March 7th, 2005

hat, coffee, sarcasm

Computer/Virus/Net questions

Trying to fill out the background of my cyberpunk setting, and seeing as I want the structure of the net to be rather different to the real one. (the one in the story being a very paranoid and restrictive, although a secondary net similar to the current one is also functioning between freethinkers... well, when enough of it is fuctioning at least. That's generally seperate from commerse and so on though.) Becuase of the major changes in the system, including ones a lot of users would go 'HELL NO' about if it was an optional change... it occured to me the best way of doing this would be the full scale destruction of the entire internet, using a very prolific and destructive set of viruses that pretty much nukes any computer that had been connected to the net, and gets into most of the backups as well becuase of it's gestation period, all versions triggering symultaneously. That way the new system would be instigated by the major monopoly holders while everything was being rebuilt. Now, the questions that are bugging me...

1) What would be the most effective thing to permentantly destroy the data from the servers? I read somewhere about a virus that destroys sector 0 on the hard disk and effectively renders the whole thing useless but I'm not l33t enough to know if that's right or not. If possible, I'd like a version that if you DO somehow manage to recover your computer, the virus is still there, having affected backups you've made as well as ingrained into the disc itself. This thing pretty much resulted in people having to buy new computers (Or at least do SERIOUS work to them) so the more damaging the better.

2) On a similar note, would it be possible to make a virus that overclocks your system so much it burns itself out? Assume the programmer had a complete knowledge of the working of the major OS in use at the time, as I think the virus probably originated from a company employee. This would be used in the new system as a hacker deterrent as well if possible. (Though obviously most of them would know enough to have protection from this.)

3) What things would escape from a symultaneous full scale internet smiting? I assume things like the banks and stockmarket are going to be fragged, as well as countless buisnesses, but what about things like airport controls? Would these be completely seperate from the net, or would we end up with planes falling out of the sky? Are there any other especially important effects that are going to stem from this?

4) How long would be a sensible time to allow for the economy to drag itself back to life, with the new softwares in place, and new internet subcultures back in place? I'm leaning towards around 30 years as it's something people know about but don't feel so effected by any more. Though I'm worried this might be too little time...

Thanks in advance!
marvel - purple barton

Superman references

I need any references you can think of to Superman, kryptonite, etc. in American music. Lyrics would be a big help.

(I hope this isn't off topic; this is actually part of research for my thesis, but I've no doubt it'll creep into my fiction.)
  • Current Music
    Paul Simon - Hurricane Eye

St Michael's Tower on Glastonbury Tor

I'm trying to find out in what directions do the arches face in St Michael's Tower on the top of Glastonbury Tor. I know from my reading so far that the St Michael's Ley Line runs approximately from east to west and I wondered if the entrances to the tower are also on this same axis. Also, from the photos I've seen online, there seem to be only two entrances. Is this correct?

Thank you!

Calling anyone with a knowledge of Jewish history

I want to kill one of my characters because she met the boy, who was supposed to be just a small plot point, and got infatuated, and now she wants to go to his wedding, so I can't gloss over it.

The problem? Not so much that I have to write a Jewish wedding, but that I have to write a Jewish wedding in 1820 in southern France. A poor Jewish wedding in 1820 in southern France.

It being 1820 in Southern France, these are Sephardic jews. I've been able to find enough on Jews in France to know a) they are Sephardic Jews, mostly come from Spain a couple hundred years earlier; b) at that time (well, about twenty years prior, so close enough) the Sephardim were the most westernised in dress, culture, and attitudes (the Ashkenazim around Strasbourg were not granted citizenship until after the Sephardim of the south because they were considered so backward, and the Sephardim encouraged the distinction because it was in their favour); c) they were ghettoised but mostly because they were foreigners and did not have the same right of settlement - by 1820, helped along by the revolution and citizenship under Bonaparte, they had the same rights and obligations as all other frenchmen (except for my character, sort of, because he is a foreigner, but he has naturalisation rights like anyone else and will take advantage of them once he has been in the country long enough).

So I know all kinds of political issues, how kosher butchers were included with priests and rabbis as enemies of the state in revolutionary France, the arguments for and against citizenship. What I don't know is ritual.

I have to write the wedding from the perspective of a female Christian observer. (she has to go - she won't let me forbid her.) Someone in the family will likely explain to her what is going on. She will be chaperoned by her father (but I think I'm correct in assuming that she will have little contact with him due to traditional gender segregation). I can find all kinds of things for a modern Western (Ashkenazic) wedding; I can find quite a bit for a modern Eastern (Ottoman empire Sephardic) wedding. I cannot find what I need for a Sephardic wedding.

Moreover, though this could change: the boy is actually Ashkenaz out of Switzerland, but a proponent of assimilation (his parents were ejected from one of the German-speaking cantons not long after he was born, and after a childhood of wandering, he ended up in Strasbourg, which had a mixed Jewish population - he admires and prefers the assimilationism of the Sephardic population). Is this as odd as the conversion, in Christianity, from some protestant sect to Catholicism, or is it more like going between Protestant sects (with differences in focus perhaps but generally less of an overarching religious identity than of finding a church you like)? I know there were often marriages between Ashkenazim and Sephardim, and I know that there were some variations in ritual: would the community, the bride, or the groom determine the ritual?

I'm a little afraid to go to the one place I haven't looked: I'm almost certain that in books on the Rothschild family there is a descripton of at least one person's wedding. However, these are people with a lot of money, and my characters are a step above dirt poor (as in, they are not starving, but they never feel economically safe). Also, the Rothschilds have to be Ashkenaz, don't they, having come out of the German states? And would ritual vary based on country? One of the Rothschild women married Sir Moses Montifiore, who has to have been Sephardic because his family came out of Italy and the initial synagogue in London was Sephardic only - the poor Ashkenazim were forced to build their own - but I'm making an assumption here. It's backwards from my couple, sort of, but the community was Sephardic, and the time frame is almost identical. Except that was rich people in England, while I have poor people in France.

I just need something that describes in a certain amount of detail what would have happened. I've been working on this for months and months - it's totally stalling development of the rest of the story while I agonise over this wedding.
The Phantom and Christine

Enemies of the state in Revolutionary France

1. I know that members of the First and Second Estates were seen as enemies of the state in France during that time, but what would constitute an arrest and subsequent execution? (For reference, this character died during the Reign of Terror -- late 1793 -- and all I've got is that she "spoke out" against the revolution and showed public support for the monarchy. I didn't know if this merited an execution).

2. Seeing as this character is a married woman, would they also arrest her husband as well? He was quiet on the whole subject of the revolution and didn't show any favouritism towards either side, so I don't know -- I assumed they'd throw his wife in prison for a bit but leave him be.

3. Would anyone happen to know how an execution took place? Like, was there some kind of speech detailing a person's crimes beforehand, or did they just place them under the guillotine and slice their heads off? And were these executions public? (I'm assuming they were).

4. This is just plain curiosity, but would Robespierre or any of the Committee of Public safety members be there at an execution?
Maggie Gyllenhaal

Doctor-patient relationships

Okay, I know the basic rules about doctor-patient sexual activity.  My question is how frowned upon it is for a doctor merely to go to lunch with a patient?  Both of them are in commited relationships, and it is more something the patient initiates.  If it is highly looked down upon it, are there any professional consequences for the doctor (explicit or just a slight drop in reputation, etc.)?  They are male (the patient) and female (the doctor).