I was gonna comment over at Cathode Ray Tan, but stupid beta blogger won't allow comments on regular blogger. Why that wasn't a primary concern before urging me to upgrade I'll never know. And while I'm bitching about it, they should really add the functionality to tag posts from the actual post listing, so I can go back and tag all my archives without having to enter edit mode and re-publish everything.
Regarding Lost, I'm beginning to think that there is nothing special (i.e., supernatural) about the Others. When the plane first crashed, they had to infiltrate the Tailies and spend a few days in order to make their lists. Ethan seemed abnormally strong, but died all the same - I've known a few wiry guys that could regularly bench 250, so it's not impossible that Ethan could be a brute without positing superpower.
A few responses, going on the assumption that the Others are "just folks":
While the Others have access to volumes of information, they don't necessarily know everything, and can still be surprised. Assuming they have a decent investigator in "the world," Jack's info would naturally be easier to acquire than Sawyer's, since Sawyer no doubt left a trail of lies whereas Jack wasn't actively trying to hide every aspect of his life.
No mystery there. I'm pretty sure they said it was broken. Even with technical knowledge, without parts it's gonna stay broken.
I'm in agreement that The Amazing Desmond shtick doesn't bode well for his character.
This is from an earlier CRT post. The bears were explained on the Hatch Map. The Dharma Initiative was experimenting with radical environmental acclimation, e.g., getting polar bears to survive in a tropical climate. The big question, then, is, "Why?" I think if we knew that, we might have at least some idea of exactly what Dharma was trying to accomplish. One idea is that they were looking to colonize other worlds/dimensions (and that they had a way to get there). I assume that it might be easier to alter an organism's structure than terraform an entire world.
The motivation of the Others seems to be a major puzzle. If we go off my assumption that there is nothing supernatural about them, then their actions can be explained by (relatively) mundane matters.
The Others have been on the island (well, their island) for a long time, some of them supposedly their whole lives. I'm thinking they were either family of Dharma members, experimented on by Dharma, castaways, prisoners, or some variation/combination of all of those. Ben for one remarked that he grew up on the island.
While the Others appear to act truly bizarre, they react just the way a tightly-knit, very isolated community might toward the sudden appearance of other, unfamiliar people. It's very possible that the island of the Others exhibits none of the strangeness of the Island, so they feel relatively safe. However, people that land on the Island end up going a bit nutty, maybe, and end up threatening the Others (or have in the past).
Thus, the Others infiltrate and spy and attack and threaten and set boundaries.
Now, what of their lists? Let's assume that Dharma messed with these people. Some torture, some mindless work, disorientation, mixed with random bits of decency (for whatever purposes - at this point we don't know quite enough hard facts about Dharma's goals). It's likely that the Others only know how to react in a like manner - with good cop, bad cop mind games and sinister, mysterious motives. They've been on this Island in the middle of nowhere. They receive television and books and supplies, but imagine if all you knew of society was media and pop culture. You might have some messed up notions, too.
Anyway, that's my basic feeling. The Others were once abused and now carry on that abuse because they never had any other examples. Maybe Dharma even left specific orders, contingency plans, the like.
And there's always the idea that Dharma leaving is all part of a very long con, manipulating the Others to manipulate the Losties to manipulate the Island.
The best part of the show is that you can come up with ridiculous theories like those displayed above and you won't sound crazy to any other Lost fan.