January 12th, 2010

gears 2
  • rapier

Approximate weight of a stone statue

Setting: Fantasy setting, earthlike planet with a technology base approximately equal to Earth's in the 1880s. Some fantastic elements, which I'll detail below.

Research: Google searches for "weight of stone statues" and suchlike; Wikipedia articles on the Moai monoliths on Easter Island and the Chinese Terra Cotta Army.

Additional setting details: Humans have occupied this continent for several hundred years, and in the course of their conquest, they have discovered devices they call "heirlooms." The heirloom is a stone statue approximately 5 meters high (16.5 feet). The heirlooms are static if left alone, and are often found standing in regular ranks and formations, not unlike very large versions of the Chinese terra cotta warriors. Some humans have the capacity to make an heirloom move about - they can direct its movements by climbing into a compartment set inside the heirloom's torso.

Question: I need to move one of these heirlooms from one place to another within a city not unlike New York City in the 1870s. There has been a breach in the seawall, and significant flooding threatens the lower elevations of the city. The heirlooms are heavy enough that I don't want one tramping through the streets, as it'd tear up the cobblestone streets and probably damage buildings. I had originally thought to have a dirigible airlift the thing from one end of the city to the other, but it's also far too heavy for that to be plausible. My best bet is to put it on a barge, either laying down flat or sitting upright, and floating it downriver and to the repair site.

About how much would a 15-foot high, person-shaped stone statue weigh? I'm sure figures would vary wildly based on the kind of stone it is, but all I'm really looking for is a ballpark figure, something for a knowledgeable character to throw out there in dialogue.

The article on the Easter Island monolith indicates a certain 10 meter high moai weighs 270 tonnes (33 feet high and just shy of 300 tons), but I have no idea if that moai's proportions are an appropriate standard to use for guesstimating my 5-meter high heirloom.

I appreciate your help

Edited to add: Thank you all for your helpful comments! I think I know where to continue my research.

Romanian for "little Vlad"

Setting: 15th century Transylvania
Question: One of my characters, although christened Mihnea, is given the nickname "little Vlad" - or sometimes just "Little" for short - by his family for his habit of following about and copying his older brother Vladislav. What I want to know is what "little Vlad" would be in Romanian! I've looked it up on a few online translation sites; they generally inform me that it would be something like "Vlad mic" or "Vlad puţin", but I'm well aware that online translations are not the most accurate in the world so I wondered if there might be someone around here with a knowledge of Romanian able to be give me an expert opinion. The words I keep getting are I think Romanian for "small" or something similar, and I want something that will specifically imply that he is a miniature version of his older brother, copies his mannerisms etc.
Any help much appreciated!

Edited to add: Thanks for all your help! I've decided to go for Vlăduţ as the younger boy's nickname; I also think I may change his older brother's name to Vladimir or maybe just Vlad as a more Romanian, less Slavic sort of name.
  • natane

Attitude towards pet rodents (specifically rats)

How freaked out and disgusted is someone going to be by a rather eccentric girl keeping a pet rat? My setting is kinda like Jane Austen/the Brontë sisters, but stuck in time. Therefore, mid/late Victorian, England, rural.

Rats will be associated as food-stealing pests rather than the way they would be in a city (diseased baby-eaters or whatever), right?

I'm assuming that the idea of a pet rat would be as alien and unpopular as the idea of a pet slug would be today. I want her to have to hide the rat, but I also want to be able to predict the reaction when it's found. Kill it on sight? Tell the girl to let it go?

Obviously, next to impossible to Google.

Also, if there is any historical data on attitudes towards rats at the time and/or references about them being pets (slim chance, but still), I'd greatly appreciate links!

Likely Police Response to Domestic Violence

Setting: Present Day USA, no specific state

I am looking for any information about how police in the US (I am in the UK) might handle a call reporting suspected domestic violence. Not an assault happening right then, but something ongoing. The victim in this case is male (as is the alleged perpetrator). I know that might make a difference in the attitude of the police.

I have looked at everything with the sexual abuse and assault tag, much of which was very useful, and also the police procedure tag, but there are still some things I'd like to know. I have googled and got information on "gay domestic violence", "male victims of domestic violence", "male sexual violence", and found masses of useful information about the reasons why male victims stay with their abusers, the reasons men abuse, the problem that hospital staff dont seem to expect men to have been victims of domestic abuse even when sometimes it is blatent. I have read personal stories by male survivors of domestic abuse. I have also googled "police response domestic violence" although that was less useful, tending to give sociological studies and statistics. Also if anything it outlined what was ideally supposed to happen, and I know that this is often very different from what actually does happen. I have also asked several questions similar to the ones below on Yahoo Answers, but the answers weren't particularly helpful.

What I would like to know is if someone suspected that the victim was being abused by the man he's currently staying with, and contacted the police, what would a likely response be? Would they go to the house, speak to both of them together, or separately? Any idea how quickly they would respond, if they responded to such a thing at all? If the victim denied any abuse, what would happen? Since he has obviously recently been injured, requiring hospital treatment (he has a broken arm as well as other injuries) would they attempt to pursue the case in spite of his denial? Would they be allowed to see his hospital records? When he was being treated, on at least two occasions, in different ERs, would staff do anything about their suspicions? Would there be notes somewhere saying that domestic violence was suspected? Would they be passed to police?

I know that these things vary from state to state, but I have not been specific about the state in my story, so either general or state specific information would be useful. Really, any information that might help me with any part of the above would be very gratefully received.
  • kanedax

Educational Subordinate Honorifics in Modern Japan

Wow, that's an ugly title.  Ah, well.

I'm trying to figure out what a person would call a teacher that they don't respect, or that is considered beneath them on the social ladder in modern-day Japan.  I am aware that sensei is the common phrase used for teachers or professors by their students, and that senpai and kohai are used as honorifics for senior and junior colleagues respectively. 

I'm looking for a suffix that can be used specifically for a professor being addressed by someone like a high-ranking government official, or by someone who simply shows no respect to that professor.  A phrase that still calls the teacher a teacher, but doesn't carry the weight of subordination that sensei seems to carry.

Is there another phrase to use?  Would the person be referred to with senpai or kohai, or simply with san or kun?  Or am I completely wrong, and sensei is the common word for both subordinates and superiors?

Google searches:  Japanese Teacher Names, Japanese Teacher Honorific, GoogleTranslate for "professor" and "teacher"