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Noisy Neighbours Modern AU

Hux and Kylo both live in the same refurbished 1950s block of flats in Sheffield. Kylo lives directly above Hux, and their balconies are stacked so they could hear one another if they both have their windows open, but they can’t see one another. They’re both health freaks and always take the stairs so they’ve never really encountered one another beyond the occasional nod at the post boxes.

Hux is an architect and interior designer, a very successful one, specialising in an odd combination of brutalism and intense luxury that appeals to a certain kind of international businessman. He’s a workaholic, frequently loses track of what day it is and is totally reliant on his digital diary. There’s no real identifiable routine to the hours he keeps- other than client appointments he works when he has inspiration and sleeps when his body can’t last another second.

Kylo is an American expat making his money running a mixed martial arts studio and doing stunt work for films. He’s gained a reputation as a determined and dedicated teacher and now has a long list of celebrity clients that he trains on the side. Thanks to his unorthodox work life and the odd schedules of celebrities he’s frequently in and out of building at the strangest times. The only thing he refuses to be flexible on is the need for three hours personal kata practice every day, that he fits in whenever he can.

Despite the 1950s concrete construction of the building sound still travels far too easily between the floors and Hux is frequently treated to the thunder of Kylo pounding across the floor like a herd of elephants at 4am.

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Imagine Jamie using the Internet for the first time ever

Jamie circled the metal plate curiously. It lay innocently on the kitchen table, shining in the morning light as though God himself were smiling down upon it. At least, that’s how Brianna seemed to view the thing. He himself was more convinced it was a gift from a far lower realm, from what Brianna told him the thing could do.  

He looked from the bitten apple engraving to Brianna, quirking an eyebrow. “A bite from the fruit of knowledge, is it? Adam and Eve were damned for that, ye ken.”

Claire burst out laughing, and Jamie shot her a rueful look from across the table. 

“Aye, ye’re laughing now, but I remember someone who couldna remember how to spell “help,” even after two years wi’ me.”

She waved him off, wiping her eyes. 

“I hadn’t really thought about it,” Brianna interjected, frowning at the wee machine, “but anyways you shouldn’t be so suspicious. It’s an amazing tool, I promise. Just try it.”

Jamie doubted this, but Brianna seemed so anxious that he learn about it, and he supposed it was only fair that he learn something about her world.

“Well, you have to open it first.” Bree instructed, voice tinged with both impatience and humour.

“Open metal?” Had the lass lost her mind?

He watched, astonished, as she easily reached for the side of the plate and opened it like a metal book. It must be hinged somehow, though he couldn’t see it.

She looked back at him expectantly, so he pushed at the top to get it to lie flat.

“No!” Both Claire and Brianna cried out instantly, jumping up from their seats.

“Da, you can’t do that.” Brianna said, stopping his hand. “The screen is meant to point up. That way you can see what’s on it.”

“Mmmmphm,” Jamie snorted, eyeing the dark screen dubiously.

Ever since he’d come through the stones, his mind had been forced to reckon with machines past the wildest imaginings of even the most fantastical of writers. His lass had informed him that they were called computers, and promised to teach him how to make use of them, as they were apparently the backbone of modern society. Jamie didn’t see how that could be, but then, he hadn’t understood how men could fly either, yet he’d done so himself (at least, Claire told him he had. All he remembered was the inside of a paper bag.) 

Claire had once been as mystified by such contraptions as he was, the faerie stones having taken her to a time in advance of even her own when she’d left before Culloden. However the lass had grown up in this time. To her, these computers were as normal as a sword was to him. 

“Okay, so now pushing this button,” she pushed a wee button with a strange symbol on it and the screen lit up, brighter than any candle, and earily blue. “Turns it on.”

She pushed quickly on many of the wee buttons with letters, and to his shock Jamie saw dots appear in a rectangle on the top plate, which now bore a picture of a kindly looking dog.

“That’s Smokey, our old dog.” Brianna explained.

“That’s no what’s confusing me lass. How did ye get his portrait on here? It wasna here a second ago, and I’d wager on my life there was no sheet hiding it.”

Jamie waited patiently as Brianna tapped her fingers beside the computer.

“You just… you take a picture and upload it. It’s like… copying the portrait. Kind of. And the screen won’t always look the same. That’s kind of the point. It’s like a book, but sometimes you can’t see the pages turning.”

They started at each other in mutual confusion. 

“Here, perhaps this will make it a bit clearer. Consider this picture of Smokey like the cover of the book.” She looked at him to make sure he was following, and he nodded solemnly. He could almost grasp that. Books sometimes had wee portraits in them. 

