January 6th, 2009


Date of Stanford Medical School Commencement, 1979?

Sorry, I know, asking something insane again, but can anyone tell me how on EARTH I can find out what the date was of commencement ceremonies at Stanford University School of Medicine in 1979? I actually need the EXACT date; it's important to my storyline.

Things Tried:
  • Googled various combinations of "graduation"; "commencement"; "Stanford Medical School"; "Stanford University School of Medicine"; "date"; "May"; and "1979"

  • Checked the dates to make sure that Stanford University School of Medicine was already called that in 1979 (it had previously been called Cooper Medical School, but that changed in, I believe 1959--maybe even earlier--which would be 20 years before my story takes place).

  • Searched various combinations of "graduation"; "commencement"; "May"; and "1979" using the search feature on the official Stanford University School of Medicine website.
  • Read--both for interest and information--the treatise "Stanford University School of Medicine and the Predecessor Schools: An Historical Perspective"

Any suggestions for ways/places to search would be welcome, as would, in the unlikely event that someone has it, the actual answer to my question. Thanks in advance for any help anyone can give me.
  • emo_mz

Translation: Raven

I've been trying to rename the central character in my fic and having trouble. I originally called him The Raven, but as time has gone on, using the English word just isn't cutting it.

I like the symbolism associated with the idea of ravens, so I've been trying to find different translations of the word to use or adapt for the name. European languages have been no problem, but what I'd like is something more unusual like Arabic, Urdu, Japanese etc.

I've googled repeatedly for translators for these kinds of languages, but none of the translators I've found transliterate the words into the Roman alphabet.

Can anyone help either just with the transliteration of the word Raven into any "eastern" language, or by pointing me in the direction of web pages which might give me what I need?

Thank you!
buffy spike black&violet by gilkurtisctx
  • tabaqui

Before sandpaper....

What was there? I've googled the 'history' of sandpaper, and it says that in 1300-something, the Chinese glued bits of shell and whatnot to skin and used that, or sharkskin.

I've found *one* refrence that says that while 'some people say they had sandpaper' that sandpaper is 'not period'. Frankly, i can't really figure out *what* might be used.

Planes and such, of course, but it would seem that it would be difficult to get a really satiny smooth finish that way.

This is your basic 'medieval fantasy' world, and what i have is a woodcutter/carver who makes things like fancy trunks and mantles and such.

Any ideas?

Thank you!
haiku impossible

Primitive refugees, winter mountain travel

Googled: travel, mountains, speed, refugees, other variations and combinations.
Got information overload on modern topics, nothing of any use.
Hannibal, Alps - much discussion of his route, very little of his speed, and the weather seems to have been milder than I'm dealing with anyway.
All suggestions for search terms very welcome.

I'm trying to make sense of a fictional setting before writing my own story set there. Fantasy/dark age/Roman. We have a group of refugees, basically the entire surviving population of a village, travelling through high mountains in deep winter snow in order to escape, and I'm trying to make distance/speed calculations.

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rain, paper boats

Chinese cursed child


I'm in the process of planning a story and I need a bit of help:

Setting: 1990s, in Hong Kong
Terms used for Googling: Chinese curses, Cantonese curses, Chinese cursed child, unlucky Chinese child, etc. (I keep getting political and human rights articles with the latter two. ~_~)

My question is, is there a Chinese word, phrase or curse (or even profanity) that basically means "cursed child" or anything that amounts to being called as an 'evil', inhuman, vile child/person? I'd prefer for the word/phrase/curse to have a mythological/supernatural source/bent, but if it doesn't, that's OK.

I have a female half-Chinese, half-Japanese character, who, when she was a child, about 9-10 years old, got very, very sick and the doctors can't cure her and she was dying. Her Japanese father saved her by performing a spell that let him take up her 'fate' to die and he dies in her stead and she gets well. Her Chinese mother, however, goes mad because of this (she loved her husband more than her daughter) and tries to kill her daughter. Basically, I was going to have her mother call her by the vilest, most hurtful words you could use on a child.

Thank you for your help!

Poisoned dagger

I think I've spent upwards of three or four hours trying to google this. If I google anything to do with poisoned blades, all I get it world of warcraft websites, so i tried googling what poisons I could think of. That got me lots of useful information, but not enough.

I have a character using a poisoned dagger to assasinate another character (might as well give them names; Angelique is stabbing Michel.) I need to decide what kind of poison to use. The setting is secondary world steampunkish setting, so I can play around with things somewhat, but even in fantasy, if I were to use a plant poison, there'd be somebody that would know that wouldn't work.

The other thing is, part of the plot reason for this is Michel needs to be thrown into some kind of delerium where he's talking and doesn't know what he's saying, and unknowingly tells another character something he wouldn't if he were in his right mind.

The last thing is, he needs to survive, preferably with little or no permanent damage.

As far as I have been able to find, an animal derived toxin works best for a blade, since plants mostly need to be digested. Batrachotoxin (poison dart frog) appeals to me because apparently it remains active on the blade for over a year, and I plan to have the same knife used again, and the wielder then won't have had a chance to repoison it. Apparently it's the most potent poison there is and takes effect within a minute, kills within a few minutes, but I figure if he caught on early and ended up only scratched a bit, I can fudge, since there's lots of different frogs with different potencies of poison, and this frog would be made up anyway.

Mainly what I need to know is if it would be plausible for poison from a frog or newt to cause delerium, or if there's another poison that I'm missing that would suit the plot better. And the other thing I need to know are the symptoms of whatever poison, so I can describe it in the scene, and the time for recovery; all I've been able to find is convulsions and muscle weakness, and the time to onset of symptoms. Would he be off his feet for a matter of hours, days, or weeks? And how long would it be before they'd be sure whether or not he was going to live?