June 16th, 2006



Hi, I'm Stephanie, this is my first post here, but seems like a great community!

I tried googling, but while I learned a lot about types of amnesia, I couldn't find the exact information I'm looking for. Here's the situation:

A woman with amnesia turns up in a big west coast city (Probably San Francisco).  She doesn't know how she got there or who she is, so she starts a new life there.  But where would she obtain the various things you need for life, like a social security number, or a driver's license?  Would there be a service to help people like that?

Thanks in advance for your help.  

EDIT:  Thanks for everyone's advice!  I have been inspired to rewrite the first chapter of the story to make things a little easier. Thanks so much!

Common first names in 1840 England?

I've googled this, but I keep getting lists of surnames or modern baby naming websites.

I'm planning out a story set in northern England in 1840. It's an alternate universe version of another fandom, and I'm trying to check names to make sure they're fairly historically accurate. For example, one character's name is Jean; I'm not sure if that name was common, or if I should just switch it over to Jane, which I know was common then.

Does anyone know of any resources or search strings I could try?

Thanks in advance.
  • tamry

modifying paintball guns

I've no experience with paintball guns, so I was wondering: What are some modifications that a person could make to them, and what's one modification that could result in it jamming or otherwise not working? Set in a world with slightly higher technology than ours.

Thanks in advance!
  • ravil

Help trash the world!

Okay, here's the scenario for something I'm working on: there is a satellite of approximately the same size and mass as the Moon that is going to be making a very close approach to an Earth-like planet at the pericentron (nearest point) to the planet. "Close" as in a few thousand miles. So basically there's a huge Moon rocketing across the sky very, very close to the surface of the planet.

Now my question. Assuming that (1) the Moon-like body is not going to break up from the planet's gravity (I know, I know, it probably would, but call it creative license), and (2) the Moon is not going to actually impact the planet, what would the geophysical/environmental effects on the planet be as a result of this near-miss? Weird gravitational fluxes? Major seismic events? What and why?

Thanks for any help. I've been trying to get deeper into the real science for this particular setting, but this is the kind of question that doesn't turn up very often in the "world-building" books and web pages. Any help is appreciated!
Waterhouse, The Missal

Attitudes Toward Cop who Kills Partner's Killer

(This is my first post here and I'm actually nervous - can you believe that?)

I've googled this but didn't come up with anything useful; I suspect I didn't use good search parameters (more on that in a moment). Anyway, I have a character, a cop, whose partner is shot in front of the police station. Character's partner dies on the operating table and partner goes straight to the offices of the man who ordered the hit and shoots him (dead) before anyone can react. Then he sits down, waits for the cops to come, and doesn't resist arrest. This takes place in 1980 in a fictional city which is really a loosely disguised LA.

How would this cop be treated by his colleagues and by the legal system? (i.e. - would he be more likely to be rushed to judgment as a lesson to other cops bent on revenge or would sympathies lie with him and he be given the lightest sentence possible?) What would the attitude of the general public be toward him at that place and time? If he did go to prison for any length of time, would he be kept by himself for his own safety?

ETA - thanks, all for the replies - they're very helpful, as is the suggestion to try ask_a_cop, which I'll do later today.

Back to googling - how does one google something like this? I'm sure I can find actual procedures without much trouble but what I'm looking for is more along the lines of attitude, perhaps treatment that lies outside the bounds of official procedure.


London late 1970s

I'm writing a book set in the period of about 1975-1980 in London, England. Unfortunately, I have only visited London, and was not in existance in the period of time I'm writing about. I've been researching on the web and looking for books, but I've found pitifully little. My main characters are 'punk' types, so I'm especially interested in the sort of 'underground' culture. Any personal accounts, book recommendations or websites would be GREATLY appreciated. Thanks.

American cars & Czech physicists.

Two completely unrelated questions:

1) What would be a good estimate for the number of cars the average American sees on a typical day? I'm talking middle-class suburbanite on the way to work and back during rush hour. I understand this is vague, but all I need is a realistic estimate.

2) I'm writing about a Czech physicist who moves to America à la the German Wernher von Braun at about the turn of the century (by which I mean 2000, sorry) to work for the government on top-secret astrophysics technology. What would life be like for him? Where would he live? Are displaced scientists allowed to interact with Americans, marry them, raise families? What sort of ties would he be allowed to keep with his home country? What sort of ties would he be forced to make?

Thank you very much in advance. I know these are rather odd questions; but again, aren't most? :D