March 21st, 2010

LFG - Science is hard

Blushing and dark skin tones

Maybe I lack a certain innate observational ability, but I have never actually seen anyone blush, and as far as I know, I have never done it myself.

Everything I have ever read (that I can remember) in which blushing takes place has happened to involve white people. I know people of any color can "blush," since that is a physical thing involving blood flow and other biological technical stuff... My question is, when someone with a skin tone other than white blushes, how relatively visible is it? Are there any skin tones which do not allow you to see any visible effects of blushing/flushing?

I'm doing some writing that's just for fun, but I'd still like to try to be accurate... I'm writing a character of mixed blood (very dark African-American mother, 100% Irish-American father... she's lighter than her mother, but never knew the identity of her father until she was 19 and never knew that she was mixed, so she's dark enough that anyone would look at her and say she was black, not mixed or any other race) and I am wondering how visible it would be if she blushed, compared to when light-skinned people do, so I can give a more accurate portrayal of her doing that.

This is not something I have been able to figure out by doing a google search, unless I just fail that hard at Google. :P

demetri; this is a sketch

Voicemail recordings after someone's death?

So I've got this character who dies (hangs around as a ghost, but nobody knows that). Her boyfriend is absolutely devastated and winds up going a little crazy and getting horribly depressed due to the circumstances surrounding their relationship. He finds her phone and keeps it for years and years; about twenty. What I need to know is if it's possible that, and if so how, he could keep her voicemail recording associated with that number. He calls it and listens to her voice, and while it's not a major plot point, it's a demonstration of how incredibly in love with her he was and how he just can't let go.

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Teen clothes/sports in mid-1990s Maine and Europe (Italy/Switzerland)

I'm writing about teenagers in the mid-90s, which is just enough before I was a teenager that I'm not sure whether or not what I remember applies; I'm also from the midwest, wondering if my high-school sports experience is applicable. I've also got a foreign exchange student, and what he'd wear I haven't the slightest clue. Anybody from those areas or who was in high school in 1996, please help?

I've been through the tags for clothing & 1990s; mostly I'm looking for regional confirmation of what The Google has told me so far.

Setting: 1996 in small-town Maine; Characters A and B are local teens, who meet C, a foreign-exchange student from Florence, Italy who has been attending a private boarding school in Switzerland.

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And, last but not least, SPORTS!

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Thanks for any help you can provide! I know this is a terrible, rambling first entry, and I promise to clean up my act in the future.

Confession and Mortal Sin

Setting: 37th century Earth, with a war pitting half the galaxy against the other half. Humans are among the superior races in power positions. People don't have the Federation-like devotion to the greater good, capitalism is alive and well, and society is probably similar to today, with bigger and better toys.

Character in question: Mid-level military officer who was ordered to bomb two friendly (and alien, with their own races, not colonies of humans) planets whose loyalties were sort of in question with very, very large thermonuclear warheads to take out certain enemy positions. The planets weren't exactly loyal to the central government and the enemy (and large portions of cities) were destroyed to make a statement. He did this in a fighter without support from any other craft, so he was in essence a lone wolf, but acting under orders of the highest military authority. Immediate death toll: north of 250 million (I haven't addressed the greater problems of post-apocalyptic issues and I'm not planning on going there).

Have googled: Catholicism, confession, mortal sin, venial sin.

The problem/question: His soon-to-be wife wants him to go back to confession. What category does this sin fall under? I mean, it would seem to me like it's a ticket straight to hell in the express lane. Would this even be forgivable, even though it was done as ordered by a military (and refusing probably would have resulted in a lot of friendly losses, including a major attack on Earth itself)? It's not like this has ever really happened.
sneaky Elizabeth

inheritance of titles and property when the widow is pregnant

I have a plot bunny for a Georgette Heyer fanfic, but I want to make sure that the premise is plausible before I start giving it free rein.

Setting: England, Regency period, exact date unimportant
Research Attempted: various phrases related to title inheritances, inheritance pregnancy, noble titles widow is pregnant, etc. Found some information about real life incidences involving various European royalty, but not about the English aristocracy. My usual haunts for regency research.

The basic scenario:
--A, formerly a peer, now pushing up the daisies
--His widow B, who had only just realized she was pregnant
--C, A's father's cousin and heir to the peer's title and entailed property should he die without issue

The basic question is: Does C inherit the title right away? Or is the title vacant until B gives birth? (Whereupon, if the baby is a boy, he inherits; if the baby is a girl, or B miscarries etc, C inherits.)

Likewise, during that pregnancy period, who would have the legal rights over the entailed property?