February 11th, 2009

earthquakes caused by asteroid impacts

I'm working on a scenario where I want to have an earthquake caused by something hitting the earth. I've seen the Wikipedia page on "Impact event", and I've found the site at "http://www.lpl.arizona.edu/impacteffects/". Unfortunately, it starts with full inputs and calculates the effect. What I need is, knowing the effect and some of the inputs what the values/value ranges of the other variables are. Specifically: 1) Assume a man-made object of 10,000 metric tons 2) impacting at close to perpendicular to the earth's surface a) with average soil qualities 3) and causing earthquake registering in the Richter 5.5-5.8 zone 100 kilometers away. Questions: 1) How fast does it have to be going? 2) What are other effects given those numbers? Blast wave? Clouds of ejected particles? Crater size? SOLVED: looks like I have what I need. THanks to everyone for the help.

Names, nicknames, and language difficulties?

Several questions on names, nicknames, and speaking issues going from English and French to various Eastern European languages.

Okay, so, I've a character whose mother is British and whose father is French, they both teach at a boarding school in Eastern Europe, which my character attends--not quite sure where, but the students are from various countries. The classes are taught in Russian.

Now, my character's name is River Delacroix--how difficult would this be to pronounce for the majority of the students, most of whom would have little to no grounding in French, not only for her but for professors with the same surname?

Second, River is around people with non-English names constantly, and dislikes her name because of this--are there any Eastern European languages that it would be reasonable to translate "River" into something like a name, or similar?

I realise this may be going a bit far, I've tried googling, a little, but I wasn't getting much except lists of rivers in Eastern Europe :|


Well, my problem is, I’ve got this race of exceedingly nasty alien creatures which I now need to get rid of. (The story is set in the present day.)


Basically, these aliens made an evolutionary breakthrough that made them far too good at predation. They wiped out almost all land animals on their planet, and thus had to look further afield for food. And, as we all know from science-fiction, all malevolent alien forces will inevitably come across and consequently target Earth. This is probably some postulate and/or corollary of Murphy’s Law.


So some of the aliens came to Earth and ate a few people, thus driving most of the events of the plot. But now they’ve fulfilled their role, and I need to get rid of them for a nice climax. I could just come up with something and say it’s so, but I much prefer to be as scientific and realistic as possible. 


Here’s the situation: The majority of the aliens are still on their home planet, which is approximately the same density as Earth and has a very similar atmosphere, but is a bit larger. There is a (very fragile) wormhole-type link between this planet and Earth, which will not be able to withstand the passage of matter. (So nuclear missiles are out.) I have massive amounts of energy at my disposal, and a way of getting it through the wormhole. Oh, and Earth’s general population (including the governments) have no idea what’s going on.


My question is, what form of energy would be most effective at wiping out the dominant species of a planet, and how much energy would be required? (Just to be clear, spreading disease isn’t an option of extermination here.) I would like the planet to remain habitable, preferably maintaining plant life, but this isn’t necessary.


I have tried to research this, but the best I’ve found is some vague speculation on the effects a large solar flare would have on the Earth. Any ideas would be appreciated!


Everyday kimono question

I'm hoping this isn't too esoteric for this community. =^.^=

I collect and wear kimono in real life but I tend towards rather informal (and I'm no expert by any means). I have a character who wears kimono everyday. Mya (that being the character) is rather formal and polite, very ladylike. Kinda the stereotypical Japanese young lady. She's in her twenties and works in a restaurant / pub as a cook and waitress. Date is basically modern times, although Mya is (obviously) a bit old-fashioned. Place is... not this world really, but semi-rural Japan works.

- What kind of kimono would she wear to work? Komon with a nagoya obi? Houmongi?
- I'm assuming she'd wear komon with a hanhaba obi at home. What'd she wear to do errands? Houmongi with no crest?
- What's the date to change from unlined kimono to lined and vice versa? When can you start wearing yukata?

If she decides to dress up her male coworker in kimono, under which circumstances would he have to wear hakama? Hakama is basically formalwear for men, right?


Mass roosting in Mississippi

I've had a Google on combinations and permutations of "Mississippi" "evening" "birds" "roosting" and "summer", but not found exactly what i want, so i'm hoping someone who has spent time in the area might be able to help her!

IN the UK, around dusk, there are several types of birds which flock, sometimes in huge numbers, feeding before they roost for the night; starlings, wagtails, rooks, and various others. I'm looking for an equivalent for rural Mississippi during the Civil War (apparently y'all have European starlings there now, but they only came over in the late 19th C, which is a bit late for me!). Does anyone know of any birds which do this?
Failing that, if one were in rural Mississippi at dusk in the summer, what sort of flora and fauna would be particularly noticeable, and/or particularly salient at dusk? (For example, some flowers smell most strongly at dusk, some animals are most likely to be active at dusk, etc...)


Edited to add; Thanks for the responses so far; I think I'm going with crows as my main theme, with garnishes of cicadas and possibly the odd bat, frog, and maybe some magnolia. Crows have the advantage of being carrion-eaters, which works very nicely in my setting; many thanks!

Identifying fabrics

How would you tell the difference between imitation taffeta and the genuine article?

Are there any good websites that deal with fabric information like this? Wikipedia doesn't have much, and the Google results are all about where to buy faux-taffeta curtains, which doesn't help.

ETA: Okay, clearly I don't even know enough about fabrics to ask the question right ^_^; I think "nice expensive taffeta" vs. "cheap synthetic taffeta" is what I'm going for.
  • shara_i

Car crash personal experience

Setting: Present day

I have a character who is about 7 or 8 years old when he's in a car crash. He will break his arm and black out from trauma/fear and wake up later in a hospital/ambulance. The car crashes into a concrete barrier and I've got a general idea about what will happen to the car during the crash: front driver's side totaled, windshield and some of the side mirrors smashed, etc. I need to be able to describe the accident from his point of view.

My question is, for anyone who has been in a car accident, what does it feel like from the inside? What did you hear? I've read some descriptions in books about a sound of "screaming metal" but is that an accurate description? Would you describe the sound in a different way, or are there many different kinds of sounds? What do you remember seeing/happening? I've heard that the brain will stop making memories sometimes during extreme trauma; are there things you're surprised you don't remember?

I tried searching on Google for "car crash, personal experience" but found mainly links for auto insurance companies. My own experience involves only fender-benders so I can't really apply that. I also read through the posts on this community tagged "cars" and "car accidents".

Apologies to anyone if this subject is painful/triggering. I'd appreciate any and all responses!

ETA: Thank you everyone for your amazing responses! I feel pretty bad for making everyone relive their traumatic experiences, but this has all helped me so much. I kind of...never want to get into a car again after reading all this, but at least I'll be able to write about it with much more accuracy than before.
ostrich riding

Victorians and Poker

Back again with more Victorian questions!

Googled: various combinations of Poker, history of poker, Britain, England, 1800s, 1850s, 19th century, Victorian

I was originally setting these stories in the 1870s, but I have recently decided to move them back a few decades, into the 1850s, 1860s. Mostly because I'm acravat fan, and because a friend wants rather badly for me to throw my characters into Crimea and point and laugh at them.

At any rate. I had read that poker was "a fad" in Britain in the 1870s. I don't remember where exactly I read it. But. Research now, for the earlier time period, indicates that there were just all sorts of poker-like games floating about.

I need to know if there was something definitively known as POKER in England, during my new time period, and whether respectable gentlemen might play it after the ladies had gone up from dinner and it was smoking/drinking/carousing time.

Thanks, smart, smart people.

ETA: Upon further consideration, this story may end up taking place at a card party. But input is still appreciated!
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