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Trenton.

Riddles

49 posts in this topic

If a man speaks in the forest, and no woman is around to hear it, is he still wrong?

 

 

The things you find around facebook. People never disappoint.

 

 

Post # 2,460

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I miss those weird gremlins in E3. 23456!

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I find sexism in the guise of exasperation in the guise of self-deprecation about as unpalatable as unmasked sexism.

 

—Alorael, who knows it's just a joke (and not a riddle). It's's a very old joke, though, and it hasn't aged well.

Triumph, nikki., sylae and 7 others like this

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I miss those weird gremlins in E3. 23456!

Unfortunately, they really don't work when the dialogue options are predefined. The gremlins in A3 were weird in a bad way.

 

(Dikiyoba was going to comment on the previous posts as well, but Alorael just did that far better than Dikiyoba ever could.)

nikki. likes this

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(Dikiyoba was going to comment on the previous posts as well, but Alorael just did that far better than Dikiyoba ever could.)

 

Does that make me double sniped? Shoot!

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Trenton, here's an exercise for you: Reverse the genders in your joke. If it now sounds wrong/infuriating/likely to get you in trouble, it's sexist.

 

Tolerance for the fiction of male inferiority is just patronizing to women. It makes this female (dragon) grit her teeth.

Actaeon likes this

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I understand the temptation to be exasperated with the opposite sex (provided you have a sex to be opposed to), but in my experience making sweeping generalizations is often detrimental and insulting to everyone involved- even the group that you think you're raising up.

 

Diki and I discussed the original version of this ("... does it make a sound") and agreed that, scientifically speaking, a sound does not need to be heard to exist. Besides which, there are other animals with ears.

 

Also, the egg came first.

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Quantum dynamics, described very freely, would say that the tree has not fallen and the sound has not, um, sounded until there is someone or something to observe it. The superposition of wavefunctions may lean heavily towards fallen tree with noise, but it doesn't actually happen. Or has not happened. Does not has happened?

 

—Alorael, who assumes, for the purpose of argument, that the tree can be approximated as very tiny particles moving quite quickly. And the sound is probably actually electromagnetic radiation. Much like a tree, really.

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What scale of consciousness does the observer need in order to have an effect? If we count a human, and a human with instruments to enhance observation, does the instrument without the human have that effect? What if a computer is monitoring the instrument? What if a dolphin, octopus or bonobo is observing? A dog? Do we assume that god observes everything so the whole is moot?

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Nobody knows. We may find out before too long, though, because we're beginning to make experiments and devices on scales approaching the atomic.

 

Or we might not. Things happen in quantum mechanics, all right. They just don't look like the things we're used to. Let me pretend that trees fall in the way unstable atomic nuclei decay, just so I can stick with the language of trees and sounds. Suppose you start with a definitely unfallen tree. Then, after a little while, something will have happened: the state of the universe will have tipped over a bit into one with some weight for the tree to have fallen, and some weight for it not to have fallen. That tipping of weights is something happening, all right, but the thing that happens is not exactly that the tree falls. The tree falling is part of it, but only part.

 

What are these 'weights'? Good question. They're complex numbers. What do they mean? Hard to say, in general. We do know that, if you got a whole lot of absolutely identical trees, but completely separate from each other, and waited the same length of time for all of them, then listened to hear if you heard any falling sounds, then in each case you'd simply hear either that the tree had fallen, or else hear nothing. Collecting this data for the whole lot of identically prepared starting trees, you'd find that the number of cases where you hear that the tree has fallen, versus the number of cases where you hear nothing, would be accurately predicted by a certain way of squaring the complex 'weight' numbers.

 

That's how it will seem if you listen for trees to fall. What's really happening, though? Maybe all that happens when you listen is that the state of the universe goes to one with two weighted cases: either the tree is standing and you heard nothing, or it has fallen and you heard it fall. So you become part of the story, just like the tree.

