December 24th, 2006


Maps of pre-Haussmann Paris.

Now, this map of Paris in 1843 is wonderful for my purposes--or would be if I could read it. I downloaded the high-resolution version and it's possible to make out the pattern of the streets, but it's still illegible. One of my old professors had a similar map dating from about a hundred years later and it covered an entire wall of the classroom; obviously a scan hi-res enough to be legible would be completely impractical. So if no one has a super-huge version of it, perhaps I could ask for specific sections?

1. The Latin Quarter, in particular around the old Place Saint-Michel (not the Place du Pont-Saint-Michel, which is where the modern Place Saint-Michel is located)
2. The area between Saint-Merry and the Hotel de Ville
3. The area surrounding Les Halles (Not as important; I already have a blurry closeup of this, probably from the same map)
4. The Boulevard des Invalides and the rough triangle formed to the right of it on the map

If someone has those from a different map, it's fine too, as long as the map is from before Haussmann went and changed everything around. 1820s-1840s is best.

Diamonds Inplanted

I'm writing a short story and it's a bit James Bond - I've had an idea for a character, but I imagine it's a no go for being too improbable. He would be known by the nickname "Diamondheart" as he's had a very large and ridiculously expensive diamond surgically implanted in his body, presumably his chest. Now I imagine the body would reject a large chunk of diamond, but just to check, could I get away with it? Are there any caveats that might mean he had a particularly robust body that wouldn't force it out somehow? Is there any room for a diamond at all, and how big could it be (with corresponding value)?

He could be a really big man perhaps?

Also, there's a plan to steal the diamond by attacking him and slicing it out with a knife. Is there any chance that, shock and blood loss aside, the diamond could be placed somewhere in his torso so it could be taken in such a way but give him a slim chance of survival?

Thanks for any comments/advice...

Fiberglass insulation: harmful if swallowed?

Ok, you know that spun-glass pinkish insulation stuff that looks a little like cotton candy? I'm having a hard time finding what would happen if you (or, more likely, a small child -- toddler-age) tried to eat it. I got some pretty stern warnings about this stuff when I was little -- and it's glass, so I know it's not going to be harmless -- but all I can find on Google are articles about people inhaling trace amounts and getting lung problems, or swallowing trace amounts, and the information that fiberglass will "cause temporary stomach irritation if swallowed." Now, I imagine that it would be pretty scary if a baby actually tried to eat a handful of the stuff, but I can't find any details, either of what the harm would look like or what treatment would be. You'd definitely have to go to the hospital, right? Any thoughts?

Keep in mind this is a very small child -- about a year old. The insulation sheets are just sort of piled up on the back porch-- very irresponsible, I know!

Thank you very much in advance!
Tasty as a Cupcake

Royal Air Force Bases near Cardiff, Wales

Yes, I've asked some pretty eclectic stuff on here. Thank you very much in advance, O brave UKers, for this one...

I need a Royal Air Force Base near (preferably very near) Cardiff, Wales. One where an American Air Force plane (the big ones, like the Hercules type, that can carry cargo and people, as opposed to jets) could land if they were carrying a VIP who needed to get to Cardiff as fast as humanly possible. I've looked up RAF bases near Cardiff, and found the following: Alconbury, Wyton, St. Athan (this one was mentioned specifically as being near Cardiff, so it seems promising), and Kinloss, but finding out what kind of international planes could land at each, if any, and which of them would be the best choice for it has proven very difficult. Any suggestions, corrections, or other help would be most greatly appreciated.

And yes, yes indeed, this is for Torchwood fanfic. There's this thing about gloves...
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