Little Details

A Fact-Checking Community for Writers

Cost of 'The Planets' records in the 1950s
Setting: UK or Switzerland, 1950s

I planned to have one of the characters in the story I'm writing, a boarding school headmistress, buy her co-head (and girlfriend of at least 10 years) a copy of 'The Planets' - ideally the 1926 recording with Holst conducting.

1) Would she even be able to find a copy? She's from England originally but the school is in Switzerland, so she could get it in either country.
2) Roughly what would it cost? Somewhat on the expensive side for a gift is fine, but she shouldn't bankrupt herself over it!
3) Is this a good recording? I know essentially nothing about classical music, but I love this piece - and it has to be a pre-1929 recording for story reasons.
4) If it's a terrible choice for cost/availability, what else would you suggest? Something with a strong cello part would be great, as the recipient's deceased father and sister were both cellists.

Searched: "The Planets Holst recordings" (which got me lists of recordings, plus numerous different opinions about the best performances! And lots about re-issued CD versions), "cost of records 1950s", and variations on those.

Thank you for any help you can provide!

Foster Care Procedures for Abandoned Child from Age 5 to 16
Hey, guys. Long-time reader, first-time asker here!

Prior Research Topics/Sources: foster care, foster homes, orphans, foundlings, abandoned children, non-citizen children abandoned in states, adoption, sixteen-year-old orphans, foundling citizenship, accents in developing children, memory in five-year-olds, when children learn parents' names, posts in this comm's custody & social services tag

I'm fleshing out the timeline of a work of original fiction that's set in present day California, specifically the Bay Area. The timeline in question spans from 2003 to now. Although if shifting the timeline forward or back by a few years would help the believability of this timeline, that'd be okay. The story is just ambiguously contemporary.

details below the cutCollapse )

Thank you all so much!

[ANON POST] Election Night Parties, UK
Where & when: UK, 15 minutes into the future

Search terms: election night party uk, variations thereof. Found a few pictures and a great deal of advice on how to throw your own and how to find fun ones, which is not what I'm looking for.

I foolishly began a scene where all of the characters are at the soon-to-be Prime Minister's election night party, without having any idea of how these look in the UK. It's an atypical event for plot-related reasons, but the viewpoint character would have been at a number of these things and would be making mental comparisons to the last time around. For all intents and purposes, they're currently the ruling party.


1. Am I correct in assuming that it would look like equivalent events in the US—basically a big, expensive party in a hotel ballroom or convention centre with a giant screen showing live results? If so, would they be watching the tallies on the BBC?

2. Would it be in London? Does it make a different where the PM's own constituency is?

3. Would MPs be holding their own local events, or would they be present at the PM's? (If it makes a difference, one MP is particular has had a huge role in the PM's victory and is a big deal in her own right; would she be in attendance?)

4. Would it be unusual to have the children of various politicians running around?

5. How much of it is boring speeches versus getting hammered?

6. Judging by what I did manage to find, expenses are under a lot of scrutiny and criticism. The economy is terrible; do they get defensive about having pricey champagne or posh hotel suites?

7. Any other important traditions or details? Does Labour still sing "The Red Flag"?

Thanks in advance; you folks are always so helpful.

World War II US Navy insignia; WAVES issued weapons
Where: real life

When: early 1945

Searched: Google and Wikipedia on "'US Navy' + insignia", plus various historical websites

I'm gnawing on an idea for a mystery that takes place in Washington D.C. in very early 1945.

1) The focus character is a Marine major, and part of the plot involves him recognizing the (qualification ?) badge of someone assigned to Naval Intelligence.

I have found a site which shows something involving a magnifying glass crossed by a quill pen; however this is in a section of cloth badges for enlisted personnel. There is nothing explicitly pertaining to officers.

2) I have found a picture of W.A.V.E.S. training with a .22 caliber pistol. Given they could not, by law, serve off of U.S. soil and were with rare exception assigned to the continental United States ... were they issued a pistol/holster, or permitted to buy same?

A useful resource for Victorian London
marcus 2013
This map superimposes Google maps and Victorian ordnance survey maps of London circa 1896. I've already found some interesting surprises in my local area, including a row of 50+ houses that was demolished to make room for railway lines some time between then and the 1940s.

Touchpoints for somewhat nonspecific alternate history, redux?
I asked about this here, and got lots of nice discussion about where I was failing at history, but very little on the part of what I was asking that really *was* a little detail. So, I figured I'd try again, *just* asking that part.

I'm toying with a story idea, and rather than either set it in an entirely fictional world, or set it in the real world and pretend the presence of magic wouldn't alter history in a lot of different ways, I figure I'd kind of aim for "obviously this world, but different"--for example, I was thinking of having the major language and dominant country of the British Isles be named after the Saxons instead of the Angles (that is, Saxon and Saxony instead of English and England)

I'm not sure how to search this, it... relies a lot on what people would find plausible and/or recognize, rather than on objective fact.