 

I don't think that can be the whole explanation, though, because I'm left asking why it always feels to me that I'm either one or the other, not a weighted sum of both. There seems to me to still be an axiom needed, to get from weighted sums to either/ors. This issue may be a problem for experiments, though. If we run an experiment where a bug listens for a tree to fall, it'll be hard to rule out the possibility that the bug just becomes part of the quantum story along with the tree. So we might not really learn anything, whatever happened.

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It seems intuitively impossible to me that you can experiment on this. Experiments are, by nature, observation. Whether a bug or a computer or a dog or God counts is impossible to determine because as soon as any of us observe the bug/computer/dog/God we've observed an effect of the tree falling.

 

—Alorael, who thinks there's a bigger experimental issue here, too. Whether or not God counts as an observer for quantum mechanics is interesting, but it's probably less interesting than experimental observation of God.

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Thirty white horses on a red hill, at first they champ, then they stamp and in the end stand still.

 

Teeth?

Upon Mars. likes this

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My mom always said it with thirty two, not just thirty. Maybe I'm thinking of the wrong riddle.

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It is 32, though not everyone has them all. Of course, if the answer is teeth, then the last line should be "then they rot and fall out."

Upon Mars. likes this

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Does someone with better Google-fu than I want to take up the challenge of figuring out when that riddle originated? It would be interesting to see how the tooth count ended up at 30.

 

All Dikiyoba can find is references to The Hobbit, but that's almost certainly not where the riddle originated.

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Thirty white horses on a red hill, at first they champ, then they stamp and in the end stand still.

 

Teeth, precious.

 

Though we only has nine.*

 

 

(I don't know where the "30" came in, but it seems likely that it's a mutation swapping "32" with "30 white".)

 

Found this while delving into the oldest Google hits for "thirty white horses", from 2000.

 

Thirty white horses in a red cave,

In rank, tight abreast, each member a stave;

Some laden with silver, but not for its cost,

Some riding on bridges not meant to be crossed;

Together they charge without a word spoken,

To clash on the field in formation unbroken;

Though never among them be found king or queen,

A crown made of gold can often be seen.

What are they?

 

I have no idea if this riddle is older or not; aside from their first line and their solution, they don't seem to be connected.

Edited by ????⟦⟧
*That's right, JRR invented lolspeak before the freaking INTERNET.
Upon Mars. likes this

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From the Free Library

 

Anderson makes the following connections between riddles Bilbo and Gollum pose in Chapter Five of The Hobbit and their possible sources. Bilbo's "teeth" riddle, he writes, is a "touched up" version of a riddle that appears as Riddle 229 in Iona and Peter Opie's Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes.

 

Also:

 

But John D. Rateliff, quoting from a September 1947 Letters entry, cites this response Tolkien made to a request to reprint the "Riddles in the Dark" riddles without permission:

 

"As for the Riddles: they are 'all my own work' except for 'Thirty White Horses' which is traditional, and 'No-Legs'."

Upon Mars. likes this

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Though we only has nine.*

 

 

Six, Aran. When possible, I think it's best to take the book's version over the movie's.

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cites this response Tolkien made to a request to reprint the "Riddles in the Dark" riddles without permission

 

Am I just too tired to parse this? How do you request permission to do something without permission?

 

Or was the response without permission - hence, a denial of the request?

 

(Also, my copy is on loan to my sister, and hunting down the quote online pretty difficult, with the movie interfering. :p )

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Evidently hobbits have 30 teeth. That's weird, though, because it's not evenly divisible by 4. So either they have one tooth in the middle, above and below, or different numbers of teeth on top and bottom.

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...different numbers of teeth on top and bottom.

 

Eugh, I just imagined that and now I can't get the picture out of my head.

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The Wise family of Hobbits was so-named because they all had 32 teeth.

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The Wise family of Hobbits was so-named because they all had 32 teeth.

