For so many of us, The Lord Of The Rings was the cornerstone upon which all modern fantasy rests, and to see it brought so lovingly to life was a visceral, overwhelming experience which only escalated with the successive entries in the trilogy. For me, it was much more, for it forced me to confront unexamined feelings for my father, who died when I was eight. I remember my father always had the Tolkien calendar on his kitchen wall, the lavish Hildebrandt brothers artwork burning scenes into my mind long before I understood their context. He had two cats, Gandalf and Gollum. Only later did I understand how vital a refuge fantasy was for my father, in a dreary world that never seemed to give him a break. Always relegated to the dimmest corner of the local library or B.
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If a dark wizard chops down a forest -- technically a renewable biofuel -- to feed the machine of industry, is his carbon footprint still zero? What are the fugitive methane levels of dwarfish gem mines? How much carbon is sequestered by the average adult Ent? If these are the questions that keep you awake at night, rest easy -- researchers at the University of Bristol in England are on the case. Using techniques similar to those of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the researchers recently produced a set of simulations depicting climate systems on Middle Earth, the fantastic world created by J.