October 11th, 2010

Paint the night with battlecries

US military refusal to kill punishments

I have a modern-day character, currently working as a bodyguard, who had previously been in the (US) military as a sniper. One of this guy's biggest 'flaws' is his being an utter pushover for women, and as such will not kill them - this became a problem in his past when he refused to eliminate a female target.

My question is, what would be the repercussions of doing this? Is refusal to kill a specified target enough to get you kicked out of the military? If so, what type of discharge would it be considered (assuming the rest of his service had been good)? If not, what punishments would he face?

Terms searched: Court-martial, military discharge, military reasons for dismissal
music, serious face

[ADMIN] Looking for a volunteer moderator

My life has gotten busy and I haven't been as good at checking the queue as I should be, so I'm looking for a volunteer or two.

You would have to check the queue once a day, approve posts that follow the rules, and reject posts that don't follow the rules with a short explanation. I'll give you a little more detail later.

Leave a comment here if you're interested. If I get more volunteers than needed, I'll give preference to people that have been long-time contributors here.
Lady Gaga's Silent Hill

Judo, anyone?

Setting: Modern-day New York, based around Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

First a plausibility check:

My main heroine is an athletic, determined woman, 23 years old at the start of this story and approaching/perhaps reaching 28 years old by the end of it. She's a martial arts instructor the entire time; with college eating into her time between the ages of 18 and 22, and her needing to be a third-degree black belt to become an instructor, it seems plausible that she could start judo lessons at age 13, get her first black belt at 17, attain second degree rating at 18, third degree at 21, and fourth degree at 24. She would be competeing whenever it was feasible for her, would have been teaching since she was 22, and operating under USJF rules; her working goal right now is to one day open her own dojo, though she'd like to reach fifth degree rating first. Is my lack of experience with Japanese martial arts showing anywhere?

Secondly, a bunch of questions related to competitions: what are judo competitions like? What sort of buildings do they take place in? Are family members typically allowed along, and if so, can they interact with competitors when the competitors aren't actually competing? How far away would spectators be seated from the competition area? What are the differences between local, regional, and national competitions? What's the atmosphere like?

Thirdly, a bunch of questions related to instruction: my heroine has been studying at the same dojo this entire time, with the expectation that she could continue her studies there until at least she attained fifth degree rating. What degree black belt is the head instructor likely to have? How would her lessons have shifted as she climbed up ranks? How would her instructor duties have shifted?

Anecdotes are totally welcome.

Resources used: The Wikipedia article on Judo, Judopedia, and the USJF website.
holmes skeleton

Knowledge of Sleep/Sleep Paralysis in the 1880s

Hello all,

I'm writing a Sherlock Holmes fic in which Watson experiences sleep paralysis. It takes place in the 1880s in London. What with Watson being a doctor, I'm trying to figure out what he would have made of such an experience.

I've done some research into the folklore that arose about sleep paralysis. I know that back in the day many people believed that the cause of such an experience was a demon or hag of sorts. By looking up 'sleep paralysis' in wiki, I found out that the 'Old Hag' figure existed in British folklore. Despite my many google searches ('old hag', 'old hag britain', 'old hag history'), I'm having difficulty figuring up until when this folklore had an influence on how people think. I also searched for 'hag ridden etymology' (and "sleep paralysis etymology, dictionary') and found that the term 'hag-ridden' was used to describe sleep paralysis during the 1680s. Unfortunately there is no further information on how the term was used in later time periods.

Basically, do you think it would be believable for Watson to think about this folklore after having experienced sleep paralysis? How would he have described his experience (ex. did the words sleep paralysis even exist, or would he used a term based in folklore?)? Perhaps he would not at all have been aware of the phenomenon? But I have trouble believing that a medical man such as Watson would have resorted to supernatural causes as an explanation. Which leads to some further questions:

What kind of knowledge about sleep would he have had? (I've tried looking up 'medicine history', 'history medicine books') and haven't found much that was helpful, apart from some general wikipedia articles.) Were doctors at the time even aware of the paralysis that occurs when one sleeps? Would it be reasonable for Watson to think that somehow the system for keeping his body immobile might be messing up on him?