July 10th, 2010

Of Legend

How I learned to love the bomb... and something I haven't quite gotten down

I've noticed a lack of nukes and information about nuclear weapons, warefare, and so-forth. So I've compiled a list of resources I've found helpful:

Nuclear Warfare Policy Basics: Part One, Part Two, Part Three
Atomic Bomb
Hydrogen Bomb
Neutron Bomb
Cobalt Bomb
Radiation Sickness
The Effects of Thermonuclear War
Hydrogen Bomb Simulator
Hiroshima and Nagasaki
General Nuclear Information

What I can't find any information on (because the scenario I'm working with wouldn't happen in real life) is how would a US Marine from 1969 react to witnessing the detonation of a nuclear bomb? The scenario is this: the Marine in question is hiding out in a mountainous cave about 8,000 feet off the ground and ~2 miles away from ground zero. The cave is stocked with enough food and water to last about a week and a half with careful rationing; the bomb in question is a small neutron bomb, although no one can tell that at the time, and my research indicates that from that distance, they should suffer only mild effects from the radiation, if any, though I'm not sure my Marine would automatically think that. The assumption I'm running with is that he would be concerned about radiation, and try to get the people he's currently with to seal themselves* in the cave for a while until the more unstable isotopes have a chance to decay. Is that the right assumption to make, and if so, how long do you think he would reccomend sealing themselves in for? If not, what assumption should I be running with? And where would he be getting his information from: did the Marines recieve training for wilderness survival in case of nukes, or would it all have to be something gleaned from civilian life?

Thanks in advance!

*The people in question are aliens of the "yanked from Earth in the past by proper aliens" variety. He's on their planet, and the group of people he's hanging out with would have gotten along well with Ludd. So, he's pretty much the only one who knows what a mushroom cloud means. Yet another reason why I have trouble finding answers to my questions.

Transferring parole county to county

I've research parole quite extensively through the internet and reading police procedurals. But there are a few technical details I haven't been able to answer.

My WIP takes place in Colorado (USA) and around the year 2007 (so essentially current).

In my WIP, my main character wants to take a job in another county than the one she is serving parole in (about three hours' drive away). She has been there for visits and knows some of the people. She has been offered a place to stay and has had a tentative offer of employment, which could be formalized if needed. She has recently been placed on a fairly low level of supervision. She and her PO get along well and I don't think he'd have any issues with working on getting a transfer for her. So here are the details I'm looking for:

1) From my research, it seems like a fairly simple process to transfer parole within the state. Is this true? What exactly would the PO need to do to begin this process? What about transferring some of her other conditions, like attending AA meetings and the like?
2) How long would it realistically take from the moment she talks to her PO about her desire to transfer until she'd legally be able to move? I'd like it to be as short as possible (days?), but I have a feeling that's not likely. Which brings me to my next question:
3) If the PO says that it's more a formality than anything that she'd get the transfer, could she get away with leaving before it's official? Especially if she still shows up for any meetings she's required to go to?

The reason I need it to be fairly quick is that it's more or less a rash decision on her part, and I want her to act quickly once she's made up her mind, but not to the point she ends up violating her parole and has a parole hearing (or gets arrested or anything like that). Basically, I'd like for her to tell her PO she wants to leave, let him say, "Yeah, no problem. We can do that." And she leaves within a week or two (at the most) whether it's official or not. But I don't want her to get in trouble for doing so. Is this plausible?

Thanks in advance!


Retirement Age for Ballet

Question: I understand that a professional ballerina typically retires at about thirty, but at what age would an amateur stop? And I know that en pointe dancing is the most difficult and physically damaging, so at what age might she stop doing that, even if she continued dancing? Any information on when an average ballet dancer might start/stop any particular aspect of dancing would be helpful.

Setting: sci-fi, 300 years into the future. The character is 56 (when normal human lifespan is, on average, 150), a military officer and in excellent physical condition. She has been dancing since age 6, but has never danced professionally.

Research: I've done a lot of research on ballet in general- the terms, movements, famous ballets, etc- but haven't managed to come across anything on retirement or age, other than that most serious dancers start very early.

Thanks in advance for your help!

Politically strategic jobs in 1830s England

Setting: England, 1830s.

Searched: "19th century finance politics," "19th century bank influence," "19th century investment bank," variations thereof for finance-specific information; "19th century politics" and "19th century political jobs" for other career options.


Okay, for the purposes of plot, I would like characters A and B to be competing for a position of power which would potentially give them a certain amount of opportunity to start furthering their (opposing) political careers/agendas, and it would probably be a better plot fit if they weren’t competing over an actual Parliamentary seat/position.   Would a job in investment banking be a plausible option, and if not, are there any other alternatives that would fit the bill?

