December 15th, 2008

Difficult to pronounce names

Here's a quick one for you all.

I'm revising a story in which a character corrects a cashier who mispronounces her father's last name, and I need to figure out what the name is. I did a little googling, but anecdotal suggestions would be more useful to me than the sort of lists I can find on Google, mainly because I'm not looking for incredibly difficult names, just names with an unexpected pronunciation.

What I really want is something that looks fairly commonplace, but is easily misread. For example, there's a professor at my school named Granger--but it's grahn-JAY, not GRAYN-jer. (But, I can't use that one, because the story is for a class at my school.)

The story is set in Colorado in the modern day, and the character is a white man in his fifties, originally from Kansas. His first name is Daniel, and his daughter, who would presumably have the same name, is Bethany.
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Self-Defense Weapons in 1800s Europe

I'm writing up a character for a game of Vampire: the Requiem, and since I'm doing a ton of research into his field of specialty at the time of his Embrace in somewhere between 1840-1860 (fudging allowed), I don't want to skimp on other details- particularly not his weapon of choice. I'm a bit of a weapons geek, but my knowledge drops off around the time period I'm looking at. I'm considering smallsword, but would like more options because smallsword is very obvious for me (I coach fencing).

Reinhard is either Prussian or Saxon- he was involved in research at the University of Leipzig, but he may have migrated to Berlin at some point before the start of the game due to more availability of prey. He's a little more skilled with the ways of the world than your average academic, since his field of specialty is linguistics and he traveled a great deal before he was Embraced. However, he's still physically weak.

What kind of weapons were used for self-defense in Europe between 1820-1880? Weapons that were popular in the 1820-1850 range but became rare/anachronistic by 1890 would be ideal.

exploding espresso machine

Setting: Present-day America, Starbucks-style coffeeshop

I looked up how espresso machines work on howstuffworks.com and several other sites revealed by a Google search for "how espresso machines work," but they didn't answer my question. What I really want to know is if the pressure in an espresso machine can build up high enough for it to explode. I don't particuarly care about how plausible it is, just whether it's something that's technically feasible. If exploding espresso machines are not a possibility, is there something else in the coffeeshop that I can have blow up?

Effects on a planet without an axis tilt

Hi. I'm starting to write a fanfic for Pokemon (manga and game verse, not anime) and from what I can gather they don't seem to have seasons on their planet, it just gets colder as you go north (Snowpoint in Sinnoh), and warmer as you go south (most of Hoenn).

Now, I vaguely remember from my GCSE science lessons that the seasons are caused by the Earth being being on a tilt when compared to the sun, and that if the Earth was straight, we wouldn't have any seasons. Is this right, or was this from something completely different?

Now for my main question. If this IS right, and the planet in question has no tilt at all, what else about the planet would change? How would tides change? They do have a moon, and I know that does the tides on Earth, but if the sun is constantly pulling at the equator then surely that means the water isn't going to be going anywhere else, right?
Will it mess with the growing seasons, or will the plants just keep growing all year round?

I have searched for axis tilt, effect of axis tilt, seasons, and have had a look through the climate/weather tags, but didn't understand most of it unfortunately. And I looked for any info I could find on the Pokemon world, but it seems I'm the only person sad enough to let this bother me.

Since this is for fanfic, and it's Pokemon, I can just pretend, but I want to try and get it right if I can. Any help, or search terms I can try, will be appreciated!
(Sorry if I've done anything wrong. I'll change it if I have)