October 5th, 2006

Highgate Cemetery, London

Hi, newbie here! I was refered to this community because I write and sometimes will ask for help on my LJ.

Has anybody ever been to Highgate Cemetery in London? I've researched it, and all I need to know is how one pays upon entering (Eastern side). Do they enter on Swains' Road? Do volunteers stand outside of the gate and take the money, or does one enter the grounds and go through an office-like structure or something like that first?

Thanks! I love the idea of writers helping writers with the little details! Great idea, great name!
  • efbq

Size of urban centers, 14th - 18th century

I realize that this isn't a 'little' detail. I'm hoping someone can give me a pointer on what to read up on in order to weigh the factors which go into this. Cross-posted to worldmaking and rpg_design as well as my personal journal.

I'm writing a science fiction novel which is set a few centuries after a devastating series of events, some of which are population growth related, nearly wiped out civilization. There are vast regions of the planet which are uninhabitable, and even more which are unpleasant and dangerous. At the same time, there is still lots of arable land. Especially given that Earth now has a fairly constant, sustainable population of somewhere between 300 - 600 million people, and an inclination to keep it that way. Population is stabilized by a number of factors, including a perception of low infant mortality, societal pressure, and a 'release valve' of extraterrestrial frontiers for those who don't like the way society is being run.

Earth is a center both of high technology and of food production. It is an economic powerhouse (because the colonies within the solar system are partially to wholly dependent on it for food), and depleted resources are supplied by importing from off planet sources.

I'm trying to get a picture of what population density would look like. How big would a large city be? How sparsely populated would (fertile) rural areas be?

As far as I can tell, the worlds population was in this range between the 14th and 18th centuries, but that's not quite enough data to figure it out. Food production per capita needs to be higher than it was historically (to produce excess for export), but farming techniques and equipment will be such that there would be a higher yield both per acre of land and per agricultural worker. Factories and centers of production would likewise be more efficient.

Any suggestion of a starting point would be appreciated.

Old neighborhoods in NYC

Ok New Yorkers, help a fantasy author out here, please....

I'm writing about a bunch of vampires in NYC. Are there any neighborhoods in the area, say from around very late 19th century, that I could use as a backdrop? Basically I need to grab a neighborhood where I'm likely to find an older building that a few vampires could've grabbed around late 1890s or so for their own and have had it until present day.

Thanks in advance!
  • siyengo

Spelling of Vietnamese Names - "Vien" (or similar)

Hello everybody. :D I've been whacked in the head by a stumbling block.

When I first created the cast of characters for this particular novel, back in the bad old days of 2004, I was young and foolish. Why go through all the bother of naming my characters properly, I thought, when I could just feed random Japanese words through Babelfish?! It took me two years to realise the error of my ways. Now I'm renaming them all, and it's tormenting me.

So. One of my families is second-generation Vietnamese-Australian. Most of them I have names for. The eldest one is giving me difficulties. I want to call him Vien, or thereabouts, because it's a pretty name and I like it.

Unfortunately, I've been through about six baby-naming sites, and I'm in a dilemma. Most of them just put the name as it is above, without inflections. However, one has it written with an accented i (Vîen) and one has it with an accented e (Viên), and I'm pretty sure that both these sites were written by actual Vietnamese speakers, so I'm bewildered.

How do I spell this name? I know Vietnamese is a tonal language, so if I put the accent in the wrong place, it'll be like naming him "fish-cake" or "melted plastic" or "I am a scrupulous parrot indeed." I've tried putting it through Google, but I can't speak Vietnamese, and can't tell the difference between names and words (plus, the Google filter seems to think that Vietnamese=English, which doesn't help.)

So, are there any people out there who know whether it's spelled Vien, Vîen, Viên, or something completely different?

Or should I just call him Bob?

Japanese names for twin boys

I need a pair of given names for twin Japanese boys. The names can be a bit old fashioned or otherwise mildly odd since the boys (and their extended family) aren't human. Ideally, I want names that have equal and opposite meanings but sound similar.

Unisex names are welcome of course, I just don't want to accidentally give the boys overtly girlish names. I have enough trials in store for them without hanging that on them too.

Sakon and Ukon came to mind at first but I always think of crime-solving puppeteers, or ninjas, when I hear those names. ^^;

I've tried finding a pair of names using name lists, but the lists I have for male names are generally shorter than for female names and often don't have meanings listed. It's been a bit like flipping through a dictionary for words that sound similar and then hoping the definitions are equal and opposite.

Minimum Viable Population for Humans?

Okay, this has been bugging me for a while, and I can't seem to find what I need online (though I did find the technical term!)

I have a small and completely isolated community. What I need to know is, what is the Minimum Viable Population for humans? That is, how small can this community be before they all die out due to not having enough genetic diversity? All I've been able to find via Google and Wikipedia has been explanations of what MVP is, studies of endangered species, and assorted completely incomprehensible (to me, at least!) equations.

My community needs to survive for about 500 years without any contact with the rest of the world, and I'd like it to be in fairly good shape at the end of that time, when it does start having outside contact. The people know enough about the dangers of inbreeding to keep track of genealogies and not interbreed too closely, but how large a starting population do they need?

Pointers to further resources and/or advice on search terms to use will also be gratefully received.

Edit: Thank you! I have my answer, and it's smaller than I'd thought. I shall stop worrying.