“Now, take the mouse…”

Jamie looked around the table, reaching for the wee knife he kept in his pocket.

“Mouse, where?”

“No, Da, this is the mouse.” Brianna indicated a white, half-egg looking thing that seemed to be attached to the computer with a rope made of strange-feeling material. 

“The mouse? Why do ye call it that? It doesna squeak!” He jerked his hand back. “Does it?”

Claire’s head was now resting on the table, her back shaking with silent mirth. Brianna shot her a look that Jamie was pleased to recognize from his own face.

“No, it doesn’t. Promise. I have no clue why it’s called that. Someone just had some fun naming it, I guess.”

Hesitantly Jamie placed his hand back over the mouse. Brianna placed her hand over his and gently pulled the mouse along the table. Jamie gasped. 

“The wee arrow! It’s moving!“

“Yep. That’s what we want it to do.” Brianna explained. “It’s called a cursor. It’s… like our hand. Because we can’t touch the pages of the book with our own hands. At least, not on a laptop.”

This last comment had Jamie more confused that ever, but he chose to ignore it. There was more than enough to learned about with just one of these machines.

“Okay, so when we click on this,” she depressed his finger, and the mousey made a soft ‘click’ noise, which was oddly satisfying, as it was the first word that seemed to live up to what it did.

As she did so, the colourful ball in portrait that their cursor was on top of began to bounce. 

“Ye canna have me believe that isna magic.” Jamie implored.

“It’s not, promise. We just opened a web page is all.”

“A web page?

“Yeah, it’s a… part of this big thing we call the internet. Basically it’s like all the libraries and pubs and stuff in the world connected together as though it’s all part of a big web.”

Jamie eyed the white page dubiously. “I dinna see how a spider could make such a vast thing, nor why it would let us keep pages of information in its web.”

Bree shot him a look that reminded him immensely of his sister.

Yet his mind was still grappling with what she’d told him. The more he thought about it, the more outlandish it seemed “Ah dhia. Where is it all stored? Surely all the books in the world canna fit in such a wee thing.”

“They’re not really in it, you see. Most of it’s stored in the cloud.” She looked hopeful, her eyes begging him to understand, but he was more muddled than ever.

“Ye store books in the sky?” How is the world had man managed this in a mere 300 years? “How does the wee box show us them if they’re up there?”

He ran a hand through hair in frustration

“No! It’s not in the actual sky. I -” She broke off and gestured at her mother. “Mama, can you try? You were computer illiterate too at some point.”        

Claire smiled gently and threaded her fingers through Jamie’s, squeezing his hand in support. 

“She’s right, I was. But now you’ve seen something of it at least, so why don’t we call it a day and take a walk?” 

Jamie sighed in relief. One day he’d figure out the secrets of mice that opened webs in the clouds, for his daughter’s sake if nothing else, but for today he’d had quite enough of the future.

He is drowning

Space... the final frontier

Fifty years ago Captain Kirk and the crew of the starship Enterprise began their journey into space — the final frontier. Now, as the newest Star Trek film hits cinemas, the NASA/ESA Hubble space telescope is also exploring new frontiers, observing distant galaxies in the galaxy cluster Abell S1063 as part of the Frontier Fields programme.

Space… the final frontier. These are the stories of the Hubble Space Telescope. Its continuing mission, to explore strange new worlds and to boldly look where no telescope has looked before.

The newest target of Hubble’s mission is the distant galaxy cluster Abell S1063, potentially home to billions of strange new worlds.

This view of the cluster, which can be seen in the centre of the image, shows it as it was four billion years ago. But Abell S1063 allows us to explore a time even earlier than this, where no telescope has really looked before. The huge mass of the cluster distorts and magnifies the light from galaxies that lie behind it due to an effect called gravitational lensing. This allows Hubble to see galaxies that would otherwise be too faint to observe and makes it possible to search for, and study, the very first generation of galaxies in the Universe. “Fascinating”, as a famous Vulcan might say.

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this happened to me the first time i played this game and i’m worried nothing will top it.

i call this “Batman’s fucking dead”

// Every time someone refers to Celeborn as blond I lose a fucking year of my damned life I swear to god. What part of “of silver long and bright” is unclear? It is literally one of the most defining characteristics of his character, a symbolic testament to Tolkien’s use of silver as sign of temporal authority, and the hereditary symbol of his royal Sindarin lineage. 

also he’s not a Calaquendi so he has never seen the light of the trees aka he doesn’t glow. But what do I know. I’ve only spent 15+ years of my life researching and writing about this character.