June 16th, 2009

cow chip fuel

Setting: Central Asian steppes, about 1000 BCE.

About how long do cow chips take to dry out enough to use as fuel? About how long could they be expected to burn for? Can they be picked up or carried before they're completely dry?

Google terms included "cow chips", "manure", "fuel", "drying time". I found a few pages on Wikipedia, and a page that compares the BTU output of horse manure, cow chips, wood, and charcoal, but not this.

RAF Breakdown & Bridge Engineering

Hey, I'm new to this community.  I love it!  But I do have a few questions that I couldn't find answers to while going through the tags.

First off, I'm trying to find a way to calculate load capacity on a bridge.  Specifically, how much weight the Tower Bridge in London could take before it collapses.  Giant monster attacking London, I'm trying to figure out if it would have to take a few swings at the bridge before it collapsed or if simply standing on it would be enough to take it down.

Also, as giant monster is attacking London, I'll be scrambling the RAF.  Is Air Force radio code in England the same as in the US (roger, copy, etc)? 

And what would be the pilot breakdown of a particular flight?  Say you have six fighters in a flight.  One would be the Squadron Leader, but what would be the typical ratio of Flight Lieutenants vs. Flying Officers for the others?

Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis in the 1910's?

Once again I thank heaven for the existence of this community!

I'm writing a short-story, set in Oxford University during the 1910s (think Maurice and Brideshead Revisited and you're on the right track). The story centre on a student and his first year at Oxford, the ups and downs and all that jazz. Now, the crux of the matter is that a major plotline is the character's struggle against his disease. I've combed the community's tags, searched Wikipedia and used Google to a point of abuse, and I think I might have come up with something. The disease is one he got when he was a child and is still struggling with, but it's not supposed to be 100% fatal or utterly crippling. Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (or Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis, which one am I to use?) seems to fit the bill, but I can't for my life find when the JRA was "discovered".

So, my questions are the following: Was JRA known in the very late 1800s/very early 1900s? What was the treatment for it in those days? If it wasn't known, what disease could I use instead? (A vague wave in the general direction would suffice here.)
Also: The character is, slowly but steadily, on the road to recovery; however, would he not be allowed to study at Oxford if he was ill?

I apologise if I've been ignorant here or have used inappropriate words (English is not my native language, and I'm still trying to figure out the difference between "illness" and "disease", among other things); I do hope I haven't hurt anyone's feelings! Asking about diseases/illnesses/handicaps/ disorders is always tricky. I'm rather familiar with the various forms of autism and the ADHD/ADD disorders, but not so much with physical ones. I hope I haven't dropped a clanger here!

Thanks in advance!