Little Details

A Fact-Checking Community for Writers

Sugar in human body
This probably goes waaaay into the territory of "stupid question", but in a bit of dialogue I'm writing, an extremely pedantic character needs to make mention of how much sugar is in the (average) human body, preferably in terms of grams (or milligrams or whatever) per kilogram of body mass.

I've tried googling various things like "amount of sugar in human body", "composition of human body", etc, but can only find 1) information about blood sugar levels, 2) articles telling me not to eat sugar and 3) the percentages of the human body composed of different elements, which doesn't help me because sugar isn't elemental.

From the blood sugar results, I have found the useful information that the normal (healthy) mean blood sugar level is 100 mg/dL; a quick google search tells me that a 70 kg person has about 5.5 L (55 dL) of blood. This suggests a total of 5500 mg of sugar in the blood, or 78.57 mg of blood sugar / kg of body mass.

So what I need to know (I'm sure I'm displaying my ignorance of anatomy/biology here), are there other, non-blood, tissues in the human body which contain measurable levels of sugar that might increase this ratio? (For the sake of simplicity, let's ignore any sugar in bodily waste and/or undigested food.)

Pyres in the ground?
I'm trying to determine the logistics (if it is even possible) for an ancient culture to burn a body within a hole in the ground. As I understand it, ancient pyres/cremation left more of the body afterwards then modern cremation techniques provide. Given my fictional culture's issues with death (and the taboos around it) I'm already have them burning the deceased. It occurred to me that if it's possible for them to dig a whole, build a pyre within it, and burn the body there, they would then be able to cover it over without having to collect the ashes and remains for disposal.

I've been looking up ancient cremation techniques in a variety of cultures, the technicalities of funeral pyres (how long it takes to burn a body etc), and trying to find 'burning in the ground' (and varieties there of), but so far have found no information that tells me if this technique is even possible.

If anyone can point me in a direction, give me links, or has any helpful information, I'd appreciate it!

[ANON POST] Keeping British Overseas Territory Citizenship after Leaving
Modern Day, NZ and UK.

I have a character, Spanish, born in La Linea, in Cadiz, who has lived in Gibraltar from 10 years old to 18 and a couple of years before that, because her mother works there and I assume that crossing the borders two times per day (long queues depending on the day, some tension in the spanish side of the border some days...) is too much of a bother.

I’ve searched “losing BOTC citizen status” “losing BOTC citizenship” “losing BOTC passport” and some other variations to no avail. I’ve gathered it’s hard enough to get the citizenship on the first place, and Gibraltar must be a great place to live because people apparently doesn’t leave.

I know that for example five years of residence in the UK or a British Overseas territory gives you citizenship. One of the conditions of it (for BOTC, anyway) is that you intend to live there permanently. My character is a bit of a nomad. Since getting the passport, she’s been living on Gibraltar (for two-three years), Spain, Ireland, the States and Canada, and she’s moving to New Zeland. I don’t think it’s relevant, but she moves that much because of work (the company is not based on Gibraltar).

She can lost her Gibraltarean citizenship because she is not a permanent resident anymore, or the government doesn’t keep track of that?

Royal Flying Corps, officers' mess meals
I'd like to know what sort of thing the flying officers would have eaten for their mid-day meal - and what they would have called that meal. I've had no problem with breakfast or dinner, but at midday in the middle of an offensive?

Researched -

A H Cobby - High Adventure
Alan Clark - Aces High
Ian Mackersey - No Empty Chairs
Peter Hart - Somme Success
Molkentin - Fire in the Sky

Also I've watched a heap of DVDs, which are quite rightly about the battles, and Googled combinations of the most obvious search terms such as those in the subject line. I am resisting re-reading Biggles, becuase if I start doing that, I'll never stop.

ETA for a couple of typos and to add: My characters are a rich Australian and a working-class Midlander; their airfield is on the Somme :(

Injuries from fall, and gunshot.
a- Hmmmm
I'm trying to reverse engineer injuries for two characters, set in modern times in the US, with little success. I know what I want the outcome to be but it's proving very difficult to get a straight answer out of google of how to get there. ETA. I've tried various versions of "injury from fall off a bridge/height/building", "reasons/conditions for long term medication", "long term effects from gunshots" etc.

Questions here...Collapse )

I know this is kind of vague. Just looking for some ideas to get started.

Translation from english to japanese


First time posting here, so I hope that I do it right.

