March 9th, 2007

mitsu bishi, avatarbug, ambush bug

evolution of birds, geology of texas

I'm trying to reconstruct a small hill in Austin, Texas, as it would have appeared in the late Cretaceous. Although I've found a lot of interesting things -- there were live oak trees, and apatosauruses -- I'm unable to determine what level of evolution birds were at about 80mya. Could grackles have coexisted with apatosauruses? One independent source implies that they could -- there were birds before Gondwana broke up, which was long before the period I'm discussing. There were definitely crocodiles, sharks, and a relative of the shrimp called the sea scorpion?

What kind of flying creatures were there 80mya? I want something like the birds that flock on the backs of hippopotamuses for my herd of apatosaurs.

I'm surmising that a few of the higher hills in Austin would have been islands 80mya and that a sort of sandy subtropical swamp grew there, with live oaks of course. Something like Jekyll Island, on the Georgia coast. Does this sound plausible?

I've googled and wikid the heck out of this, and done a bit of book research. Actually, I've even built a model of the hill out of sculpey, so if there were no islands then, I'm willing to move the time period. 80mya was my best guess for when the sea receded past the Texas Hill Country.
  • caitak

Returning evidence in an investigation to the owner

Okay, I've tried googling this, but I don't think I've been using the right word combinations. 'Returning evidence', 'evidence procedures', 'evidence to owner' hasn't really given me what I'm looking for, though I do know rather more about chain of custody and the like.

The scene is modern day America, New York to be exact and my character was abducted from her car.

Assuming that the car and it's contents are taken in as evidence, how long until she can get it back? Will she get it back at all or will it be held until the trial is over and the case closed?


paws off

Protection of Witnesses in Federal Cases

I think I found the answer to this, but I'm not certain if I'm interpreting what I found correctly or not, so I'm hoping you guys can either tell me I'm right or tell me I'm an idiot and give me the real answer.

Setting USA (technically somewhere in the Deep South but it's a Federal case so I don't think that matters), some time at the height of the Civil Rights movement.

I have a (white) man who witnessed (and tried to stop) the lynching of two young black men who had been registering black people to vote and generally pissing off people all over the place. He was severely assaulted but not killed in the process. The local police were at the very least turning a blind eye if not openly collaborating with the mob in the lynching and have told him in no uncertain terms that he didn't see who attacked him or who lynched the boys. However he's stubborn enough to keep making a fuss and a federal case about the breaching of his civil rights is brought. Consequently the FBI have decided they better do something or he might not still be alive when the trial happens and that would be bad. The exact details of when and where are as yet to be decided, but I think that's the relevent stuff.

I need to know who would be protecting him. I think it would be the US Marshals but I'm not sure since all the stuff I can find refers to the 1970 Witness Protection Act or the 2007 proposed amendment (but I think that only applies to State and local witnesses anyway). Both of which are too late for my story, however I do know that when Robert Kennedy sent people to protect James Meredith who was registering at the university of Mississippi he didn't want the locals to do it so he sent in the Marshals. Plus of course they refer only to witnesses and my guy is both a witness (in the case about the civil rights of the black kids) and a victim.

I've searched using terms such as 'federal case' 'protection of witnesses' 'protection of victims' etc in various combinations but mostly I get the witness protection act. I tried putting in some date terms but then I either got nothing relevent at all or more about Meredith.

stench of carcasses

I'm not even sure where to begin googling for this...

How long does the smell of a dead human body linger? If it helps, this is a body underground in a cavernous-type place.

Now... having asked that, how long would the smell linger of thousands (okay maybe hundreds, I can't decide-- just a very large amount that'll make you go "...Holy shit :|" if you saw it) of dead human bodies littering the floor of a very large underground chamber, very far underground? To be helpful, these bodies have been laying around for hundreds of years, soo~ they'd be pretty skeletal by now (right?) But I want to know if when my characters come upon this place, would they be reeling from the smell, would it be a vague, lingering twinge of a smell, or would it have faded off by now? There are no immediate vents to the ground's surface in this place, it's pretty much a confusion of tunnels and gradual to sharp inclines.

If there wouldn't BE a smell, what would it take for there to still be one after all this time?