun Jan 12, 2014 3:33 pm

But these days Google is making asking questions go out of style.

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Re: Stupid Questions

Post by Bluebottle on Mon Jan 13, 2014 2:53 pm

But aren't people asking questions when they go on Google as well?  scratch 

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Re: Stupid Questions

Post by David H on Mon Jan 13, 2014 3:15 pm

Do you use a "?" when you Google something?
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Re: Stupid Questions

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Mon Jan 13, 2014 5:04 pm

Only if its a question!

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Re: Stupid Questions

Post by Bluebottle on Mon Jan 13, 2014 9:16 pm

It has maybe become more command based perhaps. Telling Google show me this, instead of meakly asking someone learned.

Not so sure that's only a bad thing though.  Laughing 

Was that what you were getting at?

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Re: Stupid Questions

Post by David H on Mon Jan 13, 2014 11:17 pm

Bluebottle wrote:It has maybe become more command based perhaps. Telling Google show me this, instead of meakly asking someone learned.

Why do questions have to be meak? Don't monarchs ask questions of their subjects, for example? Can't a question as easily be sarcastic as self-deprecating?

Not so sure that's only a bad thing though.  Laughing 

I'm not saying it's good or bad, but it's really not a question if it's not phrased as one, is it?

Was that what you were getting at?

Is my point clearer now?  Very Happy 
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Re: Stupid Questions

Post by David H on Tue Jan 14, 2014 6:42 pm

I was trying to keep my comments in this thread in question form, but I seem to have killed yet another thread.  Embarassed 

In response to Halfwise's comment
halfwise wrote:But these days Google is making asking questions go out of style.

It often seems so. And the loss is that by asking a question a person is inviting others to engage in collective thought. It's something uniquely human, not something that ought to go out of style.

Often a good question is far more interesting that the ultimate answer. Questions can convey far more information than they request. The can be fierce or humble, wise or foolish, happy or unbearably sad, just like the people asking them. But what they all share is the invitation to another thinking being to share a thought.

Viewed like this, asking a well crafted question of Google is rather like dancing with a broom or jamming with a metronome, don't you think? Wink 
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Re: Stupid Questions

Post by azriel on Tue Jan 14, 2014 6:54 pm

Viewed like this, asking a well crafted question of Google is rather like dancing with a broom or jamming with a metronome, don't you think?

I agree David, & I agree asking questions is an invitation . If I dont know something IL ask, always much nicer to have face to face contact with someone but, if there's no one there what do you do ? Ask Google.

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Re: Stupid Questions

Post by halfwise on Tue Jan 14, 2014 7:59 pm

I think especially with the smartphone culture people are starting to feel they are wasting people's time or showing laziness by asking basic factual questions that can easily be looked up.

When calculators first came in people thought they would free up the mind from numerical drudgery and elevate people's conceptual approach to mathematics. It ended up that people so completely lost touch with the basics of math that they could never reach higher levels.

I don't think google is having the same effect: I think people are beginning to distinguish between lower order factual knowledge and higher order process knowledge, just what calculators were supposed to do. In that case I think the replacement was on either too basic a level, or the human mind is so ill at ease with math that without the basics it collapses.

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Re: Stupid Questions

Post by Bluebottle on Tue Jan 14, 2014 8:24 pm

So you are saying that such a ready acess to "finite" answers limits open debate and exchange of information?

Well, it's certainly an interesting perspective. One of the problems with the internet though is that it often provides wrong answers, or supplies one right where there isn't necessarily a consensus in science. So maybe it just leads to more debate between people who seperately think they are right.

Paradigms in science change every now and then as well, so truely right answears can perhaps be hard to come by even with Google.  Laughing 

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Re: Stupid Questions

Post by halfwise on Tue Jan 14, 2014 8:35 pm

There are graduations of 'right'. 'What is the capital of Norway?' has a very definitive answer. 'What is the cultural capital of Norway?' does not.

I don't think Google is helping conversations, but I do think it's helping people distinguish different types of questions, and are no longer asking the ones with simple answers.

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Re: Stupid Questions

Post by Eldorion on Tue Jan 14, 2014 8:43 pm

halfwise wrote:When calculators first came in people thought they would free up the mind from numerical drudgery and elevate people's conceptual approach to mathematics.  It ended up that people so completely lost touch with the basics of math that they could never reach higher levels.

This is really introducing. Smile I had no idea people hoped that for calculators, though of course I've never known a world without calculators. As someone who has never been particularly fond of math I like having a calculator on hand, though I've barely thought about math since I met the minimum graduation requirements for it (statistics notwithstanding). Sometimes I will make myself do simple problems in my head because I feel bad about getting so rusty.
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Re: Stupid Questions

Post by halfwise on Tue Jan 14, 2014 8:55 pm

When I was in high school, math teachers were running around crowing that a new age was at hand where people's minds would be freed up to think instead of weighed down with calculations.

A dozen years later I found myself teaching high school: and I realized that when my physics students were reaching for calculators to do the simplest thing (12 divided by 3, I kid you not) they were losing all touch with the fundamental meaning of numbers and operations. So I took the calculators away so they would be forced to practice the concepts again.

I think the problem was that they had never reached fluency with math, so calculators became a crutch rather than a tool. I think people have a greater fluency with basic knowledge, so can use the internet as a tool. People are usually discerning about the quality of knowledge they get off the net, and seem to be good about knowing which answers can be trusted and which are an interpretation or a simple passing on of unverified statements.

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Re: Stupid Questions

Post by Norc on Tue Jan 14, 2014 9:54 pm

halfwise wrote: 'What is the capital of Norway?' Oslo (and Tromsø was a couple of weeks during the war)
 'What is the cultural capital of Norway?' Bergen (has been european cultural capital) and perhaps, Trondheim....

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Re: Stupid Questions

Post by David H on Tue Jan 14, 2014 11:28 pm

I like the analogy to the introduction of calculators!

My high school science teachers were old fossils (probably in their 40's Rolling Eyes ) who had learned to do complex calculations on slide-rule and insisted no calculators were to be allowed during tests.  

One of the things slide-rule taught extremely well was a constant respect for how easily error can creep into a calculation, and how to double-check your work.  

The calculator will happily subtract two very large numbers from each other, and confidently give you the answer to 12 digits,  just as Google may tell you that Shadowfax was white and the other two Ithryn were blue without any loremasters to give it context.

I'm undecided, but I feel there's something lost by too much dependence on electronic answers. It seems to me that growing up in a World before Google, I assumed that at anytime a stranger might come up to me and need to know the capitol of Norway, and I had to be ready for that. Because of this I tried to pack as much arcane trivia into my head, just in case I needed it sometime, and in the process I structured my brain's filing system to handle and crossreference a whole garbage pile of random data.

I'm not saying this is in any way better than the search skills and fact checking habbits that come with Googling, but I still feel something has been lost. I felt it most recently during the family gathering at Christmas, where we older generations would join in the social sport of trying to put things like food, music, literature or technology into an historical context (questions like "What did people think they were eating when they first met SPAM?"). We eventually had to forbid the younger generation from pulling out their tablets and ending the conversation with a Google result before it had started, at least until everybody had had their say.

I do love the almost infinite access that internet searches give, but my personal ethical line (at least for the purposes of this discussion) is that Questions are reserved for People. If I need to find the capitol of Congo, I'll type "congo capitol" into the search bar. Nothing more.

A search engine just doesn't deserve the social respect of a formal question! Mad
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