September 24th, 2006

hermione around corner

Security after a Kidnapping

I just recently thought of something that pertains to my story. A sixteen year old girl gets kidnapped at the very beginning of the story. I was wondering what safety measures would be put into place in today's day and age after something like that happens. I don't know if you need to know or not but the girl was abducted from her house and her parents came home to find signs of a struggle and their daughter's blood on the floor.

ETA: A little clarification, I'm wondering about basically any kind of security. Such as things that would be put into place while she is missing around the town for other children, safety precautions the police will tell people to take, what the family will do, and how long it'll last after she's returned.

Thanks in advance!
the snow woman, 雪女 yuki onna

Japanese folklore: Kimon/Northwest


Here's a question. The kimon (鬼門), the spirit gate that is in the northwest, and is said to be where the misfortune and the spirits come from... I have a question about this.

Is it northwest as in the direction (relative to wherever you are standing), or is it Northwest as in a region, as in a specific place, such as the Northwest of Japan, i.e. western Aomori or Hokkaido or something like that?

I've heard both from different sources. I've read about people in Japan being strangely proud because they lived in a northwest quarter of a city, but then I've also read that this ties into the Japanese historically considering Ainu (who lived in the north) to have been oni.

Which interpretation of "northwest" is correct (within the study of Japanese folklore, that is)? Or can they both be correct?

  • nachzes

Going From Tijuana, Mexico to San Diego, CA, USA

I've searched Google maps, Google Images, Google, and MapQuest, and I can't find what I'm looking for.

I'm looking for a map of San Diego and Tijuana (Mexico), that shows enough detail for me to plan a route going from one to the other, by foot. (My characters are escaping from a fair/circus-type thing that's situated near Tijuana, and I need to have them get into a fairly run-down/red light-type district in San Diego.)

Any help AT ALL would be appretiated, thanks!

Edit 01: Many people have pointed out that the border crossing is heavily guarded, and the characters would get caught -- this is good, as I plan on there being a chase scene, and I need an excuse. XD

Edit 02: The "red light" district has been decided on: San Ysidro/Isidro, a community in San Diego. Thanks!

Edit 03: Just for clarification, this happens at night, and there's one hell of a rainstorm going on (buckets of rain, thunder, lightning, etc), just in case it makes a sgnificant difference.

(Still need help on map-finding, please and thanks!)

Japanese History: Shoguns and emperors...

Okay, here's my problem; I'm writing a story where a fair amount of the plot hinges around a sword that was supposedly stolen from the emperor of Japan, but was actually handed over to my villain by the shogun because the sword was cursed. What I'd like to know is if there were any shoguns in the history of Japan that actually had a close enough relationship with the emperor to do such a thing. If not, I can easily switch it to the emperor himself giving away the sword. The time period doesn't actually matter, as the story is about time travelers.

I'd also like to know if there are any famous cursed swords, or swords that have belonged to emperors of Japan. Preferrably swords with names. Anything to narrow down the time period of the events that occur in Japan so that I can actually pinpoint the various bits of the rest of my research.
  • nspd

Muslims and modesty

I've done a little research on this topic - in particular, I found a Muslim clothing website that gave a very informative explanation as to why Muslims, particularly women, dress the way they (traditionally) do. From that I came to the conclusion their emphasis is on modesty, not suppression, as a lot of people seem to believe.

From there, I somehow I got it in my head that modesty is to the Muslims as simplicity is to the Amish.. Am I right in assuming this? If I am, is that modesty supposed to extend beyond their physical appearance and into their personalities as well? I have not found anything so far in my research that confirms this, so if anybody could help me out, that would be great.

The main reason I'm in need of this information is that I have a female character who is Muslim, and I'd like to have her dressed in the "traditional" way, which will bring up some questions from the non-Muslims in the story who want to understand her better. She is modest by nature, but I'd like to know whether her religious/cultural upbringing would have had an impact on that.

Thanks in advance. :]

Thanks again for all the responses. I think I have the information I need now. :D

Postage, auctioning of belongings and midshipmen in the late 18th century British Navy

Yeah, sorry folks. I know I'm asking for a lot of detail. *g*


1) I realize this would depend on where they are stationed, but in the best of circumstances, how often could officers and midshipmen correspond with their families? And if they were stationed in Europe, would the letters be stored until their ship came into port?

1a) how much did postage of letters/parcels cost?

2) I know "ratings" auctioned off and bought their dead comrades' items---is the same true for officers or midshipmen? Or depending on their station, were their personal belongings sent to their families?

3) Could a midshipman resign his position? Or was he irredeemably stuck once he signed on?

4) What kind of personal items would officers and midshipman have with them at sea?

Edit: Sorry folks, just to clarify---I'm asking after the 1790s to the 1800s.
Sexy Housewife
  • poshcat

Arcade games of the 80s

This is driving me crazy, and for the life of me, I can't find what I'm looking for.

There was an arcade video game from the '80s where you were a spaceship that had to collect bits of something to build something (I think!!), and if you were too slow, the evil space king would come and eat you. You knew he was coming because his voice would boom "I am ZOLTAR! HAHAHAHA!" Except...I don't think it was Zoltar, which I might just have stuck in my head from the movie Big. Heh.

Does this sound familiar at all??

cool groovy air guitar Astin

Psychoactive herbs

If I want my character to be dosed by a West Indian shaman/witch with a herb that would induce him to dream about a dead man - a true dream, not hallucinating - does anyone know what kind of herb or plant is supposed to make that happen?

The herb should ideally be given in the form of a tea, and it should taste good enough that he would drink it without knowing what it is (he's told that it's a sleeping aid, administered to him by a "slave" who's in the shaman's employ).
tj plotting

air-earth electric currents and St. Elmo's Fire

My story has just informed me that part of it is set on a planet whose most exceptional feature is that it has a very strong natural electrical field/ground-to-astmosphere current. Strong enough that flourescent lights don't need an external power source and nights of St. Elmo's Fire are as common as rainy ones.

Yeah. I'm usually very good with Earth science, but I still get watts and volts confused half the time, and when they start talking about webers and teslas I end up rocking back and forth and moaning "math is hard!" SO I appeal to you people. The St. Elmo's Fire and the (at least marginal) habitability (even if only over a few hundred square miles) are required; anything else is negotiable.

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Oh, and anyone is welcome to suggest a better name for the colony than my current working one, which is, regrettably, "St. Elmo's World". (This counts as a "little detail" because only about one or two scenes are actually set on this planet. Writing hard sf is *hard*, man.)

the affect of hair color on test taking/logic

Neither Google, Wikipedia, or any other internet source (and I would prefer a source listed on the web) have been of any help.

I need surveys organized by hair color. What I mean is- A logic survey conducted and sorted by, but not necessarily limited to, hair color. It can be by race, which is more likely to appear, but I'd prefer just "light vs. dark" hair color, or something like it. Actually, any research on the affect of hair color on test taking would be productive.

Thank you in advance.
tegan & sara

Nicknames in Spanish

I'm half-Mexican, so I should probably know this. In fact, I feel slightly ashamed that I don't. And yet: what would a nickname be, if any, for the the name Ángel? And is there any nickname for Consuelo besides Chelo? In English it's usually accepted to use the first syllable of a name as a nickname (Meghan becomes Meg, Emily becomes Em, etc)-- is this possible in Spanish? The baby naming sites aren't really giving me what I need. Thanks!