June 6th, 2008

broken leg, no medical treatment available

Era: modern day
Location: ye olde desert island

Question: One of a group of castaways on the desert island has a badly broken leg. There are no doctors; I can probably make a good argument for there being a comprehensive first aid kit on the plane (i.e. there can be cast tape). What would be the initial treatment? Dangers to look out for? Management as the weeks and months wore on? How would the characters reckon when the cast should come off?

Have Googled: broken leg, search and rescue, first aid, casts, etc. -- the main drawback is that everyone assumes that proper medical attention will be available!
Have read: http://www.mybrokenleg.com/, have watched the U of Ottawa's excellent videos on casting (http://www.intermed.med.uottawa.ca/procedures/cast/)

...exploding plants?

Setting: Medievaloid fantasy world, with 13th century technology. Temperate, inland area, very close to a major river.

This is a very weird question, and I'm almost sorry to ask it, but I need to figure it out one way or another, so: Are there any plants that will explode, burn in strange colors, or burn hotter/brighter/different in any way? I would really like the plants to be used medicinally, but this is flexible. If they burn in funny ways when dried, they get extra cookies. This is a fantasy world, so I can make up something, but I'd really rather use something that exists in the real world.

Googled, with strange results: exploding plants, exploding herbs. I honestly don't know what to search under for this...

Engine Ratios, Batteries and Mecha...

A somewhat complicated bunch of questions for tech-geeks here.

When: Pseudo 1930/40s with mecha
Setting: A world where man tried to create technology in their own imagine and therefore bipedal mechanics advanced far quicker than today.
Sites checked: Many, and though helpful, none have the same benefit as the human brain...

I know that 'mecha' (of the 2+ legged war-machine variety) are inherently unstable and unjustified, but bear with me. The story takes place in a world where, while tanks (as we know them) are used, mecha are considered better; they're cheaper and, if they're destroyed, only have a single crewman. They're between 10 and 15 feet tall and weigh about 2 to 2.5 short tons, on average, not including load-out (between 500 and 1000lbs, not including crew). Now let's say that we also have the usual amenities of the period; a self-starter, headlights of some kind and a wireless radio along with 1940s military throat-mikes and other communications systems.

What I'd like to know are:

1) What sort of drivetrain would be necessary? I know diesel engines are inherently heavier than petrol engines, but what sort of horsepower (mechanical or electric) are you going to need to put in to get something out? I know on average that a 1940s truck had an engine of about 60-80kW/h and a tank at 300-450kW/h, but my understanding of engines is perfunctory at best.

2) Batteries. I know they were used, but what sort of battery would you find, and what sort of output would be necessary? I know that a starter only needs to fire the pistons but what about running other systems? Could I run a modern day computer off a 1940s battery? (don't ask why.)

3) What sort of fuel consumption would be looking at? The war-machine sucks down petroleum like a fat boy sucks down Sprite, but how much mileage would I get for my buck? I know that it's theoretical, but I like to keep my theoretical within the boundaries of reality.

All gravity and physical parameters etc. are as Earth, by the way.

SECONDLY:

If I wanted to make a 'land-ship,' that is, a 50,000 to 80,000 short ton mother of a ship afixed with enormous tracks, what would be looking at? I know in essence it would churn the earth to pulp and be felt about 50 miles away, but what sort of engines would you need? Would you need more engine/mass due to it moving via tracks rather than propellors? What sort of horsepower would be needed? Excusing the fact it's INSANE to even contemplate constructing such a thing, what would you need to get them moving?

Also; how would you transport them? Is there a logical way of moving them across a distance not under their own power? Let's say a 20 mile stretch of sea. Would one dismantle it into 3 or 4 sections and move it via extremely large 'superbarges' or could it be filled with helium and towed across?

I know it's a very messed up bunched of questions, but much gratitude to anyone who can help!