I’m just going to come out and say it. By far the best news of the week: a paper by Joseph A Hopkinson and Nicholas S Hopkinson, published in the Medical Journal of Australia, that theorizes evil, as evidenced by the inhabitants of Middle Earth, is due a Vitamin D deficiency:
Gollum, himself “as dark as darkness” lives in the dark, deep in the Misty Mountains. He does, however, eat fish, although the text describes these only as “blind” and it is not clear whether they are of an oily kind and thus a potential source of vitamin D. He sometimes eats goblins, but they rarely come down to his lake, suggesting that fish play little part in the goblin diet. Interestingly, these occasional trips to catch fish are undertaken at the behest of the Great Goblin, leading one to speculate that his enhanced diet may have helped him to achieve his pre-eminent position within goblin society. In due course, the Great Goblin is replaced by the Son of the Great Goblin. While simple nepotism is a likely explanation, we are unable to exclude an epigenetic process whereby the son’s fitness to rule has been influenced by parental vitamin D exposure.
While I’d like to say I found this little gem on my own, I owe much thanks to NPR.
Oh, and here are a few other bookish bits . . .
Don’t miss this short piece covering Mike Tyson’s love affair with history and philosophy (spoiler: Nietzsche’s a favorite).
Speaking of favorites, New York Times critics list their favorite books of 2013.
Ever wonder what word was added to the Oxford Dictionary the year you were born? Well wonder no further, my friend! You can now look it up via the OED birthday word generator. For example: 1973 | recyclist, n. Meaning: An advocate of the recycling of waste products; a recycler. Hmm . . . I hope your word is more intriguing. I mean, really.
Quercus to publish the fourth book in Stieg Larsson’s Millennium series. Swedish author David Lagercrantz will write the book. No pressure there, or anything . . .
Lydia Davis introduces Osama Alomar, the exiled Syrian short short story writer.