February 19th, 2009


This is one of those things where I'm just not sure how to go about looking it up.

So let's say that someone gets a basketball scholarship. During their first year at college, they realize that basketball is perhaps not what they want to do for the rest of their lives. So, realistically, what would happen to someone who breaks the terms of their scholarship? He's going to be transferring to another college, but would there be any sort of far-reaching consequences? Any monetary penalties?

How to Address Government and Military Personnel?

How does a civilian go about addressing members of Congress and members of the US military? Specifically, what honoriffic is appropriate to use?

In my scene, my two characters are meeting a character they know only as an acquaintance -- their goddaughter's school principal. How would she refer to a Senator and a Marine Corps Master Guns? Senator Such&such and Mr. This&that? Senator Such&such and Master Gunnery Sergeant This&that? Would she refer to the Marine's rank at all? Or would she, the prinicpal of a private, Washington, DC Catholic school, call kids' parents by their first names?

Everything I Google is giving me comparative military ranks, which is not quite what I need. At all, really.

Thank you!

ETA: Thanks so much, all! I had figured that it would be Senator and Mr., but I am glad to have the confirmation! I appreciate the help, folks!!

Pronunciation of Latin and French

I am doing an audio recording and I need help pronouncing the title Ut Sementem Feceris Ita Metes and the name of the author Voltairine de Cleyre. She was born and lived in America, so the name may or may not be Anglicised.

Voltairine was born in 1866, and the relevant piece was probably written between 1890 and 1910.

I'm not entirely sure how I'd research something this specific and the forum I'm doing the recording for is currently down, but I'd like to get on with the actual recording part in the meanwhile.

Edit: All this is really useful, I think I've got it. Thanks.

for the Londoners...

This is my first post here. *waves* So... I need helping picking a tube line to use in my script. Should be one that stays underground, probably one that's long and may go out of city centre a ways. Ideas? Only one I could think of was Piccadilly, but that's just cos I remember the name well. I need to pick one so I can accurately site stop names and have some idea of what that line might be like to ride and such... thanks!
  • Current Mood: curious

Hindi translation - "female boss"/"female chief"

Setting: Far-future science fiction world settled by Indian immigrants.
Research done: Variations of "boss," "chief," etc. on shabdkosh.com and other English-Hindi dictionaries; various Google searches for "Hindi personal noun gender," etc.

A female character is a leader of a small rebel guerrilla organization. I want her troops to call her the Hindi equivalent of "boss" or "chief." An English-Hindi dictionary has given me the words nētā, adhipuruṣa, etc. However, none of the dictionaries I've looked at have indicated what gender these nouns have. And I can't find any information on whether Hindi, like Spanish, modifies personal nouns to reflect the sex of the person they refer to.

According to Wikiversity, Hindi masculine nouns often end in ā, while female nouns often end in ī, making me suspect that nētā and adhipuruṣa are masculine.


Would nētā or adhipuruṣa be acceptable ways to refer to a woman?

If not, how should these nouns be modified to reflect her sex? Would nētā become nētī, for example?

Is there a more acceptable word referring to a female boss-figure that I haven't mentioned?

Thank you in advance.

Samurai topknot cut off after death

I've seen a particular samurai hair-cutting custom carried out or alluded to in at least two Japanese movies with historical settings. One of those was 'When The Last Sword is Drawn', which is a recent movie about the Shinsengumi. I'm not sure of the other movie's title, but it was definitely another late Edo period setting with a reasonably historically accurate feeling.

Basically, a samurai commits seppuku or falls in battle far from home. Afterwards, an associate of his (or his commanding officer?) visits his family to deliver the man's sword and his cut-off topknot. The hair is tied carefully and put into a folded paper packet. In the context of the movies, the presentation has an air of doing honor to the fallen, bringing him home and giving his family a bodily memento. (Possibly a Buddhist funeral necessity?) In one case, the associate may also have brought the dead man's ashes in an urn, but in another, that wasn't possible and all he could give them was the topknot.

However, cutting off a living samurai's hair against his will is usually described as a terrible disgrace, symbolic castration and so forth. If he does it voluntarily, he's signaling that he's renouncing the world and becoming a monk. Obviously that's not at all what's intended with the topknot delivery in those movies, but I can't find anything in writing that gives details on the distinction or says exactly how it's to be correctly done, et cetera. I want to use this idea in a story, but I think I need much more background to it in order for it not to seem strange. I'd also like to know what the family would want to do with the topknot afterwards; is it kept in a place of honor, is it buried or cremated?