Setting: Modern Japan (It's a fanfic)
Searchterms used: Umbilical cord, japanese

I'm thinking of writing a crossover between Bleach and Mushishi, and I therefore kinda need to know how "umbilical cord" is said/written in Japan. I want to use the word as a name/title for a mushi.

I have found some results, but my japanese is non-existent, so I don't know whether I have found the right term. I have found the terms: seitai, saitai,  or hesoono. Is any of these correct, or am I completely wrong? I prefer to have the word in romaji.

Thank you very much in advance.

Method and Aftermath of Failed Suicide Attempt (present day Australia)

Have gone through the relevant tags in this community, searched for and asked questions on the NaNoWriMo forums, read through various websites and answer forums with different search terms including "aftermath of suicide attempt" "hospitalisation after failed suicide", "suicide attempt survivor stories", etc. Have also tried to do research on different types of medication but have found a lot of differing opinions on what does and doesn't work. I seem to have too specific a situation and can't find enough detailed info.

Anyway, onto my scene in question.

Scene details and questions under here.Collapse )

Thank you very much in advance to anyone willing to share information, I appreciate your help so much as I know that it often comes from personal experience.

Lunar phases if the world had two moons.
First time poster here, so sorry if I mess something up.

Setting: a world in sort of just-pre-industrial times, with two moons but one sun; nature-wise a lot like northern Scandinavia.

Search terms used: if the world had two moons, if the earth had two moons, moon phases two moons, lunar phases if earth had two moons

So, my story takes place in a world that has two moons, which I now realize will result in way more complex problems than I was originally expecting. But I think I can handle it based on a couple of nice articles I found on the subject. So, here are the questions I couldn't find answers to:

- Would the moons have to be on different sides of the planets, or could they be closer to each other, like stars? (Assume that they are on about the same distance from earth)
- If they are on the same side of the planet, how would the lunar phases work? Meaning, would they be full at the same time?
- If one of them is closer to earth, would it keep the other one in shadow, depending on where the person watching them is standing?
- If they are on different sides of the planet, would it be possible to see them both at the same time?

Thank you for you help.

[ANON POST] PTSD, Survivor's Guilt, and Torture (potential triggers)
Questions about Untreated PTSDCollapse )

Teaching at your child's school
Settings: Late 2000's. Tokyo or Sapporo.

Search terms used: elementary school japan, primary school japan, "teacher's child" classroom japan, "teacher's son" classroom japan, "teacher's daughter" classroom japan, teaching own child in class japan, same school as your child japan.

-Can a child go to the same school where her parent is teaching?
-Can a parent be her/his own child's teacher in a grade? If s/he can, can her/him choose to NOT be her/his offspring's teacher?

Thank you for your help.

Genome: An archive of BBC listings from 1923 to 2009
marcus 2013
Pointed out by curiouswombat, Genome is an archive of BBC listings from the Radio Times magazine (BBC TV and radio listings) from 1923 to 2009. You can find out what was supposed to be on the air in Britain any day or time within this period - it won't necessarily reflect changes were made after the listings were published, of course. This includes program descriptions, cast lists, regional variations etc. etc. It doesn't include commercial stations etc.

later: As is pointed out in comments, there are numerous OCR errors which are being handled by a communal wikipedia-style editing process - don't rely on this 100%! However, they explain this on the front page, so hopefully nobody will make any horrible mistakes.

British Army rules and regs
Setting: Present day (2010-2012), Afghanistan and Britain

My questions involve the British army only - I've managed to find stuff on the US armed forces but I'm unsure if the rules/ customs are the same or not.

1) What exactly are the British army's rules on having sex with someone in your unit? Basically I have two corporals who are in the same unit and I need to know how secret they need to keep it - for example, if their commanding officer knows about it, will he have to punish them in some way? And if he does, what would the punishment be exactly?

2) Also, what are the rules on drinking alcohol while on deployment? Can they drink while on base? Or only when they're on R&R? And what would the punishment be if they were found to be drinking/ drunk?

3) What exactly are the British customs for a military funeral of someone who was killed in action? Do they have flowers on the casket? Or do they have a flag? Or both?
Also, what kind of presence does the army have at a funeral? Any other info/ anecdotes would also be useful - I'm having trouble researching this as I don't know what to search for.

Search terms used: combinations of "British army" + "rules" or "regulations" + "drinking" or "relationships" or "sex" or "funerals". The difficulty is trying to find info that's not about the US army and also that's not news reports or articles.


