June 5th, 2009

boom, ironman

Use of forearm crutches, possible birth deffect?

Okay, so I may have written myself into a corner here…

Location: Texas, USA
Time period: 1965 (though I suppose I could fudge it a year or two in either direction) to 2003

I have a male character who uses/needs forearm crutches to get around. Problem is, I don’t know why. He’s been waiting for me to write this and I have reached the end of my research capabilities. I come to you, dear people.

I still need him to be pretty active.
I would absolutely prefer him to have been born with this condition.
Unfixable (or at least he still needs the crutches) but not degenerate.
It can not effect any other part of him (he needs to be very dexterous with his hands, etc.).

Character info:
Born Texas in 1965, give or take a year as needed, to billionaire parents (so money is not an obstacle in treatment). Actual story take’s place in 2003.

So I’ve considered spina bifida, CP, and Polio but, for varying reasons, I don’t think any of those would work. I could be wrong and would welcome any opinions.
Googled: (the above), birth defects, birth defects+legs, born without muscles, missing muscles, bone & muscles defects….

I will not being going into a great detail, just a few lines on why he needs the crutches/walks like that, etc. But I need to *know*.

Do I need to rethink my character or can you wonderful people save me?


Royal Navy Port Procedure in 1799

Hello. I am new here, and I found this community in the nick of time.
I have a question.

A Captain in the Royal Navy sailing into Portsmouth in 1799 would report to whom? I'm fairly sure he would report to somebody, but I'm not sure what that position might be and where their office would be located. Most of the information I've found refers to London and the Admiralty there. Who would be the Admiralty's representative in Portsmouth? Is it the port admiral, who is not exactly an admiral and in charge of repairing ships (I mean, the ship does need to be repaired, but is this the first place the captain would go)?

This is driving me nuts, and I can't get any further than halfway through Chapter 5 without the answer.

setting: Portsmouth, England, 1799

research: a lot of googling of such things as "port procedure 1799," "Nelson's Navy," "port admiral." Have read through various books on Nelson, one book on the Royal Dockyards, Richard Woodman's The Sea Warriors, and some Patrick O'Brian books and have not found a difinitive answer. Have also looked through the archives here, and, while I've found a lot of great tidbits, have come to the conclusion that this question has not been asked.

I have found scads of info about ships at sea, but not a whole lot on ships in port, so any information would be helpful.

Civilian hostages during World War II

Setting:  Italy 1943

Would it be realistic for an American army captain in counter intelligence to hold a female civilian hostage for a week to lure a German collaborator?  What would have been the repercussions if such a thing had been done?  Assume the hostage was treated well - no physical or emotional harm.

Entombment and Decomposition

I've googled decomposition, buried alive, and gotten the gist of what happens to a body after death. However, most of the websites I've read make reference to insects, soil, sun, and so forth. I need to know how a body will decompose without exposure to such things.

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How long will it take her to die? I'm assuming she'll suffocate before she starves to death...

How badly will she be decomposed? Will there be a recognizable body, or only skeletal remains?

How strong is the smell going to be when the man opens up the tomb, and how long will it take to air out the space so that he can comfortably stand inside it?
NCIS Abby cute
  • argosy

Dangerous Drugs/Toxic Chemicals in High School Chemistry Lab

Time: Modern Day
Setting: Suburban Virginia

This is not the main focus of my story, and is probably not a very likely scenario. So I'm interested in anything that is possible at all, even stretching the suspension of disbelief. I don't need complete realism, but I'm really lost searching here.

Picture the most well-equipped high school chemistry lab in the world. What is in the chemical stores that could be used as a poison to kill someone?

Now add an incredibly brilliant, talented high school junior with unlimited unsupervised access. What kind of illegal drugs and poisons could he make? What might he need to order that's not available either in the lab or over the counter? For example, a teacher in Bakersfield was arrested for making methamphetamine--he was caught when he ordered red phosphorous. Eventually my kid will get caught too, so if he orders chemicals that will later get him flagged, that's okay for the story.

So he could conceivably, however unrealistically, make meth, but could he make anything else? Ecstasy? LSD? (this kid is a supergenius who could handle the potentially toxic steps, but would he be able in any way to get the ingredients and/or the equipment?)

Ideally, I am looking for him to manufacture a drug in his high school lab that at a certain dosage would put an average person to sleep, but would kill a 50ish man with an underlying medical condition. It doesn't matter what the condition is--high blood pressure, weak heart--I can change it to fit the drug. If this drug is normally used for recreation all the better.

If you have an idea of the effects/best delivery system I'd appreciate that too.

If there's nothing that fits that bill, are there any poisons he could manufacture that would just kill the same man outright--whether he takes it all in one dose or is poisoned over time? (I'd rather have the teenager *make* the poison, but if there are lab chemicals toxic enough to kill someone when administered orally, that would work too). The man must, however, be well enough to go into work (at a museum) the day he dies.

Also, what is the general process for ordering chemicals and equipment for a high school? My reading has led me to believe that the government is watching orders of chemicals very carefully...

Search terms I've used: "poisons in high school chemistry lab", "making drugs in high school chemistry lab", "toxic chemicals high school chemistry lab", "poisons organic chemistry lab". Any other search terms also appreciated.
  • felila

How would you say New Medina in Pashto?

I have the Hippocrene Books Pashto dictionary, but I don't really speak Pashto (or even Persian) so I'm not sure of my construction. I'm guessing that New Medina would be either Naway Madinah or Nawayshar but I'm not sure. (Shar is city; Medina means "city" in Arabic".)

I'm fiddling with a book set in the Helmand basin 200 years from now. Doing much more researching than writing, sadly. But it's fun.