July 4th, 2010

all you need is chocolate

constellations above new york city, and their rotations

setting: new york city, present day (specifically, october/november 2006 to about may 2007, I think? Haven't quite worked out the precise dates yet.)

situation: my character goes to work in a magical store/home(the business is run from the front parlour), located in New York City (Greenwich, I think). Some of the decorating changes automatically with the seasons, ie the trees printed on the hallway wallpaper have their leaves turn, fall, and grow again in the spring. My character's personal room in the house has the ceiling showing the night sky showing directly overhead.

Question: what constellations are highly visible in the night sky above new york city, and do any of them shift position over the course of the year? I basically want my character to look up at the ceiling when she starts work in november, and marvel how easily she can pick out a constellation. Then look up six or seven months later and note that the same constellation has shifted position. Light pollution isn't a factor, and my character's not interested in astronomy at all (though this job might change that), so the more commonly known and easily recognised constellation, the better.

searched: several astronomy books (which only show skymaps for my country), and searched 'constellations+new york city+visible from' - there were a couple of ideas, but nothing specific enough. I found some free skymaps, but they only show the general US continent (nothing specific about NYC), and only this year.

DTA: thanks, everyone! Very helpful, and I think I might see if I can work the Leonid meteor showers in somewhere, too.

Iliad translations in the early '50's (and a vacation question)

This seems like an oddly specific question, and if there's no easy answer I can easily fudge it, I suppose, but I'm really curious. And I'm sorry if any of these, particularly the translation-related ones, are stupid questions; I've kind of had my classics geekery handed to me on a plate.

The year is 1951, in an unspecified part of the East Coast, though I'm presuming New York. My MC is a very bright twelve-year-old; in the story I'm working on, he's reading Homer's Iliad on the down-low.

Where might he get his hands on a copy? I was betting on from the family library, even if it's a rather disused copy, but failing that, a library or a bookstore? And what's the most likely translation for him to have? (I'm definitely assuming this is a translation, and I don't want to assume that in this time period the classics are as much a ZOMG NERDS ONLY pursuit, but neither of his parents are big readers.) While the book itself can be expensive (his family is quite well-off) for the purposes of the story the translation itself doesn't have to be anything special or academically prized.

And as a bonus question: he comes from a rather well-off family; are they likely to go on vacation? Where? I'm really not sure how to Google for this one.

Terms Googled: 1950s Iliad, 20th century iliad translation, common iliad translation, most common iliad translation

(As you can tell, I don't really know what to Google, if you can give me any pointers in that direction I'd be really grateful! I also used Wiki Magic and found a partial list of English translations in general, but that doesn't help me much as for which he'd actually have.)

ETA: Thanks for all the fantastic responses! This is more information than I'd ever expected and it's got me jumping to write already.
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Psychology of evil - methoids of psychoanalysis

Setting: high fantasy mixed with real world contemporary
Previous searches: Not sure this is 'searchable', its a question regarding methodology rather than information

I have experience of psychology (degree level modules) and a stack of books on my shelf which cover the academic issues of the subject. However, I am uncertain over issues of psychoanalysis practise having never been psychoanalysed or had any experience of this save from fiction. I would like some thoughts about this from actual practising counsellors or psychiatrists...


Imagine you are a psychiatrist or similar therapist and you have, on your couch, an epitome of stereotypical evil. Darth Vader, Blofeld, Sauron, Saruman... a character who is obviously, unashamedly and blatantly evil in a way which no real person ever can be. The question I have is:

- how would you progress with the session? What methods and theories would you consider using?

- What questions would you start with? What diagnosis would you draw from answers to these questions?

- Would you consider a treatment regime? If so, what?

mistaken for dead after struggle & recovery; legal proceedings after attempted assault/rape

setting: Odessa, Texas, 2006

ETA: After several requests, I am moving this scenario behind an lj-cut. Please continue to respond if you have information you wish to contribute. Thank you to those who already have.
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dirty thoughts

How does the US Air Force keep track of their reservists?

Time period: present day.
Question: How does the US Air Force keep track of reservists, particularly of those in the Standby Reserve? Are they required to check back  (with the Air Force Reserve Personnel Center? Some other institution?) in certain intervals of time and/or tell them about any changes of location and/or occupation and/or personal life (marriages, children etc.)? If yes, how do they do that (a phone call, a letter, certain forms, appearing in person?) and if it's required in certain intervals of time, what are those? What do reservists who moved to another country do? If they do have to keep in touch with the Air Force Reserve Command on a regular base/are required to tell them about changes, what would happen if a reservist failed to check back/inform them of the changes?

I looked up the Air Force Reserve at Wikipedia, looked up the fact sheet at af.mil and tried to google several combinations of USAF, US Air Force, Reservists and keeping track but didn't get any satisfying results (actually, I got no results at all). I'd be happy if someone could help me :)