April 14th, 2009

Harp Playing Technique

Quick, silly question, but I can't seem to find the answer - even watching youtube videos of players isn't helping, since the camera doesn't focus on their faces!

If you were a very accomplished harper, who had been playing for ten or fifteen years, could you play without looking at the strings? Or is that a requirement? I don't know if it's relevant, but the harp in question is a small Celtic style harp, not a floor or pedal harp.

Edit: Thanks for all the responses! That's pretty much comprehensively answered my question. :)

MI 6 Interrogation Techniques

Setting: Modern Day, London

Situation: A group of talented amateurs are interrogating a fence regarding one of his customers. Getting nowhere, they turn to an associate, a retired MI 6 operative. I was looking for information on short-term interrogation techniques that don't involve physical torture that MI 6 would use. I've done a search for "MI 6 interrogation techniques" and found plenty of news articles on the current use of torture (or lack thereof) by the agency. Searches on general interrogation methods led me to a description of the "Reid method," which looks promising, but appears to be a bit lengthy. Does anyone know of other ways that law enforcement agents (MI 6 in particular) can get information out of a person?

New York Universities for the average kid

Setting: Modern-day New York City/surrounding suburban area

Situation: In the story I'm currently working on, I have a group of high school seniors who are contemplating what's next in their lives--for most of them this includes college. With Google I can find any number of higher-education schools in the area I want, but what I'm really looking for is a local's insight. My characters are fairly average, middle-class teenagers with minimal talent so they know not to expect scholarships at really prestigious schools. I'm simply looking for what university the average New York teen would apply to for a good education that's relatively inexpensive. (Although, as a bonus, one expensive private school would be good as well--one of the kids wants to shoot for the stars.)

For example, in Ohio (which is what I'm familiar with) most of my high school buddies were considering Ohio State University.

Edit: Thanks for all the great responses!

Made-to-order disease needed (historical, late 1800s)

I need a disease to give one of my characters, but it has to meet very specific criteria, for plot-specific reasons. (You'd think, considering my major field of interest--infectious disease, focusing on the 19th century--that I'd be able to answer my own question, but...no. Maybe it's because my interest is in mass-communicable disease? :-/)

THINGS I'VE SEARCHED: Wiki'd "Zoonotic Illnesses" (thinking a vector-borne illness would be a good choice) and searched the resulting relevant diseases (including, but not limited to, leptospirosis, Western Equine Encephalitis, and rabies). Googled various combinations of "1800s" "vector-borne" "disease" "illness" "historical" etc. Read relevant sections of multiple 1800s historical disease websites (sorry, the links are on my other computer) and books (that I own).

SETTING: United States, Washington territory, 1870-1880. Area is mostly wooded (though being cut down for logging), with a small town beginning to spring up at the edge.
CHARACTER: Male, 20-25, strong and healthy. Lives in a log cabin most of the time, and at a camp in the mountains occasionally. Works as a logger. Rides horses frequently. Drinks, doesn't smoke, sexual habits unknown. (If anyone can think of any other info that might be relevant, chances are I either know it, or can make it up.)

DetailsCollapse )

(And yes, for the record, I do know that it's quite likely that no one in my story is going to know the name of the illness--chances are, the character will be said to have "a fever" or "the fever"--but I still need to know what I'm giving him, so the symptoms and prognosis make sense.)

Thanks for any ideas/suggestions/opinions/links/etcetera anyone can give me. :-)

EDIT: Apparently, sometime last night--I think as I was doing research on this, actually--my computer caught a virus that is now preventing me from using it at all. I PROMISE I will get back to each and every one of you, but it may not be until after the weekend. I am so sorry. Until then...thanks so much! :-)

Enemies of Dragons

Time: 1700s (or somewhere near it)
Setting: Rollion plains, mountains...I'm not sure if it matters.
Terms searched: Every form of enemy, enemies, dragon, dragons, myths, legends, mythology, folklore, beliefs, and of that I can think of.
Places searched: Google, Yahoo, Wikipedia, BananaSlug (which was not helpful in the least), and Ask!

Are there any specific mythological races (i.e. elves, dwarves) that have a strong hatred of dragons? My friend asked me to create a nemesis for him with her own army of dragon-hating...blank. He left that part up to me. -_-

Help? That's really all that I need.

EDIT: Thanks for all of the suggestions! That actually helps me out a lot...^_^