December 19th, 2006

Mumm Eye

The number of instruments a teenager can play

I have a character, a 16-year-old boy, who is considered a musical prodigy. At his young age, he can play a rather impressive number of musical instruments. The instruments are all rather conventional; stuff like the piano and the violin, not things like... say, the theremin, or stuff like the shamisen or the sitar. For the meantime, he mostly sticks to instruments used in typical symphony orchestras. And the harmonica.

The question is... how many instruments can a talented 16-year-old play well, realistically? For the record, the boy started with the piano at the age of 3. Personally, I knew a few kids who could play three instruments well, but that's about it. I tried to search a bit, and all I found was something in a Guinness World Records book about a guy who played 108 instruments at the same time, 19 of them being melodious instruments. I'm not sure it's entirely helpful, since I'm assuming this guy wasn't a teenager.

And if we're already at it... what's the world record for the number of records a single person can play? I don't intend for the boy to break this record when he grows up, but I'm interested in knowing what's the limit.
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give into the black

Illegitimate children in Japanese culture

It's been a fairly long time since I've turned to this comm for research help, but I'm a bit stumped after hitting a lot of dead ends.

I'm trying to find out the cultural ramifications of fathering an illegitimate child in Japan, specifically in the realm of the business world and a possible fall-out over having covered it up. How much backlash would be against the father, business-wise and media-wise? Would any of that fall on the child, who is also in the spotlight? Input can be vague, I just need a general idea on the issue.
Aslan and Narnia

English-Irish relations: Napoleonic wars and WWII

Two different stories, but same topic:
How were British-Irish relations during and a few years after 1)The Napoleonic Wars and 2)WWII
(Can you tell I like writing about the British?)
1)How would the feelings be on both sides (Irishman and English) if an Irish young man (approx. 17) joined the British army? The British Navy? Would there be high tensions? Could things get violent? I'm researching before I write, so feel free to come up with your best senario.
2)How would the local people feel about an Irish boy (early teen in the beginning of the story, about 17 at the end) living in a small village in rural England. (Check my last post for the general story:
I would kind of like for things to be so bad that the Irish guy gets killed, if possible (if not, I can always try and think up an accident for him, but I really would prefer murder. morbid, I know) Same as above question with high tensions, etc.
I really appreciate every answer I get, and any "little details" or tidbits you might want to add. Thanks in advance.

Edit: Wow, this is great! Lots of answers that I can really use. The boys are both probably going to be Catholic, and I should have mentioned that they're strongly opinionated, and poor (which leads them to working for the British).
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Little Thing

Ways to End the World

Does anybody know of any mythologies where the End Time/Apocalypse is brought about by ghosts or the dead?

I know that a lot of end-of-the-world stories involve the dead rising at some point along the line, but what I'm looking for is one where they actually cause it, intentionally or otherwise.  The older and more obscure, the better.


ETA:  Should have mentioned that I wanted non-Christian mythos and had already ruled out Ragnarok (Norse).

Cernunnos the God question

A few questions on the god Cernunnos (interested only in ancient Celtic traditions, please no neo-pagan references):

1) What specific regions was he generally worshipped in? Any particular religious rites associated with his cult?
2) How closely associated with Herne the Hunter is he, if at all?
3) Did he have a lady-consort? All the research I've found says he was married to "the Phantom Queen." Is this Morrigan or some other goddess?

Thank you in advance for any information you might be able to send my way. :D
K/S - Destiny

Animal Blood Groups?

I've googled this but haven't been able to find a lot of information on this, so I'm posting this here:

Say, there is a crime scene and there's a lot of blood but no body. Forensic analysis would be able to tell if it's human or not. But would they be able to tell which animal the blood came from? What if there was a mixture of human blood and a lot of blood belonging to different species of animals? Would they be able to identify what it came from? And if yes, how long would it take?

I have been searching high and low for any writing on animal blood groups and their identification markers, and maybe I've been looking in the wrong places, but I haven't had any luck. Would appreciate any comments.