Saturday, January 31, 2009

LT191: And Now A Word From Our Readers

We have had a lot of comments and emails lately and they deserve a response. I hope sharing these will help elaborate points that others may have wondered as well as provide more questions and comments. So here goes…


First, I have to mention that Sara is the name, if not spelling, of Jack’s wife. And another favorite commenter is Ben. The person who emails me the most of TIDBITS readers is a Michael. Is something going on here?

Ok, Sara writes: “Is the difference between Clarendon and Claredon significant?”

My research indicates there is no significance in the spelling difference. For the record, Clarendon is the proper spelling, and it does house the real-life Physics department. With LOST, one always has to be on guard with visible changes. And when noticed we have to wrestle with them being prop errors or intentional clues.

I’m often inclined to lean towards intentional clues because after five years, the writers and producers are well aware of our tendency to scrutinize the show. The decision we have to make about the sign seems to be of more importance since it was featured with a camera shot.

However, my research found many fine educational sites misspelled the word quite often and sometimes on the same page. So, let’s mark this one up to prop error.

On a final note, I should point out that not only did the spelling change, but the location of the Physics department changed. For lack of a better description, in 1996 it was at the end of the walkway where in 2007 it is found in the middle of the walkway. Colleges are more than allowed to move things around over a decade, but how then did Desmond know where he was going once inside the department? The equipment inside seemed arranged in similar fashion as well as they appeared untouched from the time Faraday was probably dismissed from his post.

I can’t help but wonder if the sign and the location of the lab aren’t different for more reasons than a simple editing error. But to repeat my answer to your original question: No.


Ben sends the observation that Desmond’s child is named Charlie and it could be for Charles. I don’t see Penny in the mood to naming anyone after daddy. Nor is it common for a son to be named after the mother’s side of the family. I’m pretty sure it was a shout out to Charlie and his sacrifice.


Ben writes: “Okay, so Hawking could be Daniel's mum. But if she is, and she's a jewelry dealer, she's gotta be loaded enough to help Daniel with his funding, so he didn't need Widmore's help.”

It sure seems to fit more and more that Ms. Hawking is Daniel’s mother. The jewelry store does seem to contradict the need for funding, but do we know she owned the store? Could it have simply been a front? Or more likely, a temporary job she held for one day in order to course correct Desmond?

While researching the spelling of Clarendon, I stumbled on dress codes at Oxford College. It seems that it was common practice for professors to wear hooded cloaks. So while mum was in Los Angeles she seemed to adhere to the old practice of Oxford. This seems to strengthen the fact that mom and son worked at the same college, just as Daniel’s instructions to Desmond seemed to indicate.


Our faithful reader Ben writes: “There's gotta be a unique Latin label for a man-made object that never got made. The compass just goes around in time never getting made, never getting destroyed. It must be ancient! Too bad Locke never realizes how special it is.”

First, let me address the “never made” portion. In a similar vein another reader has talked to me about Locke speaking with Richard two years before he was born. It does seem to create a Rule for time travel that makes my brain hurt.

My response to both is that time is a perception of the observer. In short, if time doesn’t exist…or doesn’t exist how we think of time…then there is plenty of wiggle room to allow John and the compass to exist even prior to its creation. The best way to perhaps explain this is to point to the Great Pyramids. Scientists have studied these constructions along with other similar buildings and marveled at the advanced technology required for a certain period of time. How is it that Egyptians were able to build something ahead of the expected technology that was required?

The answer to that question can be applied to John and the compass.

To answer your original question, in Latin the term you are looking for is “ex nihilo”. The word can be translated to mean “from nothing”.


Ben also shares his feelings about Daniel’s tie. I never really paid much attention to him wearing a tie, but now that you have pointed it out, it now bugs me. Thanks a lot!

And for how he touches her hair…well, if you were in love with a person who may or may not be there tomorrow and has a severe nosebleed due to time warping…I’d be careful where and how I touched her too!


Lots of comments have been received about Daniels’ mother and other relationships. MDJ offers a list of brain teasers:

“I also thought the woman holding the gun could potentially be Daniel's Mom. However, Daniel seems to have a pretty good idea of the past and I would think he would have known whether his Mother had been an "Other" in 1954. Given that, I think his reaction to her would have been different. He obviously thought she was familiar but to me he seemed truly inquizitive, as if he really wasnt' quite sure who she was. This made me think that the woman was the mother of the girl that Daniel loved and "experimented" on...the one Desmond visits and finds bed ridden and brain dead. This would help explain why Charles felt obligated to help the girl, because he used to be in "Other land" with the girls Mom.”

In other correspondence, MDJ has suggested:

“What if Annie dies in Purge due to Widmore’s future actions? It could Widmore’s revenge for not becoming the Other’s leader. This causes Widmore to become overprotective of his daughter, Penny.”

MDJ also proposes that the lady with the gun, who we now call Private Benjamin, had relations with young Charles Widmore to produce Penny…or Charlotte.

Well, MDJ’s brain is in overdrive. He makes some very strong arguments against Private Benjamin being Daniel’s mother, for one would expect him to recognize mom and be aware of her past. Of course, the island might be something mommy never talks about, but it does seem odd they don’t recognize each other.

We then turn to Private B being someone else and that make the sick lady and the lady in the red vest who welcomes Desmond as strong candidates. I just can’t form a solid guess at this time.


Another reader posts: “I'm not speaking for Ben, but I also wondered if some of the others were jumping, since Juliette was jumping with the beach surviviors and freightor 3, is Cindy jumping somewhere and maybe others too? If not, then why? I'm not too anxious about this, just one of many curiosities! Thanks for a great post!”

I have to admit, Aunt J, that after the premier episodes, there seemed to be a chance to organize the events on the island. Then after being given 1954 in the past episode, I’m back to square one. My understanding was that in the Jump Point they find themselves that Locke saw the Nigerian drug plane engine still smoking and perched on top of the cliff. How can a 2001-ish event be happening while a 1954 event is happening? How can Ethan be there and still be pre-Dharma.

I promise to research this more this weekend and hopefully layout a better timeline of Jump Points. But for now, it seems that events are like DNA during meiosis – we’ve got some crossing-over going on here. In genetics this helps the survival of species, so maybe intermixing historical timelines helps preserve history, or the world, or everything. 42.

Speaking of Jump Points…I do not count the Halliwax-Faraday tunnel meeting as a Jump Point. It could turn out to be one, but not due to the flash of light we see now.


Thanks for commenting. If you have questions, I will do research to find some plausible answers.


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