February 7th, 2005

music, serious face

Religious Studies

I'm creating a character who was a graduate student in Religious Studies, and I'm trying to decide just which institution she blew off in order to go work for eee-vil. I've done some web research, but it's hard to tell where she would want to go just from a department's web page.

Basic info:
The character is Russian, so American institutions aren't the "default" choice. She's most interested in Christianity, especially historical Christianity. I think that it was a master's degree that she blew off--but that depends on the custom of the instutition.

Where do you think she would really want to go?

Edit: She isn't Catholic -- she's Russian orthodox. Also, I was thinking that she would be most interested in a secular institution, rather than one associated with a particular religion. Something along the lines of a university like Stanford.

(no subject)


In the US civil disputes are argued by a Plaintiff (the one bringing the suit) and a Defendent (the one being sued). Do they go by the same names in Britain?
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    Conan: The Barbarian, "Battle of the Mounds"

Alcohol-Related Questions.

A few questions relating to alcohol consumption and other usage... I do not often drink so feel free to use small words and explain things to me.

Story background info: I have an adult male and a teenage female confined in a caved-in small space. Both generally healthy, except the female has minor injuries, man has a broken ankle. Between them they have each a full set of clothing and a bottle of some alcoholic beverage. I am looking at not having them there for much more than a couple days and nights, but it will vary slightly depending on circumstance and your responses...

My main questions are:

1) How long could they both last without food or water, and only the alcohol to drink? I am toying with the idea of light rain pouring into the space for them to drink, but then would have to figure for more of a chill in their wet clothing. Food of any sort is not an option, any way I approach the scene. Unless they happen to catch a rat and get brave.
2) To what extent would the alcohol numb the pain of the man's injuries? And how much would he have to drink to acheive that purpose?
3) You see those doctor shows where they pour liquor on an open wound. How effective, really, would it be for cleaning or sterilization?
4) And if anyone can reccommed a good particular kind of alcohol for these purposes...
automatic earth, don't cry, this is the long-distance call
  • gisho

Politics & state secession

This is a very long and complex question, not really a question so much as a request for other people to speculate, so bear with me. It's background infromation for a story I'm working on set in the future, about 1.5 centuries out. I've come up with my own ideas about it, but I'm very much Not A Politics Person so I'd like to hear some ideas from people who are.

Namely: At some point in the past, preferably around 2060, the United States split up into several pieces. There's now a country consisting of Washington, Oregon, California, Alaska, and possibly Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico; Texas is its own nation; I'm not sure what the status of the Midwest and Northeast are, but I believe both have remained part of a pared-down "United States of America" that still calls itself such. (The Pacific Coast nation is probably called "Pacifica". If it doesn't include the Southwest I think those states have also gone independant but retained VERY strong trade ties to Pacifica, have open borders with it and each other, etc.)

It was Pacifica's idea to seperate; Texas sort of jumped on the bandwagon when Pacifica had managed to make a clean break.

My question: How do you believe the government of the US would react to being presented with a 'Declaration of Independence' from a coalition of Western states, assuming a) it was at that time controlled by 'extreme right-wing' Republicans and b) thanks to the support of the UN for Pacifica as well as 'international opinion' it was obvious that reconquering the states was Not An Option?

ETA: A clarification of the situation - Whatever the US wants, Pacifica is really hoping for a quiet and amicable seperation. They'd be willing to sign treaties assuring the US of almost the same sort of access to the Pacific Ocean ports as before the seperation - assuming the US was willing to let them go without sending in the troops. Also, at least the way I'm writing it by 2060 war is unthinkable, and yes, if the US tried to invade a country that was basically handing them vows of peace, most other first-world countries - certainly the EU - would lay on the trade embargos and, if necessary, send in their own troops to support Pacifica. I think (I am not an economist, either) that with Pacifica still trading heavily, the world economy could take the hit of breaking off with the US without undue damage.

Also, by 2060 the US does not have a great number of troops anymore, thanks to attrition, an attempt to show its pe. If it wanted to nuke LA to the ground, sure, it could do that - assuming it was willing to risk retaliation. If it just wanted to *retake* Pacifica, it might not have the military strength.

I'm reluctant to use the Civil War for comparison because although there were a lot of factors there, slavery was a major one, and the tide of public opinion is going to swing the other way re civil rights in this case. Specifically, the US is considered extremely 'backwards' in terms of civil rights at the time, the Bill of Rights has basically been gutted, and Pacifica was in part driven towards seperation by a number of what they, and a lot of other countries, considered blatant human-rights abuses.

I'd look for a more recent model to inform me, but the only ones I can think of are Eritrea and Etheopia (about which I know nothing except that it happened) and the breakup of the USSR (which I don't really think is analagous ... well, maybe. Hmm.).

I don't know how this would affect matters, but Pacifica did offer citizenship to anyone from the US; the offer might have been reciprocated, I'm not sure.
singular love affair

Greenhouses? Stone houses? Herbalism?

