Watch this Tolkien expert's master class on every race in Middle Earth

Cory Olsen, aka The Tolkien Professor, explains how Tolkien's hobbit stories got fused with his earlier mythologic work around languages he created to become the Tolkien universe inhabited by Hobbits, Men, Ents, Elves, Dwarves, and what-not. Read the rest

New Zealand provides new protections to victims of domestic abuse

The damage done by domestic violence doesn't stop when a victim finds the strength and support system needed to escape physical or emotional abuse at home. Breaking the cycle of abuse inflicted by the hands of someone you once trusted can send shock waves into every facet of your life: shared friends may turn against you, individuals you called family may disbelieve your claims of abuse and the time and energy it takes to break ties with an abuser can take a toll on your professional life. Happily, with a piece of policy that every nation on the planet should copy, New Zealand is taking steps to ensure that the latter won't be something that those looking to escape domestic violence will have to worry about any longer.

According to The New York Times, members of New Zealand's parliament have voted to approve a bill which states that individuals feeling domestic violence in their country must be given a 10-day leave of absence from their jobs--time to care for children, seek out assistance in setting up a new life and find shelter--in addition to whatever paid vacation days the victim's job comes with. The Domestic Violence Victims’ Protection Bill will go into effect in 2019.

From The New York Times:

Jan Logie, a lawmaker for the left-leaning Green Party who proposed the bill in 2016, said gender-based violence had become “entrenched” in New Zealand and “reaches into workplaces,” with victims often turning up late or missing work altogether.

Ms. Logie said that existing leave allowances were not enough for victims to “deal with the courts, find a new house, go to counseling or support their children dealing with trauma.”

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Lovely watercolor illustrations of The Silmarillion's first chapter

Evan Palmer's reverent watercolors capture the verbal harmonies and surprising glories of J.R.R. Tolkien's origin story for the universe he created. Read the rest

Frodo's trip to Mordor as a Google Map

Mark Carpenter made this spot-on Google Map of Frodo's journey from Hobbiton to Mount Doom. Read the rest

Map of North America drawn in Tolkein's style

Etsy artist Andrew Creamer drew North America to look like Tolkein's Middle-Earth. Read the rest