debilitating illness in scifi

I've been developing an original sci-fi universe. It's essentially a series of colonies built on the ocean floor (a la Bioshock) where the majority of the population is essentially used for manual labor and thought of as lesser by those living on the surface. They aren't treated particularly well and suffice to say that their healthcare is pretty atrocious. There's a large corporation that most of the people work for doing said manual labor, and it isn't particularly unheard of for people to be injured on the job on a pretty regular basis. At this point, the actual types of work that they do is pretty vague but they're definitely working with a lot of heavy machinery, the environment that they're in almost certainly leaks ocean water semi-regularly, they're exposed to radiation and a myriad of other dangerous chemicals, and I've toyed with the idea of exposure to some sort of depressuriazation events. I'm also open to any other suggestions that might influence the character/criteria I'm about to describe and make it easier, lol.

So one of the characters is in her late 20s, and worked for the corporation since she was a teenager until the last year or so when she became too sick to continue working. Whatever is wrong with her is in some way directly tied to her work, as she recieves a small stipend from the corporation to help support her. She has difficulty breathing, and I've thought about chronic pneumonia but of course that's likely to be a side effect to her illness rather than the primary cause. She may be bedridden for days at a time, but she isn't 100% incapacitated and is able to get out of the house at least occasionally. I've also thought about permanent damage caused by decompression sickness, which is possible but I'm also not sure if it's... Enough? From the research I've done, it seems that the long-term effects of DCS would likely be primarily neurological in nature.

I've researched illnesses that affect divers, tuberculosis & pneumonia, common illnesses on submarines... I'm not really sure where else to go from there. So any ideas or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

[Anon Post] Prison Life in the 1930s, Philadelphia USA

Posting for my husband.

Setting: Philadelphia, PA 1930-32. (Eastern State Penitentiary preferred)

He's looking for any information about daily life in prison, food, racial segregation, etc--or at least sources or a place to start looking. Book titles OK if you know a good one.

He looked at the ESP website, but says the links aren't very informative (and doesn't even recommend a single book in their book section). Google searches have come up blank, with modern results, or about the prison reform movement that started just after this time period. He knows about the Hawes-Cooper Act, various prison escapes, and other important events, but not the daily routine.

Thanks, all!

Director's Box at the Mariinsky Theatre?

I'm trying to decide which box at the Mariinsky Theatre (old stage) could be permanently allocated to an extremely respected and famous retired ballet dancer, who comes (usually by himself) to watch performances most nights. He's elderly, so something close to the stage where he can see better would be ideal. I don't want to give him the Tsar's box, but have been looking at the boxes closest to the front in the dress circle or the stalls circle (benoire?). From pictures, they look fancier than the other ones -- do they have a name like "director's box"? Would the theatre be prepared to give one up for a distinguished patron's exclusive use? The dress circle ones look to be double height -- is that right? The retired dancer isn't interested in prestige or grandeur, but would like a little privacy, so the stalls circle box could be fine. How many people do these boxes seat? Looks like 6...

I've been googling "Mariinsky theatre plan", "director's box, Mariinsky theatre", "view from boxes in Mariinsky theatre", "best seats in Mariinsky theatre" etc...

Thanks in advance for any help!

What would a 9-year-old Pokeman fan have coveted most in 2013?

Oddly specific question is admittedly odd and specific.

I'm not sure how to research this, so I'm at least hoping someone can point me to the right place to ask my questions, if I can't get an answer on here.

What multi-part toy, game, or other merch/item would an American 9-year-old Pokemon fan have coveted mid-2013? (Something which has anywhere from 4 to 7 parts would be most ideal.) And of them, which one would an American 16-year-old Pokemon fan most likely be aware of?

This is a story where a 9-year-old girl's birthday is coming up, and there are five relatively wealthy adults in her life who want to get her a good birthday gift, since her last birthday has some bad memories attached to them. The only other Pokemon fan they know is a 16-year-old boy, so they all ask him for advice on what to get her. They all do so independently/without mentioning to each other that they're asking him, but by happenstance, they happen to do so around the same time. He basically tells everyone to get a different part of a collection or bigger item, implying to each of them that this is a good place to "start" collecting this series or assembling this much larger product. Of course, come the birthday, this little girl ends up with the complete series or product by the time she's done opening her presents. The adults talk amongst themselves, and they are quite amused when they realize they all asked this same teenager for help, and how he played them/manipulated them into getting the little girl's dream gift in its entirety.

For context, this is a fanfic of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, where instead of the Avengers first meeting Clint Barton's family in the second Avengers movie, they met soon after the events of the first Avengers movie. The birthday girl is Clint's daughter, and while Thor is still gone at this point, the remaining Phase 1 Avengers are trying to figure out what to get her. The reason why the girl's last birthday sucked is because it was just over a week after the Battle of New York. That 16-year-old boy is Stiles Stilinski, from roughly around Season 2 of Teen Wolf. In this AU, he is Steve Roger's adoptive nephew.