Thanks in advance.  :)

[FMA] We could be heroes

GSW wound to chest with Magic Mojo added

Setting: Present day America, city

Searches done: All of little_details entries on gunshot wounds, Googling of "chest wound bleeding"

My MC is going to be shot in the chest by a experienced killer with a 9mm bullet from a Beretta M9 at approximately midrange. From my internet readings, I've concluded it's pretty much got to be the chest because any other target (shoulder, leg, etc) would make the killer look like an amateur (Killers Target Torsos seems to be the byline).

However, I need to know what sort of chest wound would allow my MC to be somewhat mobile (the sort of "crawling wounded going to die probably soon" mobile) and see her attacker. Also, I'd like my MC to not have to go through months of rehabilitation. To help, my MC has some Magic Mojo that allows her to stop bleeding, in an limited sense, though she'll only be able to apply it after her attacker leaves so said attacker will think she really will die.

What I can't tell is whether said Magic Mojo would actually help, and whether my MC would be the sort of mobile I want. I've read that "chest wounds don't bleed externally that much, it's internal bleeding you have to worry about" versus with "OMG SEAL IT SUCKING CHEST WOUND," along with "bullets will ricochet and do a ping-pong dance inside the chest and Life Will Suck" versus "bullets could pass right through." I know bullets can do funky things, but I can't determine which would be more likely.
[tamora pierce] Anime!Alanna

Al-Andalusian Nobility

I'm writing (or attempting to, anyway) a story set in a fantasy world based on Al-Andalus, or Moorish Spain. More accurately, in one of the taifas, or smaller kingdoms, after the Caliphate of Cordoba fell apart, but before the Reconquista really got going (so somewhere between 1000-1300, I'd say). I've tried googling "daily life in Moorish Spain," "daily life in the Emirate of Granada," "taifas," "al-Andalus feudal system," "administration of taifas," and read every relevant-looking Wikipedia entry I could find, along with the various results from Google (mostly from Andalucia: The Soul of Spain).

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  • gatac

Military career as a female combat engineer

 Hey all,

I'm currently writing a story that will include a rather detailed flashback to one character's military career. I'm basically wondering if any of this sounds massively wrong or off. What I've worked out so far includes the following:

She joined the US Marine Corps in early 1998, straight out of high school, having no college ambitions and suffering from a bit of a lack of direction. MOS 1371, combat engineer. After boot camp and school, she was assigned to the 6th Engineering Support Battalion. She did quite well on the job, with only minor discipline issues. By the middle of 2001, her first enlistment period was almost up, and having no other perspectives for the moment, she reupped, having reached Corporal rank. 9/11 happens, and in the following time, her discipline issues worsen gradually. An after-hours bar crawl leads to her getting a DUI and being Article 15'd for it; the punishment is getting busted back down to Private First Class. It keeps her on the straight-and-narrow for a while, but when the unit deploys to Iraq in '04, she's got a well-deserved reputation of being insufficiently motivated, essentially hoping to ride out the rest of her service commitment and then get out. Her job in Iraq is bridge reconnaissance; a lot of bridges get blown up, repaired and blown up again, and since she's got some technical chops and is a keen observer/sketch artist, she's pretty good at this.

However, the job does require them to actually visit those bridges, and one day, scouting out a bridge makes them run smack into a team of irregulars there to blow it up. In a brief exchange of fire, her team's Humvee gets a tire blown and their machinegunner takes a round along the side of his head, taking him out of the fight. They're almost overrun and surrounded in those first few seconds, but she comes out swinging, first laying down suppressive fire so her team can get out of the vehicle and to cover. Fortunately, a nearby Cobra gunship responds quickly to their call for help, and when the dust settles, she and her team are still in one piece with the irregulars in full retreat. They call a MedEvac for their wounded gunner and make it out of there. The narrative is quickly built around it: what could have become a second Jessica Lynch incident instead turned into a brave defensive fight with no losses. Her unit commander goes to bat for her and nominates her for a Bronze Star (Valor), which she is awarded.

...and that's when things go really wrong for her, but the rest of the story isn't relevant to my questions. :)

Already looked at: Wikipedia, Global Security, About.com's military section, several other websites. Also had a thread on the Something Awful forums, in Goons in Platoons, but that was before I had most of the details down.

Also, I'm always looking for good sources of modern military lingo. I'll probably have to rewatch Generation Kill some time anyway and take notes this time.

Victorian Female Doctor

I'm writing an AU Sherlock Holmes fanfic featuring a genderbent!always-female!Watson. I know according to the Sherlock Holmes wiki that Dr. John Watson graduated from the University of London in 1878. I also know that the London School of Medicine for Women was founded in 1874.

This AU may end up fusing to another involving a steampunk air force of either dragons or airships with female crew (Watson gets roped into treating them while in training and ends up coming with them to Afghanistan) so I could just go ahead and twist the timeline but I want this to be a in-spite-of-a-nail type thing.

My question is this, does anyone know when the first class graduated from LSMW? Would Margaret Watson have been in this first class, a later one, trained independently or would she have gone to America or a European country such as France, Italy or the Netherlands for training? Any information on training to be a Doctor in the Victorian era is appreciated as well. Ciriculum, timing, requirements etc