June 27th, 2010

Don - 2010 birthday icon

FBI promotion procedures

Am writing a Numb3rs fic. In a particular episode, a special agent mentioned that, if she turned down a promotion offered, she wouldn't get another shot at promotion for three years. It is hard to tell from her dialogue and body language if this was due to FBI procedures or if she was merely estimating how long it would take for another such position to come up. She had been offered the supervisor of the Denver office's organised crime unit.

I have checked the law enforcement and usa: government: law enforcement tags here, the FBI website, googled FBI promotion procedures, FBI human resources and checked wiki. The closest I could get was a news report of an agent being barred from consideration for promotion for 1 year after having to refuse a promotion due to problems with selling her condo.

So, I'm hoping someone here knows if the FBI specifically bars a person from consideration for promotions after refusing a promotion, and how variable the duration of that bar might be.
  • caitak

Coma-like state rehabilitation

Who: A 40 year old male who has been in a coma-like state for 20 years.
Where: The not too distant future, place isn't really important, probably somewhere like Europe.
What: Searched variations of 'coma rehabilitation/recovery/therapy' as well as 'traumatic brain injury rehabilitation/recovery/therapy'. Read up on some support pages for families as well as personal stories of recuperation and of course, good old Wikipedia (and the head injury tags for this community).

The details:
The story is set in the future (though it's not specified when) and focuses on T who, for reasons best known to himself, enters into a Virtual Reality. The virtual reality machines are owned by companies and the standard stay is about two weeks, during that time a person is basically hooked up to a life support system that deals with feeding them & waste, while nurses take care of other needs like bathing, shaving, clipping nails, etc. Presumably either they or some sort of machine exercises the users as well, so muscles might weaken but they won't atrophy completely.

T decides to stay in the Virtual Reality for twenty years. Then one day it's switched off, just like that, and he has to return to Real Reality.

But presumably after so long hooked up to machines, he's got some therapy ahead of him to get him used to real life again. Unfortunately, his rehabilitation is starting to look quite different to coma patient rehabiliation. So here's where I need some help (I can probably get away with a certain amount of handwaving, but I don't want to wave too much):

1. If he's been tube/drip-fed for the past twenty years, presumably he's going to have swallowing issues. Ditto for walking/fine motor skills/speech/etc. What might this therapy entail?

2. What sort of psyhological therapy would he need to undergo? He's basically been living an alternate life for twenty years, how would he be reacclimatised to every day life?

3. I realise this is a 'how long is a piece of string?' type question, but how long would this recovery be likely to take? Several months? Almost a year? I can't find many stories about people coming round and getting on with life after twenty year comas (with the exception of two peope mentioned on the Wikipedia page).

Thanks in advance.

waking up after being strangled

hey guys! just a short question here!

How long does it take for someone to wake up after being knocked out from being strangled? Is it down to the individual or are there factors to take into consideration?  Any and all other little details and observastions on the situation would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance!

Swallowing and Retrieving a Key

I've got two men cuffed together in a story, one who swallowed the handcuff key. I need to dump the guy who swallowed the key - fast - and keep the one who didn't, and preferably have the doctor be the one to do it. They're in an airplane before takeoff, which I'm going to assume contains the medical supplies listed here: http://www.asma.org/pdf/compendium/2007/airline-emk-update.pdf . Could anybody please help lend me some realism with some insight on the following questions?

1. If I have the doctor knock the guy out with the sedative anticonvulsant, would sticking something like an IV catheter down his throat trigger his gag reflex?
2. Would the key come up if it did? 
3. Barring any of that, would a close-range gunshot break the chain on the cuffs to separate the men?

New Orleans Terminology Question

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Edit x 3: Had a few last (promise!) questions about turns of phrase:

Spaghetti sauce vs. gravy
The regional phrase for 'turn signal' there
How often the phrase 'for true' is used there if at all
'y'all' is something else that's supposedly said among some people, without a twang or drawl?
'Mischief Night' vs 'devil's night' or other phrases
robe vs house coat
traffic circle vs roundabout, circle, etc

After those are answered, I think I'll be settled. Thanks again, everyone. :)
paris - je t'aime

French BD female superheroes/characters

Hi! I'm currently writing a story about comics, à la Chabon's Kavalier and Clay, so I need a little help on superheroes. My knowledge is limited to US comics and I need a broader view on this. So my question is, who is--or are--the most popular or iconic female superhero or character in French BD's? So far, I've come across Adèle Blanc-Sec and Marjane Sartrapi's character in Persepolis, but googling surprisingly does not yield any other results. Are you guys familiar with any more characters?