[ANON POST] Medieval Winter Travel
Part of the plot in my story revolves around the fact that my characters really need to travel to a specific place - but they live in a very snowy, northern climate, and when the story opens winter is already closing in. To make matters worse, there's a mountain range between them and their intended destination, which they can theoretically travel around but will make travel time that much longer.

All of this is based on my own personal experience of walking in the snow, on something I read once that claimed many medieval European villages more or less shut down and hibernated in the winter, and on the knowledge that military campaigns pretty much took the winter off back in the day. What I am really looking for, however, are specifics. How did people actually get around in the winter during the High Middle Ages (1000-1300)? Sledges? Nordic skiing? Was there any kind of system for keeping roads clear of snow? How deep does snow have to get before traveling on horseback, or by horse-drawn sleigh, is impractical?

I've done a lot of googling ("medieval winter travel," "winter travel middle ages," "winter horseback riding," "history of Nordic skiing," etc). Found some fun and interesting stuff, including an article about what it would take for Robin-Hood-esque outlaws to survive Sherwood Forest in the winter, but nothing about the large-scale effects of winter on medieval infrastructure in northern Europe.

Any help or personal anecdotes would be appreciated!

[ANON POST] Sword Wound to the Side
My story takes place in a medieval fantasy country. The main character is wounded in his right side with a sword during a one on one fight with the bad guy. Neither of them is wearing armor. The MC is 19 and well fit, though at this point he is weary from various exertions in the past few days.

The MC has a shield and sword, the BG has a spear and sword. MC is warding off BG’s spear and stabbing him with his sword while BG stabs/cuts at MC with his sword. MC needs to remain conscious for several minutes…long enough to ward off a last effort throw of the spear and chase/stagger after another character (though he doesn’t get him). Then MC blacks out. He has friends in the area and receives treatment within minutes of falling unconscious.

I’ve googled ‘sword wounds to the side’, ‘stab wounds to the side’ and ‘recovery time for stab wounds’ and read several articles like The Dubious Quick Kill, A Summary of How People Die (and don’t die) in Sword Fights, and chapter 4 of The Sword (Wounds and Effects of Swords) but can’t find the specific details I need about times. I want MC to be able to travel within a few days and be on his feet and able to fight again within a week or two. There is magical water that could help speed up the process of healing but I am wondering what a realist healing time would be and what type of wound would meet these requirements (blacking out after a few minutes but not too serious). I don’t know if a stab or slice would be better.

Oh, and the BG’s sword isn’t a huge thick blade but it isn’t a thin rapier either. The exact width is flexible.

No tobacco - what next?
The character is a healthy man in his late 20's who has smoked a pipe daily since he was about 12 - he comes from a place where this is normal and basically everyone smokes. During the story he travels to a distant land where tobacco is completely nonexistent. Obviously he's gonna have some withdrawl issues.

I've found a lot of info about the side effects of quitting smoking, and even some people's first hand experiences, but still have a couple of questions.

1) How will the experience be different when falling off the wagon isn't an option? Will the cravings be the same? Most people seem to say the hardest part is not giving in and smoking again.... since this isn't an option for him, what will be the worst part?

2) Are there any differences between quitting off of cigarettes vs a pipe? I couldn't find any info on this.

Search terms: pipe, quit smoking, tobacco, cold turkey, nicotine withdrawl, side effects

Would skin heal first: Wound healing after perforating stab wound?
Kagome, Inuyasha, inukag
Hi all,

So my setting is late 14th century Japan, and this a medical question related to wound healing in a specific case. It's plot-important for a number of characters, so I don't want to just make things up when I can be accurate. I also plan on asking my Anatomy professor next class.

My main question is this: In the case of a stab wound that perforates a major organ, all other factors being equal and without access to modern medical care, which is likely to heal faster: the skin or the organ itself? Given what I know about wound healing, I'm pretty sure that the skin would heal first, and that the organ would take longer to repair itself.

In the scenario I'm working on, the character is stabbed with a spear and her stomach is perforated. She recieves very basic medical treatment within several hours.

Search terms include: "Acute wound healing", "organ damage," "wound healing process," and "complications of stab wounds".

Thanks for your help.