 

Wait, that would make Samwise the one with 30 teeth; ie. "half-wise".

Upon Mars. likes this

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The absence of wisdom teeth, including only upper or only lower, is quite common. The prevalence depends on genetics, but there are some ethnicities that do not have any wisdom teeth. It wouldn't be so surprising for hobbits to have congenital absence of, say, upper wisdom teeth. Or for their smaller jaws to result in almost 0% eruption of upper wisdom teeth so they think they have only 30 and some weirdos get an extra. Their smaller mouths make having fewer teeth more likely to reduce crowding.

 

There are other more unusual scenarios, of course. Maybe a pair of molars on the top or bottom, but not both, have fused into one large tooth. Hobbits could lack canines. Or they could suffer from a generalized form of Aristotle's error and simply be wrong about the number of teeth they have. How often do you count your teeth?

 

—Alorael, who was born with an extra canine. To his dentist's surprise, it also reappeared among his permanent teeth. Sadly he never hit a full 33 teeth: his supernumerary canine was pulled before all his wisdom teeth erupted. He believes he hit 30 teeth, then went back down to 29, and then got to 30 again as the last tooth came in. (Two wisdom teeth never did erupt.)

Upon Mars. likes this

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Trenton, here's an exercise for you: Reverse the genders in your joke. If it now sounds wrong/infuriating/likely to get you in trouble, it's sexist.

 

Tolerance for the fiction of male inferiority is just patronizing to women. It makes this female (dragon) grit her teeth.

 

I'm not sure if you understand the joke. It refers to the relatively common phenomenon of women always criticising everything their male significant other does. So it's a jab at women.

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I'm not sure if you understand the joke. It refers to the relatively common phenomenon of women always criticising everything their male significant other does. So it's a jab at women.

 

did you really need to bring this back up two days after people had moved on

 

really

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I'm not sure if you understand the joke. It refers to the relatively common phenomenon of women always criticising everything their male significant other does. So it's a jab at women.

you say that like it makes it okay

 

 

also when do wisdom teeth usually happen. i feel like a bad person because i have no idea if i am wise yet. are they molars or are they wise?

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They are molars that show up behind your existing molars, usually in your late teens early 20s. I had mine removed before they completely came in when I was 17 to avoid impaction.

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I'm not sure if you understand the joke. It refers to the relatively common phenomenon of women always criticising everything their male significant other does. So it's a jab at women.

 

You can understand the joke and still find it inaccurate and offensive. And personally, I'm not particularly fond of the male role in that particular stereotypical scenario, either. If every single women you come across is disregarding your opinion, it might be that the problem's on your end, not half the world's population.

 

If we hadn't managed to turn the topic to hobbit teeth, this topic probably would have been locked by now, so I'm going to follow Lillith's lead and shift back to that. I'd like to know where this particularly factoid came from. Tolkien himself? An interview? Notes? Was it actually included in something published?

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also when do wisdom teeth usually happen. i feel like a bad person because i have no idea if i am wise yet. are they molars or are they wise?

 

mine started coming in at age 12 but i suppose that's to be expected

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also when do wisdom teeth usually happen. i feel like a bad person because i have no idea if i am wise yet. are they molars or are they wise?

It's a safe bet they haven't erupted yet, because new teeth coming in where you previously had no teeth is hard to miss.

 

Dikiyoba's wisdom teeth had to be extracted, but the surgeon returned them in a special tooth-shaped container, so Dikiyoba still has them.

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I'm weird because I only had wisdom teeth in my upper jaw and I've never had any lateral incisors (normally people have four teeth between the canines in their upper jaw, but I only have two).

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I'm suspicious of the need to extract wisdom teeth, and the literature on it is mixed at best. The dentist seemed very convinced they needed to go, but he would, wouldn't he? They were all out and didn't seem to be doing any harm. Still, they're long gone now.

 

—Alorael, who lost his wisdom teeth when it became legal for him to drink, but he supposes that's to be expected.