I have been googling and looking through various books on samurai history for several weeks and coming up dry: keyword combinations of 'samurai topknot, chonmage, customs, cutting, delivery to family, post-mortem' and numerous equivalents. I'm getting lots of references to the Tom Cruise movie 'The Last Samurai', which has a scene with a humiliating forced hair-cutting, and various other sources on outlawing the chonmage hairstyle in the early Meiji. I've also looked up sources on KAL Flight 007, because I seem to recall reading at the time that the almost complete absence of any remains at the crash site was a problem for the families of the Buddhist passengers, who couldn't hold a funeral without some bodily item present, even clothing. (This may have been a misconception on the reporter's part, since I can't find anything to back up that impression. Or I'm just wrong -- it was a long time ago!)

Any suggestions are welcome!

Mental disorders causing hallucinations, lost time, and false memories

Googled: 'schizophrenia,' 'mental disorders,' 'mental illness,' 'bipolar disorder,' 'hallucinations + disease,' 'false memories'
Wiki'd: 'schizophrenia,' 'bipolar disorder,' 'mental disorder'

This may be a bit complicated, so bear with me.

For a roleplay here on LiveJournal, I plan to apply for a character (Yako Katsuragi, from the anime/manga Majin Tantei Nōgami Neuro) but I am changing her history--making her into an Alternate Universe form of herself. The main issue if have with this is that the character has a rather... er, unique story. Rather than going into details, I'll make it simple.

Yako is the 'slave' of a demon who has come to Earth to solve the world's puzzles (i.e. mysteries, usually murders) and 'eat' them for energy. The demon forces her to come along with him, and pretend to be a great teen detective, acting as his cover to "solve" the mysteries for him so that he doesn't attract suspicion. She has a mystery of her own, though: her father was murdered, though it was ruled as a suicide because he was found dead in a locked room with no signs of forced entry and no clues to indicate another person.

Basically, the way that I want to spin this is that everything related to the demon--solving the mysteries, repeatedly meeting with the police department, etc.--was all in her head, caused by a mental disorder, the same that led her father to commit suicide. Her symptoms would be: hallucinations--visual and audial--about this demon; lost time when not around people she knows (I picture her wandering aimlessly around the city at these times, thinking that she is working on a mystery with the demon, ending up at the sites of various murders that are announced on television); and the false memories that make her believe that she has actually helped to "solve" these mysteries for the demon in her hallucinations.

*EDIT* I also wanted to add that in the anime/manga, it should be noted that Yako tends to stay calm in high-stress situations, and even though the demon physically abuses her (punching, kicking, hitting, etc.) she never shows signs of injury from these attacks. I thought that these may be clues to make the idea of a mental disorder more realistic.

I believe schizophrenia will suffice, but if there are any other mental disorders that fit her symptoms, then please let me know!

Train heists: Car order, doors, and decoupling

[EDIT: Wow, thanks for all the responses! Looks like I've got my research cut out for me, but this is an awesome starting point. :)]

Setting: Near-future (modern technology), Midwestern or Eastern United States

I'm trying to figure out the answers to a few questions about trains; however, my Google-fu has apparently deserted me, since the only answers I've been able to find are all for model-train enthusiasts. A scene I'm working on involves the main characters performing a train heist, decoupling the cargo cars while the rest of the train (passenger section) moves onwards. A few questions come to mind:

1) I don't know how train cars are usually ordered - is cargo typically placed in front of or behind the sleeper cars? (If it helps any: This train is being used as a crude form of prisoner transport, with the prisoners chained in the freight cars. There is a small security detail, but I'm hoping to have most of them spending the night in the sleeper car, given that the heist will be happening at night.)

2) I've found several references on decoupling of train cars on older locomotives via a lever-and-lynchpin setup, but I can't find how this looks like in more modern trains. Does anyone know if modern train cars can still be decoupled by hand, or is some extra heavy machinery needed?

3) In movies, at least, rear doors of each car open onto a narrow area open to the elements from which cars can be decoupled. Any clue if these doors are typically locked while the train is in transit - and how easy they might be to open from the outside (since I'm assuming that's the only way to enter the train externally?)

Many thanks in advance for the help - this community is a fantastic resource!