September 12th, 2007

Electricity and the heart

I need to know about how electric current starts/stops the heart for a plot concept I'm trying to work into my story. Basically, I need to know if the idea I had is even remotely plausible, if it could work but needs some tweaking, or if it's just stupid and needs to be thrown out entirely.

It pertains to electric current stopping/restarting the heart. I tried looking up cardiac arrest and defibrillation on both normal and simple-English Wikipedia, but found the topics to be a little too general to answer the specific question of "Would this work?"

Anyway, here's the idea.

Setting/technology level: Fantasy-ish, Renaissance-level technology plus magic.
Idea: Two characters have a fight. One has electricity-based magic, and manages to defeat the other simply by the fact that the first time they so much as clash weapons or make contact, she can send enough of an electric zap into the other to stop his heart. He collapses, seemingly dead. Just because she's overconfident and spiteful, she gives what she thinks is his corpse another zap just as a "Ha, so there" gesture and walks away, leaving him. Little does she know, the second zap accidentally defibrillated (or somehow restarted the heart via a zap, if that's not the right word) and revived him, so he can slink away and come back later.

Also, assuming this is even remotely possible, what kind of shape would the victim be left in? I'm assuming he couldn't just leap right back up and continue the battle and that at least resting of some sort would be in order, but can anyone figure out the specifics of what kind of condition he would be left in? (Like, would he even be aware of his surroundings, or mostly fine but fatigued and probably in no condition to exert himself for a while, or somewhere in between?) And would that change at all if he were, say, a lizardman? Also, for all of this, assume the two zaps happened very close together--he wouldn't be left prone for more than about a minute at most, probably less.

(He would have someone on his side who witnessed the fight and would theoretically be able to transport him to a place where he could receive medical attention, if needed, though due to his having a large, heavy frame and other fighting going on in the immediate area, it'd be incredibly difficult, maybe even almost impossible to move him if he were unconscious. This other person could possibly be rewritten to have basic low-level healing spells if needed, though I'm trying to keep the application of those limited to things like closing cuts. Heart stuff is probably beyond their scope.)

Landing a Space Shuttle Unassisted

Say a space shuttle was unable to contact anyone down on the planet (the only people they can reach are those in the International Space Station) Once they were running low on supplies and decide to attempt landing unaided, would the shuttle have a smooth landing? Or would it be a more violent landing? Also, could a single astronaut land the shuttle? Or would it still take a crew? And lastly, if it were a possibly dangerous landing, and a single astronaut could land the shuttle, would the rest of the crew go aboard the ISS and wait for any word from the ground?

Had no idea what to google for this, I doubt NASA includes such information on their website, lol.

The Stock Market Crash of 1929

Hello! I've got some questions about the stock market crash of 1929, and the effects it might have had on individual investors.

I've googled: Stock Market Crash of 1929, The Great Depression, Black Thursday, Black Monday, and Black Tuesday. All of the information I've found seems to deal with the impact on the market as a whole and how it relates to the Great Depression, rather than the effects it had on individual investors, which is what I'm really looking for.

Scenario: My character is quite wealthy, and a great deal of that fortune was/is made through investments and other business concerns. What I really want to know is how badly the crash would have affected him. He's quite financially savvy, and not likely to have all of his eggs in one basket, so the crash probably wouldn't have broken him, but I bet it might have made a nice dent. He lives in Boston, if that has any bearing on things.

Things I'd like to know:

- When/how would he have found out about the initial crash on Thursday? From the paper, a call from a broker? What time of day would he have gotten this information?

- How would a smart investor have reacted to the news? Would he panic by this point, cut his losses and sell his stocks? Or would he take more of a 'wait and see' approach?

- If he did take the 'wait and see' approach, when might it have struck home that everything had gone to shit? Monday, or Tuesday?

- What would be the best method for dealing with the crash? Selling all of his stocks? Crying? XD

- Anything else you might feel is relevant.

Thanks for the help guys! :D

Foster care; running away; and making a new life (1980s, CA, United States)

A character who has been in foster care runs away. He has no ID, and does not want to be connected to his former life.

a) would his fingerprints be on record (if he entered foster care late 70s/early 80s)?

b) if he were arrested carrying only a false ID (driver's license, making him 18y.o. and giving him a different name) and had no other ID, would that be accepted by the police?

c) then say he decides to straighten out and get a job. He will need a social security number, I assume. The CA Department of Corrections apparently can issue a certificate (in lieu of birth certificate) to verify birth date and 'legal presence requirement' to get a driver's license. (Though in his case he has no 'legal birthdate'--would the CDC just make something up? Use the date on the false ID?) (He does not know where he was born, or when, and has no birth certificate).

d) Name: the name he used would not be the one he grew up with (which he does not ever use). Would he at some point have to have, not a name change, but an official name registration? Would the CDC provide this?

Have Googled (and read): CA state driver's license requirements, how to apply for Social Security Number, CDC, name change in CA....

Thank you for your patience!

Cpnvalescent Hospital Construction Timeframes. Northeastern USA Present-Day

Google searches include: "How long does it take to build a hospital", "Construction timeframes", "Building Construction Timeframes". 

Once all the necessary permits have been secured, funds raised/allocated, etc., approximately how long would it take from groundbreaking to opening for a fully-equipped state-of-the-art convalescent care hospital? I'm not overly concerned with the number of beds. If I need to pick a number at random, I'll say 100 but I can be VERY flexible on this. For story purposes, the builders did not cut corners in order to rush completion. Oh, and as far as the ground beneath the structure, it would be bedrock.

Thanks!

Moorish Granada?

Ok, so I'm doing a big project for a historical fiction class, and I'm having trouble finding a few things I need to write a convincing story.

My story's set at the very end of Boabdil's rule in Granada, inside the palace of Alhambra. My main character is a Spanish spy, handmaiden to one of the royal ladies (which requires more research, but I'm on it.) Anyway, the idea is that she's upper-middle-class, around the age of 18, and Muslim (ish). I need to find what sort of clothes she'd wear. I've found a few sources for garb in the 10th-11th century, but nothing for c. 1490. Which sucks.

Also, I haven't been able to find any sources on day-to-day life in the palace at the time, but I HAVE found a few rumors that there AREN'T any accounts, thanks to Isabel and Ferdinand. So if anybody knows of sources on that sort of thing, I'd be really grateful if you'd show them to me.

Thanks!
  • Current Mood: determined

dna data

Ok one more.

How much data is in a genome? - Obviously that would vary a lot depending on the genome, but if anyone has an example that could give me an idea, I just want to know how much computer memory it would take to store an entire genome.

ETA: thanks to everybody who chimed in on my last question you were all very brilliantly helpful! And thanks in advance this time as well. I try to answer questions here whenever I ask them but I very rarely have good info it seems. :P