The hard, absolute difference between that world and this is the presence of magic--specifically, magical items of varying descriptions that are made from living people (the process kills them, it's generally done on those who were dying anyways for whatever reason), as well as a fraction of the population (probably in the neighborhood of 1%) who can both make such items, and recognize the general nature of any that exist.

The story will probably be set somewhere in the neighborhood of the Enlightenment or the early industrial revolution, in part because I didn't want to do Yet Another Vaguely Medieval Fantasy Story.

There may or may not be some difference in how Christianity took over Europe (I still think it's likely that there were a few pockets of "paganism" that there weren't in our own timeline), but the general arc of history (Roman empire, dark ages, Renaissance, and so on) were about the same. But there would be a lot of one-off differences between our timeline and theirs in terms of who won a particular battle, who had what children, and so on.

Any thoughts for specific, concrete, simple little things that might plausibly be different between this world and our own at the same point in history? I'm thinking things like different (but recognizable) names for the nations/regions/cities/etc (a la my England/Saxony example), differences in national/empiric boundaries (for example, might Scotland still be an entirely separate country?), and the like. Also, any that you think might be "attractive" to me but strike you as completely improbable would be good, so I know what to avoid. I don't want to throw my readers out of the story...

Did your elementary(or grammar)-school teacher call for attention like this?
So with classes of small children, teachers will often have rhymes or special claps to call the children's attention when it's wandered, I'm wondering about one I remember form childhood where the teacher would call out "One Two Three! Eyes on me!"

I'm trying to figure out how long it's been being used and how wide-spread. So this is more a survey than anything, if you can remember a teacher saying this, could you tell me how old you are and what country you grew up in? If under 30 and American, just go ahead and ignore this post.

Botulism Poisoning/Paralyzation
Sorry if this is too similar to some of the other questions out there. (There was one relatively close, but more focused on temporary paralyzation.)

So, for something I'm writing, I wanted to know if there was a way to purposefully paralyze someone without using violence. Preferably while being as discreet as possible. Decided to focus on botulinum toxin, but just wanted some clarification on some minor details.

Research says that botulism poisoning can paralyze people (though there's of course a sizeable chance of death) and I'm assuming that it would be possible to slip someone some botulinum toxin. If that assumption is wrong, then this whole thing is basically meaningless, but wanted to just run a few questions to see if anyone know certain things.

- Would it be possible to slip the toxin in via smuggling it in with the victim's medication?
- Would it take a long time to kick in? (Given that it has to be consumed and likely can't be injected.)
- What is the worst that the victim could be paralyzed without dying? I know breathing's a problem, and arm and leg weakness and such, but I was curious as to the absolute worst without death. At least not immediate death. (Having to use one of those breathing machines is fine.)
- How long will the results, specifically the paralyzation aspect, potentially last for? Can the results be permanent?

The person in question is pretty old (sixty-eight years old, though quite spry and healthy for his age) and is often subjected to medication for psychiatric illnesses. The person inflicting the paralyzation is a therapist who is trying not to get caught doing this, has both a severe grudge against the victim and a huge fear of him, and wishes to immobilize him, preferably permanently, without killing him. Though if it does kill him eventually (but very, very eventually) that's acceptable.

If there is a better poison or medicine that can paralyze (preferably permanently) someone without killing them and can be administered discreetly, that would work just as well, but I haven't the faintest idea what'll work better. (I've had a look at some other other entries, particularly the other non-lethal paralytic poisoning one, but nothing mentioned there seems quite right for this.)

Search terms: botulism poisoning, botulinum toxin, botulism autopsy, botulism lethal amount, botulism non-lethal amount, botulism symptoms, botulism poisoning intentional, and a lot of others I can't recall off the top of my head. Alas, there are not many pages on purposefully using this to hurt people.

I feel like a lot of what I've learned about this is somehow wrong (just because I often have trouble grasping it) so I'm sorry if this is all ridiculous and impossible to answer.

Passport for Newborns
The story is set in modern times.
Main character is a British citizen; born and raised. Also he was born after Jan. 1 1983.   He has lived his whole life in the UK except for the last three, almost four years. Spent one year travelling the world travelling and the rest of the time was spent in the US. In that time character got married and had twins.
In a tragic turn of events the wife (US citizen) dies shortly after giving birth from injuries sustained in a car crash.
My question is what kind of passport would the newborns be eligible for?
Can they get a British passport without a US one?
Their father never began the process to become a US Citizen and plans on moving back to the UK with his children who are 3 months old. Yes, they were born in the US.
Would it make a difference if the father, because of his old job, has connections to powerful people in the government and probably with the Royal Family?
I checked sites for British passport and citizenship eligibility and was not sure what would fit for this situation.