Right now I'm working with a setting that's analogous to the Ohio-West Virginia-Kentucky tri-state region -- close foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, river valleys, etc. My characters are staying in an old stone house that was once the home of a very wealthy family, but has since come into much poorer hands. It's situated near a trading village on a tributary of the country's main river. The house is "circa" 14th century English, with several additions, the most significant of which is a small greenhouse. Right now, we're in a time that's sort of like the 17th-century Netherlands in terms of its science and technology.
  • In a stone house with no windows, or a few small ones, how well would you be able to hear sounds on either side of the walls? I'm thinking rain or sleet from the inside and voices from the outside or between rooms.
  • How does one keep up a greenhouse without the aid of electricity? It should be facing south, right? In January, is trapped sunlight alone enough to keep an array of plants alive and growing?
  • How big is it reasonable for such a house to be?
  • Would an old wine cellar be a good place to dry herbs? Never mind.
    Thanks so much!
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      "Spark," Tori Amos
    by me

    Furries, Insanity, Virginian Suburbs, The Judicial System, Sadism and Obsession.

    Hi guys. Just joined, and I have to say that this is an awesome idea.
    Collapse )
    Thanks guys!

    (Also, just for future knowledge, are there any sites out there that will translate English into romanized Mandarin for free?

    ETA: Thanks for all your help! Two more to go.
    ETA 2: Sorry for the weird numbering. I have mad typing skillz.
    ETA 3: Fixed it so I have the questions again. Fixed the weird numbering though
    ETA 4: Apprently *didn't* fix weird numbering but I have now. With question 4 I got "sadism" and "sociopathy" confused, which just goes to show how warped I am.
    ETA 5: Added more context to #2.
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    Language detail

    I suppose that this is a matter of opinion as much as anything else.

    I have an urban fantasy I'm working on. One my my characters is a magic junkie. I'm not sure whether it's part of his addiction, but one of the things he's into is bizarre magical body modification. He's had his eyes done--essentially the same effect as permanent colored contacts--and avian wings built in. They're almost purely ornamental, but he's ridiculously vain about them. My only real problem with this is that I boxed myself into writing a scene from his point of view, and I can't quite figure out how he would talk about them.

    I know that birds' wings have more or less the same basic anatomical structure as a human arm, but I'm not sure if the language to describe it is the same. Something like "My supracoracoideus hurts" (it's the muscle that does most of the work on take-off) isn't really the type of dialogue you'd expect from a guy who only heard about the procedure and said "Ooh, pretty. Want!" Or anyone who isn't an ornithologist, really. So, what? Does the arm metaphor still hold--"wing-shoulder" and like that? Or could I get away with being lazy and referring to them in terms of "upper/lower wing"?
    a little clueless
    • wottie


    If my character was commiting suicide, what would be the most painless and easier way to die? She has access to a lot of poisons and a hanging noose but she can't get any weapons.

    Thanks in advance!
    I'm just naturally dirty.

    (no subject)

    Two kestyonahs, mes amis. <3

    1. If I wanted to find the floor plans to apartments large and grandiose enough to suit a powerful CEO's needs, where should I look? The location of the building itself is inconsequential, unless I might be able to work in something about the view, so I'm not horribly hung up about whichever city this apartment might reside in.

    2. In your opinion, what might be most scarring for a child that still lives in the house their parents died in? The blood may have been scrubbed out of the study's floorboards, but what other bad feelings might still be lurking about? The child in question never goes into the particular room they were found in, except when he really needs something kept only there, and I'm pushing for more of a constant, quiet queasiness rather than mind-numbing emotional torture.

    Mucho gracias in advance, kittens.
    pretty little dolls
    • surexit

    1970s Canadian spies

    So, you've got a revolutionary, Russian national or of Russian descent, not really important, arrested by a counterespionage agent in 1974 within Canada.

    Two questions:

    Would he be held in a prison before his trial, and if so, which prison would he be going to?

    What last minute problem with his paperwork might cause the counterespionage agent who arrested him to be called down to his temporary holding cell, away from the party above, because the transfer to the prison might be delayed in order that I can set them up to share an awkward kiss?
    Dandy: Reading
    • marukka

    Scar pigmentation on dark skin

    What colour could a scar be on someone with dark skin?

    I'm thinking very dark skin and a significant scar rather than a neatly healed cut, but any help is better than what I've found so far. I know on my own skin scars will be white or pinkish, but I'm so pale my regular skin barely tans... so I'm not sure if that goes for scars overall.
    portraits - default vampire
    • bwinter

    Late nineteenth century - a way of disguising half the face?

    Let's say a man in late nineteenth-century Paris (1870 or thereabouts) would like to go out at night into dimly-lit streets and possibly dark seedy taverns, and somehow hide half his face, which is rather distinctively disfigured. And let's say he didn't want to wear a half-mask and opera cloak like he usually does ^^;

    How could he disguise himself? I only have some idea about late-nineteenth gentlemen's clothes. I'm not sure whether common people would wear any kind of cowled capes, broad-brimmed hats or other things that'd help him go unnoticed in dim light, in places where no-one looks too closely at faces.

    So, how can the Phantom of the Opera conduct an investigation among Parisian lowlifes and not get busted for high-profile murder, vandalism and gatecrashing a certain masquerade?
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