November 28th, 2009

Hypothermia + Sex

Setting: Sci-fi, a few hundred years in the future, on an ice planet with year-round winter (think Hoth, or Delta Vega if you're so inclined).
Searched: Any combination of terms to do with hypothermia and sex, but apart from a lot of fiction I'm not really finding the medical stuff I need. This book helped, but I'm not sure if I completely understand what it's saying.

So, I have two (precariously) romantically-linked medical professionals trapped in a storage room (which is empty) (and is structurally composed of ice and snow a la sundry Ice Hotels). Both of them have cold-weather gear on but have no medical supplies, and they'll be there for hours if not a full day or two. I'm pretty happy with my research on the actual effects of hypothermia, I think I've got that down pat, but what I have a bigger problem with is: how feasible is it that they would resort to having sex to keep warm? How long would it take, probably, for them to reach that step? What kind of, you know, practical/technical issues should I be concerned about? Anything you've got to offer on the subject would be so useful.

EDIT: Thanks, guys! Your comments have all been helpful and since it doesn't actually hurt the story for them to not have sex at this point I'm going in a different direction with the scene. Problem solved!

how were bullets removed in the 17th century

My character get's shot from behind and the bullet enters on the left side, doesn't hit any bone or organs, but it doesn't exit. the guy lost a lot of blood, as he had to find help before anybody examined him.

how would a healer in the 17th century in the scottish highlands (not a doctor) have proceded

1. to get the bullet out
2. to stop the bleeding
3. to lower the possibility of an infection

Thanks for helping

Rohypnol/Flunitrazepam as a knockout drug

Setting: Present day, an unspecified but nice restaurant/hotel in Rome

Research done: Google search on Flunitrazepam, corresponding Wikipedia entry (via Google search on "knockout drug," "mickey finn," et cetera), a few entries in this community on this and related topics

My story involves a scene where two characters, a novice spy (who's stumbled into something well beyond his training at this point) and his much more experienced partner, are having dinner at a nice restaurant attached to their hotel. My ideal situation is this: they order a bottle of wine and the novice drinks first, but the wine has been drugged and after a little while he either blacks out completely, or becomes very uninhibited and has no memory of the occasion. His partner has not had any wine by the time that the novice exhibits symptoms, and is able (with help) to get him to their room and wait for him to wake up. Novice regains consciousness after an appropriate amount of time (I can work with just about any time window here, but six to ten hours is what I've been envisioning), with a terrible headache and light-sensitivity. Either way, partner turns the lights off for a while as novice recuperates. My drug of choice for this debacle is Rohypnol/Flunitrazepam, since as far as I can tell, it covers the necessary bases (though if there's a substance that would take effect faster, I am open to that), and assume the person responsible for drugging them knows the correct dosage to get the effect he wants (i.e. incapacitate the two men and capture/interrogate them).

My research so far suggests that Flunitrazepam takes about twenty minutes to start affecting someone when taken orally, and that alcohol can intensify its effects. Would alcohol cause it to work faster, or just make its effects stronger? How soon would a trained observer know that something was wrong? Would the drugged person feel or taste anything right away that he could remark upon, thus alerting his partner, even if it's just an odd taste or texture to the drink?

Would the drugged person pass out very quickly (i.e. twenty minutes pass, and then, bam, he's on the floor), or would he slowly get sleepier/less coordinated over a longer period of time? Same question with the amnesiac effects - at what point would the gap in his memory begin?

One site that I checked said that it may have a bitter taste when mixed with alcohol, but would this be noticeable in something like wine that is already pretty strong? It seems like Flunitrazepam comes in tablets, so would these be crushed and dissolved in the liquid, or is there also a liquid form?

As for side-effects/after-effects, I've read about headaches and digestive upset, so how long would they last after waking up, and how intense are they?

That's an awful lot of questions, so... many, many thanks in advance!

Landfills and Dumps In and Around New York City

Setting: Modern day New York City, NY.

searched Google for "working in landfill, firsthand experience of a dump, maps of new york city dumps, new york landfill regulations", posted my query on Yahoo! Answers

What I Need: My story, as I stated above, is to take place in part in a landfill modern day New York. My character is a young woman about 20 years old who is a close friend of the dump's owner, but in order to pay back what she feels she owes to him, she works in the dump 5 days a week.

The most useful source I could get my hands on would be a firsthand account of landfill work, including the hierarchy of a waste management facility and the work expected of a laborer. It would also be very helpful if this information could be relative to New York, or at least a similar American city. What guidelines define the placement of city landfills? How close are they allowed to be to the waterfront? What is day to day life like? Is there more traffic during certain days of the week?