Thanks im in advance for your help.

[ANON POST] Japanese language question: Gender-neutral address for a sibling
The story's set in the Naruto verse, same time as the main plot, and the main character is genderqueer. (preferred pronouns, they/them/their/ themself)

I'm looking for a gender-neutral term for 'older sibling' in Japanese. They've got younger siblings who love them very much, and it doesn't work for the siblings to call them 'nii-san' or 'nee-san'. The closest I've found is 'Kyoudai', which is plural and/or not used for direct address from what I can tell. Is there anything I can use? Or should I just say screw it and have the siblings use some wort of hybrid thing like 'niinee-san'?

I've searched:
Japanese family words
Japanese sibling words
Japanese sibling terms
Japanese sibling terms unisex
gender neutral family words japanese
gender neutral japanese
sibling japanese
Japanese sibling unisex

and also browsed a couple of language chatboards and wikipedia's entries on Japanese, which I can't remember off the top of my head.

Taking off a robe à la française
Setting: 18th C France
Research: various costuming/historical fashion sites, "How To Undress A Victorian Lady" article, various historical fiction forums.

Okay so I have my two characters in the throes of passion (or at least some serious foreplay). How do I go about getting the (upper-class, fully dressed) lady out of her dress? Are there laces? Buttons? How many layers? I'm seeing lots and lots of information on how to build/make a dress, but not so much on how to wear it/take it off.

Wheelchair use and non-dog service animal in Toronto
I'm planning to write two characters who live in Toronto and use wheelchairs (they can walk, but it's safer if they don't try). One of them also has a (sapient-but-pretending-not-to-be-to-regular-people, magical, well-behaved and responsive to his person's verbal instructions) cat, who prefers to accompany her when she's out and about. What should I expect Canadian wheelchair-using characters (usually in Toronto, with visits to Grand Forks, BC) to experience that might be different from what I learn about the American experience of same? Will a lot of establishments refuse the cat entry, can he legally count as a service animal and if so is there a certification process (he does get things off shelves for his person and perform other tasks), should he wear a vest to indicate same?

I'm also curious about what the experience of getting the wheelchairs through Canada's healthcare system would have been like; they would have started using chairs when they were little kids.

(Adding search information per mod request: I googled things like "Canada service animal" and "Canadian disability law" and kept getting American results, or sometimes dog-specific results, often both. I eventually found the Ontarians With Disabilities Act but it didn't tell me what I needed to know.)

Being shot while wearing a bulletproof vest
Hello! I have a character who was shot at close range in the chest while wearing a bulletproof vest. I know when that happens, he'd have some severe bruising- how likely is it that he'd crack/break a rib as well? The bullet hit right over his heart, I would hope those ribs are pretty tough, but if a rib is damaged, would he be able to feel/see where the fracture was through his skin after it has healed (this character is definitely on the scrawny side)?

I've Googled "healing cracked ribs," "injuries after being shot while wearing a bulletproof vest," and "rib anatomy."

Traumatic Amputation/Cauterization
Rinoa Cosplay - Alone
Hey! I have a question for the medical types among us, regarding cauterization of an accidental amputation.

Cut for Violent Imagery!Collapse )

Injury: Getting thrown against a wall.
Setting: original fantasy world roughly similar to Earth in terms of gravity, etc.

I tried googling "blunt trauma" and "getting thrown from a horse" as the closest real-life event I could think of and "realistic movie injuries" as the kind of injury I'm thinking of I've only seen in movies and they aren't very good representations of a realistic injury. I got some good information about blunt trauma but I want some more specifics. I was afraid to google "getting slammed against the wall" because of the possibility of bringing up websites I'd rather not see...

In my story, a young man (in good physical condition) wearing hardened leather armor is confronting a monster about 15-20 feet tall. I want the monster to throw him against a wall, but I need him to be able to walk (or hobble) away from the event and survive. Broken bones are okay and from the little research I was able to find, he'd probably have a concussion. But is this possible or do I need to tone down this moment in the fight? What other injuries would he be likely to have?

Caveats: The young man in question is protected by a little bit of magic that makes him slightly more resilient than a normal human being, but it's not enough to make him untouchable and it doesn't heal instantaneously.

EDIT: Thanks everyone! Got some good answers for injuries and other things to search for.

European Christmas Decorations
NCIS, Gibbs
I'm asking for a friend. She needs traditional Christmas decorations, in any European country, other than the ornaments in a Christmas tree. Ideally, something that is specific for just one country/culture, with a (somewhat) traceable history. (Or at least a timeline.)

(Example, in a description of a room this object would instantly place you on the map, and maybe give a clue to the date, even if very roughly.)

So far she has come up with "caganer" in Spain and "pajaki" in Poland. (If you have something to say about them, please do!)

