one of my favorite lotr facts is that gondorians speak sindarin as a first language and yet when faramir was talking to frodo and sam about cirith ungol he was like “we don’t know what’s in there.” like faramir. cirith ungol is sindarin for “pass of the spider.” do the math


some of my favorite tags on this post



Don’t forget that Frodo also speaks Sindarin, which makes this even worse.

Faramir: Hey, don’t go up the Spider Stairs.

Frodo: Why? What’s up the Spider Stairs?

Faramir: We don’t know, Frodo. We just don’t know.


to be fair, you’d assume the name means “there’s a lot of spiders here,” not, “there is one spider the size of a draft horse here.” so you go up expecting to have to shoo a lot of skeeter eaters out of your tent, and instead you have to figure out how to rope and shoe godzillarantula.


Hmmm…They do live in a world where godzillarantulas feature prominently in mythology and history (Ungoliant plunged the world into darkness, scared the crap out of Sauron’s old boss, etc) and existed within the last century in Mirkwood. Assuming they ever talk to anyone who’s been to Mirkwood. They… probably know they were giant spiders in Mirkwood pretty recently? It’s hard to figure out how much anyone in Middle-earth has been talking to anyone else when we didn’t actually see it.

On the other hand – what if it’s the giant evil spiders’ prominence in history/mythology that’s causing trouble? What if lots of evil/nasty things/places get called “spider” just to indicate how nasty and evil they are, rather than any association with literal spiders, and it’s just… overloaded? Maybe the bad part of town in Minas Tirith is the Spider District. Maybe every tavern trying to be edgy calls itself the Spiderweb.

Actually spider/Ungoliant references could be really appealing to Gondorians trying to be edgy. They’re dark and evil! Plunged the world into darkness! But they AREN’T involved in the war they’re actually fighting, they aren’t directly associated with Sauron at all, so getting too interested in them would be creepy without being potentially treasonous. Because no one’s ACTUALLY going to worship those dangerous but not epic spiders up in Mirkwood, and no one’s heard anything from any proper spawn of Ungoliant in ages and ages.

In fact, spider/Ungoliant references might be appealing to ORCS trying to express that something is nasty and creepy! Nobody likes Ungoliant.

Maybe Faramir’s been to fourteen different Spider Caves across Ithilien, and half of them he didn’t even see regular spiders in, they’re just dark and damp and may have had orcs at some point, or something, and at some point in history someone got spooked. So you know, it’s POSSIBLE Spider Pass has something to do with spiders? But really it just means people don’t like it.

(The problem with this theory is we never actually SAW anyone overusing spider references. But it’s plausible they would!)


“The average spider on Middle Earth is the size of a dinner plate” is a statistical error. The average spider on Middle Earth is smaller than a coin. Cirith Ungol (lit: Spiders Gorge), which contains a spider larger than a horse, is an outlier adn should not have been counted.






Come for the Tolkien linguistics, stay for the Spiders Georg reference


this map, by jonathan hull, shows all the places in the USA named after the devil or hell. assuming big giant awful spiders were a common thing in middle earth, it’s likely that there were a shit ton of Spider Stairways.


you don’t wander into Devil’s Lick assuming that satan himself is gonna give you a rimjob. you presumably also don’t head up Spider Stairs assuming an arachnid the size of a cottage is gonna try and eat your friend.


FUN FACT: A huge portion of the “Devil’s [OBJECT]” names in Wyoming are from a poor bastard called John Coulter, who was probably the first white man to see Yellowstone! He saw it because he got seperated from the Lewis and Clark expidition on their way back east, decided that with winter coming on, he should head south to stay ahead of the weather, rather than east to try to catch up with the party, and instead got lost inside the Yellowstone caldera, the COLDEST fucking part of Wyoming, with its scalding, posionous geysers, earthquakes, massive packs of wolves that weren’t afraid of people yet, and temperatures hitting as low as Negative 40, and naturally assumed that he had somehow taken a wrong turn into the Nnth Circle of Hell.

He lived, managed to get out of the caldera, took extensive notes on the landscape, eventunally met up with some Blackfoot tribesmen who gave him a horse and directions to the nearest european settlement, and he left, naming every single notable feature after hell or the Devil, because Wyoming is clearly His Infernal Country.

So as far as Frodo knows, “Spiders Pass” was just named by a particularly disgruntled and arachnophobic field cartographer.


#that one post with the thing #it got better #Middle Earth #language #names #spiders #Spiders Georg #maps #geography #this probably deserves some other warning tag but I am not sure what #hell cw?

Anonymous asked: Pro-urbanism is a communo-indio-pakio-francio-anglo-zioinist plot to get as many Americans as possible into compact, easily-nuked areas, increasing the counter-value strength of small nuclear arsenals. If instead we distributed Americans and industry evenly across all American territory (including Alaska), nuclear weapons would be much less effective.




Big if true

Definitely true.

See, this is the actual reason for rail. We can split to population into 16,000 walkable towns of 20,000 residents at a density of roughly 4,000/km2. Each will be situated on about 612 km2, and separated by about 13km in distance (the radius of the town itself will be around 1.25km).

Each town will have a single rail depot in the center with N/S and E/W lines. Buses will connect to this depot, with the short distance allowing for a trip duration of 5-10 minutes.

Trains will move at an average of around 60-70km/h, including 5 minute stop times, for about a 15 minute hop per town. This provides the population of a sizable city within a 30m-1h commute range – for every town.

A high speed express service traveling at 150 km/h might increase the reachable population to closer to 2 million. (Somewhat less due to headways and transfers.) In two hours, maybe 7 to 9 million.

