August 23rd, 2007

Objects in planetary orbit affecting tides/ocean activity

Setting: Present time earth, potentially Hawaii or a West Coast beach.

I googled tides pertaining to how the moon affects them. The main reason for that is because I am not entirely sure of how oceans would react to an additional object approaching the planet. I know, through the search on google and what wikipedia says, that if the moon were closer, tides would be stronger (or something to that effect). I would assume another object gradually getting closer would do the same.

However, would it affect how the seas would behave? As in, would waves crashing to the beach be far more volatile?

The main gist of what I'm trying to found out is this: The idea is that an extinction event sized asteroid is going to strike Earth. The story is less about the asteroid and more about the people deal with the inevitable end. The thought is that a couple try to finish some daring and exciting things before they die. One of which is surf potential stronger waves than anyone will have ever seen, thanks to the asteroid largely changing the ocean's behavior. Is this something viable? If not, I will have to retool the idea altogether. Not that it will be a bad thing, but it'll obviously take work.

American high schools, principals, gay teachers, and teacher/guardian relationships.

This is for a fanfiction, but it's fairly AU and set ambiguously in north Texas. The main character is a closeted gay high school teacher who begins a relationship with the uncle of an orphaned student, and it gets out to, well, pretty much everyone.

I'm also Googling everything on the side, so I may end up finding a very obvious answer as I type. Thank you for any and all help!

1) How are gay teachers protected? Are they protected at all? By the 14th Amendment, or district policy? It's obvious that many gay teachers (and most professionals in general) are afraid to come out, but who would be the decisive factor in the termination of said teacher (if he/she were fired at all)? Would it be the job of a district superintendent, or just the principal him/herself? If said teacher came out relatively quietly, would the district even have to be informed?

2) How much say do principals get in who they hire? If someone applies to become a teacher, do the five or so principals in the district compete to see who gets him? If a principal and a teacher knew each other beforehand, does that principal get 'dibs' on that teacher? Are principals allowed to 'handpick' their teaching staff?

3) Here's the biggie: if a teacher were to have a relationship with the guardian of a student, what steps would be taken? Usually, children of teachers are moved to another class, or a teacher will teach a different grade/class that year, but what if the teacher is the only one in the school teaching said class? Yes, it's possible that the student (or teacher) might be transferred to a different school in the district, but what if the relationship began in the middle of the school year (November?) and it was too late to transfer?

4) How is the school/employees/fellow teachers allowed to react? Would principals have appropriate authority to punish students/other teachers for anti-gay slurs? Is the principal allowed to endorse/condone said relationship? For example, would the principal be allowed to give a little speech at a staff meeting on the importance of acceptance, etc.?

5) I heard my teachers constantly complaining about these, so I have to know: what goes on at a typical staff meeting? I imagine that it would be a lot like bored adolescents fighting over the budget and whatnot, but I've absolutely no basis in fact for this. :)

(For context, I attended a high school in Lewisville, Texas, and there were two openly gay teachers (one taught English; the other, I don't know) and a rumored lesbian (also English), but I only know the situation from a student's point of view. And, shamefully, most of what I know about teacher/guardian relationships comes from Gilmore Girls.)

Technology & Security in small coastal motels in 1995 Oregon

This is a pretty weird question, and I haven't found a satisfactory way to research it just yet. There are two parts to it.

My story has a scene that is set in a small coastal down (Lincoln City, Oregon) in a independent motel. The motel is NOT a chain, i.e. Motel 6 or Red Roof Inn. It is not seedy or run down, but probably budgeted to appeal to those who are upper middle class. The establishment is also fictional and made up by me.

The year is May 1995.

My questions:

1) Would an establishment like this use regular keys or key cards for their rooms? I know everything is carded nowadays, and I can't remember if/when the shift was made. (And I was 16 in '95...old enough that I could've noticed if I paid attention!)

2) Would a small establishment like this use a computer at the check in desk to keep track of that information, or would they have a book or ledger or something of that nature? Again, I can't remember anything from my own experiences in such places 12 years ago.

Any tips to go for research, terms to Google (I've tried things like "motel security" before, which gets me lots of websites for private security firms), personal recollections or experiences, etc, would be most helpful. Thanks!

ETA: I think I got this figured out now. Thanks all! :-)
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