Preferably, something that is still in use, but if you know of something your grandparents did that has since died out, that could be helpful too. If you know of a good resource (like a book, an article, or a web page), that could be helpful too. (She has access to many journals through the university library - if she only knew where to go look.)

Google searches tried: Christmas, + decorations, + traditions, + European, + Eastern-European, + Poland etc.

Similar key words in Wikipedia.

Some library searches, mostly getting arts and crafts hits

[ANON POST] Chronic, Eventually Terminal Illness for Teenager
Setting: Present Day, Smalltown USA.

I'm currently looking for a chronic illness that a teenage character has been dealing with since childhood and has given her a lowered life expectancy (namely in her twenties, thirty at most). While there would be a lot of concessions to her health, she would still attend a normal high school and generally be able to maintain some independence (go for a walk with friends, learn how to drive), but I also want to avoid the appearance of a Soap Opera Illness where outside of the occasional hospital visit and sad sense of her diminished future, the character has no other complications. I've been leaning towards either something either heart or lung related, specifically one that requires a portable oxygen tank which would be manageable but require constant vigilance and provide an easy visual cue to her peers and the Main Character that this person is ill (also it's one of the few medical apparatuses I know anything about, outside of inhalers), but I haven't managed to hit on something that meets the aforementioned requirements, namely:

+ occurs in childhood
+ chronic and eventually terminal, at this time giving her a life expectancy between 5 and 12 years from the start of the story (currently aged 17)
+ could require a transplant
+ currently allows her some semblance of high school normality with concessions
+ heart or lung related, preferably involving to long-term oxygen therapy; heart would honestly work best within the story, but lungs are what I am most familiar with and google has at least told me that both use oxygen therapy as treatment so...

The closest I have come across is Cystic Fibrosis, but only because it's the only illness that meets those requirements that I can find information on relating to childhood and teenage experiences. The terms I have googled are "list of chronic illnesses/diseases", "list of terminal illnesses/diseases", "chronic terminal illness/disease", "illnesses/diseases that lead to lower life expectancy", "illnesses/diseases that cause death at a young age", "oxygen therapy", "illnesses/diseases/conditions that require lung transplant", and "illnesses/diseases/conditions that require heart transplant", not to mention a few others I can't recall at the moment. I read all the results on the first 3 or so pages of each search query. I also checked 'chronic illness', 'terminal illness', 'heart transplant', 'lung transplantation', 'congenital heart defect', and 'life expectancy', in Wikipedia, and 'congenital heart disease', 'congenital heart defect', 'heart transplant', and 'lung transplant' in WebMD. I also terribly reviewed the Make-a-Wish website for possibilities, which makes me the worst person ever. Any help and links to information, would be greatly appreciated!

Living in space
Paul Mcgann, Eight, Eighth Doctor, EDA
I'm writing a doctor who fic about a pilot traveling in space in a gunship as a minor character.  I'm stuck writing a scene about living quarters in the gunship.

I need the answers for two questions:

1. What are the general living conditions in space and what will happen after prolonged travel in space for more than three years?

2. How does someone take a bath or shower with or without water in space?

I did google this link that talks about using wet towels and foamless shampoos while wearing a cylindrical suit. But I wanted to know more information about having an actual shower in space.

How can I incapacitate, but not kill, ~100 people in a plane crash
Location: western Colorado, now-ish (this is for my fungal zombies)

research: asked an aviation archeologist. Not really sure how to web-research this one.

The sequence of events I want:Collapse )

The things I need help figuring out:

Would fire/smoke be enough to incapacitate (but not *immediately* kill) the people on the plane? If fire started in mid-air, would the oxygen masks have dropped or something? Do I need to add something else, like enough shaking around to concuss everyone?

Why would Mr. or Ms. Zombie not be in a seatbelt? Could it have broken in the crash, or something? Is it likely that the crash happened so quickly that people hadn't buckled up from mid-flight "you are now free to move about the cabin", and the future zombie was coming back from the bathroom or something? Any other thoughts?

Is there anything else that I'm completely missing?

edit: also, these zombies look like recently dead people, except for patches of fungal tissue repairing any wounds. What might some/most/all of my zombies eventually *look* like? Would there be some that could "pass" as alive, as long as they could hide the bite marks?...

Need the name of a Parisian Street in Montparnasse that was popular in the 1930's but not now.
zevon price
My novel takes place in modern times and pre-World War II in Paris, France.

I need the name of a street or area inside Montparnasse that would have been a popular for a group of young occult practitioners to gather, preferably a street or an area known for having a wealthy bohemian air, but, in modern times, has fallen into decay. It needs to be located off the beaten tourist-track, a street or cul-de-sac that would be easy to miss.

I have Googled Montparnasse, Montparnasse history, Montparnasse 1930's, popular areas in Paris in 1930's, as well as several travel guides to Paris, Paris Eyewitness Guide, Paris, the Secret History,