I'm not too familiar with Pokemon now, and I definitely wasn't back in 2013, so I'm not sure where to even start looking. I'm thinking either a series of video-games (maybe something for Nintendo DS, or Gameboy?), or maybe some really big Lego complex that's sold in 4-7 sets. As low as 4 works because I may have one of those adults (Tony or Clint) give her something else altogether. As high as 7 works because I may write her as having one part of it already, and along with the five adults/Avengers, the boy (Stiles) gets her something, as well. Something with 5 parts/components would be ideal, though.

(My apologies to the Mod, but I had no idea how to tag this.)</strike>

[Anon Post] Sphenoid Bone Trauma

[Very sorry this is late, anon! Happy holidays from me. --Orange Fell]

The Setting: A psychiatric hospital ward community room in Colorado Springs in the present day.

The Scenario: A patient has been left behind in the chaos of a quick evacuation on the advent of a zombie apocalypse. He encounters a zombie, who was a technician who worked at the hospital. After a brief fight involving a card table, the patient gouges the zombie through the eye with a detached table leg.

The Problem: Once the table leg reaches the sphenoid bone behind the eye, I don't know how much force is required to crush, break, or otherwise pierce the sphenoid to access and mangle the brain. My character is disabled. Consequently, the amount of force he can apply to the table leg is limited. If breaking the sphenoid takes massive strength, he won't be able to do it.

The Research: I began a search on "Orbit (Anatomy)" on Wikipedia to locate the name of the appropriate bone. I then tried the following searches on Google:

* Sphenoid bone thickness
* Thickness of sphenoid bone
* Sphenoid fractures
* Sphenoid punctures
* What does it take to break the sphenoid
* Break psi of sphenoid

I am not entirely confident in my search terms, and have a slight learning disability that affects my comprehension.

Thank you in advance for your help.

Experiences of needing permission to travel or move house in your own country

My story is set under a repressive government about half a century in the future.

I'm looking for anecdotes, personal accounts, and, well, little details about what it was like not to be able to travel freely in your own country. The sort of thing I have in mind is the system of internal passports in the Soviet Union*, but I would be interested in stories from any country where people had to, or still have to, obtain leave to travel and/or a residency permit for a different area within their own country. Stories about getting official permission to travel abroad might also be relevant.

I should mention that there is no internet and little use of computers in my setting.

What did it feel like - did you resent it bitterly, or did you just accept it?
What did one have to do to get the necessary documents? Was the process time consuming? Was it corrupt?
What justification did the government offer for having this system, if any?
How often, where and when were the documents checked? Were there surprise inspections?
Was there much use of fraud, fake documents, using other people's passports etc.?
What about ways of gaming the system while remaining technically within the rules?
Did the fact that people could not travel or move to other parts of their own country dilute national feeling?
Any other aspects/effects of such a system that someone who has never lived under it would not guess?

*I have added the tags "russia: government" and "russia: history" because the system in the USSR was the model I have in mind, and hopefully to catch the attention of those Little Details members most likely to have relevant experience, but I'm aware similar systems have existed in many countries and still do in some. I would also welcome comments from readers who did not experience such a system personally but know about it from other sources.

Typing bureau, UK, 1920s/30s

I'm looking for some information about what would go on in a typing bureau in the interwar years. I can find photos, but no details of how one would have operated. I can also find things about typing pools in big companies, but this is a separate business. In particular I am curious about:

Would handwritten notes/manuscripts be sent in to be typed?
Would people be sent out to take shorthand and return to the office to type up?
Would people be sent out to do the work in situ (like a phone-a-secretary service)?

Additionally, how frequently was the post delivered in the same time period? I've found several contradictory answers to this...

Any information or suggestions for resources gratefully received!

Any good sources on 1800s-ish merchant ship life?

My story's set in a broad-AU (Earth with magic), and I'd like to get the "feel" right (and maybe steal some ideas of events that can happen to Our Heroine...)

So, does anyone know of any good sources, fictional or factual, contemporary or (at least mildly well-researched) modern, for what it might be like for my character, a navigator's apprentice (more or less) on a smallish British merchant vessel in the 1800s, give or take half a century? If there's nothing that specific, anything about any small to medium merchant vessel or the like from about that era, or anything about being a navigator on any vessel from about that era, would be helpful. Specifically military stuff would be less than entirely useful if it doesn't cover navigation much, but privateer or pirate stuff might be helpful.

In terms of non-contemporary fiction, it doesn't need to be super, super, super accurate, just not, eg, Pirates of the Caribbean-level flights of fancy.

Bonus points if it's free. Super super bonus points if it's on Librivox (or some other legal free audio-book source), so I can listen to it in the car.

Searches: poked about a bit randomly with search terms like "1800 British merchant ship", also looked at the Wikipedia page for "nautical fiction". Kinda wasn't sure how to approach this.

edit to clarify: I'm aiming for anything set/about between ~1750 and ~1850, but preferably towards the center of that range. So, no steam ships.

Colombo in the 1930s

I have two British gentlemen who find themselves with time to kill in Colombo in the early-to-mid 1930s. One of them has been to Sri Lanka* before, the other hasn't. Gentleman A decides to show Gentleman B "the sights". What are "the sights"?

Research: I looked at tourist sites so I know what the must-sees are today. But I don't want my characters to stumble into something that wasn't open to the public back then or go somewhere that wasn't considered interesting or worth seeing then.

*I know they would have called it Ceylon