- CreativitySpren

EDIT: Taking infection and the points raised so far on the damage fluid in the abdominal cavity would cause, I did some cross-checking and in-depth reading on gastroenterologic surgical procedures for fluid draining, penetrating trauma of an abdominal wound as seen in trauma centers, and gastrointestinal perforations (I went right for resources meant for physicians). Stupid of me to have completely missed that aspect. In the scenario as I have it set up now, the perforation of her stomach wall would lead to secondary peritonitis and likely death. I've looked up what can be done to drain the area and treat the infection, but my characters obviously wouldn't have access to modern medical equipment, antibiotics, or anything approaching medical expertise. This includes by the standards of their time; however, the subgroup with which the character lives is as a whole relatively adept at treating general and some severe combat injuries and the associated complications as a result of being a martial society that deals with such things on a regular basis. They wouldn't know to drain it, I don't think, and even if they did figure that out, I can't see a realistic way for them to drain it (as much as it would need to be) without Medicina ex Machina making an unwanted appearance. In short, I've killed her if I keep it as it is.

As the main character, that would take a wrecking ball to the rest of the plot. So, that said, I would like to keep the basic idea of the character being significantly injured/attacked, essentially ignoring a serious secondary injury in an attempt to negate the psychological reality of the initial event and return her life to normal, and nearly dying as a result. What I'm trying to demonstrate in terms of story here is that the character is refusing to confront the real problems she's facing, on all levels, and even more importantly, that it's really not working out all that well for her. The outcome is, essentially, her lifelong poor coping strategies waltzing up and putting a gun to her head. It's caught up with her before, but she can't run away this time.

I clearly need to modify the injury. Is there any way organs can still be involved, without killing her? 

[ANON POST] Going to College with a Celebrity, Present-Day US
Has anyone gone to college at the same time a famous person (famous at the time, not famous later on) went? I'm wondering more about close to now, in the social media era. I'm thinking James Franco, Olsen twins (at NYU), Emma Watson (at Brown) level of famous.

How aware were you of the celebrity? Was there ever any noticeable paparazzi? How did students react? (I'm thinking most people would try to be "too cool" to care, but I feel like some must've been fannish, even in private with friends.)

I'm not really sure what to search for because I'm just looking for a variety of experiences. Trying variations of "going to school/college with a celebrity" just gets hits of going to school with people before they were famous or where celebs went to school.

Land Productivity in a Hunter-Gatherer Society
Setting: A fictional world of my own devising, with existing (but limited) magic and a wide variation in technology (which ties more into the plot than it does to the question I have). The most important thing for my question is land.

Geographically, the area I'll be asking about goes from subarctic to arctic climate, with taiga in the southern two-thirds and tundra in the northern third. Past the tundra, there's a pretty solid barrier in the form of slowly-expanding glaciers. In the summer, melt from the glaciers fills a series of tributaries that feed into a main river, that in turn flows south, through warmer lands, and eventually out to sea. In winter, most of the tributaries either freeze over or go dry.

In this area, there's a chiefdom of hunter-gatherer-fishers that lives in a landlocked region defined by one such tributary, the Vrae river. Most of them live in the forested taiga, but there is one major village and a pair of outposts that lie near a glacial lake on the tundra. There are few edible plants in the area, so most sustenence comes from hunting and fishing. They have domestic dogs and a few cultivated medicinal plants, but most everything else is wild.

Magic is limited, so there's no conjuring food and medicine out of the ether, but these people can more easily survive the harsh climate, artificially enhance their senses, and enchant their weapons to aim true, wear more slowly, and the like. Technology is mostly based on leather, bone/antler, and wood tools. There's limited copper, but that's about all as far as metalwork goes since there's just plain no other ores where they are.

My question: How many people can this land support?

Google terms: Hunter-gatherer societies, arctic land fertility, population density of hunter-gatherer tribes, land use for the self-reliant. I've also peeked at a few survivalist websites, but those tend to focus more on small-scale agriculture.

The numbers I've seen have varied from 1 square mile per person, to 10 square miles per person, all the way up to 500 square miles per person, which is really too much of a range to base anything on and hope to get it right.

List of Victorian occupations
Misc: rainbow rose
A comprehensive list of job titles, taken from the 1891 London census.

Would have been much the same, I should imagine, for most of the century. Whereas 'accountant' is fairly obvious to us in meaning, 'thirdborough' (an under- or deputy constable) might be less so!


Map of London, 1851
Misc: rainbow rose
I was delighted to find this one, as it was just two years prior to the setting of my own story.

Some streets have changed names over time, and some have disappeared entirely, particularly many of the small courts that were removed during slum clearances.

Zoomable map