May 31st, 2008

greek name. ish. thing.

I am trying to find what "Pylades" would be in the feminine. Or what a plausible feminine version would be, anyway. I have googled for "ancient Greek names" looking for parallel structures, and "Greek declension" and tried puzzling my way through these tables, but am not having much luck.

There's no context for this, really, it's just going to be a one-off, mildly silly allusion.
  • Current Mood: nervous

Convent Education in 1900 Mexico or Texas

Hello, Everyone!

Where: A town with no name somewhere along the border between Texas and Mexico.
When: 1900 on the button.

I have a sixteen year-old girl from a moderately wealthy family who has received a convent education. What would she have been taught and how? I've found some information on convent educations in England towards mid-century, but I have a feeling that the cultural differences and the period will have an impact on the content of the education.

Additionally, where would a convent school be located? Her family is based in essentially the middle of nowhere - it would be great if the convent was in or near a city, either in Mexico or Texas. I've had a hard time coming up with historical locations and most of the period maps I've found are inconclusive at best.

I've searched with various combinations of: 1900 19th century convent religious education school curriculum Mexico

Thanks in advance!

microscopes and lethal hazards

Hi all,

I have some questions about microscopes and lethal hazards in labs as part of research for a story I'm writing:

- What kind of equipment is typically used to provide atomic-level resolution? Is there anything else other than scanning tunneling or atomic foce microscope?
- What kind of lab would typically use such equipment? Is a nanotechnology lab more likely to have it than, for instance, a chemistry lab? And if a microscope like this is found at a chemistry lab, what sub-field of chemistry is likely to be researched using that equipment?
- How much training would be typically required to use such a microscope? In particular: I imagine there must be some kind of a computer interface to that; how difficult would it be to use such an interface for someone who had probably never done this before?

and finally about hazards: how would someone careless (a 16-year old kid who sneaks into a lab at night to look at something through a microscope) be likely to accidentally kill himself? I know this depends on the kind of lab so, i guess this one should be asked for the following likely settings:

- chemistry lab
- nanotechnology lab
- some other kind of physics lab

Your help is appreciated!

(x-post to _scientists_)

University Life in Renaissance Italy

Where: Florence
When: 1480s-90s

Search terms tried: "university life in fifteenth century italy" "universities in renaissance italy", "history of european universities" "university of pisa, history", "italy, renaissance universities, dormitories" etc.

I'm trying to find out more information about university life in Renaissance Italy. In particular, I'm interested in the University of Pisa in the late 1400s. I can easily find information about curricula, but I'm looking more for information about an average student's life and schedule and I'm not coming up with much. For example, did dorms exist--or at least did wealthy students have their own rooms on "campus" or did nobles simply "commute" from nearby homes/villas/palaces etc?

How long was the average "school day"? Did the university close for example on evenings or was it similar to modern universities where students can live, eat and learn all in the same place?


Terraforming, and resulting climate patterns

I'm writing a science fiction story set about three to four centuries in the future, where humans have colonized and terraformed other planets.  I've looked at the Wikipedia page on terraforming, and some other sites that popped up when I googled that term, and though I've found a fair amount about ways terraforming might be accomplished there's - obviously - not much out there about the results.

My idea for the planet the story is mostly set on is that the terraforming process was begun about 150 years ago and progressed far enough for the colonists to leave their environmental dome about 100 ago, but it's still a difficult environment.  Since the planet gets less sun and has a thinner atmosphere than Earth people can only live comfortably and grow food outdoors around the equator - go much north or south, and it's comparable to the polar regions here.   Survivable, if you have the proper equipment, but no place most people would consider visiting for fun. 

Does this seem like a reasonable pattern?  I have scientific training, but climatology was definitely not my focus.  Thanks!

Medieval Razors

Setting: A pseudo-medieval-ish world, your rather standard fantasy setting.  Roughly European, culture-wise, and lots of trees.

Searched: 'razors,' 'history of razors,' 'medieval razors,' etc.  Also read Wikipedia's article on razors.

I have a character who is very particular about keeping himself looking neat, which includes shaving regularly.  What would he use to shave?  What sort of razor-ish blades were used during medieval times or thereabouts?  What would such thingies look like?

Answer Post: Accents

I've seen a number of questions about what different accents sound like. Recently, I came across this website:
It has audio clips of people from all over the world (including all fifty US states and different specified areas of many other countries) speaking English. It specifies the age, gender, profession, and place of origin within country/state/etc. for each person recorded.

Best guns for sharpshooting and sniping

Hi folks, I have a pair of sharpshooters lately come over from Ireland to an American city in the year of 1888. Assuming they are two of the best at what they do, been in the business for a few years and would have excellent taste in guns I am trying to decide what sort of rifles would best suit the job they've been hired for which is basically to assassinate someone. After many hours of googling through websites about rifles, sniping and even looking through The Illustrated History of Weaponry, I currently am pondering either a Sharps or Remington, circa 1870's to mid 1880's since I figured it would be reasonable that they have had their weapons for a number of years.

So which would, realistically speaking be the best weapon to get the job done and most likely to be the choice of these two Irish snipers? One is a man and the other is a woman, if that makes any difference as to their choice of firearms. I am also open to any other gun suggestions including brands produced in Ireland or England that I may be overlooking. Thank you in advance :)

How old do parents let their kids out on their own?

OK I think I must be senile because I can't remember my own teenage years, plus I think parents probably have to be more careful now, so a question to parents or anyone who can remember back that far. What is a reasonable age that parents would allow their kids to:

 a.) go shopping in a town centre on their own (involves a bus or train journey)
b.) Go out at night on their own with their friends to the cinema.
c.) stay at home on their own

I'm thinking smallish town, not major a city centre with a reasonably low crime rate. I know this varies greatly from family to family depending on the maturity of the child and the area etc but I just need an idea of a reasonable ages.

EDIT: I'm setting this in the UK,