Every town in America could have the network power of New York City.

There is of course the small matter of the cost of the trains, the town construction, issues with not all sites being ideal for all industry, limiting the town populations, etc, but those are just details to be sorted out later.


#that one post with the thing #war cw? #discourse cw? #story ideas I…honestly I might actually write this #maybe…*pokes search engines trying to get a better sense of what 4k people/km^2 looks like* maybe sprawl it out a bit more #a big part of the point‚ in terms of the world I’m building here‚ is that #it lets people do the carlessness thing and the network-power thing *without the sensory overload of dense cities* #the towns I’ve been in with populations of 10k – 20k seemed to be pretty much the perfect size #the 1k – 5k towns I’ve been in were a little too small but they were close #the 100k – 200k cities were somewhat too big #Toronto was *way* too big #I’ve never been to NYC even though I used to live less than 100 miles from it and that’s probably for the best #(*looks at NYC on Street View* wait WTF this basically looks like downtown Kitchener) #(did I pick the wrong part of NYC?) #(is the idea just that it’s downtown Kitchener but it keeps up that pace over a larger area?) #((okay I guess to be fair the NYC buildings do look somewhat taller)) #((but the amount of overwhelmingness at ground level looks like it would be about the same)) #((so‚ like‚ not great‚ but not *quite* to the point of curling up in a little ball)) #((I’d still pick‚ say‚ Wellesley-but-with-a-train-station over Kitchener any day)) #tag rambles #geography #is the blue I see the same as the blue you see



In the equator, when the sun forms a right angle with the earth, the tree and its shadow.


eratosthenes wants to know how many stadia south of alexandria this is

I did some digging on this, and while it’s not that it *doesn’t* happen on the equator, it’s more complicated than that:


(photo by cmglee, STyx et al)

See also: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lahaina_Noon


#geography #sun #shadows #neat #the more you know #reply via reblog


I’m watching an old livestream vod of some people who are really good at Geoguessr (because, I dunno, that’s where I’m at in my life now) and it’s really funny – so partially there’s this incredible real-world knowledge of, like, looking at the landscape and being like “I’m getting Spain vibes”, or knowing not just the flags but the colors of the flags, or the one guy who’s memorized all the traffic dividers of many different countries…

But then there are also these Goodharted things in from how google maps works in different countries, and it’s just thrown in alongside the others. It paints this wildly Nightvalian picture of the world. Such as:

  • Germany loves to make entire buildings blurry.
  • In Nigeria, a car follows you around everywhere (“the follow car”, you know.)
  • There are rifts over the sky in Senegal.


#geography #games #fun with loopholes

digitaldiscipline asked: What is your favorite animal tidbit about the denizens of Lake Baikal?


actually my favorite thing about Baikal is the lake itself!

viewed from above, it looks like nothing particularly special. sure, it’s a big lake, but it doesn’t have the surface area of the Great Lakes or the Caspian Sea, right?





see, Lake Baikal really isn’t a lake at all, it’s a deep rent in the earth’s crust called a Rift Valley that just happened to get water in it. and the Baikal rift is one of the deepest and narrowest on earth, making this deceptively placid lake slightly over a MILE deep! that’s bonkers nutso.

like, you think the OCEAN is bad, just imagine being in a little fishing boat on this thing without realizing just how far away the bottom is….





Holy fucking shit



That bitch has a quarter of the fresh water in the entire world?!



I notice you never answered the crucial first question, OP. What lives in it? What lives down in that lake?



congrats, you lucked out this time! because it’s



that dwell in the depths




I love they!

(this other branch is also good)


#the more you know #geography #seals #adorable #(I don’t think that seal is *quite* my style but I see the appeal)



anytime someone from the UK orders a print from me I’m delighted because the addresses tend to be charming and sound completely made-up, I just suspend my disbelief and accept that I’m sending a package someplace with a name like Bristleberry House at Ditchmallow in Brambleford-on-Cotton—incredible lmaooo I bet this gets delivered to you by a badger in a little coat


The replies to this post are fucking hilarious


#Britain #geography #anything that makes me laugh this much deserves a reblog



Why should Germans be the only ones having this kind of fun Fellow citizens of the United States I nominate Wyoming



Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you-  the Bielefeld Conspiracy



You shouldn’t spread this kind of nonsense. Non-German followers may believe that Bielefeld actually exists.



the oldest yet biggest german meme






I had a friend in high school who insisted Mountain Time was a conspiracy. She didn’t know anyone from Mountain Time or in Mountain Time, nothing she bought or owned was made in Mountain Time, and she declared it was just a cover for the government to spend millions on the “rocky mountains” without accountability. By the end of junior year we all used “Mountain Time” as shorthand for something that shouldn’t exist, or that should exist and didn’t, like, “Oh no man, I forgot to do my homework, it’s in Mountain Time.”



In 1987 or so, I started claiming this to be the case with Portugal. So, the Portugese had a reputation for piracy. (Or perhaps privateering.) And my theory is: It was the Spanish, and then they wanted a cover story.

spain: Oh, no, your ships weren’t raided by Spanish ships. It was the Portugese.
everyone else: They spoke Spanish.
spain: haha, no. They were speaking Portugese. It just sounds like Spanish.
everyone else: Where exactly is this “Portugal” then?
spain: oh, it’s… uhm… between us and the ocean. Just a little strip of land. You’d hardly notice it if it weren’t for all the pirates.
everyone else: that sounds fake but okay. (updates maps)

I’ve since been informed by people whose native language is probably Spanish or maybe Portugese that this sounds pretty likely.


#unreality cw #storytime #I didn’t actually laugh aloud but it still amused me enough to reblog