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Trenton. Trenton.

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 11:47 AM #1 Riddles

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


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Posted 10 February 2013 - 12:22 PM #2 Riddles

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 01:20 PM #3 Riddles

According to women a man is always wrong.  Even about this.  :)
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Posted 10 February 2013 - 01:28 PM #4 Riddles

I miss those weird gremlins in E3. 23456!
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Alorael

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 02:01 PM #5 Riddles

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.

Dikiyoba Dikiyoba

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 02:03 PM #6 Riddles

View PostExcalibur, on 10 February 2013 - 01:28 PM, said:

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. nikki.

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 04:57 PM #7 Riddles

View PostDikiyoba, on 10 February 2013 - 02:03 PM, said:

(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!

Jerakeen Jerakeen

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 07:36 PM #8 Riddles

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 Actaeon

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 08:22 PM #9 Riddles

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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Alorael

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 12:00 AM #10 Riddles

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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Posted 11 February 2013 - 12:37 AM #11 Riddles

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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Posted 11 February 2013 - 03:06 AM #12 Riddles

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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Alorael

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 09:27 AM #13 Riddles

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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Posted 11 February 2013 - 11:15 AM #14 Riddles

Thirty white horses on a red hill, at first they champ, then they stamp and in the end stand still.
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Posted 11 February 2013 - 12:56 PM #15 Riddles

View PostUpon Mars., on 11 February 2013 - 11:15 AM, said:

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

Teeth?

Rowen Rowen

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 12:57 PM #16 Riddles

My mom always said it with thirty two, not just thirty.  Maybe I'm thinking of the wrong riddle.
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Posted 11 February 2013 - 01:00 PM #17 Riddles

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."

Dikiyoba Dikiyoba

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 03:30 PM #18 Riddles

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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Posted 11 February 2013 - 03:37 PM #19 Riddles

View PostUpon Mars., on 11 February 2013 - 11:15 AM, said:

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.

Quote

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 🐱⟦⟧, 11 February 2013 - 03:46 PM.
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Randomizer Randomizer

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 06:13 PM #20 Riddles

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'."
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Actaeon Actaeon

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 06:20 PM #21 Riddles

View Post⟦⟧, on 11 February 2013 - 03:37 PM, said:


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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Posted 11 February 2013 - 08:17 PM #22 Riddles

Quote

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 )

Student of Trinity Student of Trinity

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 11:51 PM #23 Riddles

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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Posted 12 February 2013 - 04:36 AM #24 Riddles

View PostStudent of Trinity, on 11 February 2013 - 11:51 PM, said:

...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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Posted 12 February 2013 - 10:11 AM #25 Riddles

The Wise family of Hobbits was so-named because they all had 32 teeth.
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Posted 12 February 2013 - 10:59 AM #26 Riddles

View PostHarehunter, on 12 February 2013 - 10:11 AM, said:

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".

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 01:27 PM #27 Riddles

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.)

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 04:08 PM #28 Riddles

View PostJerakeen, on 10 February 2013 - 07:36 PM, said:

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.

Lilith Lilith

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 04:58 PM #29 Riddles

View PostBrocktree, on 12 February 2013 - 04:08 PM, said:

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

sylae sylae

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 05:54 PM #30 Riddles

View PostBrocktree, on 12 February 2013 - 04:08 PM, said:

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?

Tyranicus Tyranicus

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 06:01 PM #31 Riddles

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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Posted 12 February 2013 - 06:21 PM #32 Riddles

View PostBrocktree, on 12 February 2013 - 04:08 PM, said:

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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Lilith Lilith

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 06:36 PM #33 Riddles

View Postsylae, on 12 February 2013 - 05:54 PM, said:

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

Dikiyoba Dikiyoba

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 07:38 PM #34 Riddles

View PostSylae, on 12 February 2013 - 05:54 PM, said:

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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Posted 12 February 2013 - 07:46 PM #35 Riddles

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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