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Jerakeen wonders why humans weren't designed with enough room in their heads for all of their teeth. Seems like a bug.

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Mosquito---Slayer wonders why Jerakeen is speaking in third person, his bottom-left Wisdom teeth has been trying to emerge for about an year now but hasn't been successful, A visit to dentist seems imminent.

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Jerakeen wonders why humans weren't designed with enough room in their heads for all of their teeth. Seems like a bug.

Because before they did the whole indoors thing humans lived pretty rough and their teeth wore out quickly, iirc.

Edited by sylae
don't worry, top people are working on a new version of human.

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After a semester of Human Evolutionary Biology, I'd tend to side with Jerakeen. Most of our ancestors were extremely prognathic compared to modern humans. We've confused natural selection a bit by becoming more carnivorous, then suddenly switching to tropical grains that would have given Paranthropus pause (a move which wreaked havoc on our teeth in just the way Sy describes- but AFTER we were anatomically modern). We ended up with a multipurpose jumble of teeth instead of a specialized system, and the optimum ratio would have varied wildly by population. Meanwhile, our dentition has tried kept up with our shrinking mandibles, but it seems to be lagging.

 

A more interesting question, to me, is WHY the hominoid with the smallest jaw came out on top. Was it a fluke? A sign that we'd improved our tool use so far we no longer needed large teeth? Was it easier to communicate without them? And how come the most obvious difference between a human and a Neanderthal skull, save perhaps the forehead, is our protruding chin.

 

Edit: Before someone calls me out on this, it's worth admitting that both Paranthropus and Neanderthal probably had fairly specialized diets and are not considered to be part of our direct lineage. No other hominoid can rival Paranthropus's cheek teeth, and Neanderthal's molars were taurodont to the extreme.

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Jerakeen wonders why humans weren't designed with enough room in their heads for all of their teeth. Seems like a bug.

With apologies to Haldane, one of the main properties of Deity which natural science has revealed is an inordinate tolerance for bugs.

saunders likes this

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A more interesting question, to me, is WHY the hominoid with the smallest jaw came out on top. Was it a fluke? A sign that we'd improved our tool use so far we no longer needed large teeth? Was it easier to communicate without them? And how come the most obvious difference between a human and a Neanderthal skull, save perhaps the forehead, is our protruding chin.

 

I'm not an evolutionary biologist, but perhaps the smaller jaw has to do with the descended larynx? The descended larynx that adults (but not infants) have gives us the ability to make a lot more sounds, and thus opens up vocal communication, and language more broadly, as a possibility. That's obviously an evolutionary advantage.

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With apologies to Haldane, one of the main properties of Deity which natural science has revealed is an inordinate tolerance for bugs.

And it seems, an indeterminacy as to their operation as observers. Which, given the situation, is appropriate.

I had 5 wisdom teeth extracted. there was an extra one at upper right. I don't know if this made me extra wise, or extra lacking in wisdom.

But re hobbits: isn't it more likely they have fewer teeth in the lower jaw, as it is there that impaction is more likely. Tolkien was surely a benevolent creator (if not actually god) of hobbits.

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Hobbits clearly have 28 teeth due to their smaller stature, and are born from eggs, necessitating two eye teeth that are discarded soon after hatching.

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So hobbits were intelligently designed? Man, now we just have to work in Star Wars and Star Trek, and we can have the absolute ultimate flame war. Buwahahahaha!

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So hobbits were intelligently designed? Man, now we just have to work in Star Wars and Star Trek, and we can have the absolute ultimate flame war. Buwahahahaha!

Jar Jar Binks, on the other hand, was unintelligently designed.

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So hobbits were intelligently designed? Man, now we just have to work in Star Wars and Star Trek, and we can have the absolute ultimate flame war. Buwahahahaha!

 

Data the Android was only semi-intelligently designed, since his creator was only human.

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